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The 20 Best Places to Visit in Mumbai

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Mumbai has inspired countless songs, books, and movies, and having lived here all my life, it's not hard to see why. I can truly say there is something unique about this city, and even though I'm quite good with words, I can't describe exactly what it is.

Whether you are a tourist or here on business, if it's your first visit, you are bound to get overwhelmed. Take a deep breath, and allow me to show you the 20 best places in my hometown. Towards the end of this page, you will find information about the best time to visit and the weather in Mumbai. Enjoy!

Mumbai Skyline

Mumbai Skyline

Top 20 Tourist Spots in Mumbai

  1. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus: A railway station and world heritage site.
  2. Gateway of India: The most famous monument in Mumbai.
  3. Flora Fountain: A beautiful structure depicting the Roman Goddess, Flora.
  4. Bandra-Worli Sea Link (BWSL): India's most famous and picturesque bridge.
  5. Marine Drive: Also known as Queen's Necklace, this is a nice place to spend an evening by the sea.
  6. Siddhivinayak Temple: The most famous temple in Mumbai, dedicated to Lord Ganesh.
  7. Haji Ali Shrine: A one-of-a-kind shrine located in a small island off Worli bay.
  8. Mount Mary Church, Bandra: The most famous church in Mumbai.
  9. Jehangir Art Gallery: A gallery showing many masterpieces by both established and budding artists.
  10. National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA): You'll be amazed by the variety of statues and artefacts here.
  11. Asiatic Library: The oldest library in India, full of rare pieces of literature.
  12. Mani Bhavan: This is a must-visit destination to see the life and times of Mahatma Gandhi.
  13. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya: In my opinion, this is the best museum in the city.
  14. Chor Bazaar: A famous flea market. You never know what strange things you'll find here!
  15. Crawford Market: If you want to shop, head here for cheap items.
  16. Essel World: Your kids will love this huge amusement park.
  17. The Water Kingdom: And this huge water park!
  18. Juhu Beach: Mumbai's most famous beach, often crowded.
  19. Film City, Goregaon: Want to experience the colour of Bollywood? This is where most of the domestic shooting takes place.
  20. Dhobi Talao: A place where dirty laundry is washed out in the open (and no, this isn't a metaphor!).

Scroll down for more information about these places, complete with pictures, videos, and tips that will help you plan your visit. Be prepared to see crowds all over the place, and become part of them as you visit this amazing city!

1. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, previously called Victoria Terminus, is better known by its abbreviation, CST. It earned its status as a World Heritage site in 2004, and is one of four such sites in Maharashtra. It was built by British architect Frederick William Stevens and took ten years to complete (1887-1897).

CST is renamed after Shivaji, the famed Maratha King and Warrior of the 17th Century. Now a railway station, CST is a major hub for travelers, with trains and commuters leaving and arriving almost continuously. In all honestly, it is a nightmare to travel by train here, especially during peak hours, and especially if you are travelling in the city for the first time.

If you are a first-time visitor, I suggest you wait here for an hour or so to look at the people, have a coffee at the stall, and gain a better understanding of the life of Mumbaikars (local residents).

Fun fact: CST was prominently shown in a song sequence in the film Slumdog Millionaire, which won the Academy award in 2009.

CST—The finest example of British architecture in Mumbai.

CST—The finest example of British architecture in Mumbai.

Look at all those fascinating details!

Look at all those fascinating details!

2. Gateway of India

A visit to Mumbai is incomplete without a visit to the Gateway of India. The ravishing Taj Mahal Hotel and Taj Towers are opposite the gateway, which was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary.

Though the place is usually crowded with tourist and locals alike, it is an incomparable place to watch the sea and snap lots of photographs. If you get bored, stop in at a nearby restaurant. There are some posh restaurants on the way to the monument, but for those who don't want to spend a fortune, there are also many roadside stalls where you can grab a bite to eat. I must say that in spite of the crowds, this place is a pleasure to visit.

