First time traveler. Planning to arrive in late-September for Oktoberfest. 35 years old, enjoy getting off the beaten path, taking on local color and tradition. Will do some touristy stuff, but generally avoid it. All suggestions welcome. Thanks!
The more effort you put in the more feedback/help you'll receive. Most people are happy to help you work out the details. However, not many people are willing to plan your complete itinerary.
You might check your local Library or book stores to see if you can find a copy of Rick's Germany Guidebook, as there are lots of suggestions there.
I can certainly make a suggestion on "the usual" sights however it would help to know more about your specific interests, aside from "taking on local color and tradition".
Some sights to consider:
Deutsches Museum (16 kM of exhibits!)
Day trip to Neuschwanstein / Hohenschwangau
Day trip to Dachau
(I used Radius Tours for both of the above day trips - some like to do them on their own - your choice)
I was in Munich last summer -- loved it, could have stayed longer than the 4 days we were there. I especially enjoyed Schloss Nymphenburg (including the carriage museum) & Residenz (especially the Treasury). Fabulous! I have a great interest in Holocaust history, but was disappointed in Dachau, which is rather sterile compared to many other concentration camp sites.
I noticed that you want to get "off the beaten path" in two locations with very substantial tourism: Paris and Munich.
These are large cities. Take a map of either, plot the major tourist sights and go where they are not.
Years ago I did this in Paris all one Sunday. I had met friends who had left the day before me. I just started walking, occasionally referring back to the map. I would stop for a cup of coffee or a bite to eat when my legs got tired. I saw no tourist sights but several neighborhood markets. I still remember it as a bit of magic.
We like the Haidhausen neighborhood and walks along the Isar River in Munich. Folks live and play in these areas. You will have plenty of local company on walks along the Isar. There are plenty of cafes and gasthäuser to stop for a local coffee or beer.
Good luck and regards, Gary
Although I've spent a lot of time in Germany and a lot of that "off the beaten path", Munich, IMO, is not the place to do that. Of the places Ken suggested, I think Deutsches Museum is probably the least touristy. Another place I would suggest would be the Münchner Stadtmuseum, south of Marienplatz. Every time I have been there, they have had interesting exhibits on life in Munich at times past. However, the exhibits are entirely in German.
Which brings me to the other point. About half of all Germans speak English (which is more than other major language groups). However, these people tend to be concentrated in business and tourism. If you really get off the beaten path, where you can absorb the local culture, you will find most people cannot speak English fluently, so if you really want to experience non-touristy Germany, learn some German.
While in Munich we really enjoyed the Englischer Garten. We ate at a beer garten on the lake and walked around. You could also rent boats to go out on the lake. Didn't see too many tourists while there.
We also enjoyed Olympiapark and the BMW Welt