Munich’s Gay-Friendly Hotels
Munich has been a global center of culture, art, and design for centuries, and it is one of the wealthiest cities in Europe. It goes without saying, then, that there are some truly fabulous hotels to choose from.
Munich’s gay bars are concentrated in the Glockenbachviertel (GBV) neighborhood, while the gay clubs tend to sit a little north surrounding the Central Station. All of the recommended hotels sit either close to GBV or to the station, or somewhere in between.
These are always a safe bet, but expect them to fill up early, especially during Oktoberfest.
Gay Events in Munich
Munich may not have the jam-packed calendar of annual gay events to be found in cities like Berlin and Cologne, but there are a few festivals that are well worth checking out for the full gay Bavarian experience. In particular, try to be in town for Munich Pride or for the city’s legendary Oktoberfest – which has its own gay celebrations.
Munich Pride / Christopher Street Day
Munich Pride, also known as Christopher Street Day (CSD) Munich, usually takes place over a week in July. It culminates in a street party in Marienplatz before moving to the gothic city hall building for an unforgettable gay party. It has a strong celebratory atmosphere, but without forgetting the political and activist roots of pride: the local LGBT political party is often involved, and there are usually protests, talks, and other activist events going on.
This is the biggest gay celebration in Bavaria, so we do recommend planning your trip to Munich around CSD. The city doesn’t fill up for this event like it does for Oktoberfest, but you are still better off booking early, especially if you are planning on staying around the Glockenbachviertel gay area.
Oktoberfest celebrations can now be found essentially anywhere in the world, but this is the real deal. Munich Oktoberfest takes place in late September and early October every year, and is an important part of Bavarian culture and tradition. It is most famous for the astronomical quantities of Bavarian beer that are consumed over the festival’s 17 days, usually specially brewed Oktoberfest editions of famous local beers.
Gays are very welcome to join in the traditional celebrations, but there is also a special LGBT event for those who want the Oktoberfest experience but with more pop, drag, and fetishwear thrown in. The Rosa Wiesn-Oktoberfest (“Pink Meadow Oktoberfest”) takes place on the first Sunday of the festival and gathers a huge queer crowd. Expect lots of drinking and an “anything goes” vibe.
Oktoberfest is Munich’s most popular attraction, so hotel prices around the festival skyrocket, and rooms are booked up very quickly. Book as early as 10 months to a year in advance to avoid disappointment.
When you conjure up an image of a typical German scene with men and women wearing lederhosen, holding large steins filled with local beer, and enjoying sausages and potatoes, it is likely that you are envisioning Munich. As the capital of Bavaria, Munich boasts a rich history and heritage, which includes our stereotypes of beer and lederhosen, as well as our perception of Germany as a fairy tale land. Neuschwanstein Castle, located a short drive from Munich, is believed to have inspired Disney’s Cinderella castle, which is featured on its iconic logo. However, Munich is much more than a clichéd stereotype. It is a first-rate destination for any type of traveler, offering world-class museums, cutting-edge galleries, a lively nightlife, and delightful outdoor city life. Although the gay scene in Munich is not as extensive as in other German cities, it is still vibrant and diverse enough to provide entertainment. The charming neighborhood of Glockenbachviertel serves as the gayborhood in Munich and was home to the city’s original collection of gay venues in the 1980s. Over time, it has become one of the city’s most upscale areas, resulting in many of the bars and clubs in the region having a polished, trendy vibe. For those seeking a more laid-back atmosphere, there are a few relaxed, long-standing venues with a devoted clientele who will be happy to share their knowledge of gay Munich throughout the years.
GAYS AND THE LAW
Germany has generally progressive LGBT laws in place. Gay marriage and adoption have been legal since 2017, and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender is illegal (as is hate speech). Attitudes throughout the country are mostly liberal: in a 2013 poll, 87% of Germans believed that homosexuality should be accepted by society, the second-largest score of the countries polled.
The Munich gay scene is admittedly smaller than that in Cologne or Berlin, so it’s not like it’s an especially gay city. However, it’s still a large metropolis with a liberal and tolerant vibe, so LGBT visitors are very welcome.
Checkpoint, run by Aidshilfe Munich, is the easiest place to get an HIV test in town. Tests are available Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings (5:00 PM to 7:30 PM) with a prior appointment – call the clinic to book.
Rapid HIV tests are 10€ and Antigen-antibody tests are 20€. People in Germany tend to speak pretty good English, so you don’t have to worry about the language barrier.
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