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…”  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.

Although this museum is definitely quirky, it’s also quite blah. I was in and out in 30 minutes. If you live in Munich and want to do something different it’s fine to visit, but if you’re only in a Munich for a couple of days, I’d give it a miss.

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 favourite 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.  It’s to Germans what Universal Studios is to Americans.  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! I enjoyed my visit but not as much as the German friend who I went with did since they were more familar with the movies and TV shows than I was. 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.   I found this shocking since  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 was on when I visited that really held my attention.  Note: The exhibitions change on a regular basis.

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!

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.

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About Author

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Laurel
Laurel Robbins is the founder of Monkeys and Mountains Adventure Travel. She's passionate about getting outdoors as often as possible and helping travellers do the same on their vacation in a sustainable way. She's Canadian and grew up in the Canadian Rockies but now lives in Munich, Germany. You can find her skiing or hiking in the mountains most weekends, hanging out with her cat or with her nose in a good book.

Comments

October 18, 2012
The potato museum sounds like a lot of fun! I look forward to seeing what sort of potato art they have come up with.
October 19, 2012
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.
October 22, 2012
@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.
October 19, 2012
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.
October 22, 2012
@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.
October 20, 2012
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.
October 22, 2012
@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.
October 20, 2012
Thanks for these tips. Have you already visited the toy museum located inside the tower of the former town hall?
October 22, 2012
@Travelwriticus. The Toy Museum is still on my list, but will get to it sometime this winter. Did you like it?
October 29, 2012
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!
November 6, 2012
Potato museum?!!! Awesome. Kartoffel is one of my favorite German words :)
November 9, 2012
@Adam - I visited it after I wrote this post and it was underwhelming unfortunately, but admission is free.

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