Marienplatz (Mary's Square) is the pivotal main square of Munich, where pedestrians, street performers and tour groups gather to enjoy the atmosphere or see the city’s sights. Considered the heart of Munich, this square often hosts peace protests or rowdy celebrations when the local soccer team is victorious.
The name of Marienplatz derives from Mariensäule (Mary’s Column), a 17th-century pillar monument dedicated to St. Mary erected in the square. This space was the site of the Viktualienmarkt market before it moved to a larger site in 1807.
Over Christmas, stalls and displays pop up around Marienplatz. Browse displays of toasted chestnuts and sugared almonds that produce a delicious aroma, or warm up with a sip of mulled wine. Stalls sell a range of Christmas ornaments and miniature nativity scenes. The origins of this Christmas market date back as far as the 14th century
Admire the façade of the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) as you walk around the plaza. Built between 1867 and 1909, this council building was designed with the decorative and ornate styles of the gothic revival.
Look up to the New Town Hall’s famous carillon, the Glockenspiel, which was constructed in 1908. Find a spot in Marienplatz or take a seat at one of many outdoor café’s around the square to watch the Glockenspiel show, held a few times a day. Enjoy the mechanical performance of puppet dancers who announce the hour at 11 a.m. and noon every day, or at 5 p.m. in the summer months. The 32 copper figures that wiggle and wave represent distinctive times and elements of Munich’s fascinating history. If you don’t see the show, listen out for the 43 bells that ring out loudly over the square.
The Marienplatz is located in central Munich and can be accessed by its adjacent U-Bahn (subway) station. Alternatively, get there on foot from most areas of the city. This meeting spot is a popular starting point for city tours.