Wiggle into your lederhosen, ruffle your feather boa and strap on the stilettos because it’s time for Christopher Street Day – or Gay Pride if you fancy – taking place in Munich this weekend. Thousands descend upon the city to join in the merriment of political speeches, a parade and live musical acts on the main stage. Here’s our guide to the main event along with a few good-to-know gay spots in Munich.
Why don’t they call it Gay Pride?
These events are more commonly known round the world as Gay Pride but Germany and Switzerland have kept the original name. It’s taken from the homosexual uprisings against police assaults that took place in New York on – yup, you’ve guessed it – Christopher Street in Greenwich Village. These so-called Stonewall Riots happened in the Stonewall Inn and New York has paid homage to the event since 1970 with the rest of the world following suit.
Munich’s event is a mixture of political rallies, speeches, political mottos and well-known politicians all given a good injection of carnival spirit and rounded off with some celebratory parties to keep things fun.
The main event kicks off in Marienplatz with a ‘welcome one and all’ type speech and a few inspiring words from a city councilor and CSD spokeswomen. The Lord Mayor heads up the political parade made up of more than 50 floats and registered contributors of dazzlingly decorated trucks and drag queens.
Look out for the revving and roaring Dykes on Bikes (their given name not mine!), lesbian members of the motorcycle club.
The procession is due to arrive back at Marienplatz at about 3:30pm for more stirring words before the entertainment begins with international acts on the main stage.
- The Glamour Street
- Nhojj from Chicago
- Opera and cabaret fusionist Katja von Kassel from London
- Ben Ivory, referred to by the German Financial Times as the “Best Music-Fashion-act”
The party continues into the night at the Cattlemarket, the largest open-air party in Munich with DJs spinning on both the Saturday and Sunday night. Here the going rate for 7 arenas, 6 dancefloors, an open-air disco, classic ballroom and chillout lounge is €19 a ticket so get your euro’s worth!
The party and array of live acts continues on Sunday with a focus on local German performers and the much talked-about “Stöckl Race RELOADED“. Men must register parading a minimum of 8cm high shoes to participate in the running in high heels race. Fall over and you’re out. In the second stage you have to hit the high notes in the ultimate karaoke kick-out competition and 5 will go through to the final to be crowned queen diva.
You can look at all our hostels in Munich here or choose from our recommended gay-friendly accommodation below.
Hotel Mons am Goetheplatz is gay-friendly, budget and stylish all rolled into one. Private rooms start at €26pppn and you are just 5 minutes walk from the main gay district with plenty of cafes and bars in the vicinity.
The Easy Palace City Hostel is also gay-friendly and offers private or dorm rooms and even apartments. There’s internet access and a bar with pool tables, a dart board, Bavarian beer-tasting and no curfew. Prices start from €11pppn.
Munich Gay Guide
For that rainbow feeling, you’ll find most of the gay community hanging around the Gärtnerplatz as in Glockenbachviertel which translates as ‘pink quarter’. The nearest subway station is Sendlinger Tor then head to Müllerstraße where streets of gay bars, cafes and clubs lead off in different directions. Rubber, leather, jeans; apparently anything goes round here. You can find plenty of the themed events like foam parties as well.
At Cafe Selig (Hans-Sachs-Strasse) contemporary art adorns the walls and they roast their own coffee; a perfect accompaniment to their homemade cakes. 9 variations of their staple potato soup demands attention but the rest of the menu is generally seasonal. You’ll find a varied crowd in the day but a predominantly gay vibe in the evening when the lights dim, the cocktails are stirred and the DJs start to spin.
Moro (Müllerstraße 30) serves a mix of Bavarian and international dishes. Position yourself on the lovely summery terrace where you can watch the colourful neighbourhood of Munich’s ‘Gay Mile’. There’s a legendary brunch on Sundays while grilled sausages from Nuremberg served with horseradish, bread, roast pork, dumplings and coleslaw are also a favorite. They host some lively parties too such as the Dance into May, Okoberfest Party and the Carnival Ball. Costumes are magnificent so don’t let the side down.
Hotel with a history
The Deutsche Eiche (Reichenbachstraße 13) meaning – ‘German Oak’ – is 2 minutes from Gärtnerplatz and is a old traditional Munich restaurant. The place was frequented by Hitler with the National Socialist German Workers Party headquarters located nearby. Close to the Ärtnerplatz Theater, it was also popular with artists in touch with the gay-lesbian scene. Freddy Mercury and German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder also spent time here in the 70s. It’s also a design conscious hotel with a men-only sauna while the restaurant has outdoor seating and serves international dishes.
A Bit of Glitz
Moritz (Klenzestr 43) has attracted the gay glamour of Rupert Everett and George Michael but really it’s everybody’s favorite place to eat, if a little on the expensive side. It’s popular throughout the week so it’s worth booking. A cocktail gets the tastebuds going and they serve fragrant Thai and Asian dishes well into the night. Turn a blind eye to the sometimes snooty service because the food is the thing here. Oh, and the eye candy!
Other Gay Events in Munich
- September to October – “Gay Days” at Oktoberfest, the second largest gay event after Christopher Street Day.
- March – Leather and fetish meeting at the Starkbierfest.
- November – Verzaubert Queer Film Weekend.