Manila Bay - Things to Do in Manila

What to Do in Manila: 10 Best Things to Do in Manila in 2024

Looking for things to do in Manila? The bustling capital is surrounded by historical sites, iconic museums, foodie spots, and a vibrant nightlife scenery.
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Wondering what to do in Manila? The bustling capital is surrounded by historical sites, iconic museums, foodie spots, and a vibrant nightlife scenery. So if you’re coming over soon, take note that the whole Metro Manila region encompasses 16 cities and in this guide, you’ll be exploring popular spots across Makati City, Pasay, Quezon City, Taguig City, and the heart of Manila itself.

Here’s a metro-wide guide on how you can make the most of your visit to Manila.

1. Intramuros Heritage Tour

Fort San Pedro Intramuros - Things to Do in Manila
The gate at Fort San Pedro inside Intramuros in Manila

Kick off your tour in Manila at the historic walled city of Intramuros. Don’t miss a visit to the famous Spanish bastions, including Fort Santiago and Baluarte de San Diego. Back in the 1500s, the Spaniards built a huge fortress within the city as protection against foreign invaders.

Travel back in time by riding a kalesa or a horse-drawn carriage across century-old churches like Manila Cathedral and the UNESCO-listed San Agustin Church. Then, visit an 18th-century house called Casa Manila to glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of rich Filipino families back in the day.

👉Get your Intramuros pass here!👈

2. Binondo Food Crawl

Binondo - Things to Do in Manila
The entryway to Binondo’s Chinatown in Manila

Just 3 kilometers away from Intramuros, Binondo, the world’s oldest Chinatown, is famous for its thriving food scene. Feast your eyes and appetite with a cultural and gastronomic experience along the tea houses and Chinese-style stalls.

Make sure to drop by the renowned Binondo eateries like Ying Ying Tea House for dim sum dishes, Dong Bei Dumplings, Wai Ying for beef mami, and Eng Bee Tin for traditional Chinese pastries like hopia (“bean-filled moon cake”) and tikoy (“rice cake”).

👉Find hotel deals in Manila!👈

3. Get Close to Marine Life at Manila Ocean Park

Manila Ocean Park - Things to Do in Manila
Beneath Manila Ocean Park’s oceanarium in Manila

The Philippines is known for being one of the world’s best diving destinations. But you don’t need to travel outside Manila to get an up-close encounter with marine life. Now you can visit Manila Ocean Park and walk along its curved walkway tunnel with several fishes and underwater creatures swimming overhead.

The Manila Ocean Park offers a multitude of attractions for the family. There’s the oceanarium, jellies exhibit, sea lion show, birdhouse, ball pit, and more. You can even get a chance to feed penguins at the Trails to Antarctica attraction.

👉Get your Manila Ocean Park ticket here!👈

4. Cultural and Historical Tour

National Museum of Fine Arts - Things to Do in Manila
The gorgeous facade of the National Museum of Fine Arts in Manila

Continue your cultural and historical tour at the National Museum Complex, which consists of three main museums, including The National Museum of Fine Arts, The National Museum of Anthropology, and The National Museum of Natural History. 

Each museum showcases iconic memorabilia, ethnic mementos, and artifacts. Some of the highlights of your tour include the DNA Tree of Life Tower and Lolong’s skeleton or the Philippines’ largest crocodile in captivity displayed at the National Museum of Natural History. If you love astronomy, head to the National Planetarium for a cinematic viewing experience of the Milky Way.

👉Book your private transfer from Manila airport here!👈

5. Watch Manila Bay Sunset on Yacht Cruise

Manila Bay Sunset - Things to Do in Manila
A sunset cruise along Manila Bay is one of the best things to do in Manila.

Take in breathtaking views of the city skyline onboard a private yacht. The Manila Super Yacht Cruise comes with admission to the Palazzo on the Waves Cruise, access to the billionaire lounge, dining, and accommodation where you are free to use the yacht’s facilities.

Guests can enjoy a soothing dip in the jacuzzi and sunbathing on the yacht deck. On top of that, don’t miss the iconic Manila Bay sunset on a yacht.

