City of contrasts, Mumbai is described by Lonely Planet as big. Not huge. Not populous. Not extravagant. Not lively. But big. Not that these words fail to describe the financial hub of India. It has several tiny worlds coexisting because dreamers, laborers, artists, fisherfolk, starlets and gangsters, millionaires and servants, all live alike. It’s India’s financial powerhouse and fashion industry and home to her most prolific film industry. There are many interesting things to do in Mumbai for couples, families, youngsters, or even alone in 2018.
It has some of the grandest post-colonial era architecture, colorful bazaars, hidden temples, hipster enclaves and India’s premier restaurants and nightlife. Wherever you wander, there are plenty of things to do in Mumbai that keep you wanting more.
A melting pot of many communities and cultures and with a fascinating history right from its creation on what was once an archipelago of seven islands to Modern Mumbai, the destination is marked by several rulers, cultures, religions, socio-economic demarcations, and newly developed sense of belonging to the larger world.
One can get a glimpse of the vibrant history through its architecture, people, language, dialect, fashion, and social cues.
Here are the top 20 things to do in Mumbai:
Things to do in Mumbai for Couples: Dine at Masala Kraft, Taj Mahal Palace
Mumbai’s most famous landmark, the hotel is a blend of Islamic and Renaissance style. It was built in 1903 by the Parsi industrialist JN Tata, supposedly after he was refused entry to nearby European hotels on account of being ‘a native’. Touted as ‘India’s most photographed monument’ by Lonely Planet, there’s very little reason to wonder why when one discovers the 1intrinsic history attached to the nation: it was the first hotel in India to employ women, the first to have electricity (and fans), and it also housed freedom-fighters (for no charge) during the struggle for independence.
It has hosted many events for famous personalities. Banquets for King George V and Queen Mary were held here twice. Edward, Prince of Wales visited here. Many other notable personalities who visited Taj Palace were Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Mahatma Gandhi , Jawaharlal Nehru, Maharajahs and Princes and Royal figures from many states, Lord Louis Mountbatten (the first governor general of Independent India who held an inaugural speech here for the leaders), The Beatles, Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, The King & Queen of Norway, The Duke & Duchess of Kent, Roger Moore, The Duke of Edinburgh, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Barack Obama as well as many other personalities.
It has the most amazing restaurants in the hotel serving a variety of cuisines but Masala Kraft, Indian specialty restaurant, truly stands out with its hand ground spices and traditional recipes
Visit the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya
The domed behemoth is in Indo-Saracenic style – an intriguing mix of Islamic, Hindu, Jain, and British architecture designed by George Wittet, who also designed the Gateway of India. Its vast collection includes impressive Hindu and Buddhist sculptures, terracotta figurines from the Indus Valley, Indian miniature paintings, and some particularly vicious-looking weaponry. These are things to do in Mumbai for the art lover.
Things to do in Mumbai on Weekends: Visit Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum
This is a stunning museum built in Renaissance revival style in 1872 as the Victoria & Albert Museum. The museum hosts 3500-plus objects centering on Mumbai’s history – photography, maps, textiles, books, manuscripts, Bidriware, lacquerware, weaponry and exquisite pottery. The Minton tile floors, ornate columns, chandeliers, gilded ceilings, and staircases are truly glorious.
Walk along the Gateway of India
The imposing basalt arch symbolic of colonial victory faces out to Mumbai Habour from the tip of Apollo Bunder. It was built to commemorate the 1911 royal visit King George V but wasn’t completed until 1924. Ironically, the British builders of the gateway used it just 24 years later to parade the last British regiment as India marched towards independence.
In current times, it has evolved to be a favorite spot for tourists and locals as photographers, vendors making bhelpuri (puffed rice tossed with fried dough, lentils, onions, herbs, and chutneys) rubs shoulders with locals and tourists, creating all the hubbub of a bazaar. Opposite the Gateway stands the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the 17th century Maratha King as a symbol of pride and courage. The other statue in the vicinity of the monument is that of Swami Vivekananda, a Hindu monk who was a major force in the revival of Hinduism and nationalism in colonial India. On the opposite side of the street is the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. This is one of our favorite things to do in Mumbai.
