The capital of Bavaria, Munich is framed by snow-capped peaks of the Alps. It’s known for its many museums, distinctive architecture, and of course, its endless varieties of beer. Germans say Munich has the country's best quality of life, making it the city where they'd live if they could. Most gay people here would agree. They greet newcomers with a smile and a hearty Grüss Gott.
The Isar River is among Munich's greatest charms. Allowed to run naturally, its tributaries create little islands edged with sand or pebble beaches. All kinds of people come out to the water on warm summer days: families with children, tattooed teens, and gay couples. Nude sunbathers turn golden brown, kids and dogs frolic, and lovers — straight or gay — get wrapped up in their own private worlds.
Englischer Garten, bigger than New York's Central Park, is another sprawling park in the middle of the city. Modern visitors flock to the Greek temple by Leo von Klenze (a distinguished local architect), the Chinese tower with its adjacent beer garden, and the Japanese teahouse and garden on its own small island.
Munich's single biggest party is the annual Oktoberfest, held each September and October. A subway ride to Theresienwiese or Goetheplatz U-Bahn stations will get you to the festival's giant tents with costume parades and carnival rides. There are many gay events, including Gay Sunday in the Bräurosl beer tent, and OktoBEARfest, a party for Munich’s bear community - both in September.
Munich's Christopher Street Day, held in mid-July, includes a parade through the gay neighborhood and a street festival at Marienplatz. The annual celebration has party after party, including a blowout at the historic city hall. In August, the Hans-Sachs Schwules Strassenfest is an annual community street festival specific to this very gay area.
Munich Franz Josef Strauss Airport about 18 miles northeast of the city, Germany's second largest by passenger count, is one of Europe's best. Most people call it simply "Munich Airport." A shopping, business and recreation area that connects the two terminals is full of people from around the world as flights here originate from most every corner of the globe.
The S-Bahn S1 and S8 trains will get you to both the Hauptbahnhof or Ostbahnhof central rail stations in 33-53 minutes, depending on which train you take. Each takes a different route, so for points in-between consult their website.
There's also bus service to various destinations. The main information desk is staffed 24-hours at Central Area level 3. Information desks are also located in each terminal building, from at least 5:30am to 10pm.
Munich’s historic center, largely closed to traffic, is very walkable. It’s great for bikers because most major streets have designated lanes. There’s a network of buses, trams, and U-Bahn and S-Bahn trains at your disposal. Trams offer late-night service, making the perfect for getting home after a night on the town. Inexpensive one- and three-day visitor passes are available at the stations and at many tram stops. See MVV for public tranportation info in five languages.
To get around in the principal gay area, around Müllerstrasse and Hans-Sachs Strasse, you needn't stray far from stops on tram routes 17 and 18, or the vicinity of the Sendlinger Tor U-Bahn station.
Dozens of gay bars, clubs, restaurants, bathhouses, hotels, and shops are located in the areas between Karlspatz /Stachus, past Sendlinger Tor, down Müllerstrasse and along streets that intersect it, such as Hans-Sachs Strasse. Most locals are either somewhat or completely competent in English, but don't be shy in trying some German, people are happy to help.
Currency and Money
Germany is part of the Euro Zone, so the euro is the accepted currency. There are plenty of ATMs in the downtown area.
The gay cruising trails along the Isar River aren't hard to spot. They’re among the trees of the larger island just beyond the footbridge. The Schönfeldwiese ("Beautiful Meadows") area of Englischer Garten is famous for its nude sunbathers, and it can be quite cruisy, too.
Media and resources
The local gay glossy magazine for Bavaria is Leo, with an informative but German-language website. A nationwide online source for gay listings and club events, RomeoLiebtJuliet.de has extensive coverage of Munich.
To get locally oriented, try the GLBT center, Sub (Müllerstrasse 43), open daily from 7 p.m. This all-volunteer operation has flyers, maps, free guidebooks, and friendly advice. Sub also has a large library (much of it in English).
Muenchen.de has visitor information, both general, and of specifically gay interest.
For map locations and website links to the businesses below, and more, see our gay Munich listings pages.
Deutsche Eiche (Reichenbachstrasse 13; 49-89-231-1660), 30 modern, comfortable rooms and five-star suite near gay district, Viktualienmark, beer gardens and Marienplatz; reasonable rates, delicious breakfast, indoor/out restaurant seating, traditional Bavarian food, huge gay basement sauna. Once a hangout of Werner Fassbinder and other Munich glitterati, the Eiche ("Oak") has friendly, helpful, knowledgeable staff; maps, guides, and gay mags.
