Only have a weekend in Mumbai, India? Then get ready to take a whirlwind vacation through a magical metropolis of Bollywood romance, colorful restaurants, and unforgettable landmarks. From the bustling boutiques of the Colaba Causeway to the tranquil beauty of Elephanta Island, this guide will show you how to have an epic weekend in Mumbai.
Start the clock on your 72 hours in Mumbai by checking into an iconic hotel near all the attractions. The Taj Mahal Palace is a local landmark that’s been welcoming globetrotters, dignitaries, and celebrities since 1903. With its old-world glamor and convenient location in lively Colaba, the Taj Mahal Palace is the perfect spot to say hello to the “City of Dreams”.
Once you’ve checked in, pop out for a bite at The Table, an acclaimed restaurant serving upscale global dishes and farm-to-table fare. After enjoying some truffle fries and cucumber coolers, head across the street to grab a drink at Polly Esther’s, an old-school nightclub recalling the golden age of disco: be prepared for laser lights, denim jackets, and killer tunes. Then, head back to the hotel for a nightcap at the legendary Harbour Bar, a charming place offering speakeasy-themed nights with hot jazz and signature cocktails.
Jump-start your Saturday morning with a brisk walk to Sassoon Dock, a lively fishing district dating from the 19th century. The docks offer a chaotic, colorful mix of sari-clad women, scuttling blue crab, and quaint trawlers bobbing on the horizon; there’s really nothing else quite like it. Pop some snapshots of the red snapper, and then grab a Kheema Pav and a cuppa at Café Mondegar, a hopping spot popular with locals and travelers alike.
After breakfast, treat yourself to some retail therapy at the Raj-style shops of Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, colloquially known as the Colaba Causeway, where you can find everything from vintage watches to cutting-edge furnishings. If you’re looking for some one-of-a-kind jewelry, swing by Aquamarine, while Fuschia and Orange is the perfect place to pick up an elegant kaftan.
Wind up your morning with lunch at Leopold Café, a laid-back local institution that’s been a way station for chatty travelers since 1871.
There’s no better place to walk off lunch than the Strand Promenade, a bougainvillea-lined thoroughfare offering stunning views of the Indian Ocean. The Strand runs to the Gateway of India – a monument that’s adorned a million postcards.
After checking out the impressive Indo-Saracenic monument, head to the nearby jetty, where you can hop on a boat to Elephanta Island, a UNESCO site featuring rock-carved temples dating from 450 A.D. Don’t miss the striking statue of Sadhashiva, and stop into the museum to get a grip on the area’s history.
From caves to cuisine, it’s back to Mumbai for dinner. Try to get a spot at Bohri Kitchen a pop-up dining experience in a family home. You’ll need to introduce yourself via a message first, but the 7-course spread and convivial atmosphere make for a one-of-a-kind meal. Then round off Saturday night with a visit to the National Centre for Performing Arts, where you can catch an opera or a concert.
Sunday morning means you only have 24 hours in Mumbai remaining, so rise with the sun for a dawn journey through the city. Rent a bike to explore the streets on your own terms, or lace-up your running shoes and take a leisurely jog along Marine Drive, a coastal road lined with palm trees and art deco buildings: kind of the Miami of Mumbai.
Grab breakfast at the Olympia Coffee House, one of the city’s oldest establishments, and then head to the Dadar Flower Market to soak up the vibes and the scent of marigolds.
Top off your morning with a tour through a city of startling contrasts. Cinephiles will love wandering through the dreamlike Bollywood sets at Film City, while visitors wanting to see Mumbai’s other side can book a guided journey through the shantytowns of Dharavi – the setting of Slumdog Millionaire – with a large percentage of the profits going to local charities.
On Sunday night, wind up your weekend in Mumbai by hopping the 121 bus to Chowpatty Beach, a bustling stretch where you can stroll the sands, snack on pani puri, and take a camel ride. Then trade your flip-flops for your most dazzling duds and head to Dome in the Intercontinental hotel. Dome is a swanky rooftop bar that’s the perfect place to just chill out, sip an ice-cold gimlet, and take in the sunset, the sea, and the glittering lights of Marine Drive.
From there, it’s a 2-km stroll beneath the stars to Indigo, an intimate restaurant tucked away in a turn-of-the-century bungalow near the Gateway of India. Indigo offers an ever-so-romantic atmosphere, complete with a candle-lit terrace, and serves European fare with a modern twist. It’s also a hotspot for celeb sightings, so keep the camera ready.
With so much to see and do, Mumbai really is the “Maximum City”. Book your weekend in Mumbai today!