MUNICH CITY MUSEUM: I'm both a history nut and a Munich freak, so the Munich City Museum had me jumping around like a pig in a mud pit.
Since 2008 the museum has hosted an extensive exhibit tracing Munich's footsteps from tiny monk enclave to metropolis.
Unfortunately most of the descriptions are only in German but there are audio guides on hand and English-language booklets to help you along.
Up the stairs there's a mini conveyer belt spinning favourite Bavarian food but don't try to eat them, they're all chemically preserved (there's a restaurant back on the ground floor if you're hungry).
There are also old clothes including a traditional Dirndl dress that shows how they looked before cleavage was in (or more accurately, out!).
Close by is a portrait copy of seminal Munich beauty Helene Sedelmayer (by Joseph Stieler, 1831). It's virtually identical to the painting of her in the Schönheitengalarie (Gallery of Beauties) at Schloss Nymphenburg. The original was given to Helene's family and her descendants still have it today.
To the right is a house-coat worn by King Ludwig I almost every day for over 60 years of his life. Also on this floor are paintings of Munich including one of the horserace that gave birth to Oktoberfest and examples of delicate Nymphenburger porcelain.
The exhibits further upstairs take Munich through to the modern age. The early 1900s Jungendstil artistic movement is covered, as is the Great Depression, the Third Reich and post-war rebirth.
Regalia from the 1972 Munich Olympics and a model of the Allianz Arena pay tribute to the city's sporting heritage.
Don't miss the recreation of a modern Oktoberfest scene, with "invisible" partygoers dancing on the benches in typical Wiesn gladrags.
I loved the details like the cigarette pack dangling out of someone's pocket and mobile phone stuffed into a pair of lederhosen.
The Munich City Museum has other exhibitions on topics as diverse as photography, fashion and weapons. They're presented on a rotating basis, so what you saw here a year ago could be sitting in storage, replaced with something else today. Here are a few I saw.
Music lovers will feast their senses on the fourth floor, stocked with over 2000 musical instruments from around the globe.
A highlight here is an enormous cannon-like drum from Northern Thailand that looks more like a weapon of mass destruction than something for keeping the beat.
Also striking a worthy chord are the gold-gilded drums from the Chinese court.
A large auditorium space hosts regular live performances.
Every once in a while a book comes along that changes your life.
Until it does, please consider buying Destination Munich and Bavaria, the grooviest, most informative guide on the market :-)
It'll give you full-colour maps, practical info and hundreds of tips on how to get the most out of your visit.
It's 227 pages of up-to-the-minute travel intelligence and it can be yours as an eBook for less than the price of an Oktoberfest beer. (read on)
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