Our family will be staying in Austria near the border of Germany (Leutasch, near Seefeld, Austria) for 5 nights as a part of a larger trip in Europe. We have two young daughters who will be 4 and 7. One of the day trips we are considering is Munich. It will be under two hours by train to get to Munich. I am thinking a bike tour with Mike's Bike Tours would be a fun way to introduce us to the city, but we are open to other ideas. Considering the age of our children, what are the top one or two sights/activities you would recommend to give us a taste of the city. Thank you!
Wander around the center - Marienplatz and Odeonsplatz . With two little ones , some time at the Deutsches Museum and something to eat at the Viktualien Markt would fill the bill
Something that might be fun for them to watch are the surfers on the Eisbach River at the edge of the English Garden. There is a place where water rushes over some structures under the water and creates a surfable wave. There are always quite a few of them there taking turns riding the wave and then being swept downriver! You can stand on the small bridge directly above the surfers or on the bank of the river and watch as long as you like. Not an incredibly "German" activity but it might be a nice diversion for the kids for a little while especially if the weather is nice.
I'm not sure if the Vitulienmarkt is an ideal place for young children. There's nothing inappropriate for them there, but on a crowded day, you may have trouble keeping track of them.
I might be remembering this wrong, but I'm pretty sure the beer garden at the north end of the Engkischergarten has a playground.
Munich has a fine zoo that never seems particularly crowded. Like all German zoos, entrance costs considerably less than you would pay for a comparable experience in North America.
For tours of the city:
- Hop on Hop off tour bus would be a good way to see a lot (my brother's kids enjoyed this when they visited us in Munich).
- There is also an English language sightseeing tram on Saturdays at 2pm.
- Last, an "on the cheap" city tour would be to take the number 19 tram from Hauptbahnhof to Ostbahnhof.
For the Deutsches Museum, your best bet is to visit the Kinder Reich in the basement. Lost of hands on activities for your children.
For the bike tour, don't you think your kids would slow down the group? Have they biked on busy city streets before? Might be a bit stressful/dangerous.
I'd like to comment on the Leutasch Seefeld area. Great for small kids. Do the Leutasch Gorge as well as the swimming complex in Seefeld.
Thank you all for your many tips! Knowing where great parks/playground are located is very helpful. The Kinder Reich in the Deutsches may be a great choice for us. We will have to think about the bike tour vs some of your other suggestions. Our kids love to bike, but I agree with Emily and would be hesitant to let them bike in the city. This company Mike's Bike Tours seems to encourage kids, and they have kid's bike seats and tag-a-long bikes so that kids can be a part of it without having to be on their own bike (or slow down the group). If not the bikes, then perhaps the Hop on Hop off bus tour.
I will definitely do the Leutasch Gorge and the swimming complex. We have not found a lot of information about the Leutasch area, but we love to hike and explore so we are excited to stay in this region. If you have any other recommendations for this area, we would love them!
Adding to Tom's suggestion of the zoo, it has one of the best playgrounds in the city.
I have a 5 year old and she loves the Munich Zoo, so do I. Easy to get to and next to the river. Lots of great animals and includes quite a few that our Atlanta Zoo does not have.
The Viktualienmarkt can be very busy but as long as you stay together, hold hands, etc it's worth it in my opinion. Especially in letting the girls choose maybe a favorite fruit or other treat. We love going there and having lunch, and walking around the market is a favorite of mine. I dream of all the things I could cook if we had a flat while we are there. My daughter loves the fruit (awesome strawberries) and the ice cream we get.
The English Garden would be another great place to go, espeically if you can find a ball or something that the girls could run around and play with. We have not seen the surfers in the river there yet but I understand it is quite a great thing to watch. There is a playground there at the beer garden by the Chinese Pagoda. The food at the beer garden was also great when we ate there a few years ago. Just one word of caution though, if you are there during the summer be prepared for possibly seeing people sunbathing nude. I remember my husband and I seeing a few when we were there one August, including a man practicing his tight rope walking while nude :)
My daughter also loved riding the trains, walking through the toy department at the Galleria department store and listening/watching the Glockenspiel. If I remember right there is also a toy store there off of Marienplatz that your girls might like.