21 Things To Do In Mumbai (Bombay) India

21 Things To Do In Mumbai

Mumbai, or Bombay, is India’s answer to Hollywood – a city of dreams and also a city of contrasts.  A city of rich and poor, inspiration and desperation, modern and traditional, glamour and squalor, old and new. Not surprisingly for such a vibrant city there are so many things to do in Mumbai, this is a city that even after visiting 3 times, I still find endlessly fascinating.

Welcome to Mumbai – A City of Dreams

My first visit to Mumbai, and to India, two years ago, was a complete culture shock but this city has grown to be my favourite metropolis in India – a dynamic, frenetic, cosmopolitan city that you must experience.

I love this crazily captivating, buzzing, inspiring, ambitious, city of dreams. Crowded Mumbai is a beautiful mess, among the grand, crumbling colonial buildings and the slums and shacks I feel so alive in Mumbai. 

Here’s 21 Things to Do in Mumbai.

#1 One of the most essential things to do in Mumbai is to start your exploration of Mumbai in old, colonial Bombay, visit Colaba and know that you have truly arrived in Mumbai when you see it’s iconic Gateway of India

gateway of india is a must do things to do in mumbai
Mumbai’s landmark – the Gateway of India

 

#2 While at the Gateway of India escape the crowds and savour afternoon tea at the grand Taj Palace Hotel

taj palace hotel
Mumbai’s famous Taj Palace Hotel

 

#3 Another one of the best things to do in Mumbai is to visit Elephanta Island. From the Gateway of India  you can take a boat out to Elephanta Island and marvel at the ancient rock cut cave temples

Elephanta Caves, Mumbai
Temples carved out of the rocks at Elephanta Island

 

#4 Wander around the Fort area and admire the interesting architectural styles of some of the other crumbling but beautiful colonial buildings, relics of the British Empire. Try the area around Flora Fountain, and The Mumbai High Court and University of Mumbai. For some interesting ‘Then and Now’photos of colonial Bombay see here. 

colonial arches
Looking through the arches of Victoria Terminus to the Mumbai Municipal Corporation – a fine example of colonial architecture

 

#5 The most stunning example of colonial architecture has to be the majestic, UNESCO listed Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly known at Victoria Terminus, one of the busiest train stations in the world – be ready to fight your way onto the trains during rush hour!

mumbai-cst things to do in mumbai
UNESCO listed Chhatrapati Shivaji Train Station

 

#6 On weekdays you can witness the amazing Dabbawallahs use the crowded commuter trains to deliver over 200,000 home cooked lunches downtown every day. You can see how this ingenious system works in this video.

Mumbai Dabbawala or Tiffin Wallahs: 200,000 Tiffin Boxes Delivered Per Day
Mumbai Dabbawalas delivering home cooked lunches

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21 Things to do in Mumbai (Bombay) India

#7 While in the area you can learn more by visiting Mumbai biggest and best art and history museum – The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum located in a heritage building (formerly called the Prince of Wales Museum)

Formerly Prince of Wales Museum of Mumbai
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum (formerly the Prince of Wales Museum)

 

#8 Or just hang around Colaba and you may be asked to make your acting debut  in a Bollywood Movie!

bollywood movie poster
Foreigners are often needed as extras in Mumbai’s huge Bollywood film industry

 

#9 Mumbai is a shoppers paradise but shun the new modern malls to explore the markets and bazaars around historic Crawford Market. 

Crawford Market mumbai
Haggle for goods inside historic Crawford Market

 

#10 If art is more your thing then check out the National gallery of Modern Art and the free Jehangir Art Gallery – pick up some bargians from aspiring artists for sale outside.

Art outside Jehangir Art Gallery

 

#11 Learn more about the city of Mumbai in the beautiful heritage building of the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum or learn more about Gandhi and the Indian independence movements at the free Mani Bhavan Museum

mumbai museum
The beautiful interior of the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum

 

#12 If the cause is dry and the tide is not too high, pay a visit to the island like Haji Ali Mosque

haji ali mosque
The Haji Ali Mosque

 

#13 And nearby, see laundry done the traditional way at Dhobi Ghat (a good viewing point is from the bridge just outside Mahalaxmi station)

dhobi ghat 2
Contrasts between modern skyscrapers and laundry done the traditional way at Dhobi Ghat

 

#14 Get a breath of fresh air in the largest park in the world locating with the city’s limits –  the Sanjay Gandhi National Park where you can hike, explore caves, lakes and waterfalls and spot birdlife and animals on a safari.

things to do in mumbai Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Looking back over Mumbai from Sanjay Gandhi National Park

 

#15 If the city is all too much for you then help meditation find your inner peace in the golden Global Vipassana Pagoda which is so big it can hold 8,000 people.

global-vipassana-pagoda-mumbai
Mumbai’s Global Vipassana Pagoda

 

#16 Change your perceptions on poverty by visiting Dharavi Slum

Dharavi on Medium Format
Dharavi Slum is not as depressing as you might think

 

#17 Head over to Malabar Hill and check out the Hanging Gardens , watch pilgrims bathing in Banganga tank and take in great views over Chowpatty.

malabar hill
Views from Malabar Hill

 

#18 Another one of the essential things to do in Mumbai is to end the day by joining the masses to try street food on Chowpatty Beach, people watch and take in the beautiful big red sunsets

sunset on chowpatty beach mumbai
a hazy sunset and a candy floss seller on chowpatty beach

 

#19 Take a evening stroll along Marine Drive also known as the ‘Queens Necklace’

Marine Drive
The lights of Marine Drive

 

#20 Catch a Bollywood movie at the art deco style, historic Eros Cinema by Churchgate Station

eros
The historic, art deco Eros cinema

 

#21 Or for something a bit swisher enjoy a cocktail with a view at Aer Bar at the 4 Seasons Hotel

Four Seasons, Mumbai - Bar - AER
Amazing views from Aer Bar

There are so many things to do in this vibrant city. Mumbai is a city full of dreams but also full of contrasts. Just enjoy the street life and explore this buzzing city!

