Part of Munich‘s charm and beauty is its skyline and from an observation deck in the Neues Rathaus (the new city hall) you can get an incredible view right in the heart of Marienplatz. The observation deck is not widely advertised, especially in English. Because of this most people aren’t even aware of its existence. From several open-air balconies at the top of the Neues Rathaus you can take in views from the Frauenkirche, Alter Peter and, if the weather is good, the Alps will highlight the background. You could even pretend you’re part of FC Bayern celebrating your victories. It’s a quick visit that offers stunning views and worth the stop on your visit to Munich.
Munich’s central square, Marienplatz, is the heart of the city’s downtown area. And there are several other options for getting a skyline view in the area. Both the Frauenkirche and Alter Peter allow visitors to climb to the top for a view. However, at the time of writing, both churches’ observation decks are closed due to renovations.
To this day, the city doesn’t allow buildings to exceed the height of the iconic Frauenkirche. The city is noticeably void of skyscraping office buildings or apartment blocks. This makes Munich’s skyline especially picturesque and beautiful. It’s simply something special for a city of its size.
How to Visit the Neues Rathaus Observation Deck
As visitors often meander and wander around Marienplatz and into the courtyard of the city hall, they probably don’t even notice an elevator for the observation tower. As you enter the courtyard from Marienplatz, on the left is an elevator that goes up to the observation deck. Aside from a small silver plaque on the wall beside the elevator, there’s really no clear hint or advertisement for the observation deck in Neues Rathaus. It almost feels like you’re in the wrong place. You simply have to be “in the know.”
Once you take the first elevator up, there’s a sign hanging from the ceiling directing you on towards the tower (Turm). It will lead you to a small room where you pay a cashier a few Euros to gain entrance to the tower. After you pay, you’ll enter another elevator which goes direct to the observation area. You’re in the final stretch.
Munich’s Neues Rathaus observation deck is close quarters. It’s not a modern glass enclosure. Instead, it has far more character. Visitors have the opportunity to peak out gaps in the stone, around metal bars and capture a truly panoramic view of this charming and quite beautiful city. On a clear day you can see all the way to the Alps.
On my visit, a local woman who had made the trek up on the bitter cold day practically apologized for the weather obstructing the view of the mountains. But the apology wasn’t necessary. For me, it was stunning.
Tips for Visiting the Neues Rathaus Observation Deck
The observation deck is small. You should expect close quarters with other visitors. Peak travel months in the summer or during Oktoberfest are no doubt more crowded. Be sure to consider weather, too. At that height it’s windy and, in the winter, especially cold.
The Neues Rathaus tower uses two elevators. Neither are particularly large. But you don’t even have to break a sweat to enjoy the view.
Located on Marienplatz, the Neues Rathaus is easily accessible via public transit. The S-Bahn lines S1, S2, S3, S4, S6, S7 and S8 as well as the U-Bahn lines U3 and U6 all stop at Marienplatz Bahnhof, or train station. These are the most direct ways to access the city square but trams and buses also serve the surrounding area. Street parking is available but is usually limited. Additionally, because Marienplatz is part of a pedestrian only zone, you may not be able to park very close.
All photos, as well as all opinions, are my own.