Mumbai is a city of extremes, where Bollywood movie stars reside in extravagant mansions above the jam packed streets and where traditional Indian cultural traditions live on in the shadow of vestiges of British colonialism. It’s a city with a lot to offer the willing traveler, and if you’re on a tight budget, you should have no trouble finding free things to do in Mumbai.
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Shop the Bazaars
You don’t even have to buy anything to enjoy a few hours of window shopping in Mumbai’s labyrinthine street markets. Crawford Market, one of the largest in the city and housed within a nineteenth century Gothic building, sells fresh produce, meats, flowers, household goods and even pets.
Take a Walking Architecture Tour
When the British left, they left behind an impressive architectural legacy, and many of the impressive Victorian, Art Deco and Indo-Saracenic buildings are located within the old city along Heritage Mile. Highlights in the area include the Victoria Terminus and the Flora Fountain.
People Watch at the Beach
You’ll only see a few swimmers at the beaches of Mumbai, but the people watching is good all the same. Chowpatty Beach, the most popular with locals, throngs with families, couples and vendors day and night. The grilled corn on the cob here is one of the city’s best street foods.
Watch a Cricket Game
Head to any green space in the city and you’ll see locals playing cricket, one of the most popular sports in the country thanks to the British. Read up on the rules before you go so you can really appreciate what you’re watching, and if it’s too hot outside, you can head into nearly any bar in Mumbai to watch televised matches.
Visit Haji Ali
The Haji Ali mosque appears to float on the surface of the Arabian Sea, and about 40,000 devotees visit each week. To access the mosque, you have to walk down a narrow walkway spanning across the water at low tide.