The best things to do in Mumbai right now

ROADBOOK’s pick of the best things to do in Mumbai from October through to February 2024, from major music festivals to new and revived art, literary and culinary events

Words by Nidhi Gupta
Last updated: November 27, 2023
The best things to do in Mumbai right now | Art Mumbai, where Jhaveri Contemporary, pictured, will be exhibiting.
House in a Garden by Shezad Dawood, installed at Jhaveri Contemporary, who are exhibiting at Art Mumbai. Photo by Mohammed Chiba

As the mercury begins to drop, perpetually manic Mumbai takes time to pause and partake in a gargantuan cultural calendar. Crowds mosh at music festivals and concerts that boom through basements, warehouses and arenas. Film lovers stand for hours in queues to get into rare screenings in cramped, historic theatres. They pack into the city’s most buzzing bars and restaurants, partying late into the night. It’s all very exciting, but it can get overwhelming navigating the crowds, so here’s a guide to the best events and openings that are worth the sweat.

Music

The best things to do in Mumbai right now | Palm Tree Music Festival, which was founded by Norwegian DJ Kygo.
Norwegian DJ Kygo founded Palm Tree Music Festival

Palm Tree Music Festival

When: 4 November 2023
Where: Mahalaxmi Race Course, Keshavrao Khadye Marg, Mahalakshmi, Mumbai
How much: From 1500 INR / 18 USD

After performing at the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, Norwegian electronic music producer Kygo will roll into Mumbai this November with his day party extravaganza, Palm Tree Music Festival. Hitmaker Kyrre Gorvell-Dahll and his manager Myles Shear launched the festival in 2020 with the idea of living and celebrating the tropical lifestyle with an event dedicated to dancehall, reggae fusion and electropop. True to spirit, the all-star lineup of international EDM stalwarts includes French DJ Kungs, Dutch beatmaker Sam Feldt, Sheffield’s Kidnap, Romanian producer Edward Maya (known for his track ‘Stereo Love’), and a DJ set by LA-based Forester, among others. Enjoying Balearic beats with a beer in hand as the sun sets over downtown Mumbai might just be the definition of an endless summer.

The best things to do in Mumbai right now | Lollapalooza's second Mumbai edition in early 2024
The main stage at Lollapalooza Mumbai for its first edition in 2023

Lollapalooza 2024

When: 27-28 January 2024
Where: Mahalaxmi Race Course, Keshavrao Khadye Marg, Mahalakshmi, Mumbai
How much: From 6,999 INR / 84 USD

American multi-genre music festival Lollapalooza’s debut edition in India at the start of 2023 was a tremendous showcase of music and art. The lineup brought together independent Indian and globally known artists from across the spectrum – Imagine Dragons, AP Dhillon, Greta Van Fleet, The Strokes, Cigarettes After Sex and Japanese Breakfast – in a space exploding with colour and revelry. Its sophomore edition promises to be twice as big, so while the lineup isn’t out yet, general tickets are currently up for grabs. Register on the festival website for regular updates.

The best things to do in Mumbai right now | Buddy Guy on stage at Mahindra Blues Festival
Buddy Guy on stage at Mahindra Blues Festival

Mahindra Blues Festival 2024

When: 10-11 February 2024
Where: Mehboob Studios, 100, Hill Road, Bandra West, Mumbai
How much: TBA

A fixture on the Mumbai cultural calendar since 2010, the Mahindra Blues Festival is boutique in scale but massive in ambition: its goal is to set up the hottest juke joint this side of the Atlantic for one weekend each year. And it succeeds, with the loyal patronage of legendary Chicago bluesman Buddy Guy, along with extraordinary attention to detail to art, food and experiential curation, as well as solid sound systems. Past lineups have included the best the blues has to offer: Harlem’s Taj Mahal to Dover’s Joss Stone to Massachusetts prodigy Quinn Sullivan, along with Indian greats like Shillong’s Soulmate and Kolkata’s Arinjoy Sarkar. If wailing guitars, songs about heartbreak and the hard life speak to your soul, this is the festival to attend. Join the ride at the link below.

