Old Town Hall Munich on Marienplatz in the old town

Old Town Hall Munich | München Altes Rathaus

The Old Town Hall Munich is definitely one of the most photographed buildings in Munich’s Old Town (altstadt). 

Thanks to its location on Marienplatz and its very distinctive fairytale-like appearance, it’s no wonder the Old Town Hall, Munich gets so much love from avid Instagrammers.

Today, while it’s used for representative purposes only, Munich’s Old Town Hall provides travellers with a unique chance to take a peek behind the curtain, and learn about how the municipality was governed.

Aside from the gorgeous interior and exterior design, the Old Town Hall has a lot to offer in terms of cultural significance, and a trip to Munich without a visit to the town hall is unthinkable.

Below you’ll find out everything you need to know to confidently add this landmark to your touristic itinerary.

History of the Old Town Hall in Munich?

Once the most important parts of Munich’s administrative centre, the Old Town Hall, or Altes Rathaus in German, is a lot more than a disused council building.

This architectural beauty shines over Marienplatz as a symbol of Munich’s long and varied history.

The façade of the building is deceptively modern, but the history of the Old Town Hall reaches far back into Munich’s past, all the way back to the 14th century.

While we don’t know exactly when Munich’s first town hall was constructed, the gothic beauty that we know as the Old Town Hall was designed by Jörg von Halsbach in the 1470s.

The interior was decorated by master craftsman, Erasmus Grasser with his highly coveted sculptures of Morris Dancers.

While the city made an effort to continually modernise the building, during the early 1860s a love for gothic architecture was rekindled and Munich’s Old Town Hall was restored to its original style, with some updated neo-gothic touches.

Only a decade later in 1874, the council seat moved to the New Town Hall, but thankfully the original municipal building was maintained even when parts were destroyed during World War II.

Today, the Old Town Hall is regularly used as a place for celebrations, and ceremonies, as well as being open to visitors.  

is the Old Town Hall Munich Worth Visiting?

Yes is the answer to this question. As well as being host to the Glockenspiel as we mentioned previously, the old Town Hall is also a very easily identifiable landmark and meeting point right on Munich’s most popular touristic plaza, Marienplatz.

Outside – Complete with various coats of arms, and statues of King Ludwig I and Henry the Lion, the exterior of the Old Town Hall is a spectacle in itself.

The Old Town Hall’s spire is part of the original Talburg Gate, and the ground floor’s arches provide a convenient thoroughfare from Marienplatz out into the city.  

Inside – The first floor is home to the ornate, gothic tanzhaus, or ballroom.

Its barrel vaulting ceiling was designed by famed carpenter Hans Wengler, but unfortunately fell during the destruction of the building in WWII.

Thankfully, it was restored to its spectacular, former glory, with the Coats of Arms of many of Bavaria’s noble families meticulously carved into it.

The Munich Toy Museum – Spanning four floors of the historic clock tower is Ivan Steiger’s impressive collection of toys from throughout time.

The teddy bear exhibit is a favourite among children and adults alike, celebrating the unique history of Bavarian bears.

If you’d like to know more about visiting the Toy Museum, take a look at our in-depth post on planning your visit.

Where is the Old Town Hall Munich?

Right in the centre of Munich lies Marienplatz upon which stands the Munich Old Town Hall. With its red-roofed tower and green spires, the building is very hard to miss and is very much a focal point of the city.

This part of Munich is definitely worth a visit for the Old Town Hall alone, but there are also loads of other wonderful things to explore nearby.

Marvel at the stunning façade of the New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) and the famous Glockenspiel.

Climb the Alter Peter tower for the best view possible of Old Town Munich and beyond.

Time your visit for the holiday season right and experience the charming Münchner Christkindlmarkt (Munich Christmas Market).

How to get to the Old Town Hall Munich?

Marienplatz is not an easy destination to reach by car, but being the heart of Munich, many of the city’s public transport links make a stop nearby the square.

Bus – If you’d like to catch the bus to the Old Town Hall Munich, hop on the 154, 52, or 62 buses, depending on the direction you are coming from. .

S-Bahn – If you’re taking the S-Bahn, lines S1, S2, S3, S4, S6, S7, and S8 stop at Marienplatz station.

U-Bahn – The U-Bahn lines U3 and U6 both make a stop at Marienplatz station.     

Tram – The Marienplatz (Theatinerstraße) station is a stop on tramlines 19 and 21.

Visit the Old Town Hall in Munich

This architectural beauty shines over Marienplatz as a symbol of Munich’s long and varied history and should not be missed on a visit to Munich.

Standing in simple contrast to the gigantic New Rathaus (Munich’s New Town Hall) the building and surroundings remind visitors of a much smaller Munich when it was a smaller more manageable municipality.

Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Shakespearean Julia statue, and the interesting windchime under the Clocktower entrance.

Cheers and thanks for reading.