Our experts recommend the top attractions in and around Mumbai—with advice on how to get the most out of your visit.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum
Mumbai’s largest museum; filled with an excellent array of items from around the country. Exhibits include old sculptures, exquisite Mughal paintings, handcrafted armaments, and rare artifacts from the Indus Valley. 159-161 Mahatma Gandhi (MG) Road, Fort; tel. 91 22 22844519; fee.
Popular gathering place during and after sunset, when the locals flock to this much loved beach to stroll, chat, play, devour bhelpuri (a fried savory snack), or simply breathe in the salty sea air. Few choose to swim here due to pollution. Chowpatty, Marine Drive (Netaji Subhashchandra Bose Road).
Small island in Mumbai Harbor famous for its ancient cave temple carvings, most notably the Shiva Temple, which boasts a striking 19.6-foot-high (six-meter-high) triple-faced rock-carved sculpture of the deity. Shuttle boats available from near the Gateway of India. Fee. Elephanta Island.
Gateway of India
“The roaming balloon and snack vendors, touts, and magicians that congregate here create a carnival-like atmosphere around the grand old gateway.”—Richard I’Anson, writer/photographer, Travel Photography and Urban Photography. Colonial-era arch completed in 1924, overlooking Mumbai Harbor. Commemorates Britain’s King George V’s visit to India in 1911. Apollo Bunder, Colaba.
Haji Ali Dargah
“Magical at high tide when the sea swallows the causeway, leaving the mosque an island: unreachable, serene, and mystical.”—Sue Mitra, author, Sacred India. Picturesquely situated on an islet; whitewashed Islamic shrine dedicated to the Muslim saint, Haji Ali. Worli Bay.
Jehangir Art Gallery
A terrific place to feast your eyes on fine Indian art, with works by both established and emerging artists. Showcases a changing collection; most pieces are for sale. 161B Mahatma Gandhi (MG) Road, Kala Ghoda; tel. 91 22 22833640.
“In the late afternoon take a stroll and enjoy the festive atmosphere, eat freshly-cooked snacks and watch Indian families at play.”—Sue Mitra. Head to the more action-packed (especially around sunset) southern strip, to hang out with Mumbaikars from all walks of life. Juhu Beach.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat
“There's a fantastic overview from the nearby bridge but getting down among the washing is the way to go.”—Richard I'Anson. Massive open-air laundry where thousands of dhobi-wallahs (washer-people) clean dirty clothes and linen. Near Mahalaxmi train station, Mahalaxmi.
Dubbed the “Queen's Necklace” for its string of night lights, Marine Drive curves along the shore of the Arabian Sea. Breezy promenade is a splendid spot to watch the sunset; popular with locals for an early morning or evening amble. Netaji Subhashchandra Bose Road, Marine Drive.
St. Thomas’ Cathedral
One of Mumbai’s oldest remaining Raj-era structures; restored Anglican church, built between the late 17th and early 18th centuries, reflects Byzantine design influences; sports particularly beautiful buttresses. Some old British tombs on-site. Veer Nariman Road, Fort.