The best things to do in Mumbai right now | Catch Moonchild perform at SPXCEJXM in Mumbai
Alt jazz soul trio Moonchild are performing at SPXCEJXM

SPXCEJXM

When: 4-5 November 2023
Where: (Mumbai) TBA
How much: From 2,999 INR / 36 USD

A new season, a new festival. With three stages, 24 Indian and international acts, and an immersive art village, SPXCEJXM is a multi-genre festival covering pop, hip hop, jazz, R&B and alternative music. British indie pop purveyors Bastille will make their India debut, while Irish indie-folk rock band Kodaline will return after a smash performance in 2019, this time on tour with their 2022 album Our Roots Run Deep. Also on the lineup are LA-based alternative R&B trio Moonchild, Iraqi-Canadian singer-songwriter Ali Gatie of ‘It’s You’ fame, Mumbai-originated and Auckland-based guitar great Blackstratblues, and award-winning Bangalore rock outfit Parvaaz, among many others.

The best things to do in Mumbai right now | Amsterdam's DGTL festival is coming to Mumbai for its second edition in 2023
Amsterdam's DGTL festival is coming to Mumbai for its second edition in 2023

DGTL India

When: 18-19 November 2023
Where: Nesco Centre, Western Express Highway, Goregaon, Mumbai
How much: From 3,931.62 INR / 47 USD

After a spectacular India debut in 2022, the iconic Amsterdam festival DGTL will return to Mumbai with its eclectic mix of the world’s most exciting electronic music makers, gorgeous visual and light shows, industrial design, and a single-minded pursuit of the rave in its purest form. This year’s boisterous lineup (featuring nearly 40 artists) sparkles with legendary minimal techno proponent Richie Hawtin, the viral Delhi-based folk-electronic duo Tech Panda & Kenzani, Dutch electronic music group Tinlicker, afro-house selector Kilimanjaro, Brazil’s techno wonder ANNA, Berlin-based Innervisions founder Dixon and Oz ghetto house and Detroit techno hero Partiboi69. The sets will take place in warehouse-style stages and rooms, which have been designed to minimise waste and energy consumption, by a crew that has sustainability and circularity ingrained in its DNA.

The best things to do in Mumbai right now | Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Pune
Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Pune

Bacardi NH7 Weekender

When: 1-3 December 2023
Where: Teerth Fields, Teerth Town Road, Pune
How much: From 2,999 INR / 36 USD (1,999 INR / 24 USD for Under-21 tickets)

Arguably South Asia’s biggest homegrown festival, NH7 Weekender is something of an institution. There is much to love about this three-day carnival of incredible music, comedy, art and food in this Maharashtra town dubbed the ‘Oxford of the East’, a short road trip from Mumbai. Past headliners have included globally-acclaimed artists like The Lumineers, Anoushka Shankar and Chet Faker, but this festival’s soul lies in showcasing the diverse musical talent – be it rock, R&B, hip-hop, pop or dance – emanating from all corners of India. It’s the element of discovery that sets this festival apart from the rest. The 2023 edition has just been announced, promising over 45 artists playing across four stages. Tickets are now live at the link below; follow along for lineup announcements.

The best things to do in Mumbai right now | New Year's Eve at Sunburn, Goa
New Year's Eve at Sunburn, Goa

Sunburn

When: 28-31 December 2023
Where: Goa (TBA)
How much: From 7,000 INR / 84 USD

There’s no year ender like Sunburn, another homegrown party and one of Asia’s biggest EDM festivals. It’s been around since 2007 and has hosted the who’s who of the mainstream dance music community, from Swedish House Mafia to David Guetta, and Tiesto to Marshmello, all dropping beats for large, rapturous audiences along the Arabian Sea coastline. In its 19th edition, the Sunburn crew is teasing an ‘enchanted forest’ theme, and things look set to get wild with Swedish superstar Alesso, Australian DJ and record producer Timmy Trumpet, and Belgian acid techno producer Charlotte de Witte as headliners. Also on the lineup are New York’s latest folk-electronic breakout stars Indo Warehouse, the duo melding indigenous South Asian rhythms with thrilling BPM. Goa is a short flight from Mumbai, but it could take longer to get from the airport to the venue in north Goa at this time of the year, so plan ahead.