Read More: Best Backpacker Hostels in Mumbai,

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21 Things to do in Mumbai (Bombay) India

What is your favourite thing to do in Mumbai? Do you have any more tips?

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25 comments

Lianne Bronzo December 30, 2015 at 7:11 pm

Great suggestion! Our Couchsurfing host took us to the vipassana center. Apparently, some of Buddha’s ashes are on the tippy top of the impressive monument. I recently registered for a vipassana course in Malaysia. Looking forward to it.
Riding the trains in Mumbai was an adventure itself!

Reply
Anna January 7, 2016 at 7:12 am

Oh cool, glad you made it there and thanks, I didn’t know about the Buddha’s ashes! Hope you enjoy your course in Malaysia and yes, riding the trains in Mumbai is an adventure alone – I love this buzzing city! 🙂

Reply
Tiffin Services Mumbai March 11, 2016 at 12:44 pm

Absolutely Great suggestion! Mumbai is always great.

Reply
Anna March 14, 2016 at 11:32 am

Thank you 🙂 Yes, I love Mumbai it’s such an exciting, buzzing city!

Reply
Matthew July 20, 2016 at 3:48 am

Thanks for sharing! I’m visiting Mumbai in October. You provided some great ideas.

Reply
Anna July 21, 2016 at 11:02 pm

Hi Matt! That’s great, so glad it helped and hope you enjoy your time in Mumbai 🙂

Reply
Liz P January 7, 2017 at 3:28 pm

Thank you, another great itinerary, I did not know about the Elephanta Island.
We used your suggestions to plan our trip for Goa (concluded yesterday) so many thanks!

Reply
Anna February 3, 2017 at 4:54 pm

Hi Liz

Thanks so much, glad it was useful for you! Hope you had a great time 🙂

Reply
Sanhita September 25, 2017 at 7:23 am

Hi Anna,
I loved your post! Undoubtedly, Mumbai offers a lot of cool activities to do, but this comprised list of 21 activities is just amazing, well done!
Since you have mentioned about visiting Haji Ali Mosque (which is one of my favorite places as well), I would like to know if you enjoyed Qawali music sessions at this elegant place?
Also, I would like to suggest you to must try Cutting Chai(Tea) in Mumbai monsoons. Chai in rainy season gives you a feeling that is out of the world – You’ll be able to relate more if you’re a tea lover like me! 🙂

Reply
Tanya February 12, 2018 at 7:15 pm

Awesome post. Thanks for sharing such amazing ideas and locations.

Reply
Pranjal Singh April 14, 2018 at 8:36 am

Wow! I would love to go there…
Great work, putting all of it together.

Reply
Anna May 13, 2018 at 7:44 pm

Thank you 🙂

Reply
shweta August 23, 2018 at 7:59 am

Mumbai, the unstoppable city is an energetic city with an undying spirit. It has lots of interesting places and amazing things to do in its varied places. Munching on Bhel Puri on the Juhu Chowpatty is one of the best things to do in Mumbai. Rest you have appreciably covered everything on Mumbai city.

Reply
Anna August 23, 2018 at 10:59 pm

Thanks for the tips 🙂 glad you liked the post 🙂

Reply
Karan Patel October 2, 2018 at 8:14 pm

It is fabulous and very helpful to make excursion of mumbai,mesmerizing.

Reply
Mark October 20, 2018 at 9:48 am

Great compilation about the city of Mumbai. Really informative for first time visitors to the city. There is a place in the city called Madh island which is away from the chaos of the city. Here there are many beaches, hotels and resorts where people can come and relax.

Reply
Anna November 10, 2018 at 10:46 pm

Thanks for the tips Mark and great to hear you liked the article

Reply
Brian January 2, 2019 at 12:36 am

Don’t do #3, that’s a waste of time as it needs to long to get there!

Reply
Anna April 21, 2019 at 3:13 pm

I thought that was part of the fun – taking the boat and the amazing views back over Apollo Bunder! 🙂

Reply
Mohit Ochani February 28, 2019 at 10:06 am

Welcome to see the wax sculptures of famous personalities and legends to one and only one Red Carpet Wax Museum in Mumbai. Bringing the concept into reality needs courage and passion and here we can go through the work. Visit Red Carpet with your family, friends or kids to have fun. It is one of the best things to do in Mumbai.

Reply
Meet Saxena April 19, 2019 at 10:15 am

Mumbai is always fun whenever you visit it, except Monsoon. You never get bored over there and yes Aer Bar is one of the most amazing bar in Mumbai.

Reply
Trek Kashmir April 27, 2019 at 5:43 am

Helpful article to explore Mumbai.

Reply
Manish March 4, 2020 at 6:27 am

Mumbai is my favorite place to visit in India, it has both historic and modern era to see and I am agreed with the points you have mentioned in the blog.

Reply
Ashish Bharadwaj June 13, 2020 at 8:28 am

Mumbai is Great city. It Has Various Aspect of life. Starting From Largest Slum of Asia in Dharavi and Top End till Cuffparade , Bandra and Many More Area. It has been centre of Indian cinema , Stock Market , Economic Capital of Country. You Need Many Many times to visit to understand it and have a close look. I Had really hard experience when i visited the 1st time but slowly slowly while visiting few more times i realized that it has so much to explore

Reply

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