There's plenty to see in Mumbai, but it doesn’t have much in the way of the stationary monuments that London, Paris, Delhi, and other major cities possess. The art of experiencing Mumbai lies in eating, shopping, and wandering through the strikingly different neighborhoods and the various markets. Think of Mumbai as a 50-km (30-mile) -long open-air bazaar.

Colaba, headed by Gateway of India, is the tourist district and main drag for visitors, and from the Gateway of India to Colaba Market, along the main road, is a walkable stretch of hotels, pubs, restaurants, and interesting shops. Churchgate and Nariman Point are the business and hotel centers, and major bank and airline headquarters are clustered in skyscrapers on Nariman Point.

The district referred to as Fort—which includes Mumbai's hub, Flora Fountain—is filled with narrow, bustling streets lined with small shops and office buildings, as well as colleges and other educational facilities. Another upscale residential neighborhood, Malabar Hill, north of Churchgate on Marine Drive, is leafy and breezy, with fine, old stone mansions housing wealthy industrialists and government ministers.

Shopping and people-watching are most colorfully combined in Mumbai's chaotic bazaar areas, such as Chor Bazaar, Zaveri (jewelry) Bazaar, and Crawford Market (aka Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Market). Many of the city's newest and trendiest shops and restaurants are now out in the suburbs—where more and more people have been moving due to soaring real-estate prices and a lack of space—but South Mumbai still retains some of the very best.

Some travelers opt to stay in the suburbs, either in Bandra, at the end of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link; or in Juhu, a popular coastal suburb between Mumbai and the airports (about 20 km [12 miles] north of the city center). Juhu's beaches aren't clean enough for swimming, and the place can be scruffy, but staying out here is a good way to observe everyday Indian life beyond the shadow of Mumbai's skyline. Sunday nights bring families down to the beach for an old-fashioned carnival, complete with small, hand-powered Ferris wheels, and lantern-lit snack stalls hawking sugarcane.

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  • 1. Chor Bazaar

    CST | Market/Bazaar

    This narrow thoroughfare, in the center of classic Muslim Mumbai, is lined with dozens of stores crammed with antiques and general bric-a-brac...Read More

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  • 2. Crawford Market

    CST | Market/Bazaar

    Renamed Mahatma Jyotiba Phule market decades ago, but still known by its original name, this building was designed in the 1860s by John Lockwood...Read More

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  • 3. CST (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus), aka Victoria Terminus

    CST | Transportation Site (Airport, Bus, Ferry, Train)

    Built by the British in 1888, this is one of India's—and probably the world's—busiest train stations, overflowing at rush hour with enormous...Read More

  • 4. Mumbadevi Temple

    CST | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    At the Bhuleshwar (the name of a neighborhood) end of Zaveri Bazaar is the six-century-old Mumbadevi Temple, a noisy, busy structure that houses...Read More

  • 5. Shaare Rahamim

    CST | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    North of Crawford Market via P. D'Mello Road, past Carnac Bunder and right next to the Masjid train station, is the hard-to-find Shaare Rahamim...Read More

  • 6. Zaveri and Bhendi Bazaars


    Bombay's crowded, century-old jewelry markets have shops filled with fabulous gold and silver in every conceivable design. The two bazaars are...Read More

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