A photo by Rachna Chopra, exploring the people of Mumbai's relationship with books and reading, for Tata Literature Live | Tata Literature Live
A photo by Rachna Chopra, exploring the people of Mumbai's relationship with books and reading, for Tata Literature Live

Art and Culture

Tata Literature Live!

When: 27-29 October 2023
Where: National Centre for Performing Arts, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point, Mumbai
How much: Free (first come first served)

The 14th edition of Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest returns in physical form to the state-of-the-art auditoriums of NCPA in October. At this three-day festival, authors, performers and thinkers from across the country and the world congregate for an exchange of ideas through book launches, discussions, workshops, debates, and performances. Past attendees have included William Dalrymple, Jeffrey Archer, Germaine Greer, Shashi Tharoor, Vikram Seth, Amy Tan and Ian Cardozo, among many others. Join for stimulating conversations about how literature interacts with other forms of culture, riveting spoken word and theatre performances, and to discover your next literary obsession.

The best things to do in Mumbai right now | Faraz Ali's Shoebox, on show at Mumbai Film Festival
Shoebox by Faraz Ali, on show at Mumbai Film Festival

Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival

When: 27 October – 5 November 2023
Where: Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre, Jio World Centre, G Block, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East, Mumbai
How much: Free (registration required)

For years, the MAMI Mumbai Film Festival has been the lodestar of independent cinema from across India, taking over the city’s multiplexes and Art Deco-style single-screen theatres for a celebration of cinema unlike any other. It returns after a break (due to the pandemic as well as logistical issues) with a new executive team, still spearheaded by actor and chairperson Priyanka Chopra, and with the aim to become a hub for the South Asian film market. What this means for cinephiles is access to arthouse films and major international titles that don’t otherwise get big screen time in India, along with the chance to hobnob with stars and filmmakers, all within a city that was built on cinema in the 20th century.

The best things to do in Mumbai right now | Catch Jhaveri Contemporary at Art Mumbai
The Mud and The Rainbow by Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, on show at Jhaveri Contemporary, who are exhibiting at Art Mumbai. Photo by Mohammed Chiba

Art Mumbai

When: 16-19 November 2023
Where: Mahalaxmi Race Course, Keshavrao Khadye Marg, Mahalakshmi, Mumbai
How much: TBA

Despite being the wealthiest city in India, home to some of the country’s major museums, galleries, auction houses and collectors, Mumbai has not been known for large-format art events, such as the Kochi Muziris Biennale in Kerala or the India Art Fair in Delhi. To correct that, the Vaziranis of Indian auction house Saffronart, Nakul Chawla of online gallery Global Art Hub, and Grosvenor London’s Conor Macklin are building Art Mumbai: an art fair featuring 50 Indian and international galleries, showcasing Indian modern and contemporary art from around the globe. The aim is to sit at the axis of all things cultural that Mumbai is known for: opening day is set to feature a fashion show by a prominent Indian designer, and there is also to be an art conversation with a Bollywood filmmaker. Tickets will be on sale early October; follow along for more details at the link below.

