Hidden behind tall walls and the formal entrance to an art gallery is Munich’s secret garden. Munich is a super expensive city to visit. Hotels are notoriously costly, museums charge, and restaurants hike up prices. Finding free things to do isn’t tricky exactly, but you do have to do your homework.
I’m here to let you in on the secret garden of Munich: it’s behind the art gallery.
The Lenbachhaus Art Gallery is usually not free to visit. Entry is 5-10 Euros but you can get in for free on the first Thursday evening of the month. However, the gardens behind the Lenbachhaus are free to visit – always. The trick: There is no sign to that effect that I could see.
Secret Garden Location
The Lenbachhaus Art Gallery is at Luisenstraße 33, 80333 in Munich. It’s quite near to the Glyptothek Greek and Roman museum which opens onto a large green space.
Munich is very walkable. From the central train station (hauptbahnhof) it’s only a couple of blocks to the Lenbachhaus.
Getting into the Lenbachhaus Garden
THere was no sign that I could see indicating you could get into the garden. It’s gated, so you cannot just walk in from outside. Go through the main entrance to the Lenbachhaus Museum, and ask at the desk if you can visit the garden. Everyone seems to speak at least some English so it’s no problem. They will point you through to the double doors which lead outside.
Why is it so secretive?
I imagine that the Germans may wish to keep this little secret for themselves. When I arrived, there were only about four people in the garden, all enjoying a quiet moment. They weren’t tourists. Two women were sitting – separately – on lawn chairs, reading. In another corner, a father and son were watching birds. It was a beautiful, hot summer day but it didn’t feel at all like the masses of tourists had descended on this special place yet. If I were German, I think I would want to keep it that way.
Lenbachhaus Art Gallery
The inside of the gallery, just as I entered to head to the garden, was spectacular, with a huge glass sculpture in the entry. While the garden is on the rear side of an historic looking building, the art gallery entrance is part of the modern side- as is the little cafe with a nice patio overlooking the street. If I had been in Munich on a Thursday evening, I would happily have gone to free night at the gallery.
Where should I stay in Munich?
Again, Munich is expensive. I had a really hard time finding anywhere that was reasonable – including hostels and AirBnBs. I ended up staying at the Aloft, right across the street from the central train station and just blocks from Munich’s secret garden. The Aloft hotels are a member of the Marriott hotel family. It was quite nice, and very convenient. Even though I paid more than I would have liked, because I am a Marriott Bonvoy member, my spending at a Marriott family hotel goes straight back into points that I can use later. So it wasn’t a total loss.
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