Maximum City, City of Dreams - just some of the names given to Mumbai, a bewildering and overwhelming city for most first-time visitors. The largest metropolitan city of India is crowded, buzzing, and vibrant. Cosmopolitan in nature, the city is an exciting mix of local culture, history, and western lifestyle. A melting pot thanks to having been the mecca for migrants across the country, the city reflects this in its heritage and food. To experience the true essence of the city, take the time to explore its varied attractions that include ancient forts, religious monuments, historical buildings, and swanky bars/restaurants. If you are keen to get started in exploring this fascinating city, here is a list of things Mumbai is famous for. These are simply unmissable, along with the list of the top Airbnb vacation rentals and heritage hotels in the city, so read on!
1. Admire the beauty of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel
One of the architectural triumphs that Mumbai has to offer is the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. This heritage and luxury hotel is named after the iconic Taj Mahal in faraway Agra. The building opened to the public in December 1903 and was built following the Saracenic Revival style. The structure has had its fair share of colorful history. It was used as a military hospital during World War I, and in 2008, it was a target of the Mumbai attacks. The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is India’s first building to have intellectual property rights for its architectural design.
Taj Mahal Palace Hotel
Address: Apollo Bandar, Colaba, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001, India
Website: Taj Mahal Palace Hotel
2. Visit the quaint shops of Hill Road
If shopping is one of your favorite activities on vacation, you must not miss the affordable and stylish shops offered on Hill Road in Bandra West. This shopper’s haven has it all, from clothing to homewares to seasonal delicacies. Locals say the best time to visit the market is at the end of the year when there are countless offers and deals during the holiday season. Going on a food tour here will not disappoint, too, as there are plenty of food kiosks and roving stalls that serve some of the best and budget-friendly Indian food.
Address: Bandra West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400050, India
3. Walk along the beautiful promenades
Mumbai being a city along the beautiful Konkan coast of the Indian subcontinent has plenty of natural harbors that have been lined with promenades. These walkways with spectacular views of the water have been popular among tourists. Bandstand Promenade in the neighborhood of Bandra serves as a park and a jogging path for visitors. There is an amphitheater on-site that hosts Mumbai Festival and Celebrate Bandra. The Artist’s Court on this promenade is another performance venue for local jam sessions and sing-alongs.
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4. Get to know the Economic Hub of India
If there’s one moniker Mumbai is already known for, it has got to be the “Economic Hub of India.” The city serves as India’s center for the fashion, commercial, and entertainment industries and is the wealthiest in the country. Mumbai is home to various significant financial institutions like the National Stock Exchange, Bombay Stock Exchange, and Reserve Bank of India. This spirited city is responsible for approximately 6.16% of India’s economy with contributions of 30% income tax collections, 40% of foreign trade, and 60% of customs duty collections of the country.
5. Join the Ganesh Chaturthi festivities
One of the highly celebrated festivals in Mumbai (and all of India!) is Ganesh Chaturthi. This Hindu festivity celebrates the famous elephant-headed deity Ganesh’s arrival on earth. Ganesh is considered the god of wisdom and prosperity. The festival lasts for about 10 days during the months of Bhadrapada. It may be celebrated in public or at various temples by local communities or simply at home, where families will display small statues of Ganesh for worship. The statues are also carried in a procession and later immersed in a river or the ocean. Approximately 150,000 statues of Lord Ganesh are immersed in Mumbai every year.
Spend some time exploring the incredible street markets of Mumbai for a riveting experience. This guided tour will help you get a taste of shopping like a local in some of the unique markets of Mumbai. You will visit a market dedicated to flowers, the aromatic Phool Gully, then a well-known flea market, followed by the mammoth Crawford Market and finally the famed Colaba Causeway where you can buy cool souvenirs, trinkets, jewellery and handicrafts. Lasting for around six hours, the tour offers a break from the regular sightseeing to explore a different side of Mumbai.
Shopping and Bazaar trail in Mumbai
Duration: 6 hours
One of India’s iconic monuments Gateway of India is on the waterfront in South Mumbai, overlooking the Arabian Sea. Built in 1911 to commemorate the landing of King-Emperor George V and Queen-Empress Mary, it is today a popular gathering spot for locals. Walk around marvelling at the structure and enjoy sea views from the parapets around. You can go out to the sea on a ferry here, or even visit the famed Elephanta Caves that are a short ferry ride away.
Private Mumbai Sightseeing Tour
Duration: 5 hours
‘Bollywood’ is the term given to India’s thriving Hindi movie industry that is centred in Mumbai. Bollywood movies have long-held fascination not only for Indians but also others who are taken in by its vibrant and energetic style. Get a close look at this famous thing in Mumbai with a tour that will take you behind the scenes. While some tours focus on live shooting, others take you around key facilities. Consider taking the Viator guided tour of one of the major studios.