The best things to do in Mumbai right now | Kala Ghoda Arts Festival
The joyful streets of Kala Ghoda Arts Festival

Kala Ghoda Arts Festival

When: 20-28 January 2024
Where: VB Gandhi Marg, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai
How much: Free (registration required)

No cultural festival embodies the spirit of Mumbai like the beloved Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. It was founded in 1998 as an initiative of the Kala Ghoda Association, a group of the city’s elite who came together with the aim to maintain and preserve the Kala Ghoda neighbourhood, named after the iconic black horse sculpture at its heart, and South Mumbai’s premier art district. Twenty-five years later, it is a sprawling multi-disciplinary event, taking over South Mumbai’s galleries, restaurants, cafes, museums, libraries and streets for eight days. Whether you fancy a walk around town to learn about Mumbai’s Art Deco heritage, attend a classical Hindustani concert at the Oval Maidan, attend a Tai Chi workshop, experience some immersive art or meet Mumbai’s most maverick artists, chefs, musicians, performers, and thinkers – there’s literally something for everyone.

The best things to do in Mumbai right now | Check out the newly opened restaurant CIRQA
The interiors at CIRQA

Food and Drink

CIRQA

When: Now
Where: Plot 126, Ground Floor, Mathuradas Mill Compound, Senapati Bapat Pawar Marg, opposite Zeba, Lower Parel, Mumbai
How much: Cocktails from 749 INR / 9 USD, small plates from 459 INR / 5 USD

Cocktails and canapes have a stylish new address in downtown Mumbai. Inside CIRQA’s large art deco-inspired space, time is a movable construct. Take 1960 – a bar within the bar, named after the year that India’s jet age began when Air India’s first jet aircraft, Boeing 707, took flight – which is reserved for vinyl setups, private parties, concerts, and small independent film screenings. The exposed brick walls and teak wood tables might transport you to a previous century, but the drinks are la mode. Nibble on tapas-style small plates such as the BFF (Bombay fried fish) or Tapioca bravas, which bring Indian produce to a modern European menu. Wash it down with intriguing cocktails like Cereal Killer (Paul John whisky, pineapple shrub, stout beer reduction and espresso) or Flying Panda (coconut and sesame oil washed tequila, mezcal, pandan syrup, and clarified lime).

The best things to do in Mumbai right now | Check out the new bar and restaurant opening Gigi.
Gigi's loungy warehouse interiors

Gigi

When: Last week of September
Where: Bandra (TBA)

Gigi, a new venture from the team behind iconic dining spots Eve, Demy and Kyma, will be another welcome addition to Bandra’s boisterous nightlife. An izakaya-style bar and restaurant in a yet-to-be-disclosed space measuring a gargantuan 6,000 sq ft, Gigi’s boho chic interiors promise to elevate the cavernous two-storey space. Gigi’s food menu, put together by Beena Noronha (previously at St Regis Mumbai), will offer a fusion of Japanese and European cuisines – think ramen lasagna and Japanese nachos. The cocktail menu spans centuries of tastes, with drinks that throw back to the prohibition era, as well as drawing from modern day trends. Sample the clarified Bloody Mary with an in-house miso syrup, the butter-washed whisky sour, and the inventive rose wine cocktail, infused with homemade vanilla soda and rhubarb syrup.

The best things to do in Mumbai right now | Koli Seafood Festival
Koli Seafood Festival

Koli Seafood Festival

When: January 2024 (TBA)
Where: Ganesh Mandir, Church Road, Versova Koliwada, Andheri (West), Mumbai
How much: Free entry

Since 2006, suburban Mumbai has been home to an extraordinary homegrown food festival. Helmed and presented by the Koli fisherfolk community in Versova, the festival’s 45 stalls serve 27 varieties of fish by men and women dressed in their traditional festive attire of gold nose rings and silk sarees, red surkhas (loin cloths) and aai ekveera topis (hats) . On your plate is the freshest and seasonal catch of the day – Bombay duck, squid, crab, jawla (baby dried shrimp), gaboli (raw fish eggs) – hot off the grill and in delectable Koli-special masalas and curries, at throwaway prices. Go early in the evening on the first day of the festival before the crowds march in and you might also be treated to dance and music performances, and a candid anecdote or two from some of the stallholders – especially about how climate change is altering their livelihood.

Continue your tour of Mumbai with a guide to the city’s live music scene.