Nearby gay-friendly hotels:
Arthotel Munich (Paul-Heyse-Straße 10; 49 89-592-122), modern rooms at the center; cable TV, WLAN, fitness club, bar, parking.
H'Otello Advokat (Baaderstraße 1; 49 89-458-310), casually upscale business hotel near Isartor; closed for renovations during most of 2014. See their downtown H’Otello F’22, Schwabing West (Fallmerayerstrasse 22; 49 89-4583-1200) or H’Otello H’09 (Hohenzollernstraße 9) hotels in the meantime.
The Hotel Olympic (Hans Sachs Strasse 4; 49 89-231-890), individually designed ensuite rooms next to Cafe Nil; WiFi, TV.
The Carat (Lindwurmstrasse 13; 49-89-230-380), close by Sendlinger Tor; 70 rooms, inner courtyard terrace, breakfast buffets, WiFi, daily papers in 5 languages, daily English papers, bar, terrace, WiFi. Their Hotelmüller München (Fliegenstraße 4; 49 89-232-3860) has 44 more rooms nearby.
Other convenient hotels:
Seibel's Park-Hotel (Maria-Eich-Straße 32; 49 89-829-9520), 40 rooms by Munich-Pasing Park, guest laundry, parking, beer garden, restaurant, sauna, WiFi, buffet breakfasts.
The Hotel Seibel (Theresienhoehe 9; 49-89-540-1420), 50 affordable rooms near the Oktoberfest site, Oktoberfestwiese views, breakfast buffets.
Pension Seibel (Reichenbachstrasse 8; 49-89-231-9180), inexpensive, central ensuite rooms near the Viktualienmarkt and Marienplatz; guest laundry, WiFi.
The Hotel Viktualienmarkt (Utzschneiderstrasse 14; 49-89-2311-0955), 26 bright, comfortable and inexpensive rooms, breakfast buffet; general-clientele hotel near the Deutsche Eiche.
Some bars are effectively men-only zones, including, but not limited to those into leather, fetish, uniforms, and bears. Others are quite mixed, gay/staight and men/women. Smoking is restricted at all establishments that serve food.
Cafes & pubs
Café Glück (Palmstraße 4), bar and cafe, mainly lesbian/gay crowd, breakfast, salads, light fare, veggie options, home-style cakes and pastries.
Cafe Nil (Hans-Sachs-Str. 2), gay favorite lounge, red and sand decor, all ages and types; host and crew pamper, entertain, and tempt with homemake goodies.
Cafe Rendez-Vous (Müllerstrasse 24), unassuming sidewalk bar and cafe, great spot to watch comings and goings of Müllerstrasse.
Cafe Rubin (Thalkirchner Str. 10) coffeehouse, bistro food, baked goodies, full bar, cozey winter lounge, big summer terrace popular afternoons and evenings, crowd of all kinds and many ages.
Jennifer Parks (Holzstrasse 14), mixed crowd Thursday/Friday lounge, men and women, DJs, Saturday dancing.
Kr@ftAkt (Thalkirchner Strasse 4), cool and casual, youth-favored, straight-friendly central bar, restaurant and cafe; omelets and Mediterranean inspired fare, reasonable prices, internet access for customers.
Moro (Müllerstrasse 30) restaurant and bar, eclectic menu, local favorites such as schweinebraten, pastas, salads, Thai and other international fare, daily specials, sidewalk tables, Sunday brunch.
Zur Feuerwache (Blumenstrasse 21a) around for 26 years, at heart of gay scene, cosy, friendly neighborhood bar, good prices. Open until 3am weekends, re-opens 6am for after dance club nightcap, or breakfast.
For other restaurant options, plus locations and website links for businesses on this page, see our maps & listings tab.
Alexander's (Utzschneiderstrasse 4), one of oldest in Munich gay scene, relaxed tolerant vibe, full bar, pizza, mostly older men, young guys looking on -- some for pay.
Bar Jeans (Blumenstraße 15), Levi, country and western men's neighborhood bar, darts, porn videos.
Bau (Müllerstrasse 41), where the tap never runs dry and staff make you feel like family. Parties, blockbuster movies, drink specials, levi-leather, rubber, uniform, fetish and foam parties. Locals and visitors cavort in downstairs dark bar.
Camp (Reisingerstr. 15), Levi-leather, men-only cruise bar, large dark room, porn videos.
