The financial capital of India, the city of dreams, the quintessential cosmopolitan city, Mumbai is one of the prominent cities of India. I have been born and brought up in Mumbai and have seen its nooks and corners, experienced its highs and lows, and I must say Mumbai is a thrilling experience. Certainly the fast and chaotic life of Mumbai is not everyone’s cup of tea but if you’ve found your footing, you’ll be hooked. Nonetheless visiting Mumbai is an exciting and novel experience, filled with adventure as you maneuver the busy streets, iconic monuments and famous cafes and bars.
Here is my list for top things to do when you are in Mumbai for a day or two
1. Heritage Walk in South Mumbai
South Mumbai or SOBO as we like to call it is the swankier, costlier part of Mumbai that can enchant you with its architectural surprises from different generations. A heritage walk or a bicycle tour is a perfect way to witness South Mumbai’s amazing collection of historic architectural gems. This includes but is not restricted to:
- Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus: A UNESCO World Heritage Site and a historic railway station which is also one of the busiest railway station in India
- Gateway of India: A landmark structure of Mumbai overlooking the Arabian Sea in the most beautiful way.
- Flora Fountain: An exquisitely sculpted fountain named after the Roman Goddess of flowers, fertility and spring
- Kala Ghoda: A hip, creative area with boutique cafes, indie galleries and historic buildings.
- Oval Maidan: A large recreational ground surrounded with Art Deco and Gothic buildings of the city.
2. Check out the Parsi Cafes
In the 19th century, India became home to numerous Zoroastrian settlers, who had fled from Iran to avoid persecution, and who came to be known as Parsis. These settlers integrated some of their culture into the Indian culture of the time, notably through numerous characteristic cafés, particularly in Mumbai. So when in Mumbai, it becomes imperative to check out one of these legendary Parsi cafes and try their authentic delicacies. Britannia and Co, Yazdani Bakery, SodaBottleOpenerwala, Jimmy Boy are among the most famous Parsi eat out places in Mumbai. Tempting dishes like Kheema Pao, Dhanshak and Berry pulao will surely pamper your taste buds, to a large extent.
3. Go Shopping at Colaba Causeway
Colaba Causeway is a famous shopping destination for localities and tourists alike. It has numerous small shops selling a range of apparels, footwear, accessories, artifacts, shawls, carpets, minor antiques and vintage stuff. There are also few up market retail showrooms on this Street – Chumbak, Zara, Levi’s, Nike, Puma, to name a few. It is a great place to get souvenirs and gifts at affordable prices. The bustle of the streets and bargaining also adds to the Mumbai experience.
4. Evening Stroll at Marine Drive
It’s the ultimate seaside promenade, where Mumbaikars come to escape the chaos and clutter of Mumbai. The waves of sea, picturesque sunset and refreshing breeze hypnotize the mind completely. Fun Fact, it is also known as the Queen’s Necklace because, if viewed at night from an elevated point anyplace along the drive, the street lights look like a string of pearls in a necklace. It is one of the popular hangout spot in Mumbai and you can spot many office goers, college students and young couples just chilling around the bay. One can also grab a quick ice cream sandwich from the famous K Rustom Ice Cream centre around the corner.
5. Visit Haji Ali Dargah
Situated in the middle of the Arabian Sea, Haji Ali Dargah is one of the most iconic religious places in Mumbai. Designed in Indo-Islamic style, this Dargah is a spiritual hub where millions of people visit every day to make wishes, seek blessings and listen to melodious Qawalis. While you are there, do try the delicious fruit cream and Bombay style sandwiches at the legendary Haji Ali Juice Centre.
6. Catch a Live Play in Prithvi Theater
Located near Juhu Beach, Prithvi Theater is one of the buzzing theaters in Mumbai, known for hosting modern plays regularly. Watching plays, exploring Prithvi bookshop or witnessing theater workshops over evening ‘Chai’ at Prithvi café are some of the exciting things to do in Mumbai for budding actors, theatre enthusiasts or movie freaks. The cafe outside is a lovely place to grab a snack and some coffee after watching a play. You can even go on a stroll at the famous Juhu Beach nearby.
