Munich is a place where great value is attached to representing traditional culture, and so classical music plays an important role. Bavaria's capital is the home to three important orchestras, lead by prominent conductors: The orchestra of the Bayerische Staatsoper (conductor: Zubin Mehta), the Münchner Philharmoniker (James Levine) located at the Gasteig cultural centre, and the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (Lorin Maazel). As well as staging ambitious concerts, the Nationaltheatre with its cast of world class soloists, the Staatstheatre am Gärtnerplatz and the Prinzregententheatre feature outstanding productions of opera, operetta, musical and ballet.
With a capacity of over 1,000 the Olympia-Halle, along with the slightly smaller Rudi-Sedelmayer-Halle, hosts the big events in pop and rock. Other popular venues include the Colosseum situated at Kunstpark Ost. Friends of jazz shouldn't miss the Unterfahrt, Muffathalle and Wirtshaus zum Isartal jazz clubs.
There is a vast choice in theatre: both sides of Maximilianstraße marking the battleground in the eternal competition for spectators and high quality productions between the Bayerisches Staatsschauspiel (its venues include the Residenztheatre, the Cuvilliéstheatre and the Marstall) and the Kammerspiele. Apart from that, there are more light-hearted theatres such as the Komödie im Bayerischen Hof, small stages like the Metropol-theatre and even smaller ones, such as the theatre am Sozialamt. Contemporary dance and experimental drama can be seen at the Neues theatre. A slightly crazy blend of opera, operetta, musical, ballet, drama and comedy is on offer at the Pasinger Fabrik.
Munich holds a unique position in the history of German political satire. This great tradition is still represented at the Lach- und Schießgesellschaft. The stars of political stand-up (the comedy scene's modern day equivalent to satirical revues) appear at the Lustspielhaus.
Visitors will find an abundance of cinemas spread over all parts of the city. Currently the most modern multiplex is Maxx at Isartor, the most impressive are Filmtheatre Sendlinger Tor and Arri-Kino.
As a consequence of having been the royal residence of the art-loving Bavarian kings, Munich has inherited a rich legacy in the way of art. The Alte Pinakothek
exhibits European paintings and sculpture from the 14th to the 18th Century, while fine arts from the 18th and 19th Century are shown next door at the Neue Pinakothek
. The Pinakothek der Moderne was inaugurated in 2002 after a lengthly seven year construction period. The massive museum is characterized by its concrete rectilinear facade, and features four collections in each of its corners: art, design, architecture, and works on paper. The Staatsgalerie für Moderne Kunst served as a temporary home to the collections that can now be seen at the Pinakothek der Moderne. The Staatsgalerie is part of the Haus der Kunst whose constantly changing temporary exhibitions attract many visitors. The Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus is dedicated to works by the "Blaue Reiter" group, which was founded in Munich by Wassily Kandinsky. In all parts of the city (especially in and around Gärtnerplatz) galleries and art traders offer paintings, graphics and sculpture that cater to all tastes.
The most famous of Munich's museums is the Deutsches Museum situated on an island in the river Isar. Visitors to the museum are taken on a vivid and spectacluar voyage through the history of human technology from its early beginnings into the future. The Museum Mensch und Natur at Nymphenburg Castle is also well worth the visit. The Bayerisches Nationalmuseum documents the culture, art and technology of Bavaria. The Stadtmuseum lies at the cultural heart of Munich. The BMW-Museum, where the history of the car producer is shown, is particularly noteworthy—it also informs the public about issues concerning modern mobility and current-day traffic problems.
In the event that a day in Munich wasn't enough to wear you out completely, Munich also offers a wide range of nightclubs to spend the hours until breakfast. Nachtcafe is the classic late-night retreat, the piano bar at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof
offers the most stylish way to spend the evening.
Since the swinging sixties Schwabing has been Munich's entertainment centre and still today small theatres, cabarets, cinemas, pubs and bars congregate in this area. In the streets around Münchner Freiheit the local youth mix with tourists from all over the world.
Maxvorstadt is the link between Schwabing and the old city. Here is where you find both the Ludwig-Alexander-Universität and the Technische Universität. So there is much student life to be had, with favourable prices at pubs and cinemas away from mainstream.
Isarvorstadt, with the unique atmosphere of Glockenbachviertel, is currently the most serious contender to Schwabig's "entertainment district" throne. With so many galleries and bars to choose from, the pace of life quickens around the Gätnerplatz-Theatre (which boasts a constantly changing repertoire of operas, operettas, musicals and ballet).
Altstadt and Lehel have many examples of historical architecture and are the jewels in Munich's crown. This is where the municipal and state theatres are to be found, most of the big art museums and numerous nightclubs are all within walking distance.