20 Things To Do In Hyderabad

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Hyderabad or the City of Pearls is the largest capital city in south-central India and the fourth-largest Indian city in terms of population. The city was founded in 1591 by the rulers of the Qutub Shahi Dynasty, mainly as a diamond and pearl trading centre, hence the moniker City of Pearls. Once the Qutubs lost power, the Hyderabad region was briefly ruled by the Mogul kings, the Nizams and eventually became the largest princely state of British India, with Hyderabad as its capital.

Before the exit of the British from the Indian sub-continent, Hyderabad was annexed to the Republic of India by the Indian army and became a part of India. Hyderabad is geographically located on a plateau region in Southern India and is dotted by many hills, lakes and waterfalls through the nearby regions around it. The city’s elevation above sea level, along with the city’s tryst with monsoon rains from June to August means its temperatures hover in the comfortable 15 to 30 Celsius range for more than half of the year and is an ideal destination for outdoor activities for a major part of the year, from June to February. The monsoon months however have rainy and cloudy days interspersed with warmer days.

things to do in hyderbad's golconda fort
One of the top things to do in Hyderabad is to explore Golconda Fort, where you will find a fantastic view of the city. Photos: Christina Pfeiffer. 

Present-day Hyderabad is a modern and bustling metropolis with world-class urban infrastructure, international travel connectivity, cosmopolitan culture and a variety of opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses. Hyderabad is known as the Information Technology hub of India along with Bengaluru and has corporate centres of many top IT companies of the world like Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Apple. Hyderabad is also a Pharmaceutical Industry hub of the world and home to many large pharma companies which predominantly export pharmaceutical drugs to the USA, UK, Europe, Canada, Australia and other parts of the world.

The rise of income levels in India, the inexpensive and reliable internet connectivity and the ubiquitous usage of smartphones has seen an explosion of start-ups in India, the majority of which are based in Hyderabad, Bengaluru and New Delhi. Most of the urban-dwelling locals (called Hyderabadis) are well-versed in basic English and generally speak at least two languages. The history of Hyderabad shows its rich heritage shaped by various Islamic, British and Hindu influences which are clearly visible in its architecture, clothing and food even today.

things to do in hyderabad today
In the olden days, the Nizams used to ride around in a horse and buggy.

The unique blend of the Hyderabadi cuisine which has its roots in the Nawabi heritage, and the traditional cuisine of the Telugu-speaking people which dates back to pre-Hyderabad times is quite famous among culinary enthusiasts around the world. The gastronomic culture’s unique identity has earned Hyderabad a place in the UNESCO’s City of Gastronomy.

Alongside the old and charming Hyderabad, one can find a truly modern city with all the thrills and bells any mega metropolis has anywhere in the world. Be it world-class restaurants, extremely popular local cuisine options like biryani, vibrant nightlife, a plethora of entertainment options, weekend getaways or places to spend a day Hyderabad offers many options.

things to do in hyderabad now local tuktuk
Riding in a tuktuk is another fun thing to do in Hyderabad.

A discerning traveller will find various things to do in Hyderabad, which is a unique and vibrant city. Starting from the unique culinary pleasures that the city offers, to the heritage sights and sounds hidden within the city, one can navigate through various places and activities all the while coming back to the ultra-modern amenities that make Hyderabad a gem of a city in the heart of India.

Hyderabad, India

20 Things To Do In Hyderabad

1- Dine And Tour The Taj Falaknuma Palace

things to do in hyderabad taj falaknuma
One of the iconic things to do in Hyderabad is to stay at or visit Taj Falaknuma Hotel, the former Nizam’s palace.

Any visitor coming to Hyderabad for the first time should taste the royal Hyderabadi food at the Taj Falaknuma Palace. ​

The palace, which is now a five-star luxury hotel, is perched on a hill overseeing the older section of the city.

A popular tourist attraction within the palace is the heritage walk, which is a guided tour of the whole palace showcasing the Nizam era lavishness.

One cannot complete the heritage walk without tasting the sumptuous multi-course buffet where guests are treated to a royal course of Hyderabadi cuisine.

Entry fee: Rs. 5000 per person for restaurant buffet.
Visiting hours: 12 PM to 10 PM for palace lunch and dinner restaurants.
Time required: 8 hours for the Palaces tour.

2- Taste Authentic Nawabi Cuisine

things to do hyderabad cuisine (2)
Feeling hungry? The local cuisine is delicious and inexpensive.

Hyderabad is famous for its royal Nawabi cuisine, and the rise of corporate culture and influx of expatriates and tourists has created a lot of opportunities for other cuisines.

The city now has restaurants serving not just cuisines from other states like Andhra Pradesh (sister state of Telangana for Telugu-speaking people), Tamil Nadu, Punjab, West Bengal and Maharashtra but also cuisines from different countries.

You can find Sushi, Mexican, Italian, European continental, Singaporean, Malaysian, Thai, American, English, Mediterranean and other cuisines.

However, most of these outlets are closer to the Hitech City area which is in the newer and developing part of Hyderabad.

Jewel of Nizam-The Minar, Paradise Hotel, Almond House, Chutneys, and Café Bahar are some of the extremely popular restaurants in Hyderabad serving the local cuisine.

One should book their reservation in advance when planning to visit any of these hotels, as they are almost always full.

When in Hyderabad, any traveller coming for business or leisure would not miss the world-renowned rice preparation called Biryani, where aromatic rice (generally Basmati rice) is cooked using various blends of spices and protein (such as chicken, mutton, prawns, fish or even vegetables) in a unique style called ‘Dum’ style of cooking, which dates back to more than 400 years.

