Munich at a Glance
Living in Munich
- Munich has a lot to offer in terms of free-time activities, whether you are sporty or prefer to see cultural sites.
- There are many hospitals and doctors’ surgeries dotted across the city; it will be easy to find one who speaks English, or possibly even your own language.
- The Bavarian education system enjoys a very good reputation in Germany, but there are also many international schools in the state’s capital.
- Whether you live in the city or commute, you can be sure to rely on a strong transportation network.
Most residents living in Munich appreciate the city’s extraordinary quality of life. In the Mercer Quality of Living Survey 2016, Munich ranked as the fourth most attractive expatriate hotspot around the globe for the fourth year in a row. Only Vienna and Zurich are other German-speaking cities that can pride themselves on better results.
In terms of safety in Munich, the highest single risk factor is petty crime, such as pickpocketing. Although, you will be pleased to learn that pickpocketing is much less common in Munich than other large European cities such as Paris and Barcelona. Another minor risk is violent crime under the influence, i.e. drunken assaults, often in the bar and club scenes or during beer festivals. However, this should not deter you from paying a visit to the world-famous Oktoberfest or to explore Munich’s nightlife. Living in Munich, most party-goers enjoy their beer or cocktail in peace and quiet.
Many Choices for Theater and Music Buffs
Don’t assume that the Oktoberfest is the be-all and end-all of leisure activities, though! Life in Munich has far more to offer. For instance, the city has many theaters and concert venues. While most performances at the Residenztheater, the Kammerspiele, or the Volkstheater are in German, there are some foreign-language drama groups, often aimed at expats. Also, the Cinema — Munich’s most popular English movie theater — offers live streams on special occasions from venues such as the National Theatre in London and the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
Of course, music transcends all languages and nationalities. There should be something to cater to the musical taste of everyone living in Munich. At the Opera House you can enjoy high-brow works by classical composers. Lovers of musicals and operetta might prefer the Gärtnerplatztheater or the Deutsches Theater. Also, there’s always a pop or rock concert going on somewhere. International or national stars like Linkin Park and Sportfreunde Stiller fill the large venue at Olympiahalle while more intimate performances can be enjoyed at Zenith or Muffathalle.
An International Cinema Scene
Life in Munich does not necessarily come with a language barrier for cinema lovers. There’s one cinema — aptly named Cinema Munich — that shows mostly Hollywood films in the original version. Every Thursday, most German newspapers include an additional cinema feature on the event calendar for the upcoming week, including reviews of the newest films. Watch out for OV (original version) and OmU (original version with German subtitles).
Of the dozens of cinemas in Munich, most of them concentrate on US American and European productions. Fans of art house movies from other countries needn’t despair, though. Check out the Munich Film Museum or attend a premiere at the Munich Film Festival (an annual event in late June / early July). If you’re looking for a bit of fun, the Museum Lichtspiele is an insider tip for everybody living in Munich. This cinema’s midnight screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a cult event running on a weekly basis since 24 June 1977!
Movie-lovers might also be interested in the various film festivals that can be found in Germany. For more information on these, as well as a brief history of the local cinema and more, please take a look at our in-depth article on the German Cinema.
Endless Options in the Countryside
Outdoorsy expats living in Munich can find a very useful database for sports enthusiasts on the official city homepage. It is only available in German, but you need just a smattering of the language to use the feature:
- Type in the German word for the sport you’re interested in (e.g. Fußball for football).
- Select the name of the neighborhood where you want to exercise (e.g. Au-Haidhausen).
- Decide whether you prefer a club (Verein), a commercial venue (kommerziell), a program organized by the city of Munich (München), or a club or commercial venue outside of the city (Umland Verein or Umland kommerziell).
Once you click on Angebote suchen (search for offers), you’ll be provided with the contact details of available venues for your favorite sport.
Alternatively, you can join one of the many gyms addressing the needs of fitness fanatics. Another advantage of life in Munich is its location. The Alps are only a daytrip away. When the gym seems a little claustrophobic, grab a pair of sturdy hiking boots and hop on the next train to Garmisch or Berchtesgarden. For example, the sight of the Eibsee — a dark-blue mountain lake — in the afternoon sun may be among your most treasured memories of living in Munich.
So as you can see, Munich in particular and Germany in general have a lot to offer. Check out our section on Culture, Shopping, and Recreation in Germany to learn what else you can do and discover.
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