Mumbai Bollywood Private Half-Day Tour Including Lunch
Duration: 5 hours
9. Admire the views at Marine Drive
This 3km (1.8 mi) concrete road/pathway along the Arabian Sea links Nariman Point to Malabar Hill. Curved in a C-shape along a natural bay, the promenade is a very popular spot to enjoy the sea breeze and witness spectacular sunsets. Spend an evening walking here taking in the sights of the locals chilling, the street food vendors and sparkling views of the sea. A great way to enjoy the spectacle is to have dinner at one of the many sea-facing restaurants that line the road, giving you an opportunity to see why Marine Drive is also called the Queen’s Necklace (street lights along the drive look like pearls on a necklace!)
Website: Marine Drive
Opening hours: 24/7
In India, it is Mumbai that’s known as the city that never sleeps. Rightly famous for its nightlife, Mumbai has an incredible range of fun things to experience. There are buzzing dance bars and live music bars, karaoke bars, lounges with magnificent views of the city or the city, cool beaches with street food, just take your pick. If you are looking for something offbeat to do, then consider midnight cycling tours and even sailing trips that are on offer.
Mumbai by Night
Duration: 6 hours
There are several must-visit ‘khau gallis’ or 'food streets’ in Mumbai, and among the most well-known ones is Mohammed Ali Road, which is an essential stop for meat-lovers. Particularly during the month of Ramadan, this street offers a mindboggling range of Mughlai/Tandoori and North Indian food, plus of course scrumptious desserts. Beware, the area can get crowded and don’t expect posh facilities.
Mumbai Street Food-Tasting Evening Tour
Duration: 3 hours
12. Spend a fun evening at the Juhu Beach
One of the most famous beaches of India, this 6-km(3.8 mi) long beach is a tourist hotspot in Mumbai with its lively vibe. Juhu not only gives you scenic views and beautiful sunsets, but you also get to enjoy a whole plethora of local street delicacies. Additionally, you’ll find numerous fun (and cheesy) activities you can try out including horse carriage rides! Expect substantial crowds during weekends and public holidays at this famous Mumbai attraction.
Juhu Chowpatty Beach
Address: Juhu Tara Rd, JVPD Scheme, Juhu, Mumbai
Website: Juhu Chowpatty Beach
Opening hours: 24/7
13. Enjoy a quiet walk down Worli Sea Face
This 2-km (1.2 mi) long promenade in South Mumbai along the Arabian Sea is yet another popular spot to enjoy sea views. Quieter than other sea-facing promenades in Mumbai, this is the perfect place for a relaxing evening. Most of it adjoins one of poshest residential areas of Mumbai, nonetheless, you’ll find several restaurants/cafes facing the sea if you want to have a meal with a view. Must-visit attractions easily accessible from here include the Bandra-Worli Sea Link and the unique mosque out at sea, Haji Ali Dargah.
Worli Sea Face
Address: Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan Road, Worli Sea Face, Worli, Mumbai
Website: Worli Sea Face
Opening hours: 24/7
Asia’s largest slum, Dharavi made popular by the movie Slumdog Millionaire is a teeming settlement that is not just about poverty, but also about optimism and human ingenuity. Cramming nearly 700,000 people into just 520 acres (210 hectares), within the slum, you’ll find medical facilities, educational institutions, small-scale business enterprises, and of course homes. Walking through it gives a new perspective of the human spirit! Several companies offer tours of Dharavi, with many having Dharavi residents as guides so you get insider insights into living there.
Dharavi Slum Small-Group Walking Tour in Mumbai
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
Built by the Portuguese in 1640, Bandra Fort, a.k.a Castella de Aguada is located at Land’s End in tony Bandra overlooking Mahim Bay. The fort is popular for its fabulous views of the beautiful Bandra-Worli Sea Link and of the unending sea stretching on three sides. Given its elevation (24m/ 79ft), sunsets here are particularly spectacular. If you are so inclined you can check out several celebrity houses’ that are located in the near vicinity, as well as the popular church Mount Mary Church.
Mumbai Private City Day Tour with Dhobi Ghat, Gateway of India
Duration: 8 hours
Savour the city's rich culture
One of the most exciting experiences of Mumbai is exploring the different food experiences offered by the city. Step outside your comfort zone and try out the local delicacies you find in street food stalls and restaurants, you won’t regret it. Ask advice from someone local to find out which ones are safest and will appeal most to you.
Frequently asked questions about things Mumbai is famous for
1. What are the top attractions to visit in Mumbai?
If you are all about visiting the iconic places Mumbai is known for, make sure that you do not miss the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, the Gateway of India, Marine Drive, and Juhu Beach.
2. What are the best outdoor activities in Mumbai?
Some of the best outdoor activities that you can do in Mumbai are tasting the lip-smacking street food on Mohammed Ali Road, sightseeing at the massive Gateway of India, and trinket-shopping in Colaba Causeway Market.
3. What are the most popular places to visit in Mumbai with a group?
The quaint shops of Hill Road, the beautiful promenades, the walkways of Marine Drive, and the beauty of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel are some of the must-not-miss for those who are visiting Mumbai with a group.
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