One more fun activity you can do here is to hop on a boat and enjoy a ride along the shore. The boat services here typically offer two types of rides—a 45-minute roundabout ride off the Mumbai coast or a ferry that takes you to Elephanta Island.

The Gateway of India is one of the most visited places in the city.

The Gateway of India is one of the most visited places in the city.

View of the Jetty From the Boat Ride

View of the Jetty From the Boat Ride

There are many such small vessels lined up, except on Mondays, which is a day off.

There are many such small vessels lined up, except on Mondays, which is a day off.

3. Flora Fountain

Flora Fountain was built by architect R. Norman and is located at Hutatma Chowk in South Mumbai. It is named after the Roman goddess, Flora.

The monument is in the middle of the road, and vehicles zip by it all day. Regular folks don't give more than a cursory look, but the structure is great and its beauty magnificent. A recent restoration has given life back to the monument.

This is a tourist spot as well a landmark. In the daytime, with regular traffic moving across, there isn't any way to stand near the monument for long, meaning you'd only be able to take photographs from a distance. If you have time on your side, however, save this spot for a late evening visit. If you do so, visit Cafe Leopold for a drink or two. Cafe Leopold is legendary in itself and is only a 15-minute walk from here.

4. Bandra-Worli Sea Link (BWSL)

The Bandra-Worli Sea Link is a cable-stayed bridge linking Central and Southern Mumbai, bringing travel time down from 60 minutes to just 7. This is the third-longest bridge in India and is fast becoming a go-to place for a long drive (or rather a short drive, I should say!).

Only four-wheelers are allowed on the bridge, so book a cab and experience this marvel. My visit was great, and it was a nice break from the bumpy streets elsewhere in the city. The government had plans to make this a tourist place, but they were scrapped due to security and safety concerns. On the other side, you have the choice of either Worli Seaface or the Bandra Reclamation Promenade for spending rest of the evening.

Ride Through This Marvel

5. Marine Drive

This c-shaped road is the most famous promenade in the city and is just over three kilometers long. Far from the hustle-bustle, you can expect some peace here. The best time to visit is before 10 am or after 5 pm, as there is no shade to save you from the scorching sunlight of midday. The promenade is famously known as the Queen's Necklace, for its sparkling appearance in the night once the street lights are lit. Many locals come here for their daily jog or walk, and this place is known to attract many couples.

There are many activities to do here. You can take a seat with your partner or friends and munch on peanuts or sip a coconut juice, or take a long walk along the promenade. On one end, there is Taraporevala aquarium, which has some rare and exotic sea creatures. For a nominal fee, I guarantee you'll take home memories to treasure forever. If you keep walking the other way, you'll be at Wankhede Stadium in 15-20 minutes.

Evening View of the Queen's Necklace

Evening View of the Queen's Necklace

6. Siddhivinayak Temple

Siddhivinayak temple is the home of Mumbai's favorite God—Ganapati, also known as Ganesh, the Elephant God. In fact, Lord Ganesh is known by a whopping 108 different names in the Hindu scriptures! He is extremely well loved, and hundreds of thousands of people visit his temple every day, including many celebrities.

As a tourist, avoid going on Tuesdays as this day is dedicated to Lord Ganesha and the number of visitors consequently rises. That being said, weekends also see a rise in traffic to the temple, so your best bet may be to visit on a weekday other than Tuesday.

As an ongoing tradition, many devotees walk all the way from their home to the temple. Some do it to get their wishes fulfilled while others do it to prove their devotion.

A View of the Temple From the Road

A View of the Temple From the Road

7. Haji Ali Shrine

Haji Ali shrine was constructed in the year 1431 and is a perfect instance of Indo-Islamic architecture. The shrine is located 500 meters from the shore of Worli Bay. I have visited many times, and it never fails to amaze me. It is a custom for devotees to offer chadar (a shawl), but be careful as most shopkeepers try to sell them for extraordinary amounts and fleece customers. Remember, it is entirely up to you to offer anything.

