Offbeat Museums in Munich

There are over 40 museums in Munich.  I’ve been to a few of the big ones like the Deutsches Museum, one of Europe’s leading science and technology museums and the Pinakothek der Moderne, a modern art gallery

They are no doubt impressive, but they just don’t do it for me.  I leave feeling underwhelmed and like I should have enjoyed it more than I did. This is not the museum’s fault, it’s just that I much prefer quirkier offbeat museums like the World’s Largest Pig Museum in Stuttgart or the Bread Museum in Ulm or the German Emigration Center in Bremerhaven (my favorite museum that I’ve visited in Germany – so far).  Fortunately there are no shortage of quirky and offbeat museums in Munich.

Das Kartoffelmuseum (The Potato Museum) in Munich

With a description like “The Potato Museum is the world’s only museum devoted exclusively to the potato in art…” how can I NOT visit the Potato Museum.  Admittedly I haven’t been yet, but I’m going on the weekend. There are eight themed rooms ranging from history, to market scenes, to the most intriguing sounding multi-talented potato room.   Entrance is free.  The Potato Museum is only open on Fridays from 9:00 – 6:00 pm and Saturdays from 11:00 – 5:00 pm.  For further info (in German only) see Das Kartoffelmuseum.

Bier and Oktoberfest Museum in Munich

Bier steins collection at the Bier and Oktoberfest Museum in Munich, Bavaria, Germany

Beer steins on display at the Bier and Oktoberfest Museum.

Everything you realize that you didn’t know about Oktoberfest.  The Bier and Oktoberfest Museum was the first museum I visited when I moved to Munich.  It’s housed in the oldest residential house in Munich dating back to 1327.  It has rickety steep stairs, small cozy rooms and ceilings with dangerously low wooden beams.  All of the signs are in German, so visitors who don’t understand German may not get a lot out of it. But it is fun to look at the collections and walk through the house – the house itself was my favorite part.  And a beer is included with your entrance ticket.  The Bier and Oktoberfest Museum is open Tues – Sat from 1:00 to 6:00 pm and closed on holidays.  Visit the Bier and Oktoberfest Museum website for more info.

Bavaria Film Studios (Bavaria Filmstadt) in Munich

Bavaria Film Studios in Munich, Bavaria, Germany

Photo courtesy of Bavaria Film Studios in Munich

While not technically a museum, Bavaria Film Studios does provide insights into German movie culture.  Its to Germans what Universal Studios is to Americans.  I haven’t been yet but when I do go will definitely go on the tour to get the insights.  The English language tour, complete with a 4D motion simulator cinema is at 1:00 pm.  Many of the movies might not be familiar to English speakers with the exception of the NeverEnding Story, for which there’s even a ride.  That for me is reason enough to go! See Bavaria Film Studios‘ website for further info.

Alpine Museum (Alpines Museum) in Munich

Alpine Museum in Munich, Bavaria, Germany

Photo courtesy of the Alpine Museum in Munich

As an avid hiker I was eager to check out the Alpine Museum and did so on a Sunday when it was pouring rain – in other words when I wasn’t hiking. The most fascinating (and disturbing) part of the museum to me was learning about the Alpine Club’s ties with  the Nazis.  It was the first large sports club to exclude Jews in the 1930s and trained soldiers from 1933-1945.  My German husband, J.P. wasn’t aware of this either, but wasn’t surprised.  I, on the other hand was shocked.  I’ve always considered hiking and mountaineering to be non-political  – how wrong I was.  The museum itself was interesting (if you’re into hiking/mountaineering), but it was the Berg Heil! Alpenverein und Bergsteigen 1918-1945 ( Berg Heil! Alpine Club and Climbing 1918-1945) Exhibition that is on until June 24, 2012  that really held my attention.  Most of the signs are in English so non-German visitors will also benefit.  The Alpine Museum is open Tue-Fri from 1:00-6:00 pm, Sat & Sun from 11:00-6:00 pm and closed on holidays.  See the Alpines Museum website for further info (in German only)

Although I’m not a museum person per-see  I’m open to your recommendations for museums in Munich that you’ve enjoyed and will check them out…on a rainy day of course!

Check out these posts about museums in other parts of Germany from the Blogger Stammtisch:

Be sure to check out my Munich City Guide for how to make the most of your precious travel time.

See more places to visit in Germany.

Laurel Robbins is the founder of Monkeys and Mountains, an adventure travel blog and company that helps people plan their hiking, cycling and wildlife vacations in a sustainable way. Although Canadian, she lives in Germany. You can find her in the mountains on most weekends.



  1. Jennifer October 18, 2012 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    The potato museum sounds like a lot of fun! I look forward to seeing what sort of potato art they have come up with.

  2. Mary @ The World Is A Book October 19, 2012 at 7:17 am - Reply

    What a great find of offbeat museums! I love visiting these unique places too. I absolutely adored Neverending Story when I was a child so a visit to the Bavaria Film Studios sounds exciting and the ride sounds interesting. The potato museum will have to be on my Munich itinerary whenever we go.

    • Laurel October 22, 2012 at 10:42 am - Reply

      @Mary – I loved the NeverEnding Story as well, but need a refresher since I haven’t seen it in years. I’ve seen been to the Potato Museum and it was OK, but not as quirky as I was hoping for.

  3. Zhu October 19, 2012 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    My top pick would be the film studio! Quite a lot of German-produced TV series are popular in France actually. Well, they mostly target an older audience but still I’d be curious.

    • Laurel October 22, 2012 at 10:39 am - Reply

      @Zhu – Really? I didn’t know that German film was popular in France. I really want to get to Bavaria Film Studios as well. It would also be a good intro to German film, a lot of it which I’m not familiar with.

  4. Leigh October 20, 2012 at 3:02 am - Reply

    My husband refuses to eat any more potatoes as he says his mother made him eat at least a ton growing up. I still think he’d enjoy this museum. And very interesting info that came out of your visit to the Alpine Museum. I like an offbeat museum too but I seem to remember a great art gallery that I visited in Munich a long time ago.

    • Laurel October 22, 2012 at 10:37 am - Reply

      @Leigh – I just visited it and it was OK, but not as quirky as I had hoped it would be. Regarding the Art Gallery, you’re probably refering to the Pinakothek. There are 3 of them (Old, New and Modern) and are very famous in Munich. I’ve only visited the modern one and discovered that I’m not a fan of modern art.

  5. Travelwriticus October 20, 2012 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    Thanks for these tips. Have you already visited the toy museum located inside the tower of the former town hall?

    • Laurel October 22, 2012 at 10:34 am - Reply

      @Travelwriticus. The Toy Museum is still on my list, but will get to it sometime this winter. Did you like it?

  6. InsideJourneys October 29, 2012 at 12:58 am - Reply

    I love visiting museums, especially on rainy days. I never would have thought there’d be a potato museum though. That alone would make me interested in visiting. Cool!

  7. Adam November 6, 2012 at 11:47 pm - Reply

    Potato museum?!!! Awesome.

    Kartoffel is one of my favorite German words 🙂

    • Laurel November 9, 2012 at 7:02 pm - Reply

      @Adam – I visited it after I wrote this post and it was underwhelming unfortunately, but admission is free.

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