From dawn to dusk
Munich might not be the first city that springs to mind when you think of a classic skate Mecca, especially as it's considered by some to have a rather toffee-nosed veneer. Yet the city's "out of sight, out of mind" approach to subcultures has led to a building boom of bespoke skateparks. They might not be bang in the center of town, but all are accessible to some extent by bus, bike and/or The U-Bahn -- Munich's subway system.
Here's how to do it all in a day's work.
7:30 a.m.: Dawn patrol
Skip the traditional Bavarian breakfast of weisswurst and weissbier and head straight for the Feierwerk Skateplatzl. At this time of the morning, the only dudes you'll be sharing the perfect mini-ramp and compact street zone with will be leftovers from the previous night's partying at the Feierwerk music venue next door. Be sure to take a broom and squeegee, as the Skatelite will be pretty dewy and the odd bottle does get broken.
The mini here is the perfect size for getting new tricks dialed (even if the coping does stick out a little), while a wall, gap and tombstone add to the dawn-patrol fun. The street section has great flow, with trannies top and bottom, providing lines down the center steps, rails and banks.
If you've still got some legs by the end of the day, there's always a good crew of mini-fiends bro-ing down here until sunset.
10 a.m.: Head into town
Ten o'clock is groms o'clock, which means brunch time. Head east into the center of town, paying brief homage on the way to the skate obstacles on the Theresienwiese. This spot is worth only a couple of tricks, as it's the epitome of late 20th-century municipal skate junk -- poor in quality, design and layout -- but hey, isn't ever skate spot worth at least a passing glance? Alternatively, you could roll by the ledges in the park next to the Ganghoferstrasse exit of the Schwanthalerhöhe metro station. This is one of the few "street" spots that's low on bust.
12 p.m.: Brunch in Glockenbach
Skate on in the direction of Glockenbachviertel, a trendy area of town known for its cafés, shops and bars. Loretta Bar is an easygoing spot to get a bite to eat -- be sure to sample the French chocolate cake -- while the Trachtenvogl Café-Lounge, on Reichenbachstrasse, serves up fine sandwiches, coffee and more cake. In fact, on either side of Fraunhoferstrasse, all the way down to the Isar river, there are eateries and bars to visit day and night. Get some.
1:30 p.m.: Street spot
Stuffed to the gills and oiled with caffeine, skate down Sendlinger Tor (so-named for a Gothic-style city gate built in the late 1200s/early 1300s, parts of which have since been rebuilt), past Munich's central square, Marienplatz, and out to the Bayerische Staatsoper -- the Bavarian State Opera. There's an expanse of smooth concrete here that's a magnet for flatland tricksters. For some reason the local constabulary doesn't seem to pester skaters here either, which is odd considering the spot's exposure.
2:30 p.m.: Waves, art and another street spot
Flatlanded out, push on to Munich's premier standing wave, the Eisbach, in the Englischer Garten. This wave is crowded all year 'round and works 24/7/365, unless the flow of water stops or someone pulls up the system of stopper boards that give the wave its shape.
Next to the wave is the Haus der Kunst, an art museum opened, according to the museum's website, as the Haus der Deutschen Kunst ("House of German Art") under Nazi control in 1937. Post-World War II, the building acted as the American military's officers' mess hall; it was finally converted back to an art museum in the following decades. There's an amazing café out the back and a ledge to the right of the museum that is well worth a pop or two.
4 p.m: Afternoon skate -- the options are endless
Most of the big, purpose-built bowls and parks lay just outside Munich's town center. These include the Keyhole Skatepark, consisting of two bowls -- one steep and deep, the other small and steep; the Dachau bowl, a tight little kidney with a tombstone and connecting street section; the Trudering bowl, which has a small street zone with a tight transitioned bowl; and the Hirschgarten, the mother of all Munich bowls. This world-class spot is vast, smooth, steep and has an enclosed cradle. (Rehydration station: One of Munich's best beer gardens, of the same name, is within five minutes of the bowl.)
7 p.m. on: Food and beverages
By now you'll be hungry and thirsty, so stash your deck and head for town. Gärtnerplatz is a good place to start and end the evening, stopping by the kiosk on Fraunhoferstrasse to collect some street beverages. Once you're done hanging out on the square or the steps of the theatre, make your way over to the Robinson Kuhlmann - New York Bar, on the north corner of the square, where half the Munich skate scene seems to work.
If this is too crowded, head for Baaderstrasse, where pro snowboarder Alex Schmaltz runs the Zephyr Bar. Munich is proud of its local beers, which are some of the best in the world, so stick to these and you'll have a happy night out on the tiles.
Munich really is a pretty cool city to skate. Stick to the parks and your days will be trouble free. But be warned: The local law enforcement are numerous and efficient, and carrying a deck or skating will single you out from the local dudes in leather shorts. Skate safely and enjoy!
Spot check: Munich, Germany
Skate spots in Munich abound if you know where -- and how -- to look. From October to April, for example, an empty kids' outdoor swimming pool in Nadisee, situated in the Olympic Park, turns into an unofficial skatepark. Fabian Lang takes advantage with a frontside flip.