|The stunning architecture of BMW Welt|
Now to the good stuff. After refueling at the BMW Museum M1 Cafe with some espresso and ice cream, we finally headed to BMW Welt to spend the rest of the afternoon checking out all the latest and greatest from BMW. And to spend more money in the gift shop (in case the Museum gift shop wasn't enough).
The main floor lobby is dazzling, with soon to be launched cars for you to check out, a luxurious Rolls Royce turning slowly on a pedestal (while attendants lovingly polish off your messy handprints), and comfy white leather couches for you to relax on. Construction was just getting underway for the Mini Cooper exhibit, so I can only imagine all the kid friendly things they've come up with to go with the fun Mini brand.
|BMW Welt interior, publicity photo|
Factory tours are also possible with a little online planning. There are limited English tours, so be sure to email them up to six months in advance. The boys would have loved this, kind of like a Discovery Channel show come to life, but we weren't able to do it. The plant was closed for it's annual two week vacation, which they do every year in early August. All four of us C&Gs were pretty disappointed but I plan on using it as an excuse to plan a return trip to Munich.
If you have any interest in test driving your favorite BMW, there is a registration desk in the lobby where you can do just that for a small fee. When we were there, a few new cars were available that hadn't come out in the US yet. It would have been fun to get behind the wheel of the new X1 SAV before it arrived on our shores, or maybe one of the small sports cars. But we needed to save our Euros for more mini cars from the gift shop.
If you need a set of luggage, golf clubs, sailing attire, workout gear, baby clothes, umbrellas, hats, or just a pen, you'll find it in the gift shop with a BMW logo attached. Thankfully we made it out without any of these, but a dozen of the little mini Isetta cars did come home with us. A full selection of BMW history and design books can be found in the second floor gift shop and at the Museum gift shop. The second floor is also where you'll find the elegant restaurant and lounge. We didn't try it, but I certainly would have been happy relaxing with a glass of wine while overlooking all the action down below.
Entrance to BMW Welt is free (cars are extra), and the building is open daily from 7:30am to midnight. A small grab and go food counter offers up drinks and light snacks in the main lobby, and bathrooms are downstairs on the lower level. Spending the day in one spot was a nice break from touring around the city of Munich, and there was plenty to keep us all interested. We even found cocktails. And of course ice cream, which is the next best thing to gelato.