👉Book your Manila super yacht cruise here!👈

6. Explore Manila’s Offbeat Spot at Cubao Expo

Cubao Expo - Things to Do in Manila
Int. Bar/ Ext. Cafe tucked away inside Cubao Expo in Quezon City

Often dubbed as the local hipster’s spot, Cubao Expo is dotted with speakeasy bars, hole-in-the-wall artisanal cafes, and antique boutiques. It’s the perfect go-to place for art lovers, creatives, and foodies alike.

Step into a Wong Kar-wai film at the hidden Int. Bar/ Ext. Cafe and sip signature cocktails while jiving to jazz tunes. But if you’re in the mood for chill drinking sessions, pull up a chair inside Habanero Kitchen Bar. For those looking for new hobbies, sign up for pottery-making sessions at Bumi and Ashe.

👉Book your Manila to Baguio bus ticket here!👈

7. Enjoy Exhilarating Rides at SM By the Bay Amusement Park

SM By the Bay Amusement Park - Things to Do in Manila
The iconic SM MOA Eye stands tall in Pasay City

Traveling with the kids? Then, head to SM by the Bay Amusement Park right outside the famed SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City. It offers plenty of thrilling rides for the whole gang and family! Capture the breathtaking Manila Bay sunset on top of the MOA Eye or avail of the ride-all-you-can promo for the following rides:

  • Bumper Car
  • Barn Stormer
  • Grand Carousel
  • Bumble Bee
  • Pirate Ship
  • Dream Twister
  • Drop Tower

If you get hungry from trying out all the thrilling rides, you can drop by the food stalls along SM by the Bay and choose from a myriad of food options from local street food to international cuisines on offer at the restaurants.

👉Get your SM By the Bay Amusement Park ride-all-you-can pass here!👈

8. Immerse in Interactive Art Museum

Art in Island - Things to Do in Manila
One of the 3D art installations at Art in Island in Quezon City

Up next is a family-friendly attraction in Metro Manila, also deemed the largest mixed media museum in the Philippines, Art in Island. Situated at the heart of Quezon City, its interactive light and media displays will take your imagination to an entirely mind-blowing dimension.

Discover various art forms and magnificent sights in this fully immersive experience. On December 15, Art in Island unveils its new name, The Media Square. In collaboration with art experts from South Korea, the newly refurbished museum promises to bring you a stunning, upside-down level of entertainment.

Note: All guests are required to wear socks and no flash photography or outside food is allowed inside the museum.

👉Get your Art in Island ticket here!👈

9. The Mind Museum

Mind Museum - Things to Do in Manila
A forged skeleton of a T-Rex dinosaur at The Mind Museum in BGC, Taguig City

A visit to Metro Manila won’t be complete without exploring The Mind Museum, located in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Kids and young at heart can marvel at scientific exhibits and galleries showcasing the wonders of the universe.

If you’re a certified science buff, this one’s for you! You’ll get access to a gigantic exhibition space with 250 various interactive exhibits. Don’t forget to check out the main galleries: Atom Gallery, Life Gallery, Earth Gallery, Universe Gallery, and Technology Gallery.

👉Get your Mind Museum ticket here!👈

10. Nightlife in Poblacion, BGC, and Tomas Morato

Sanctuary Poblacion Things to Do in Manila
Sanctuary is one of the most popular rooftop bars in Poblacion, Makati.

Come sundown, it’s time to party and chill at the vibrant bars scattered across Poblacion in Makati City, Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig, and Tomas Morato in Quezon City. Sink into a cold beer or dance the night away at any of these nightlife destinations in Metro Manila.

If you’re coming from the South, you can hail a taxi to the numerous pubs along Poblacion or book a Grab (taxi app) instead to BGC at which young adults and rich kids (as they say) hang out. People from the Northern part of the metro usually party at Tomas Morato where you can find the most eccentric and loudest clubs.

👉Book your Tagaytay day tour here!👈

Got questions about your trip to Cebu? Drop them in the comments!

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Cebu Insider Team
Cebu Insider Team

Cebu Insider aims to deliver accurate and up-to-date Philippine travel guides to digital nomads, expats, full-time travelers, and remote workers.

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