This story was updated in January 2019.
I still remember the first day I landed in Mumbai. I stepped out of the aircraft and took it all in - the skyscrapers, the slums, the endless traffic, and the glitter. Fear clenched my heart as the reality of living away from home finally dawned upon me. Although I felt a step closer to my big dreams of becoming a writer, the unsurety that the unknown brings along with it took over my being.
Slowly, however, I understood the essence of Bombay. The city with its myriad cultures, its sea of flavours, and its constant push and pull of 'work hard, play harder' mode had something so welcoming about it. Everyone felt alone there, yet everyone felt at home there.
No day was dull and no night was the same. Along with the ocean breeze, I went with my writing pad to gobble up the best foods the city had to offer, chugged the coldest beer I could get my hands on, visited all the places that spoke of the times way before mine and when it all got too much, scrambled away to destinations just to clear my head. Now it's been two years of living here and I've curated the list of things to do in Mumbai.
With a population of almost 2 crores, Mumbai can seem daunting, noisy, and some sort of a concrete jungle where people are scrambling to make it big. It’s also inviting and happening, calling people from the entire subcontinent to make a buck or two. Many came, some succeeded, many more failed, but they all brought their food stuffed into tiny dubbas with them. From palpable Parsi delicacies, and the mouth-watering coastal cuisines to the delightful Gujarati snacks, Mumbai truly is a culmination of the best the country has to offer. So get set and bon appetit!
This one is a celebrity favourite with everyone raving about the delicious delicacies they’ve been treated to. The Sunday brunch menu is a must-try for everyone who loves a modern twist to their classic Indian seafood and trust us, you’ll fall straight into a food coma. Chef Kelvin recommends the salmon jalapeno, tuna poke, mud crab, soft shell crab, and for your sweet tooth the creme brulee cheesecake.
Another renowned brunch place, this one is situated in Juhu right by the beach. Enjoy the view of the endless waters while sipping some bellinis by the Bay. The restaurant is a fine-dining modern Australian cuisine place and a big shoutout has to go to the Lamb Wellington Deconstructed which is mind-blowing. You can even go for some whiskey and cocktails at night and enjoy the opulent mahogany interiors.
With plush white interiors, Tote on the Turf will give you a feeling on being in Greece while you’re in Mumbai. The food is par excellent and the staff is very warm, it’s a delight to visit this place if you’re in or around Mahalaxmi. You can even visit the place at night if you feel like dancing to pop music and sipping on one of their signature drinks.
This is one of the iconic places Bombay has to offer if you’re looking for a casual sit-down brunch. This was also one of the restaurants where the terrorists attacked in 2008 so look out for bullet marks on the wall. Yeah, they’re still there. Order some beer and wantons and voila, what a super chilled out day.
Street food is a big part of the Bombay feel. Mumbaikers love to enjoy their chai from the tapri and have some bun maska along with it. From vada pav and pav bhaji to ice cream and kulfi, you haven’t got a true feel of the city of dreams without indulging in street food.
Ask anyone where do you get the best vada pav (a Bombay fave) and they will say outside Mitthibai college. It’s a stall where the vendor puts a whole lot of butter and green chutney on pav (bread) and then stuffs a vada (fried potato) in it and it’s yum-yum-tum-tum! They even have a juice stall and offer sandwiches if you aren’t into vada pav.
You don’t know if it’s pav bhaji in butter or butter in pav bhaji, the Sardar’s stall is one of the best places to try the Amchi Mumbai dish. If you’re into experimenting then you can try their specials like cheesy pav bhaji!
A Nariman Point gem, K. Rustom ice cream sandwich is opposite Ambassador Hotel. Their wide variety of flavours include black currant, coffee, kachi keri, almond crush and raspberry stuffed between two crispy wafers. Cool down from the Bombay humidity if you’re in that side of town and you won’t regret it!
There’s something special about Indian coastal cuisine that warms everyone’s heart. With piping hot coconut curry and spicy prawns along with a side of fresh neer dosa or appam, Dakshin does south Indian just perfect.
