Munich has three of Germany's most exclusive shopping streets as well as flea markets to rival those of any other European city. In between are department stores, where acute German-style competition assures reasonable prices and often produces outstanding bargains. Artisans bring their wares of beauty and originality to the Christmas markets. Collect their business cards—in summer you're sure to want to order another of those little gold baubles that were on sale in December.
Munich has an immense central shopping area, a 2-km (1-mile) Fussgängerzone (pedestrian zone) stretching from the train station to Marienplatz and then north to Odeonsplatz. The two main streets here are Neuhauser Strasse and Kaufingerstrasse, the sites of most major department stores. For upscale shopping, Maximilianstrasse, Residenzstrasse, and Theatinerstrasse are unbeatable. Schwabing, north of the university, has more offbeat shopping streets—Schellingstrasse and Hohenzollernstrasse are two to try. The neighborhood around Gärtnerplatz also has lots of new boutiques.
A few small shops around Viktualienmarkt sell Bavarian antiques, though their numbers are dwindling under the pressure of high rents. Antique shoppers should also try the area north of the university—Türkenstrasse, Theresienstrasse, and Barerstrasse are all filled with antiques stores.
Strictly for window-shopping—unless you're looking for something really rare and special and money's no object—are the exclusive shops lining Prannerstrasse, at the rear of the Hotel Bayerischer Hof. Interesting and inexpensive antiques and assorted junk from all over Europe are laid out at the weekend flea market at the Olympiapark (not far from the Olympic Stadium), which has around 460 sellers.
If you want to deck yourself out in lederhosen or a dirndl, or acquire a green loden coat and little pointed hat with feathers, you have a wide choice in the Bavarian capital. There are a couple of other shops along Tal Street that have new and used lederhosen and dirndls at good prices in case you want to spontaneously get into the spirit of the 'Fest.
Munich is also a city of beer, and items related to its consumption are obvious choices for souvenirs and gifts. Munich is also the home of the famous Nymphenburg Porcelain factory. Between Karlsplatz and the Viktualienmarkt there are loads of shops for memorabilia and trinkets.