10 offbeat things to do in Mumbai

There's more things to do in Mumbai than just the Gateway of India.

24 October 2020 / Jonny S. / Mumbai

As the largest city in India, it’s unsurprising that there are a ton of things to do in Mumbai for tourists to get their teeth into… and that’s not just a reference to the myriad culinary delights that India has to offer.

From taking a stroll down Marine Drive to passing through the Gate of India to visiting the Global Vipassana Pagoda, Mumbai’s bucket list is as long as even the lengthiest of arms.

Having said that, repeat travellers to the city – or those simply in search of something a little bit off the beaten track – might appreciate a slightly more skew-whiff take on the things to do in Mumbai. Try these 10 suggestions on for size.

Marvel at Bandra’s street art

things to do in Mumbai - graffiti
Graffiti in Bandra, Mumbai

Bandra is one of Mumbai’s most vibrant neighbourhoods. It's packed full of up-and-coming cafes and restaurants, but for foreigners in the city, the biggest draw is its incredible street art culture.

With graffiti depicting everything from Bollywood stars to social pastiches, there’s a rich variety of content and colour on show, making a stroll around the district a rewarding experience in itself. If you have even a vague interest in street art, make this one of your things to do in Mumbai. Take a look at The Wall Project for the best spots to see works.

Watch a kushti wrestling match

142 Sane Guruji Marg

things to do in Mumbia - kushti wrestling
Kushti wrestling in India

The ancient sport of Kushti (from the Iranian Koshti) is still practiced in certain hotspots (known as akharas throughout India and as talims in Maharashtra) and men still come along for a good, old-fashioned wrestle in the mud to the more popular locations.

When it comes to things to do in Mumbai, this is certainly not just a tourist trap. These akharas gyms are found across the land, but you can often watch training or matches at the Shree Laxminarayan Vyayam Shala along Arthur Road.

Go to the movies

Swami Vivekanand Marg

+91 22 2202 1017

things to do in Mumbai - cinema
The big screen in Mumbai

Go all the way to the other side of the world just to hide away in a darkened cinema? Absolutely. No one does the silver screen quite like Mumbai.

Whether it’s the rickety, ramshackle charm of Gaiety Galaxy, the art-deco splendour of the Eros Cinema or the tried and tested formula of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (which has screened Maratha Mandir every day since 1955), vintage Mumbai cinemas are sure to hit the spot. But for true movie magic, don't skip one of the screenings at the art-deco Regal Cinema in the Fort area.

This is home to Bollywood which produces far more movies than Hollywood. So why isn't it included on tourist's things to do in Mumbai?

Take a food tour

Fort area

things to do in mumbai - food
Pav bhaji cooking along Chowpatty Beach in Mumbai

While there’s more to Mumbai than morsels of mouth-watering cuisine, the gastronomy of the city certainly comprises one of its biggest assets and food is one of the best things to do in Mumbai.

Hop aboard a Mumbai food tour and awaken your taste-buds as you use the vast public transport network to flit from hotspot to hotspot, lapping up curries, crunching down chapatis and licking clean ice creams all the while. You'll also learn about Mumbai's movie background and meet the dabbawalas, the men that deliver thousands of lunches around the city.

Visit a Parsi café

11 Sport Road

+91 22 2261 5264

things to do in Mumbai
Smartly dressed waiters at Britannia & Co. in Mumbai

Once a mainstay of the city’s gastronomic scene, Irani cafes in Mumbai have fallen prey to increased competition from hipper, trendier locales, but fortunately there are still a handful of these charming hotspots dotted around the city.

As well as offering delicious Parsi cuisine, they’re also a melting pot for meeting people from every social stratum of the city. One of the most famed is the Brittannia & Co. which cooks up an excellent berry palov.

Explore the Elephanta Caves

Gharapuri

things to do in Mumbai - elephanta caves
The Elephanta Caves near Mumbai

Mumbai plays host a number of cave networks frequented by monks for centuries. The Mahakali and Kanheri Caves on the outskirts of the city centre are perhaps the most famous, but the Elephanta Caves (on aptly named Elephanta Island) are well worth the extra legwork to reach them. The ornately-carved cave temple is believed to date from the 6th century BC and dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.

You can jump on a tour of the caves, but it's easy to reach on your own. Head down to the Gateway of India jetty and jump on one of the regular ferry departures which costs around INR 150 for a return ticket.

Wander around the Dhobi Ghat

Dhobi Ghat

Dhobi Ghat - things to do in Mumbai
Drying clothes at Mumbai's Dhobi Ghat

The Dhobi Ghat is one of the largest open-air laundries in the world. To put it into context, the small district which has been washing clothes for more than 140 years cleans an estimated half a million garments every single day.

Around 200 families live and work at the Dhobi Ghat and keep Mumbaiites clothes clean through a labour-intensive yet efficient process. Most of the washing is still done by hand, before being strung up to dry, then sorted and ironed. It's a marvel to watch and one of the best places in Mumbai for photography.

A day at the races

Dr E Moses Marg

Mahalaxmi Racecourse - things to do in Mumbai - blog
A day at the races in Mumbai

If you're in Mumbai between November and April, you could spend a day watching the galloping horses at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse. the 2.5-kilometre oval track is one of the most prized in India and sees regularly weekly fixtures.

While you're there, you can have a flutter on one of the races, sip on a cold beer in the old-school race clubhouse bar or try some of the many Mumbai chaat snacks on sale why you get a closer look at the magnificent horses.

Walk through Sanjay Gandhi National Park

Borivali East

Sanjay Gandhi - blog
Two bonnet macaque monkeys at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park

Sanjay Gandhi is impressive, particularly being a national park so close to the urban metropolis of Mumbai. In fact, it's the world's largest national park within a city and occupies an area of almost 90 square kilometres.

The best way to experience the forested national park is on foot. You'll find a surprising number of flora and fauna including 35 species of mammal, 170 species of butterfly and almost 300 species of birds. Just remember to bring your binoculars.

Explore Kotachi Wadi

Girgaon

Khotachi Wadi Mumbai - blog
A colourful home in Kotachi Wadi in Mumbai

You can escape from the chaos of the city by visiting Kotachi Wadi in South Mumbai. The tiny village within the city is more than two centuries old and its streets are lined with pastel-coloured Portuguese architecture.

The peaceful spot is just a short walk from Charni Road station near Chowpatty Beach, so it's easy to reach from where most stay in Mumbai. While you are there, try some excellent Goan cuisine cooked up in the kitchens around the village.

If you want to truly understand Mumbai's food? Consider joining this Mumbai food tour and try more than a dozen different dishes and snacks from street eats to hidden restaurants led by an expert local food guide.

Featured tours

Mumbai Food Tour
$ 49
Mumbai Food Tour
More
Kolkata food tour
$ 49
Kolkata Food Tour
More
Delhi Food Tour
$ 49
Delhi Food Tour
More

More stories

A day in the life of a Mumbai dabbawala header image
Mumbai

A day in the life of a Mumbai dabbawala

Read more
How to navigate the street food of Mumbai header image
Mumbai

How to navigate the street food of Mumbai

Read more
Last of the Irani cafes in Mumbai header image
Mumbai

Last of the Irani cafes in Mumbai

Read more