I believe the monsoon season makes this shrine even prettier, though sometimes the pathway gets submerged on days of high tide, and the authorities are forced to close it as a precautionary measure. After finishing your trip to the shrine, don't forget to try the Special Falooda at Haji Ali Juice Center located at the entry point. It is a treat to be savored!

Your visit will be incomplete without a trip to the nearby Mahalaxmi temple. The view of the Haji Ali dargah (shrine) from there is astounding.

Shawl Offerings Inside the Dargah

Shawl Offerings Inside the Dargah

8. Mount Mary Church, Bandra

Mount Mary Church is the most visited church in Mumbai. The impressive structure has a two spire design. The main attraction is the annual Mount Mary fair celebrated on the Sunday following the 8th of September, the Virgin Mary's birthday.

Whenever I visit the church I always end the outing with a movie at the G7 multiplex, Bandra. There is an old-world charm at this theatre, and there are seven screens, so you'll find a movie of your choice, be it Bollywood, Hollywood, or regional.

9. Jehangir Art Gallery

Founded by Sir Cowasji Jehangir and built in the year 1952, the Jehangir Art Gallery is managed and operated by the Bombay Art Society. The place is well maintained and exhibits new art pieces every week. It is a great place for art aficionados. You can also buy paintings or photographs by up-and-coming artists if they are part of an exhibition there.

This is a good location to visit before or after seeing The Gateway of India, as it is nearby. Two more places you can plan to see on the same visit are the NGMA and the Prince of Wales Museum (entries 10 and 13, below). These sites all are located within a stone's throw of each other.

Note: Entry to the Jehangir Art Gallery is free of charge.

Entrance to the Jehangir Art Gallery

Entrance to the Jehangir Art Gallery

10. National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA)

NGMA Mumbai, which opened in 1966 and is located near the Regal cinema in Colaba, is home to some of the finest works by Pablo Picasso as well as numerous artefacts and statues by other renowned artists. The collection is not huge when compared with the one at Jehangir Art Gallery, but it is impressive all the same.

The road outside the gallery has many street vendors selling cheap copies of paintings and pictures of celebrities. If you want to have a self-portrait done, you'll also find painters who can do that for you.

Note: Entry fees are Rs. 20 for Indians and Rs. 500 for foreigners. It is a shame that many monuments and places of interest all over India have this differential pricing. This needs to be stopped!

Sculpture Garden at the NGMA

Sculpture Garden at the NGMA

11. Asiatic Library

This is a place for bookworms, but I recommend it for all. It is located in the Fort area close to the Gateway of India.

The library has a collection of rare books and a huge collection of coins. You can find several enthusiasts and numismatic experts here. Even more than its incredible collections, I like the design of the building, which gives an impression of royal eloquence.

Grand Staircase Outside the Asiatic Library

Grand Staircase Outside the Asiatic Library

12. Mani Bhavan

This was Mahatma Gandhi's place of residence when he was in Mumbai and was owned by Revashankar Jagjeevan Jhaveri, Gandhi's host and companion. This is a historical place where Gandhiji started the idea of Satyagraha and the Non-Cooperation movement to name just a couple. Today, it is a memorial to Gandhi and is open to visitors.

Many foreign heads of state and officials have come here to pay homage to the Mahatma. I am sure you'll get goosebumps when you visit this place. This two-storey building is nothing less than a museum.

The Front of Mani Bhavan

The Front of Mani Bhavan

Former US President Barack Obama in Gandhi's Room at Mani Bhavan

Former US President Barack Obama in Gandhi's Room at Mani Bhavan

13. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (Previously the Prince of Wales Museum)

This museum has a wide variety of artefacts, rare manuscripts, and Tibetan and Nepali art, all arranged with dedicated sections.

