A public plaza in the center of Munich, Marienplatz is full of history—it’s been the city’s main square and central heart of Munich’s Old Town (Altstadt) since 1158. Marienplatz is a popular gathering spot and possibly the busiest location in all of Munich, with crowds of locals and tourists visiting its landmarks, shops, and restaurants on foot from early morning until late at night.
The pedestrian-only Marienplatz is at the center of Munich—both literally and figuratively—and is bordered by a variety of historic structures and shopping markets. In the middle of the square is St. Mary’s Column (Mariensaule), topped by a statue of the Virgin Mary, and a trip up to the top of the New City Hall (Neues Rathaus) tower offers panoramic views of Munich; on clear days, you can see all the way to the Bavarian Alps. Historic city tours often begin at Marienplatz, and most bike tours, walking tours, and city sightseeing tours pass through the square as well.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Head to Marienplatz to watch the famous Rathaus-Glockenspiel’s 43 bells and 32 figures perform their song and dance. Shows are at 11am and 12pm year-round, as well as at 5pm in summer.
- The best views of the Glockenspiel show are from the top floor of the Hugendubel bookstore and the Cafe Glockenspiel.
- While there are some flat cobblestones, Marienplatz is widely wheelchair-accessible.
- For the quintessential Munich experience, be sure to visit a hofbrauhaus (beer garden) close to the square.
How to Get There
Marienplatz is located in the heart of Munich’s Old Town. All of Munich’s major landmarks are easily accessible from the centrally located Marienplatz subway station.
When to Get There
Marienplatz is a public square, with varied opening times for the different businesses located there. During the holiday season, one of Munich’s most celebrated Christmas markets is held on the plaza. In summer, the square hosts viktualienmarkt (farmers markets) and musical buskers.
Neues Rathaus and the Glockenspiel
At the top of the Neues Rathaus’ tower is the famous Glockenspiel clock. Every day it chimes at 11am and noon, as well as 5pm in summer. The Glockenspiel portrays two stories from the 16th century, with the top half of the clock acting out the marriage of the local duke (Wilhelm V) to Renata of Lorraine and the bottom half telling the story of the Schafflertanz, or Coopers’ Dance. Legend says that Munich’s coopers danced through the streets during the plague of 1517 to bring vitality to the city.