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Expats can expect an exciting yet balanced lifestyle in Munich. Whether they're foodies, shopaholics or fitness fanatics, the city has a broad range of activities to suit all tastes and preferences.
New arrivals are likely to spend a fair amount of time getting to grips with the tourist attractions such as the Nymphenburg Palace, Alte Pinakothek and Hofbrauhaus. But the fun doesn't stop there, and on top of the city's multitude of annual events, expats will find countless activities to keep them busy.
Shopping in Munich
Shopping in Munich includes trendy upmarket boutiques and antique stores, as well as high-street labels in its shopping malls. Shoppers can feast their eyes on top fashion merchandise by strolling down Maximilianstrasse and the adjoining Theatinerstrasse.
Those who enjoy finding unique items should visit one of the city's numerous markets. The Viktualienmarkt, in particular, is a colourful maze of stalls, with everything from fresh flowers to mouthwatering street food. Elisabethmarkt is another great option for those looking for fresh produce.
Nightlife in Munich
Munich’s nightlife scene is as eclectic and diverse as everything else in the city. As a major centre for the arts in Germany, expats in Munich can expect to be treated to top quality live music and theatre performances. On any given night, residents can choose from having informal drinks in a traditional beer hall, dancing the night away at a contemporary club or spending an evening immersed in the works of great German classical composers.
Münchener Freiheit in Schwabing is the most famous nightlife district in Munich. It's packed with bustling bars, quaint cafes, sophisticated jazz venues and hip dance clubs. More nightlife options can be found in Gärtnerplatz and Glockenbachviertel. Expats who are interested in alternative music should head to Haidenhausen, while those with more cultured tastes should pay a visit to the Goethe Institut.
Eating out in Munich
Munich has a wide variety of first-class restaurants. Expats may be hard-pressed to ignore the intoxicating pull of the beer gardens, but they should also sample the extensive delights of the restaurants in Munich.
The city has multiple Michelin-starred dining options, and many of its eateries are opulent and sophisticated. Connoisseurs can indulge in first-class cuisine at these international culinary hot spots, or explore the Schwabing district’s bohemian flair.
Sampling some of Munich's specialities – like its wurst sausages, meat dishes, Knödel dumplings and pretzels – is a must. And there’s little better than washing down these hearty Bavarian flavours with a lager in the comfortable sun of summer at one of the city's many beer gardens.
Sport and fitness in Munich
Despite Germany’s status as the second biggest consumer of beer in the world, expats will find it quite sobering that most of Munich’s population retains a healthy physique, and a passion for sports and fitness.
While many people prefer to run or cycle to keep trim, many enjoy the social atmosphere of a club or gym – and Munich has no shortage of these. At the same time, come rain or shine, outdoor sports are by far the most appealing activities for expats. With warm summers and freezing winters, the climate plays host to scores of contrasting sports that keep one entertained and active all year round. And with the Alps only a one-and-a-half hour drive away, skiing and snowboarding are, understandably, at the top of the list.
"By all means, mix with other expats at the beginning (I have made a lot of friends that way), but don’t stop there. Learn the language and mix with locals as much as possible. Germans can be distant at the beginning, but are great, fun people once you get to know them. Just don’t, whatever you do, make the same mistake I did and actually marry one. Let alone a grumpy one."
Read more of Phil's (a New Zealand expat) thoughts on expat life in Munich
Are you an expat living in Munich?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Munich. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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