When it comes to museums, the CSMVS is one of the best in all of India, and certainly the best in Mumbai. A long list of statues and paintings are on display here. The prime attractions is the Dancing Krishna statue, but there are also Buddha statues, a Bahubali statue, and many other sculptures and paintings from all over the world. For the shopaholics, there is a store where you can pick up unique products from home decor and gift items to apparel.

The museum is only one kilometer away from Gateway of India.

The museum is only one kilometer away from Gateway of India.

Slideshow of Sculptures & Paintings at the CSMVS

14. Chor Bazaar

Chor Bazaar—or the Thief Market—is the largest flea market in India. Many people come here to get good bargains on both new and secondhand products. The specialties of this market are its antiques and historical items. The most prized possession that I was able to buy here was a specially crafted chess set. I purchased it for the throwaway price of Rs. 500, and when I checked online for a similar set, I found some worth more than Rs. 20,000! You can find some rare items if you have an eye for it.

If you are a foreigner, try to go with a guide or local person or else the sellers will rip you off. Don't forget to haggle if you are buying anything. On Friday, there is a huge rush as many hawkers and vendors set shop at the market with their merchandise.

One of the many shops at Chor Bazaar. The area where this market is located is known as Do Taaki.

One of the many shops at Chor Bazaar. The area where this market is located is known as Do Taaki.

15. Crawford Market (Officially Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Mandai)

Just opposite the Police Headquarters is the Crawford market, which has a huge pet store on one end and food, cosmetic, household, and gift items on the other.

If you want to buy clothes, head to Fashion Street (FS) which is 3.5km from here. It goes without saying that bargaining is allowed here, and you must use it to your fullest advantage. FS also has some electronic shops. Be careful when buying from them as most mobile phones etc. will be secondhand and knockoff items.

16. Essel World

Essel World is the first and largest amusement park in India, and with over 30 major rides, it is a decent place to spend the weekend.

There is something for everyone here, including rides for your kids as well as for adults. When I visited with our office colleagues I liked the Thunder (the scariest ride in the park, it takes you upside down!) and the Aquadive, which drops you in a pool of water at the end.

Enterprise whirls up and down giving the rider a 90 degree flip.

Enterprise whirls up and down giving the rider a 90 degree flip.

17. Water Kingdom

Alongside Essel World is Water Kingdom, which has amazing rides and spectacular slides.

Water Kingdom, Mumbai

Water Kingdom, Mumbai

18. Juhu Beach

A visit to Juhu beach leaves one refreshed and invigorated. In the morning, you will always find people doing their regular exercise here, from yoga to a walk along the seafront. You never know, if you're lucky you might just spot a Bollywood/TV actor!

Weekends are always crowded with scores of Mumbaikars coming with their friends and families. In fact, this might be the most crowded beach in India. There are various street food stalls which serve all kinds of delicious snacks.

19. Film City, Goregaon

This is where many Bollywood films are shot. Most of the movies and TV shows that are produced in India come from here.

There are many specialised tour packages offered by travel companies that are known as Bollywood tours. Basically what they do is arrange a vehicle, take you inside the film city, and allow you to experience a live film shooting sequence. But if you prefer, you can do the same all by yourself without a guide.

Ongoing Shooting Sequence of a Hindi Movie

Ongoing Shooting Sequence of a Hindi Movie

20. Dhobi Talao

You may have heard about Mumbai's dabbawala (lunchbox delivery men), but we also have dhobiwala (laundrymen). At the Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat, a huge workforce of 500-700 people wash clothes from different parts of the city. Combined, they wash 1 million clothes each day, making this the largest open-air laundry in the world. Like the dabbawalas, they make use of a coding system to organize clothes.

The washing is still done the old-school way here, but more and more machines are taking over. You can do a 30-minute guided tour for Rs. 200 for a group of four. The guide will take you inside the washing area and explain how all the different sections work. Absolutely worth the money, in my opinion.

