As far as European cities go, Nuremberg isn’t likely to be on your radar for amazing museums. But for just a few bucks, you can have a great day of museum hopping all around the city.
The day ticket
Many of their municipal museums can be visited with a day ticket. Entrance to any individual museum is 5 Euro, but for an extra 2.50, you can get a day pass for the rest of them. If you’re really dedicated, you can probably visit four in a day. If you want to take it easy, you’re probably better off settling for two or three of them. Three might still seem like a lot, but it can be done comfortably. Here’s how:
First up: the Nazi Party Rally Grounds
I first found out about the day ticket when I was getting my ticket to the Documentation Center at the Nazi Party Rally Grounds. It was around 10:30 am, so I figured I would have enough time to at least see one other one. I took my time at the Documentation Center, which as I mentioned in a previous post, is a long guided history tour. Then I went around the outside of the Congress Hall and then to Zeppelin Field. These are huge places and walking everywhere takes a good long while, but it’s worth it.
Break for lunch
I went back into city center for lunch. And I won’t rush through a good meal to see a museum just to get the most out of a day pass, but if you want to, then you can probably squeeze in four museums in a day. I spent a good hour and a half or two drinking and eating a burger. And I still had some time to check out the Christmas market before it got too packed before I headed to my second museum.
Next up: The Toy Museum
The Toy Museum is a great option if you have kids or if you’re a 9 year old trapped in the body of an adult. This one is a fairly quick visit even though it’s four floors. It takes you through the history of toy making from ancient wooden figurines to elaborate doll houses.
Several parts of the museum are interactive, so you can play some of the games, or the toy instruments. The museum includes giant wooden doll houses, moving train sets, and old plush toys. The higher floors have more modern toys like Lego sets and Barbies. It even had those old VTECH laptops that taught me everything I know about history and science.
Squeezing in the Museum for Industrial Culture
When I was done at the Toy Museum, I still had a couple of hours before the museums closed for the day, so I looked through the list of eligible museums and decided on the Museum for Industrial Culture. I can’t think of a more poorly named museum. If I hadn’t carefully read the description, I would have totally glossed over it. Industry is only part of the large-scale narrative that the museum develops through detailed replicas. The closest thing I can compare it to in the US is the Smithsonian Museum of American History, which is also my favorite museum in DC.
Nuremberg’s Museum for Industrial Culture is basically a museum of German history. It’s huge, and on my visit, mostly empty. It features massive, detailed models of life in Germany throughout history. There is an entire hall full of cars, old and new. There are walk-through shops from the 50s, typical German apartments, kitchens, and classrooms. You can even see an old dentist’s office. Of course, industry and technology are an important part of the changes through each decade. But the museum really demonstrated cultural changes over time. You can see what common household goods like vacuums and hair dryers looked like decades ago. You can also see the evolution of sport and education.
I’m glad I had a couple of hours to spare in the afternoon, because this was far and away my favorite museum. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in town.
What’s not included in the day pass
If you visit the Nuremberg Municipal Museums website, you will see a list of all the city’s major museums. It’s important to note that the day pass does not grant you access to all of them or to special guided tours at any eligible museums. For example, you would be able to get into the Albrecht Durer House with your day pass, but you would still have to pay for the guided tour.
The pass also does not grant you access to a couple of the city’s most popular attractions like Court 600, where the Nuremberg Trials were held. In fact, visiting Court 600 is never guaranteed regardless of paid admission to the Memorium Nuremberg Trials because it’s an active courtroom. You can only visit when the court is not in session.
It also does not include admission to the Mediaeval Dungeons or the World War II Art Bunker, because those are only available by guided tour (at a cost of 3.50 and 6 Euro, respectively).
So if you’d like to visit one of those other museums or tours, go on a separate day. Save only the eligible museums for your museum hopping day.
By the way, all the museums are in German
One final, but important tip. The museums are all exclusively in German. Nothing has an English translation. (I know, you’re American and how dare they! Imagine being Czech and traveling anywhere before you complain.) So unless you speak German, you’ll want the audio guide in English which is 1 Euro. They’re also available in many other languages, like Spanish, Italian, and Japanese.
If you’re not a fan of audio tours, you can also use the Google Translate app so you can read the descriptions you’re interested in. Or you can Mystery Science Theater your visit and make up your own captions as you go along. It’ll probably be enjoyable either way; maybe much more so.