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The best of Mumbai
Looking for the best things to do in Mumbai? Let us tell you, it isn’t called Maximum City for nothing – it’s full-on! Formerly known as Bombay, every corner of this city is crammed with something to explore. Roadside stalls and fine dining fusion will tickle your taste buds while people-watching everyone from Bollywood starlets to rickshaw drivers will captivate your imagination. Shopping rivals cricket as the sport of choice; you’ll find the most exquisite bejeweled sarees, antique treasures and funky artworks down tiny alleyways. Whether you have one day or one year, you’ll never be bored in Mumbai. Only in Mumbai: Imagica, spread over 130 acres, is the biggest theme park in India and has hosted over 3.5 million visitors. Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList and tag @TimeOutEverywhere. Find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world.
Mumbai’s nightlife scene is a diverse one, replete with clubs, bars, performance spaces and even restaurants that turn into something slightly different when the sun goes down. Here, we concentrate on the best bars and pubs in Mumbai. Given their proximity to popular work districts, these spots are packed with office-goers throughout the week. The city is now also home to a rising number of breweries and taprooms that are drawing enthusiastic hop heads of all kinds. And what kind of drinking scene would it be if it didn’t include the sorts of fancy cocktail bars employing bartenders that can concoct the very best Manhattan in town? Cheers!
What’s the deal with Bandra West? When in Mumbai, you simply must visit Bandra. This part of town draws in visitors with its old-meets-new charm, with conserved 17th-century architecture contrasting starkly with uber-chic cafés and to-die-for upscale restaurants. The locals may long for the good ol’ days sans busy streets, yet they still nurture a deep sense of community. If you meet any Bandra boy or girl, they’ll seem utterly convinced their area has everything you could possibly need. And once you’ve been here, you’ll most likely agree. From trendy superfood cafés to craft beer bars, streetside shopping to high-end boutiques, the chock-a-block main streets and lazy bylanes of Bandra have it all. If you only do one thing... Visit the Bandra Fort, built by the Portuguese in 1534, which offers breathtaking views of the Arabian Sea and the iconic Bandra-Worli Sea Link. Get cultured Catch an up-and-coming comic – or a veteran of the Mumbai comedy circuit – at The Cuckoo Club. A few months back, they had Aziz Ansari perform an incognito after-hours gig here three nights back to back. Go off the beaten track Photograph: Flickr / Satish Krishnamurthy From the bylanes of Chapel Road to Chuim village, Bandra’s walls make the perfect blank canvas for local graffiti artists. Grab your camera and head out on an aimless walk around the neighbourhood – you’ll come away with some brilliant snaps. Eat here Bandra is packed with students, so you can certainly eat on the cheap here. One place that attracts hordes of college-goers is old-school favourite Candies at Pali Hill, where a simple sandwich and drink costs less than $2. Elsewhere, from vegan shakes to skinny lattes, gluten-free cakes to dairy-free ice creams, Bandra’s food scene caters to everyone. If you’re into your healthy eating, then Farmer’s Café may be for you. Head to Koinonia Coffee Roasters in Chuim Village for the perfect cold brew, and Taj Mahal Tea House for an array of excellent teas and snacks in a humbly done-out setting. If you’re out late, all roads lead to Sigdi Restaurant and its moreish butter chicken rolls. Drink here Whether you’re more into your dive bars or cocktail palaces, Bandra West’s got you. For an authentic Bandra experience, visit Janta Bar at Pali Hill and team fried fish with beer, or try old school tavern The Yacht for cheap-ish drinks of all kinds. Cocktail lovers should head to The Daily for all the mixology classics. The Bandra Reclamation area offers the city’s finest brews at Doolally Taproom and Brewbot, famous for its heady dark beers. How to get to Bandra West Jump on an inner-city train heading westwards and you’ll hit Bandra station. In good weather it can fun exploring Bandra on foot, but you can also hail a rickshaw pretty much anywhere. What else is nearby? The corporate district of Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) is just a short ride away and brims with some of Mumbai’s finest restaurants. We’d also recommend a wander around the ‘fisherman’s village’ of Khar Danda near Carter Road.
Did you know that Mumbai came about from the merger of seven distinct islands? It was in the 1780s that William Hornby, then the Governor of Mumbai, initiated the reclamation process, eventually linking the seven inlets to each other. Clearly, there’s loads of history to learn about all throughout the city and what better way to discover it than by staying at one of the best hotels in Mumbai, staffed with folks that can claim insider's knowledge? Options abound: make the most of the coastal city by staying in a room that overlooks the endless Arabian seat or choose one in close proximity to the newest infrastructure projects that keep changing the local landscape. You may want to step back into the city’s colonial past by booking a stay at a 19th-century heritage hotel but, if your list of must-see sites can fill up a diary, you may want to bed down in a more centrally located property. Itching to party the night away? Find a hotel in the hip suburb of Bandra and make sure to consult our Mumbai nightlife lists, highlighting the best pubs and clubs around town. If you’re of the opinion that the journey is the destination, pick among properties that spoil you silly by catering to your every need: from piping hot cups of adrak chai at any time of the day to indulgent Ayurvedic spa treatments. Finally, consider choosing a smaller boutique property where everyone will know your name—no small feat, given the city is home to 18 million people. Talk about an array of options.
If you’re looking to travel on a budget or simply prefer to spend your cash on the city’s top restaurants, pubs and shopping destinations, consider staying at the best cheap hotels in Mumbai. We promise you, though, that here in town affordability and luxury are not mutually exclusive. Check into a pod, share space in a hostel or a guesthouse with character or opt for a beautiful boutique property. Into “experiential” travel? You can check into a slum. You read that right.
