Open Spaces: This is how the inner-city IAA works

This IAA is different. We took a look at the manufacturers' exhibition areas, the so-called open spaces, in downtown Munich.

The concept "car show" has long needed an update - many cars in the spotlight of exhibition halls is now too rigid a system. Fairs with a festival character, such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed, which takes place every year in summery England, have had an uninterrupted flow of visitors for years. Does the festival character also work at other auto shows? With the move of the IAA to Munich, Germany's largest motor show is now also taking on a similar character. On the one hand the manufacturers are exhibiting at the exhibition center on the outskirts of the city in Munich-Riem, on the other hand they have occupied the city centre. And that works.

Mercedes with a grand entrance

The so-called Open Spaces are mobile structures that the exhibitors have installed along Munich's most beautiful inner-city main routes. The streets are closed to traffic during the trade fair, thus enlarging the pedestrian zone. One of the main axes begins at the Feldherrnhalle and extends to Königsplatz. And directly in front of the Feldherrnhalle, whose architectural model is the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence, Mercedes really lets it rip with a double staircase. The people of Stuttgart stand by the new IAA: They are also making the most impressive impression at the Riemer exhibition center with many new products. The inner-city stairway is reminiscent of the tourist stairway in New York's Times Square – only it's twice as big in Munich. And to the right of the Mercedes stand there is no New York high-rise with a fast-food restaurant on the first floor, but the Theatinerkirche glows in the sunlight.

Small exhibitors with interesting exhibits

A few meters further out of town in front of the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior, Seat's sporty brand Cupra has set itself up in a chic cube, diagonally opposite there is a stand from the Institute for Vehicle Concepts of the German Center for Aeronautics and space travel. The engineers have brought along a light city runabout and an autonomously driving U-shaped load lifter. Such small exhibitors ensure a lot of variety on the open space site. Next to it is the contact point for VW for the test drives from the Summit via the so-called Blue Lane, a special lane on the route from the exhibition center to the city center.

Audi and Porsche in front of the Siemens headquarters

If you prefer to go directly to Audi and Porsche, turn right with the Feldherrnhalle behind you into Brienner Straße to Wittelsbacherplatz. On the way there, a shop for sustainable products placed three fine wooden bicycles on the sidewalk, which the Bavarians call Gehsteig - this also makes the Open Space Area come alive.Audi and Porsche have now occupied the open space in front of the Palais Ludwig Ferdinand, in which the Siemens headquarters are located, with large, airy stands. Both manufacturers brought only a few models with them - with a lot of freedom and concentration on the essentials, they follow the spirit of the times.

Try out scooters, bikes and scooters

One of the connecting axes of the Open Spaces is Brienner Straße. There, visitors can test e-scooters and e-bikes on the Blue Lane Micromobility, among other things - hip devices that "used to" work even more sustainably, since the drivers only had to operate them with muscle power. There are many more exciting stands to discover on Hofgartenstraße, in the Residenzhöfe, on Marstallplatz, on Marienplatz and on Max-Joseph-Platz - and while the fair in Riem costs admission, access to the open spaces is free.

Lots of visitors

The relaxed atmosphere, to which the unusually good weather for this summer also contributes, attracted so many people on the first Open Space afternoon that the police had to temporarily block access to Wittelsbacherplatz due to overcrowding, for example.

Take a relaxing break

If you want to take a breather from the hustle and bustle of the trade fair, you can turn into the baroque park Hofgarten or if you want a more urban environment, you can stroll a few minutes from Wittelsbacherplatz to the square of the victims of National Socialism - around noon there are many people sitting outside even without a mass. From this square it is only a few minutes' walk to Karlsplatz, which the people of Munich call Stachus after an inn that used to be there. From Karlsplatz, Marienplatz and even the main train station are within walking distance - but the subway also stops at both destinations after one stop.

Getting there: public transport

Public transport is recommended for getting to the Open Spaces – the subway stops, for example, at the main station, at Karlsplatz, at Marienplatz and at Odeonsplatz. The U2 runs from the main station to the Riemer exhibition center in 20 minutes. You can also get there from Odeonsplatz by taking the U5 and changing once. Then the whole thing only takes 17 minutes. If you are arriving by car, it is best to switch to public transport at one of the park-and-ride car parks. If you absolutely want to drive to the city center by car, you have to reckon with significant traffic jams and overcrowded and expensive parking garages.

The security concept works

The Bavarian police ensure security confidently and in a relaxed manner. Thousands of officers have been assigned to protect the IAA guests, whereby the open spaces do not resemble a fortress - the police officers are showing a friendly presence, some will be in civilian clothes.The feedback from the exhibitors so far is that they are extremely satisfied with the security measures taken by the city of Munich.


This is how the IAA can go on: The Open Spaces in downtown Munich are a completely different type of trade fair than we have been used to in Germany. Strolling in the fresh air and discovering technical innovations at the same time is relaxed fun - and free of charge.

The concept is so well received that sections were temporarily closed due to overcrowding on the first Open Space evening. The car manufacturers and other exhibitors are also impressed by the concept. Now only the weather has to hold - but most open spaces at least offer a roof for shelter. The IAA runs until Sunday September 12th.


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