Things to do in Mumbai on Weekends: Watch the Qawwali at Haji Ali Dargah
Floating like a mirage, this 19th century Indo Islamic structure contains the tomb of the Muslim saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari.Legend has it that Haji Ali died while on a pilgrimage to Mecca and his casket miraculously floated back to this spot. Located away from the mainland, the only way to get to the shrine is via a small causeway, access to which is only possible in the low tides.
Thousands of pilgrims, especially on Thursday and Friday (when there may be qawwali; devotional singing).
Rejuvenate at Sanjay Gandhi National Park
If traffic complies, in 1 and /2 hours you can escape the teeming metropolis be surrounded by this 104-sq-km protected tropical forest. As a stark contrast to the rest of the city, bright flora, birds, butterflies and elusive wild leopards make for the surroundings. Urban development has muscled in on the fringes of the park, but the heart of the park is very peaceful. Prior permission for trekking the areas is required, so the easiest way to take a walk in the woods is by going with Bombay Natural History Society. Within the park, resides the Kanheri Caves, a set of 109 dwellings and monastic structures for Buddhist monks 6km inside the park. The caves, not all of which are accessible, were developed over 2000 years, beginning in the 1st century BC, as part of a sprawling monastic university complex.
Check out the Zaveri Bazaar
Located at Bhuleshwar in South Mumbai, just north of Crawford Market, Zaveri Bazaar is a muddle of narrow lanes, dotted with hundreds of jewelry shops that sell gems and jewels, notably Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri (TBZ), Dwarkadas Chandumal, Dhirajlal Bhimji Zaveri & UTZ. The narrow lanes of the jewelry market of Mumbai is a home to 65% of India’s gold trade.
8.Visit Bombay High Court
The High Court is an elegant 1848 neo-Gothic building, packed with judges, barristers, and other cogs in the Indian justice system, bustling with daily activity. Visitors are permitted to explore the building and attend cases. Inside it’s quite a spectacle, with court officials, kitted out in starched white tunics offset with red cummerbunds and scarlet berets, while robed barristers strut about with their chests puffed out.
No photography is permitted; cameras have to be left with guards at the entrance.
Walk along the Marine Drive
Marine Drive is a 2.3-mile long boulevard built on reclaimed land along the shore of the Arabian Sea from Nariman Point past Girgaum Chowpatty and continues to the foot of Malabar Hill.
Dotted with flaking art deco apartments, it is one of Mumbai’s most popular promenades and sunset spots. The twinkling night lights along the drive have earned it the name of Queen’s Necklace.
Throngs of people gather on the promenade every evening to snack and chat, and it has evolved into a popular meeting place for Mumbaikars.
Walk to Rajabai Clock Tower from Oval Maidan
On the Fort campus of Mumbai University is this 84m-high Venetian/Gothic monument, inspired by London’s Big Ben. Designed by English architect Sir George Gilbert Scott, it features some of Mumbai’s most beautiful stained glass. The tower was constructed using the locally available buff colored Kurla stone.
During the British Raj, it played the tunes of ‘Rule of Britannia’, ‘God Save the King’, ‘Home!Sweet!Home!’, and ‘A Handel Symphony”, out of a total of sixteen tunes, which changed four times a day. It currently chimes only one tune every 15 minutes.
The Oval Maidan is a large Grade I recreational ground situated in South Mumbai minutes from Rajabai Clock Tower. You will find local students playing cricket, people taking leisure walks and more.
11. Things to do in Mumbai on Weekends: Browse books at the Asiatic Library at Horniman
Founded by Sir James Mackintosh, this library lies within a grand townhall at Mumbai’s overlooking the Horniman Circle Gardens and Reserve Bank of India. prized treasures comprising books and periodicals, ancient manuscripts, painted folios, coins, artifacts, maps, and prints. It also harbors the much talked about original Italian manuscript of Dante’s Divine Comedy.
There is the 16th century Sanskrit manuscript Aranyaka Parvan of the Mahabharata, with its rich illustrations rated as a crucial discovery for the study of pre-Mughal miniature painting.
The entrance of the building is adorned with a Grecian portico and 8 impressive Doric style pillars. There is a flight of 30 steps leading to the entrance of the Town Hall. The entire construction was made of stones brought from England and was beautifully designed in a neo-classical fashion. Within the building, the floors are covered in ancient wood, the staircases are spiral and the terraces are adorned with beautiful wrought iron. The hall boasts of a collection of remarkable marble statues of Indian patrons of the 19th century.