Splurge then twirl in an ornate lehenga that channels you inner Bollywood diva after shopping in Mumbai. After quieting your cravings for curry at the best restaurants and street food shacks in town, go above and beyond Mumbai’s museums (although they’re certainly worth a visit or three) and explore the city by navigating the markets, bazaars and boutiques that make up Mumbai’s shopping scene. What, exactly, are we talking about? Scour through a bustling bazaar filled with antiques and come away with deals on teak-wood tables and handcrafted grandfather clocks. Wake up in the wee hours and follow your nose to the oldest docks in Mumbai to bring home fresh prawns, Bombay duck or pomfret. Don't miss the open-air flower market where the sweet smell of roses wafts through the air. Searching for a swanky mall? We've got plenty of those too!
The best museums in Mumbai may not all be world-class wonders—although some certainly are—but, just like the city itself, they've got that little something that sets them apart. In a metropolis that's known for the kind of diversity that’s also reflected in its restaurant and street food scenes, the Nehru Centre, for example, fits in perfectly by bringing together science geeks, art enthusiasts and history buffs. Visit the Acworth Leprosy Museum that shatters commonly held myths on the disease and glimpse the city's elegant side at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, where a gorgeous heritage building houses priceless art. Not convinced yet that exploring the city’s museums is one of the best things to do in town? Read on.
Often hailed as the country’s “maximum city,” Mumbai doesn’t disappoint when it comes to dealing with taste buds. The local gastronomic scene—including the street food stalls that sustain more than half of the population—is truly impressive: expect joints serving regional gourmands and spots bringing the current “wilderness to the table” movement to culinary life. Other highlights: breezy Portuguese-Goan eateries, migrant Parsi community cafés serving crispy brun maskas (toasted buns) and the sort of traditional Indian fare that will tickle all of your senses. The best restaurants in Mumbai cater to every budget and every culinary preference. Consult our guide and pick your favourite spot to fill your belly before perusing the city’s museum and shopping scenes.
Hidden somewhere in the midst of tall skyscrapers and jam-packed shanty towns in Mumbai are swatches of green. In a city of over 18 million people, with soaring real estate prices and restaurants and pubs that draw in elite crowds, it’s relatively surprising to still be able to breeze through several parks and gardens—you’ll want to thank the tree-huggers who fight for these spaces while facing the ire of capitalists. And there are a ton of things to do while visiting the best parks in Mumbai: head to the northern fringes of the city and find a national park that is home to leopards, monkeys and snakes. Lace up your sneakers and walk through a beach-side park in the glitzy suburbs of Bandra, where you’re likely to spot a Bollywood celebrity or two. Or see how ordinary locals built a lush garden beneath a dingy fly-over to fight petty crime. Whether you’re looking for big, must-visit parks or little-known (and rarely visited) gems of green, we’ve got you covered. Read on to learn about our very own urban utopia.
Full disclaimer: this list is not solely for out-of-towners. Locals, too, will delight in our guide to the very best nightlife in Mumbai: in addition to highlighting the pubs, clubs and restaurants to flock to when the sun sets, we visit the art- and culture-related city attractions that make up the character of the city after hours. Catch a play, gaze at art, play VR games, eat a ton of delicious street food or opt for a more traditional night out on the town, filled with loads of dancing and drinking. Whatever it is that you are craving, Mumbai will deliver.
Mumbai’s nightlife scene is vibrant, perennially on the radar of international artists and DJs embarking on global tours. The city’s best clubs mirror said liveliness, few operating as restaurants and bars throughout the week and undergoing a makeover during gig nights and weekends. If you are looking to party in Mumbai, you’ll likely find yourself in the bustling areas of Bandra, Andheri or Lower Parel. That being said, a trip to the colonial side of the city will give you a taste of how glamourous Mumbai can get. Ready to dance the night away? The best clubs in Mumbai will astound you.
Mumbai can feel intimidating: so many cultural universes coexist within the city, each replete with its own unique history and traditions, all of which gives rise to a rich culinary tapestry. Today, Mumbai’s food scene—made up of a mix of high-end restaurants, cheap eats, street food and more—is shaped by this fusion of cultures, which includes an indigenous fishing community and the culinary secrets of century-old migrants. The hunger pangs of the immense magnitude of the crowds that take over the city, from its markets to its top attractions, can only be met by the million-strong street hawkers dishing out ubiquitous street eats. To truly experience Mumbai’s culinary scene, you’ll want to venture out and devour the very best street food that the city has to offer. Enjoy!
Did you know that each neighbourhood in the skinny island city of Mumbai boasts a government-appointed area for vegetable and fruit sellers? If it’s cupcake moulds, antique gewgaws, wedding bangles or other Indian trinkets you’re looking for, there are plenty of other markets that will come to the rescue. Because of the expensive real estate in Mumbai, in addition to the abundance of restaurants, pubs and clubs the majority of ground floors across local buildings are leased out to stores. That makes finding a dedicated space for shopping that’s not a mall something of an adventure—and we’re here to help. Very few of the best markets in Mumbai are enclosed; most are simply a cluster of shops down a street selling similar things, which effectively creates a bunch of niche shopping districts. Get ready to explore them all.
Mumbai, the financial capital of India, is a city of merchants, bankers and Bollywood dreamers. Art and culture have always played second fiddle to commerce but, over the past few years, a cultural calendar of sorts has been taking shape. In typical Indian fashion, ad hoc events abound but only a few have stuck around and turned into annual affairs, like the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival and the Mumbai Film Festival. As in the rest of India, religion plays an important role in the city’s daily life, so expect for a fair share of the best events in Mumbai to revolve around religious holidays. The common theme? Unbridled revelry played out in the streets, which means you don’t have to go too far to be in the midst of the action. Whether you’re looking for art, food, drinks, literature, theatre or just some dancing in the street, Mumbai has an event for you.