30 Munich

PopulationMetro: 2,045,000
Bavaria’s party capital is also a cultural behemoth.

Chances are that there’s a certain festival that comes to mind when you think of Munich. Oktoberfest drew 6 million people to the Bavarian capital this past year to take in the largest folk fest in the world.

For 16 days in autumn, tourists and locals donning their best Bavarian outfits (Lederhosen for the Herren, tight-fitting Dirndl dresses for the Fräulein) descend upon Germany’s third-largest city where Theresienwiese (Theresa’s Meadow) is taken over by amusement rides and tented beer halls selling regional specialties like pretzels, gingerbread, roast chicken, and beer by the liter. Not there during the fest? You can still sample Bavarian fare at one of the famous beer halls, like Paulaner or Hofbräuhaus. If cocktails are more your thing, Havana Club does an excellent mojito, while the bartender at Zephyr Bar uses the herbs he grows behind the bar for some potent concoctions. Meanwhile, Glockenbachwerstatt is a kind of community center that offers classes, events and even a flea market by day, but come nighttime it hosts some of the city’s best DJs and local bands. This year, Munich rises to the 36th spot in our Nightlife category.

Place 29
Product 47
Programming 10
People 67
Prosperity 59
Promotion 15

Munich may only rank #74 in the Museums category but it is well worth your while. Start with a visit to Lenbachhaus, which underwent a renovation back in 2013 to include a new wing by architect Norman Foster. Deutsches Museum, with its collection of atomic structures, hands-on physics and technology demonstrations, and planetarium, is a must-do for families.