Breezy pubs with delicious craft brews, bustling markets filled with vibrant knick knacks, and stunning historical monuments – there’s plenty of things to see and do in Bangalore. Whether you’re new to the city or keen on rediscovering it, here’s our pick of the best, local-approved experiences to add to your itinerary.
The country’s garden city – or IT hub if you will – is most known for its perennial pleasant weather and crisp, ghee-laden dosas. However, there’s plenty more where that came from. In fact, while in the city, you could go from kissing your diets goodbye at a vintage ice cream shop to perusing poetry by Keats at a charming bookstore – within the same hour. Add to this, Bangalore’s string of bustling shopping destinations, historical monuments, modern art houses, and stunning weekend getaway spots and you’ve got yourself quite the long list of things to do. Few other cities can claim to have such a diverse set of experiences on offer. Here’s our little itinerary to one of South India’s most popular metropolitan destinations.
Fun things to do when you’re in Bangalore
Grab a steaming-hot South Indian breakfast at Vidyarthi Bhavan
Good mornings in Bangalore come with piping-hot South Indian breakfast foods. And an iconic spot to partake in this phenomenon is Vidyarthi Bhavan – which has been serving customers for over 80 years now. The menu’s most popular option is the fluffy, golden dosa that comes with potato or sagu filling. Additionally, service staff navigating the room with a tower of dosa plates is a delightful part of the experience of dining here. The medu vada, kesari bath, poori sagu, and rava vada are popular as well. Don’t miss out on the filter coffee – especially considering how coffee is near synonymous with the culinary culture of the city. Be sure to head to the spot early to beat the crowd and have the time to savour every bite and sip.
Address: 32, Near Gandhi Bazaar Circle, Basavanagudi, Bangalore
Contact: +91 80266 77588
Timings: 6:30 am – 12:00 pm; 2:30 – 8:00 pm (Saturday-Thursday; closed on Fridays)
Take a walk through Cubbon Park
Sunday X Cubbon Park pic.twitter.com/26uQV8yvXM
— Ayush Pranav (@ayushpranav3) January 29, 2023
The city’s famed year-round pleasant weather is best enjoyed at this landmark spot that’s often seen as a forest in the heart of the city. Cubbon Park – or Sri Chamarajendra Park – spans about 300 acres and is brimming with the most diverse set of flora and fauna. While weekdays see it catering to a large set of joggers and dog walkers, weekends are all about picnics, leisurely strolls, art parties, yoga sessions, and book clubs.
If you’re new to the city, you could sign up for these clubs and groups online. However, if you’re just popping by for a visit, be sure to walk through the bamboo plantations, stop by the State Central Library and the State Archeological Museum, one of the oldest in India, and walk by the Seshadri Iyer Memorial Hall and the Karnataka High Court. Best time to head here is the spring, when the famed cherry blossoms, a.k.a pink poui, are in full bloom. Don’t forget to bring your cameras to this spot.
Address: Kasturba Rd, behind High Court of Karnataka, Ambedkar Veedhi, Sampangi Rama Nagar
Timings: 6:00 am – 6:00 pm (Monday-Sunday)
Dig into Death By Chocolate at Corner House
If there’s one spot every person who’s studied in the city can attest to having done – it’s heading to Corner House every other afternoon. That said, the ice-cream joint is often packed with both young and old visitors alike and has been this way since it was first set up in the 1980s. Affordable prices aside, the quality of each bite has remained consistent over the years – a testimony to their high standards of production. The menu’s most popular feature is the Death By Chocolate – a sundae that features layers of chocolate sauce, creamy vanilla ice cream, decadent chocolate brownies, nuts, and cherries. The salted caramel ice cream, peach melba, and litchis and cream are quite popular as well. Best part? It’s all quite affordable.
Address: No 4, State Bank of India Rd, Shanthala Nagar, Ashok Nagar
Contact: +91 98459 30618
Timings: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Shop for books at Blossom’s or The Bookworm
Bangalore has a thriving community of literature aficionados. Most head to Blossom’s Book House on Church Street – which has two branches just a few steps away from each other. The original is tucked into a little corner, featuring large wooden shelves of second-hand books of every author and genre imaginable. Crime, horror, romance, fantasy – you name it, they’ve got it, at affordable prices to boot. The other is larger, newer, and more likely to host titles you’ve not managed to find at its cousin store. The other popular spot – The Bookworm – is expansive, with plenty of space to browse, sit down for a minute, and peruse chapters. Known for the hospitality of the owner, this one’s found quite the cult following in the city.
Address: Church St, Shanthala Nagar, Ashok Nagar
Timings: Blossom’s Book House – 10:30 am – 10:00 pm (Monday-Friday)
10:00 am – 10:30 pm (Saturday-Sunday)
The Bookworm – 10:00 am – 9:00 pm (Tuesday – Saturday)
9:30 am – 9:00 pm (Sunday-Monday)
Spend an evening appreciating art at the National Gallery Of Modern Art
Art and history aficionados, this one’s for you. When in the city, don’t miss out on a visit to the National Gallery Of Modern Art (NGMA) – a stunning space surrounded by verdant green cover. Inside is an eclectic collection of art – by international and homegrown creators. This includes the likes of Amrita Shergill and Rabindranath Tagore – permanent parts of the exhibition. Often, artists set up dedicated installations exploring the physical and metaphysical. Guided walks and workshops are common. As are film screenings, dance performances, and seminars. Most people spend a good few hours exploring the property, before grabbing a bite at the cafe and buying souvenirs at the in-house store.