The lip-smacking food, the classy ambience and just the vibe of the place is sure to make you fall head over heels in love. Definitely the best place for authentic Japanese in the city! You must try the Soft Shell Crab sushi and the Robatayaki Seabass.
This place offers one of the best views in all of Mumbai but it’s not just that, enjoy a nice dinner and drinks with your friends and dance to hip music. It offers Lebanese, Italian, European and Spanish cuisines.
One of the best parts about Mumbai is its raging nightlife. Mumbaikers love their clubs and pubs and can give anyone a run for their money when it comes to dancing. One of the best parts of the city’s culture is that be it any day of the week, you’ll find some or the other place to hang out and have a great time with your friends.
A very popular destination among youngsters in the reclamation, Bandra area, it’s a hub for good drinks and great music. You may spot some celebrities who like to go there to grab a drink but the place becomes packed on weekdays post 1 am. We suggest you get your name on the guest list if you want to enter late on Fridays and Saturdays.
Lower Parel is the hub of great places to let loose with your pals. From Kamla Mills to Todi Mills, the place is always hustling and bustling with people looking to have a good time. XXO is the perfect place if you want to club hop as it’s open till the wee hours of the morning. Sip on a martini and enjoy the royal luxuries South Bombay has to offer.
This place in Bandra offers one of the most fun rooftop parties in Mumbai. They always have a great set of music playing so you can relax and enjoy a chilled beer. From hip-hop and dubstep to trance, some of the most talented DJs perform here. You can pick Bonobo if you aren’t into a full-on clubbing scene but like to enjoy a few drinks and sway to tunes.
Playboy in Worli offers a different kind of magic. From Playboy bunnies and shining disco lights to champagne towers, be ready for a hard night of fun. Have the Playboy LIIT or taste vintage wines or enjoy gourmet meals, all this while a private butler is catering to your every need. It was the first original Playboy Club to open in India and hence has been a popular party spot Mumbaikers love to go to.
The Lalit is one of the safest spots for the LGBTQ community in India and Kitty Su stands as evidence. With fiery Drag Queen performances and some of the best gigs in town, Kitty Su is one of those feel-good clubs in the city. There’s an extensive champagne collection on the menu and some signature cocktails like The Lalit Cocktail and Cold Chai that are a must try.
A very unique concept of choosing drinks based on rising and falling of prices in real time. The initial idea was taken from the stock market or the Bombay Stock Exchange and it soon became a cult favourite. You can get drinks as low as the retail price if you’re good at keeping track of the prices. There is a whole chain of these around Mumbai from Juhu and Bandra to Colaba, BKC, Dadar and many more.
Dear tourist, look no further cause we’ve got a list of top things to do in Mumbai for you. The imperial architecture, museums, and the serene beaches for a sunset view. Pack your bag on a Sunday morning and go on exploring, you’ll fall deeply in love with the culture.
One of Mumbai’s most prominent monuments is the Gateway of India in Colaba. Built in 1924 to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to the city, it’s also the place where the last of the British troops departed from marking the end of the British raj in the country. You can start from here and spend the day in and around Colaba Causeway and even hang out at one of the many Irani cafes in the area like Yazdani Bakery or Kayani Bakery & Co.
Kala Ghoda or Black Horse refers to the statue of the animal that was once located there. The entire stretch is home to some of India’s finest galleries displaying art by world-renowned artists. Stroll around the cultural hub and get a whiff of the stunning space. Be sure to visit the Jehangir Art Gallery, that one’s probably the best out there.
If you’re crossing Worli it’s difficult not to notice the eye-catching structure of Haji Ali. Both a mosque and a tomb, it was built in 1432 by a wealthy Muslim merchant and Sufi Saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari who was inspired to revamp his life after a visit to Mecca. It’s situated in the middle of the ocean and is only accessible during low tide from a narrow strip connecting it to the mainland.
Mumbai is renowned for its gorgeous architecture and heritage buildings that make the city feel like a palatial hub. Some of the best ones to see are the Gothic looking Prince of Wales Museum in Kala Ghoda Art Precinct, Victoria Terminus or CST Railway Station, the Horniman Circle and the Bombay High Court. The sprawling gardens and the majestic feel of the Fort area give you a little breather in the middle of the chaos that the city is known for.