Things to do in Mumbai at Night: Explore the Mumbai nightlife
The city that never sleeps, the city that makes you feel safe at night, and the city that makes every dream come alive, is also the city that parties all night! There is sleeping for everyone! Stroll the beach under a full moon, hangout at Marine Drive to admire the skyline, eat at local street eateries, or party till dawn at one of the clubs.
Things to do in Mumbai Alone: Check the vibrant colors at Sassoon Dock
Sassoon Dock is a scene of intense activity at dawn (around 5 am) when Koli fisherwomen sort the catch unloaded from fishing boats at the wharf. The Bombil fish is used in the popular dish, Bombay Duck. It’s the oldest dock and one of the few that are open to the public.
14. Visit Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
Formerly known as Victoria Terminus, it was built in 1887 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Majestic, exuberant and buzzing with people, this enormous train station is the city’s most extravagant Gothic building and an epigram for colonial-era India. The architecture is a blend of Victorian, Hindu and Islamic styles whipped into an imposing Daliesque structure of buttresses, domes, turrets, spires, and stained glass.The marvelous architecture and the rugged history of the structure have earned it the Unesco World Heritage Site status.
15. Things to do in Mumbai with Friends: Shop, eat and walk along Flora Fountain
An exquisitely sculpted heritage fountain and the effigy of the mythological Roman goddess Flora is located in the business district in the heart of South Mumbai. The structure is surrounded by British Victorian era heritage buildings which have blended into the normal routine of daily business affairs. The areas around the fountain give excellent shopping opportunities. Centrally located, the chowk and the fountain are minutes from the University of Mumbai, the old Secretariat, and the Gateway of India, the Bombay High Court, the Central Telegraph Office, and many other heritage buildings.Kitab khanna, a quaint cafe is minutes from the square. Zara took over the heritage-listed 110-year old Ismail Building
16. Things to do in Mumbai with Family: Dive into history at Elephanta Cave
Northeast of the Gateway of India in Mumbai Harbor, the rock-cut temples on Gharapuri, better known as Elephanta Island, are a Unesco World Heritage Site. Constructed between AD 450 and 750, the labyrinth of cave temples represent some of India’s most impressive temple carving. The main Shiv temple is an interesting latticework of courtyards, halls, pillars, and shrines; its magnum opus is a 6m-tall statue of Sadhashiva, depicting a three-faced Shiva as the destroyer, creator, and preserver of the universe, his eyes closed in eternal contemplation. The Portuguese dubbed the island as Elephanta Caves because of a large elephant structure near the shore which was later shifted to the mainland at Jijamata Udyan. Ferries depart to Gharapuri from the Gateway of India every half-hour from 9 am to 3.30pm; the voyage takes about an hour.
17. Things to do in Mumbai Alone: An evening at Shree Siddhivinayak temple
Indulge in an age-old tradition and experience a unifying faith at Mumbai’s most exceptional temple, Shree Siddhivinayak. It’s a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shri Ganesha. The temple has evolved from a tiny piece of shrine to a grand temple. It’s one of the richest temples of Mumbai with average annual earnings via donations of $Participate in the evening Aarti ceremony and learn about the significance of this 18th-century temple.
18. Things to do in Mumbai: Walk along Phool Gully
The sights, sounds, and smells of the Mumbai bazaars reflect the essence of India. The phool gully, the Dadar Flower market is a wholesale market for flowers. It’s an incredibly aromatic and visually appealing experience to walk past the market. Flowers from the market early in the morning and by afternoon, they are distributed in every nook and corner of the city.
19. Things to do in Mumbai for Youngsters: Shop at Colaba Causeway
Colaba Causeway offers Mumbai’s best shopping experience.This market is most popular for bargains on clothes, shoes, jewelry, artifacts, and souvenirs. Some of the most famous cafes and restaurants of Mumbai are also located here.
20. Things to do in Mumbai with Locals: Collect souvenirs at Chor Bazaar
Located minutes from Bhendi Bazaar, this is the largest flea market in India. The word chor means thief in the local languages. As per a popular local legend, if you lose anything in Mumbai you can buy it back from the ‘Chor Bazaar’. However, many believe that it was called ‘Shor Bazaar’ – shor means noisy and was mispronounced by the British.
Despite the popular reputation, the bazaar is said to sell second-hand goods, antiques, vintage items, authentic Victorian furniture, etc.