7. Wildlife at Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Sanjay Gandhi National Park is the green belt of Mumbai. This park is the home to various flora and fauna. Exploring the expansive 104 sq km area and indulging in lion and tiger safari, mini train ride, cycling, boating and trekking up to Gandhi Tekdi and Kanheri caves is surely one of the fascinating things to do in Mumbai. So if you are a nature lover and need an escape from urban madness, this is your sweet escapade from the city, within the city.
8. Dig history at the museums of Mumbai
The Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum houses a large number of archaeological finds, maps and historical photographs of Mumbai, clay models, silver and copper ware and costumes. This is the oldest museum in Mumbai.
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya is a grand museum in Mumbai. An interesting mix of Islamic, British and Hindu architectural styles, inside the museum you can see collections of sculptures relating to Hinduism and Buddhism, miniature paintings, Indus Valley Civilization artefacts, and other relics from ancient India from the time of the Guptas, Mauryas, Chalukyas and Rashtrakuta .
9. Go on a Temple Trail at Siddhivinayak
Siddhivinayak Mandir is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha and is one of the richest temples in Mumbai. The temple houses a small mandap with the shrine for Siddhi Vinayak (“Ganesha who grants your wish”). It has been visited by Politicians, Bollywood Stars, and even by Apple CEO, Tim Cook
10. Find great deals at these famous Flea markets of Mumbai
A city that is home to 1.90 crore people, naturally it boasts of markets of every shape and size to meet their needs. Market scene in Mumbai is really buzzing, and if you don’t mind the crowds and the haggling, you must go to these markets in Mumbai for shopping
Dadar & Matunga Flower Market: The colorful flower market known as phool gully unfold at 5am every morning and is a sight to behold. It’s chaotically beautiful, and the colors can soothe your senses.
Mangaldas Market: The market flowing with fabrics and textiles of all varieties, this market is a boon to boutique designers and garment manufacturers.
Chor Bazaar: Despite its name, Chor Bazaar is said to sell mostly second-hand goods rather than stolen goods. It sells antique and vintage items, Bollywood posters, authentic Victorian furniture, replacement parts for automobiles, etc
Crawford Market: To purchase everything from packaged foodstuff to raw meat, fruits and nuts to party and baking supplies. Most of the stores here offer their products at wholesale prices.
11. Sail Mumbai in style
A sail boat ride in and around Mumbai would be a thrilling way to spend the weekend in Mumbai. Starting from the Gateway of India, boats and yachts of different kinds are available with various amenities for a comfortable ride. One can sail to Mandwa, Elephanta, Murud Janjira and JNPT from the Gateway of India Luxury sailing has picked up in recent years as it provides all the privacy and also reaches the destination faster than by road.
12. Relish Lip Smacking Street Food of Mumbai
Mumbai and Street Food are certainly synonyms for each other. While here, you just cannot miss digging into mouth watering street cuisine of Mumbai. Experience the best of authentic local flavors and do try the Vada Pavs, Pav Bhaji, Pani Puri, Bhel puri and Sev Puri. Even the Chinese food of Mumbai is different from the original Chinese Food, and it is worth a try if you don’t mind some spice.
13. Enjoy Pub Crawl at Mumbai
Mumbai is the city that never sleeps, and that is something that you very evidently see in the nightlife here. The pubs in the Khar, Juhu and Bandra will promise you the best that this city has to offer in terms of Nightlife. Dance to the Bollywood songs, meet new people, try Desi Drinks, have fun and make best of memories in Mumbai.
14. Find Peace at Mount Mary Church in Bandra
Mumbai has many historical churches that are beautiful to explore, with grand architecture boasting centuries in age. The Basilica of Our Lady Of The Mount, also known colloquially as Mount Mary’s, is one such church that is located in the suburb of Bandra.
Honestly there is a lot more that Mumbai has to offer. While vintage things of Mumbai keeps charming us, every now and then, something new pops up in the city getting us all amused and excited. That is Mumbai for me. The city that never stops surprising. Mumbai meri Jaan.