The Vast Premises of Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat

The Vast Premises of Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat

Inside the Dhobi Ghat

Hours and Admission

NameOpen/Close TimingsTicket Price

1. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

Open 24/7

Free

2. Gateway of India

Open 24/7 / Ferry to Elephanta closed on Monday

Free / Ferry tickets from Rs. 70 to Rs. 120

3. Flora Fountain

Open 24/7

Free

4. Bandra-Worli Sea Link (BWSL)

Open 24/7

Rs. 60 toll per car

5. Marine Drive

Open 24/7

Free

6. Siddhivinayak Temple

6 AM to 8 PM on all days

Free

7. Haji Ali Shrine

6 AM to 10 PM on all days

Free

8. Mount Mary Church

Weekdays: 8 AM to 1 PM / 2 PM to 8. 30, For Sunday: 10.30 AM to 8.30 PM

Free

9. Jehangir Art Gallery

11 AM to 7 PM on all days

Free

10. NGMA

11 AM to 6 PM Closed on Monday

Indian: Rs. 20 / Students till Std. 12th with ID : Free / Foreigners: Rs. 500

11. Asiatic Library

10 AM to 5 PM Closed on Sunday

Free

12. Mani Bhavan

9:30 AM to 5:30 PM on all days (library closed on 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month)

Free (but donations are welcome)

13. CSMVS Museum

10.15 AM to 6 PM on all days

Indian: Rs. 85 / Students till Std. 12th with ID : 20 / Foreigners: Rs. 500

14. Chor Bazaar

9 AM to 9 PM / On Friday market day 4 AM to 9 PM

Free

15. Crawford Market

9 AM to 9 PM

Free

16. Essel World

Weekdays: 10 AM to 7 PM / Sat-Sunday: 10 AM to 8 PM

Adult: Rs. 885 / Child: 649

17. Water Kingdom

Weekdays: 10 AM to 7 PM / Sat-Sunday: 10 AM to 8 PM

Adult: 920 / Child: 649

18. Juhu Beach

Open 24/7

Free

19. Film City

9 AM to 11 PM

Free

20. Dhobi Talao

9 AM to 5 PM

Free / Rs. 200 for guided tour for a group of 4

How to Cover More Places in Less Time

Here are my best tips and recommendations for how to get the most out of each day you spend in Mumbai. The following itineraries are listed in no particular order, so if you don't have five days to spend in the city, simply pick whichever one appeals to you.

Day One:

  • Start your day at CST station.
  • Take a cab to the Gateway of India.
  • After exploring the place, visit some of the other places nearby. These are the CSMVS (formerly the Prince of Wales Museum), NGMA, Jehangir art gallery, and Asiatic library.
  • If you still have some steam left, Flora Fountain is a lovely way to end the day.
  • The second option is, after the Gateway, take a boat ride and visit Elephanta island. Visiting Elephanta takes at least 4-6 hours.

Day Two:

  • Take a ride on the Bandra-Worli Sea Link.
  • Get down at Worli Seaface, and after spending some time there, head to Haji Ali and Mahalaxmi temple.
  • Dhobi ghat is near Mahalaxmi railway station, so don't miss a visit there.
  • You can end your day by seeking blessings at the Siddhivinayak temple.

Day Three:

  • Mount Mary Church and Juhu Beach are easily done in 3-5 hours. Visit these in the morning.
  • Visit Marine drive and Taraporewala aquarium later in the day.

Day Four:

  • Start your day early and go to Global Vipassana Pagoda, a meditation hall dedicated to the teachings of Gautam Buddha.
  • You'll need the whole rest of the day to visit Essel World and Water Kingdom. These parks are so huge you'll be too tired for any other activity afterward.

Day Five:

  • If you want, you can also take a full-day Mumbai city tour with a leading travel operator.

Best Time to Visit Mumbai

The weather is more or less the same year round, though monsoon season starts in June/July and lasts until September/October. The best time to visit would be from August to March.

