This is the eighth post in the London & Munich series. Other posts in this series include The Square, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Exploring London by Foot, Alain Ducasse, Marcus Wareing, Classic Munich Beer Houses: Hofbrauhaus & Wirtshaus, and Viktualienmarkt and De Pschorr
Beer gardens are ALL OVER Munich.
It's one of the most fun things about visiting Munich in the summertime. Walk around, and you're bound to see people sitting outside enjoying beer, pretzels, and traditional German food.
One of the most well known beer gardens in Munich is Chinesischer Turm, or Chinese Tower inside the Englischer Garten (English Garden). The second largest beer garden in Munich, Chinesischer Turm was originally built in 1790 when the Great Elector Karl Theodor decided to convert old hunting grounds into a public recreational area.
What resulted was the English Garden, Munich's largest public park area. On a warm summer day, the place is packed full of people enjoying all sorts of recreational activities.
The park itself is huge. We walked from from the Marienplatz (Munich's city square) and it took around 15 minutes to get to the entrance. Even upon entering the park, it still takes another 15-20 minutes by foot to reach the center of the park, which is where these beer gardens are hiding.
I shouldn't say "hiding." It's hard to miss the beer gardens once you get close. First, there are well-marked signs that point you in the right direction. Second, if it's a weekend, you'll hear the live music and people as you approach.
The beer garden is HUGE!
It can seat 7000 people (!) in the outdoor self-service area and another 500 in the restaurant. The garden is anchored by the Chinese Tower, a five-story wooden pagoda that provides much needed shade on hot days. In fact, the day we went most of the seats under the tower were already taken.
On weekends there's live music. When we went, there was a pretty big band playing traditional German music on the second level of the pagoda. The musicians were even wearing traditional German clothing. The overall atmosphere was festive, with lots of beer (in 1-Liter mugs!), food, and even horses!
You can get all different types of food in the beer garden, like pork knuckles, salads, and Steckerlfisch, roasted fish on a stick.
Oh, and of course, GIANT pretzels.
We had already eaten lunch and had other dinner plans, so we just got a couple pretzels and beers. This particular garden serves Hofbräu and a Maß Hell.
You can see the restaurant behind Bryan in this photo. We didn't visit the restaurant, but it's a much more upscale way to enjoy a meal in the Chinese Garden. You can book an elegant brunch, a fancy dinner, or even a wedding!
The English Garden is a relaxing place to visit during an afternoon if you're looking to enjoy some green space and enjoy some light walking, biking, or just lounging around. The beer garden is pretty fun, and I enjoyed getting some exercise before our next meal. If your time in Munich is short, however, I would probably skip the long walk through the park. Focus on walking around the Marienplatz, Viktualienmarkt, and other areas of Munich that (in my opinion) are more uniquely German than this expansive recreational park. If you do want to see the beer garden around the Chinese Tower (which, admittedly, is quite cool), you can get there faster by bus, subway, or biking! Munich is super bike-friendly, by the way.
But I digress. To finish off this post, here are some fun additional photos of Munich that we took on our long walk back to our hotel from the English Garden.
The Isar River runs right through Munich and is not too far from the Marienplatz.
Our hotel was right across the river, so we got to walk across the river and enjoy views like this every day.
There's even a river "beach" where people hang out.
And then randomly, we stumbled upon the European Patent Office. I work as a patent attorney, so I was quite tickled by this and just had to take a photo!
Anyway, hope you enjoyed our little stroll.
Here's a sneak peek at upcoming posts in the series!
Afternoon Excursion to Weinstephaner Brewery
Visiting The Residenze and Lunch at Spatenhaus
More German Brew Houses: Paulaner + Weisses Bräuhaus
Chinesischer Turm Beer Garden (Chinese Tower Munich)
Englischer Garten 3, 80538