Start the day with a walk by the stunning Gateway of India, which will get much more crowded later in the day. Facing the Arabian Sea and located right next to the iconic Taj Mahal Palace hotel, this stunning Indo-Saracenic monument was constructed in 1924 and has since become symbolic of Mumbai’s position as the gateway to India. Colaba offers multiple options for breakfast, so fuel up for a busy day ahead: the famous Cafe Mondegar is just about a five-minute walk away from the Gateway of India and offers some of the area’s best breakfasts; Olympia Coffee House, another five minutes down the Colaba Causeway, is yet another option for a hearty breakfast of chai and akuri (Parsi omelet). Afterwards, walk down the Colaba Causeway amid numerous street side stalls selling everything from used books to peculiar antiques.
Taj Mahal Palace, Apollo Bandar, Colaba, Mumbai, India, +91 22 6665 3366
Cafe Mondegar, 5A, Metro House, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Rd, Colaba, Mumbai, India, +91 22 2202 0591
Olympia Coffee House, Rahim Mansion 1, Shahid Bhagat Singh Marg, Colaba, Mumbai, India, +91 22 2202 1043
Head to Colaba’s historic northern neighbor, Kala Ghoda, to see how Mumbai got its position as the artistic capital of the country. The legendary Jehangir Art Gallery and the National Gallery Of Modern Art are among the many important institutions that grace this neighborhood, considered to be Mumbai’s art district. Grab lunch at one of the area’s many restaurants and then head deeper north into the historic Fort area: lined with historic buildings that flaunt striking architecture, the neighborhood has many attractions that are worth visiting from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station—one of Mumbai’s busiest—to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, the city’s primary museum.
Jehangir Art Gallery, 161B, Mahatma Gandhi Rd, Fort, Mumbai, India, +91 22 2284 3989
National Gallery Of Modern Art, Sir Cowasji Jahangir Public Hall, MG Rd, Fort, Mumbai, India, +91 22 2288 1969
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Area, Fort, Mumbai, India
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, 159–161, Mahatma Gandhi Rd, Fort, Mumbai, India, +91 22 2284 4484
Head west to Nariman Point to catch a theater, dance, or music performance at the National Center for Performing Arts and wrap up the evening at Marine Drive, where Mumbaikars from all walks of life come to unwind, jog, people-watch, or get some fresh air (a rare commodity in the city).
National Center for Performing Arts, Nariman Pt, Mumbai, India, +91 22 6622 3737
Then, either head to adjacent Churchgate or back to Colaba for dinner. The Dome, a ritzy rooftop lounge with a stunning view of Marine Drive, is a great Churchgate option for those willing to splurge. The Table, Indigo Deli, and Woodside Inn are among Colaba’s best options for a fine dinner with drinks. For something different and uniquely Mumbai, get kebabs or rolls from the popular Bademiya street cart in Colaba.
The Dome, 135 B Rd, InterContinental Marine Drive, Churchgate, Mumbai, India, +91 22 3987 9999
The Table, Ground Floor, Kalapesi Trust Building, Colaba, Mumbai, India, +91 22 2282 5001
Indigo Deli, 4, Mandlik Rd, Colaba, Mumbai, India, +91 22 6636 8999
Woodside Inn, Indian Mercantile Mansion, Woodhouse Rd, Colaba, Mumbai, India, +91 22 2287 5752
Bademiya, Tullock Rd, Colaba, Mumbai, India, +91 22 2202 1447
Start the second morning with a different yet equally stunning view of the Arabian Sea from Bandra’s popular Bandstand promenade. Walk up to the historic Bandra Worli Fort at the southern tip of Bandra for a stunning view of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link and Worli’s skyline. Then walk back north to Mount Mary Basilica, one of the city’s most historic churches. For breakfast, head to the super cozy Taj Mahal Tea House with charming vintage décor and freshly baked goodies.
Bandra Worli Tip, Worli, Mumbai, India
Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, Mount Mary, Bandra West, Mumbai, India, +91 22 2642 3152
Taj Mahal Tea House, 36/A St John Baptist Rd, Bandra West, Mumbai, India, +91 22 2642 0330
For a bigger dose of Bandra, stay in the neighborhood for its street art on Chapel Road and its street shopping on Hill Road. If you can bear to bid adieu, then head south in the city to visit the historic Haji Ali Dargah, built in 1431 on a small islet off the coast of Worli. The stunning Mughal-style shrine, dedicated to an Uzbek merchant who let go all his possessions to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, is one of the city’s most recognized landmarks. Head to the nearby Cafe Noorani for a truly satisfying Mughlai lunch.
Haji Ali Dargah, Dargah Rd, Haji Ali, Mumbai, India, +91 22 2352 9082
Cafe Noorani, Plot 5D, Tardeo Rd, Tardeo, Mumbai, India, +91 22 2353 4753
Get a taste of Mumbai’s bustling markets to finish off the evening. Head to the notorious Chor Bazaar (thieves’ market) to pick up eccentric souvenirs and antiques. Time to spare? Crawford Market (also known as Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Mandai), founded in 1869 and still standing as one of the city’s primary markets, is another fantastic option. Carrying everything from clothes to fresh produce, this huge, busy market is a delightful experience that should not be missed.