Address: 49, GF, Manikyavelu Mansion, Palace Rd, Vasanth Nagar
Contact: +91 80223 42338
Timings: 11:00 am – 6:00 pm (Tuesday-Sunday)
Entry: INR 30 approx. for Indians, INR 500 for foreign nationals, free for students (ID mandatory)
Have a date with history at the Bangalore Palace
While we’re on the subject of historical remnants and art – we’d be remiss not to list out this iconic tourist attraction in the heart of the city. Bangalore Palace is home to some of the most stunning 19th – 20th century artwork, especially that of Raja Ravi Varma – known to be one of the best in the history of Indian art. Not to mention, pictures chronicling the lives of the members of the Wadiyar Dynasty – former rulers of Mysore. Stunning arches and elegant wooden interiors meet turreted papapets here, opening into a verdant courtyard that often hosts cultural events. Audio guides are available in several languages as well.
Address: Vasanth Nagar, Bangalore
Timings: 10:00 am – 5:30 pm (Tuesday-Sunday)
Price: INR 230 for Indians and INR 460 for foreign nationals
Drive up to Nandi Hills
Nearly every local has partaken in the weekend long-drive ritual to this spot in the city. Located at 4,851 feet – Nandi Hills plays host to fog and mist early in the morning, before sunrise. Come sunset, it’s bathed in the most stunning hues of red and gold. The typical getaway to this spot involves driving up to take in the sights, sipping a cup of coffee, and heading back to the city. However, many choose to stay in the vicinity – at one of the numerous resorts that surround the picturesque region. Some hop on over to the vineyards – by Grover Zampa – for a day of wine tours and breezy sips. If you’re in the city for a while, this one’s worth adding to your bucket list.
Address: Nandi Hills, Grover Zampa Vineyards: Raghunathapur, Doddaballapur Main Rd
Contact: +91 63669 46331
Timings: 10:00 am – 6:30 pm (Monday-Sunday), Grover Zampa Vineyards: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (Monday-Sunday)
Come face-to-face with wildlife at the Bannerghatta Biological Park
Another popular tourist spot in the city – if you like a bit of adventure or are travelling with children, you’ve got to head here. A project that aims to conserve the floral, faunal diversity of India – this spot is located on the northernmost terminal point of the Mysore Elephant Reserve. Over 2,300 animals – from about 102 species – are protected here, complete with veterinary care. This includes lions, tigers, jungle cats, baboons, Asian elephants, Himalayan black bears, giraffes, and zebras. Outreach programs, guided tours, and safaris are common here – a means to spotlight how important natural habitats are to the survival of a species. Don’t miss out.
Address: Bannerghatta Main Rd, Bannerughatta
Timings: 9:30 am – 5:00 pm (Wednesday-Monday)
Tickets: Adults INR 100, Children INR 50, Sr. Citizens INR 60
Shop at Commercial Street
Mid week Shopping Scenes
📍Commercial Street #bangalore #eveningvibes pic.twitter.com/Sk7dlgvif3
— Nirosha shanmugam (@Niroshnishu) August 10, 2022
To cater to the shopaholics, Bangalore has its own street market. It’s one of the oldest, busiest shopping districts in the city. Featured here are narrow lanes with quirky souvenirs, stunning jewellery, holes-in-the-wall denim shops, and more. There’s also several tailors dotting the region, experts at bringing your Pinterest boards to life. Every bylane has a dedicated section – electronics, stationery, spots for tattoos and piercings. The street-food vendors are also quite popular – with delicacies like sweet potato chaat, coconut water, bondas, and more on offer. Be sure to use your map or you’re likely to get lost while here.
Address: Commercial Street
Timings: 10.30 am – 8.00 pm (Monday-Sunday)
Go bar hopping in Indiranagar
Although not the most popular part of conventional travel itineraries, if you love letting your hair down at night, we recommend doing it the local way and exploring bars in one of the most bustling parts of the city. Perhaps the most iconic – and likely to be brimming with activity come weekends – is Bob’s Bar. Named after the Bangalore slang for “bro,” or “dude,” the spot features South Indian finger food like Mangalorean pork chilli bafat, Madikeri raw banana cutlet, Mutton keema with egg paratha, filter coffee cheesecake, and more. Post this, swing by Toit – a brew pub with the most eclectic, delicious line up of craft beers and comforting pizzas. For something a bit more old-school, there’s the vintage rock bar Pecos and the laidback Watson’s. That said, of late you’ll find most of the city kicking it back on the rooftop bar at Daddy’s.
Address: 100 ft road – 12th main road, HAL 2nd Stage, Doopanahalli, Indiranagar
Best time to visit: Friday-Sunday after 5:00 pm
Despite the year-round breezy weather, Bangalore is best experienced during the winter months of October-February. The latter half also marks the arrival of spring and sees the city draped in vibrant hues of pink and yellow.
Check out our list of best hotels in Bangalore here
All images: Courtesy Brands/Karnataka Tourism/Shutterstock
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: Cubbon Park, Vidyarthi Bhavan, Bob's Bar, Bangalore Palace, and Nandi Hills are a few best places to visit in Bangalore.
Answer: Go pub-hopping, dig into steaming-hot dosas, and explore historical forts when in Bangalore.