Cultural festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi and Navratri occur in August and September, during which time the whole fabric of Mumbai changes. All through the city, various small and large pandals (temporary structures) come up at every other by lane. For a tourist, it is fascinating to witness these celebrations, as they are unlike any other!

Ganesh Chaturthi Celebration

Ganesh Chaturthi Celebration

Historical Weather Data of Year 2017 (Source:www.intellicast.com) All Data in Celsius

MonthAverage LowAverage High

January

19°

30°

February

20°

30°

March

23°

31°

April

25°

32°

May

27°

33°

June

26°

32°

July

25°

30°

August

25°

30°

September

25°

31°

October

25°

33°

November

23°

33°

December

21°

32°

Modes of Transport in Mumbai

There are various types of transportation that you can use while in the city, including an extensive local train network. Basically, the railway lines are divided into three subsections—Central, Western, and Harbor line. We also have a metro line in the suburbs that runs from Andheri to Versova. Moreover, there are at least six other metro lines currently under construction which will cover all parts of the city.

State transport buses also have a network throughout the city. Auto-rickshaws and taxis can be used for small distance journey. Apart from these, you can book with online cab companies like Ola or Uber for comfy rides around the city.

Interesting Facts About Mumbai

Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra, the business/financial capital of India, and the second most populous city in the world after Shanghai, China.

  • Population : 13,830,884 (est. 2011).
  • Population density: 22,937/km² (22,937 people are crammed in each square kilometer!)
  • Area: 603 km²
  • Mumbai contributes five percent of GDP, 25 % Industrial output, 70 % Maritime trade, and 70 % of capital transactions to India's Economy.
  • Mumbai is the entertainment capital of India and home to Bollywood

Video: Mumbai Travel Guide

Routes and Directions

© 2010 Aarav

Comments

Rohit on July 10, 2019:

Nice article. If you are looking for kids place then kidzania mumbai is great place to take your kids

Amita on July 09, 2019:

Awesome Blog.

Mohan Babu from Chennai, India on April 15, 2019:

Great article Kannan about the ever energetic Mumbai city. Though i visit Mumbai only occasionally on work, I am glad i have covered over ten places in your list.

Mohit Ochani from Mumbai, India on January 18, 2019:

Wow, nice info about the places to visit in Mumbai. I lives in Mumbai and visited most of the places listed above. Red Carpet wax Museum and Snow Kingdom In Mumbai are also amazing places to visit in Mumbai.

Ashutosh Tiwari from Lucknow, India on December 12, 2013:

@kannanwrites Nicely done with pictures it became very easy to go through the topic. Hey ! I have written in detail about Marine Drive , if you are interested in finding out more do visit my HUB.

Aarav (author) from Mumbai on December 07, 2013:

@sunil Thanks for reading and it feels nice that it helps. Also I would be adding some more photographs from my personal collection very soon

Sunil Kumar Kunnoth from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on December 07, 2013:

Wonderful information. Thank you for sharing such a useful hub for the benefit of travel folks.

Seiboi Misao from India on August 14, 2013:

Nice pics...reminds the good time I spent there.

Minal on March 21, 2013:

I am a Mumbaikar.

I liked this site's way of presentation.

Susan from India on January 22, 2013:

Well written and a great hub this is.

CJamesIII from Minneapolis, MN on February 11, 2012:

Great hub! I have some friends from Mumbai. If I ever get there, I will visit some of these sites, especially the art galleries and museums!

rebootsystem from Mumbai on January 16, 2012:

I am a mumbai lover.I have been living in this city since 1985 and I never thought to move from here...

Nidhi Singh from Austin on April 21, 2011:

I am from bombay and i complete love that place! great hub:)

flinpeterson from India on March 07, 2011:

nice hub. good to know about the Weather data.

cazorla on January 17, 2011:

wonderfully informative article.