Now this one is a little far away from the city but definitely worth the visit. Hop on to a ferry and enjoy both the Hindu as well as the Buddhist caves. The main one dedicated to Lord Shiva became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 and has some of the most impressive sculptures and artwork. But don’t go with the hopes of finding it similar to Maharashtra’s famous Ajanta and Ellora caves, you’ll be disappointed.
Mumbai actually comes with a perfect location, central to many destinations perfect to getaway over the weekend. From serene beaches and scenic hills to sprawling vineyards, Mumbai has almost everything to offer to unwind for a bit. So take a road trip or use public transport and breathe the fresh air away from the boisterous city life.
Undoubtedly one of the most popular beach weekend places in Mumbai, Alibaug offers a wide array of homestays, Airbnb, and even luxury hotels to destress. Catch the ferry from Gateway of India or take a road trip to Alibaug and you won’t regret it. You must visit Sanman Restaurant if seafood is your thing and Bohemian Blue for a more chilled out vibe. You can put up in U Tropicana and even enjoy the grandeur of having your private pool. Watersports lovers, there is lots for you- banana boat, kayaking, parasailing, dune buggy and lots more.
Nashik or Nasik is home to some of the best vineyards of the country. If you’re a true wine lover or even if you want to learn about them, go for some tasting sessions, crush grapes, and pick juicy ones straight from the plantations. You can make a trip during the annual Sula festival and enjoy two days of day drinking, fun gigs and just having a great time.
Again a very popular tourist spot, visit Lonavala for its picturesque, hilly views. Make it a road trip up the winding hills and pick a nice place to stay. The Airbnbs are relatively cheaper than in Mumbai and you can even rent out an entire bungalow. Escape the commotion and sip chai while sitting in the lap of nature.
This place is short of Lonavala and closer to Mumbai and is also less crowded. So if you really want to have some downtime, Karjat is the place for you. You can pick out adventure sports to try to in the area like rappelling, river crossing, trekking, rock climbing and so many others. You can even set up a picnic with your family in the lush green hills and enjoy some quality time together.
Another one for you adventure junkies, Kamset is renowned for its paragliding. Tourists from all across the country come here for that adrenalin rush so if it’s something that excites you, you’ve gotta try it. It’s about sixteen kilometers away from Lonavala and Khandala and one those weekend getaways that you’ll never forget.
Again a place situated in the middle of nature, Igatpuri offers a spectacular view of the Western Ghats. The place is ideal if you want to trek up and discover the trails less travelled. It is also famous for the Vipassana meditation centre where people from all around the world come to learn the art of meditation and seek spirituality. If you have a liking for that, then there’s nothing like a de-stress here.
It is situated on the Mumbai-Goa highway and it’s a beautiful weekend getaway from Mumbai. It’s perched over the stunning Sahyadri ranges, it’s a thick jungle covering an area of about 5 sq kms. More than 150 resident bird species can be found and 37 types of migratory birds can also be seen. It makes for the most ideal picnic and trekking spot, trust us!
If you’ve ever witnessed the beauty of the Western Ghats you’ll know just how easy it is to fall in love with the place. Matheran is at an altitude of about 2516 feet above sea level and is one of the oldest touristy hill stations near Mumbai. The tranquil beauty, the fresh air, and the unreal views make for a mini-vacay like no other.
It was the erstwhile capital of the Maratha King, Shivaji and still stands as the witness of a powerful empire. Built in the 17th century, the Raigarh Fort is the primary attraction of the place situated in the Sahyadri mountain ranges. If you want to test your stamina, climb the 2000 odd stairs or take a cable car that connects the fort. Historical geeks, you’ve got yourself a perfect place to explore.
Again you adrenalin junkies, we’ve got a place for you: Kolad! Strap in and paddle through the Kundalika River flowing by this little village. The place offers a wide array of watersports including river rafting, kayaking and so many more. During the more pleasant months like December and January, you can even trek to the nearby waterfall and pitch a tent and sit by the fire and have a camping adventure.
Now that you know so much about Mumbai, it does seem like an exciting place right!
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