No city break is complete without a good long stroll through the shops. Munich offers absolutely ideal conditions for a great big splurge: haute couture in the Maximilianstrasse, Theatinerstrasse, Residenzstrasse and Brienner Strasse, department and chain stores in the pedestrian precinct, trendy and flamboyant clothes between many galleries in such town districts as the Gärtnerplatz and Glockenbach area, Haidhausen or Schwabing, Bavarian local costumes, handicrafts and souvenirs in specialist shops, delicacies from all over the world at Dallmayr’s or Käfer’s, the leading delicatessens in Europe, or at the Victuals Market in the heart of the city. Another typical feature of Munich is the number of small shops that concentrate on a few articles, for example, umbrellas, felt, gloves, candles or wood carvings, and which are still to be found in the centre of town.
Most shoppers make a beeline for the central pedestrian precinct in the old town centre (Kaufingerstrasse, Neuhauser Strasse, Marienplatz). Here you can explore one big department store after the other, stroll through branches of well-known chains for fashion and shoes and meanwhile discover souvenir shops.
The city’s major sports shops are all located around the Marienplatz.
Dallmayr’s, also well known through the television commercials advertising its coffee, is situated immediately behind the New Town Hall, from where it tempts shoppers to buy its delicacies. It’s worth discovering the adjacent area "Alter Hof" with shops for jewellery, clocks and watches, delicatessen, kitchen utensils, furniture and clothing, a vinotheque and the Infopoint of the Museums and Palaces in Bavaria, which also offers attractive and unusual souvenirs.
The Victuals Market, only a few steps from the Marienplatz, displays its fruit, vegetables, herbs, bread, cheese, wine and many other tasty titbits from all over the world, extending an invitation to enjoy its wares with all the senses. Beer gardens, cafés and flowers in a blaze of colour do their best to beguile the visitor.
Next to the Viktuals Market there is the “Schrannenhalle”. It was built under King Maximilian I and was originally a market hall where grains were sold. In 1932 it burned down but was rebuilt with the original wrought-iron frames and reopened in September 2005.
The streets around the Victuals Market, a few corners further on along the Sendlinger Strasse and the street called the Tal in the direction of the River Isar, are full of a wide range of shops offering antiques, junk and jewellery, fashion, furniture and home accessories, leather goods, cigars and cigarettes, clocks and watches, fancy chocolates and much more besides. It’s worth making a detour to visit the streets and lanes north of the Tal in the direction of the Hofbräuhaus. Souvenir hunters, music lovers and football fans feel very much at home here.
Turning back across the Marienplatz, you come to the high-class shops in the Theatinerstrasse. In delightful passages, arcades and courtyards you will find tasteful boutiques. The latest destination for the lovers of select consumer worlds: the “Fünf Höfe”, five courtyards between Theatinerstrasse and Maffeistrasse, which are also impressive for their prize-winning architecture. Besides fine shops, cafés and offices, here you will also come across the newly-designed premises of the Hypobank Cultural Foundation, an art gallery famous for its spectacular exhibitions.
Munich’s ultra-chic shopping area additionally covers Perusastrasse, Residenzstrasse, Brienner Strasse and Odeonsplatz. You will discover gems in the shop belonging to the Nymphenburg Porcelain factory (Odeonsplatz 1), which has been based in Munich for over 250 years. In the district of purveyors to the court, where not only the Bavarian king was a customer, you can go on a regal shopping expedition – from porcelain, jewellery and select delicacies to high-quality shoes and clothing. Equally exclusive is the Maximilianstrasse, where a number of top couturiers present their creations. Weary shoppers regain their strength in the street cafés while they watch Munich’s kindred spirits strolling past with their colourful shopping bags.
The recently opened “Maximilianshöfe” – Maximilian’s court yards - will also carry you off into the world of international design. You can take a break from shopping in the columned hall of the former “Marstall” – the royal stables, as a new restaurant has been established in the classified historical building.
Outside the old town centre, for example in Schwabing, Haidhausen, around the Gärtnerplatz and in the Glockenbach area, the shops – and the customers – are quite obviously more unconventional. The Gärtnerplatz and the Glockenbach district are also ideal shopping areas for gays and lesbians. Shop ateliers, boutiques and concept stores, with many cafés and bars in between that are open during the day, invite you to go shopping, to look and enjoy yourself.
Bargain-hunters are in their element at flea markets and designer outlets, or they amuse themselves in search of curiosities and crockery, junk and antiques at an old Munich institution, the street market-cum-funfair called the Auer Dult (in May, July/August and October).