Edelheiss Cafe (Pestalozzistrasse 6), bears, beards, Levi-leather bar men's neigborhood bar with rustic ambience, outdoor tables.
Ochsengarten (Muhlerstrasse 47) men's fetish bar: spanking, bondage, naked, leather, sneaker, rubber, uniform and dance nights. Many from the old Teddy Bear crowd moved here.
Underground (Machtlfinger Straße 29), men's weekend leather/fetish/naked parties for members only - register online; Bavarian Mr. Leather events.
Dance Clubs and Parties
8 Below (Schützenstrasse 8), live bands concert venue, special theme dance party nights include gay/lesbian and lesbian-only events; young crowd.
Cafe am Hochhaus (Blumenstrasse 29) - CLOSED November 2014 - small, trendy mixed dance club, young and alternative gay-friendly crowd, nightly events, Queer Sundays.
Garry Klein at Harry Klein ( Sonnenstrasse 8), top techno dance club, Wednesday night gay glam/trash party, singers, erotic male dancers, fetish performers.
NY.Club (Sonnenstrasse 25), the long-poplular gay dance club. High-tech dance floor, stylish lounge area, dark room cruising. Open Fridays and Saturdays 11pm until whenever.
Prosecco (Theklastrasse 1), cozy neighborhood bar, small dance corner, Schlager (German Pop) and dance music, jam-packed on weekends, mixed crowd, mostly guys, all ages.
Largest, busiest Munich tubs, Deutsche Eiche (Reichenbachstrasse 13), complex on three levels, has large, clean whirlpool, maze-like layout, many cruisy areas; steam and sauna, cabins, TV, video screening lounges, cafe and bar, private therapeutic massage from talented pros.
M-54 Sauna Club (Müllerstrasse 54) - CLOSED November 2014 - young energetic clientele; dry, steam saunas; solarium; massage services; cabins; darkroom, video lounges, cafe/bar and internet.
Massage Munich (Tal 3, 4th floor), foot reflexology, traditional Thai massage, pulsation and spinal coumn therapy, Nuru Body sensual massage; central studio, or at hotel, by appointment.
Schwabinger Men-Sauna (Düsseldorfer Str. 7), a bit out from the center, long-time locals' social hangout, Finnish sauna, steam, massage, darkroom playspace, cabins, TV lounge and snacks.
Shopping and more
Bruno's (Thalkirchner Strasse 4), erotic DVDs for sale or rent, art-photo mags and books, tools and toys. One of a national chain of stores from folks at Bruno Gmünder, publisher of Spartacus Guide.
Buddy (Rumfordstrasse 11a), gay sex-shop near the Viktualienmarkt; two "kino" video arcades; leather, latex, magazines, toys, and other gizmos for sale; sex parties.
Cut Glass Piercing (Müllerstrasse 54), some of the best perforators in Bavaria, plus Halloween Gore Store with novelties, tricks, and treats.
Diburnium (Thalkirchner Strasse 5), fetish and SM emporium: leather, rubber, and army clothing for sale.
Duplexx (Theresienstrasse 130), cruise space, sex parties, private cabins, glory holes; also DVD video sales and rentals plus toys.
The Gay bookshop, Max & Milian CLOSED. The website they shared with Eisenberz of Berlin, and Mannerschwarm of Hamburg, still sells books online at Gaybooks.de.
Savage Leather (Reisingerstrasse 5), leather clothing, gear, fetish and fantasy play items, jewelry, accessories.
Seba’s (Angertorstrasse 7), men's designer underwear, swimwear, shirts, pants, accessories.
Spexter (Müllerstrasse 54), made-to-order leather, rubber, uniforms, fetish and bondage wear, plus clothing for skinheads; jewelry, magazines, multi-region DVD sales - online store too.
Out of town
An hour south of Munich, in Bavarian Alpine countryside, the secluded gay-owned country inn and restaurant Moosbeck Alm (Moos 38, Rottenbuch) offers affordable luxury, large, modern sauna, outdoor heated pool and hearty Bavarian meals. With a car, visit nearby Oberammergau and Garmisch. No car? -take the train. Staff will pick you up at the station. Tour by bicycle for peaceful, relaxing time-out. Wi-Fi access in the day-room.
A bit north of Munich, in Pleinfeld Bavaria, Riedel's (Nürmberger Strasse 3) is a short walk from Brambach Lake. Their shady beer garden by a brook is perfect for a break in your travels. Homemade ice cream is a specialty of the host. On cool or wet days it's warm and friendly inside. Summer swimming and bicycling and winter sledding make this a year-round attraction.