The biryani prepared in this style is called Dum Biryani. This is a mouth-watering style of cooking rice and is very filling for both the stomach and the heart.

If one has tasted kebabs in their life and wants more, Hyderabad is the perfect place to satiate their taste buds.

Visiting hours: 11 AM to 10 PM
Time required: 2-3 hours

3- Enjoy Mouth-Watering Haleem

things to do in hyderabad haleem
Trying the local food is one of the things to do in Hyderabad at night.

Talking about Hyderabadi food is not complete without mentioning Haleem, which is a specialty dish prepared only during the month of Ramadan.

Ramadan is a Muslim festival celebrated throughout Hyderabad during which a special seasonal dish called Haleem is prepared.

Although Haleem is commonly consumed across the Indian sub-continent, Hyderabadi Haleem is popular for its unique flavour profile made from spices popularly used in Hyderabad.

Anyone visiting Hyderabad during the Ramadan month should undoubtedly taste the Haleem which is only available after sunset.

Although almost every restaurant serves Haleem during this period, Sarvi restaurant, Shah Ghouse, Pista House, and Shadab Hotel are some of the outlets which regularly rank in the top five Haleem places in Hyderabad.

People from other parts of India make it a point to visit Hyderabad during Ramadan just for the Haleem, and this is not an exaggeration.

Visiting hours: Only after 6 PM during Ramadan days
Time required: 1-2 hours

4- Visit The Charminar

things to do in hyderabad charminar
Exploring the area around Charminar is one of the top things to do in Hyderabad.

Given the long history of Hyderabad dating back to the 1500s, the city is home to many heritage monuments, some of which are even being considered for UNESCO World Heritage site listing.

Charminar, the iconic structure built in the Indo-Saracenic style (an architectural style used by Muslim rulers of the region which is present-day India, identified by the bulbous domes, vaulted arches, minarets, etc) is the ideal starting point for understanding the rich cultural heritage of the city.

Entry fee: Rs. 100 for foreign tourists
Visiting hours: 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM
Time required: 1 hour

5- Spend An Afternoon In The Old City

things to do in hyderabad old city old shops
Exploring the old part of town is one of the best things to do in Hyderabad to understand the soul of the city.

Hyderabad is also very popular when it comes to street food, and there’s no better place than the Old City.

This is the area around Charminar, the iconic symbol representing Hyderabad, built more than 400 years ago which is dotted with so many age-old and humble Irani cafes, kebab shops, Nizam era bakeries, biscuit shops and other delightful snack and food shops.

Although most snacks are non-vegetarian (predominantly chicken and mutton as was the Hyderabadi food in the olden days), you can also find many vegetarian places as well.

Hyderabadis are connoisseurs of great food, and the authentic kebabs and biryanis that Hyderabad is so famous for have their roots in the Old City area.

There are many famous food joints like the Shah Ghouse, Paradise Biryani, Pista House, Govind Dosa, Nimraah Bakery, Hotel Shahran, Hotel Shadaab, Hameedi, Hotel Madina, Karachi Bakery, Famous ice creams, Bilal ice creams which originated in the Old City area but have now expanded their presence throughout Hyderabad (in some cases to neighbouring countries too).

Entry fee: Free
Visiting hours: 9:30 AM to 10 PM
Time required: 2-3 hours

6- Soak In The Sights At Golconda Fort

best things to do in hyderabad
Visiting Golconda Fort is one of the iconic things to do in Hyderabad today.

A keen traveller can learn more about the history of Hyderabad by visiting the Golconda Fort.

The Fort was the centre of diamond and pearl trading in the past, and one can learn about Hyderabad by just walking through the fort and participating in the Light and Sound show.

The fort, which is built on a hill, gives an incredible view of Hyderabad from the top.

The growth and development of the city into a major metropolis has however seen many of the areas surrounding the fort develop into residential and commercial areas dotted with many modern high-rise buildings, some of which are more than 40 stories high.

One can also see the newer part of Hyderabad in the distance, highlighted by bright city lights once the sun goes down.

The palace is also a part of the Telangana Tourism- Nizam palace tour which happens on Saturdays and Sundays.

Entry fee: Rs. 300 for foreign tourists
Visiting hours: 9 AM to 5:30 PM, open all days
Time required: 3 hours

7- Soak In History At The Taramati Biradari

golconda fort
An aerial view of Golconda Fort and the city.

Taramati Biradari is a centuries-old building close to the Golconda built by the Golconda rulers who ruled Hyderabad before the Nizams.

It is said that the legendary dancer and courtesan Taramati used to stay here along with her entourage and used to perform for the Golconda rulers and their visitors.

Entry fee: Free
Visiting hours: 11 AM to 6 PM
Time required: 2 hours

7- Visit The Salarjung Museum

Salarjung Museum is India’s third-largest museum housing collections of various antiques, paintings and armours from around the world, dating back to the Mughal period.

This museum is on the banks of River Musi, on whose banks the city of Hyderabad was built.

Entry fee: Rs. 500 for foreign tourists
Visiting hours: 10 AM to 5 PM; Closed on Friday
Time required: 3 hours

8- Explore The Nizami Lifestyle At Chowmahalla Palace

things to do in hyderabad Chowmahalla Palace
Learning about the city’s history at Chowmahalla Palace is one of the things to do in Hyderabad you should not miss.

If one likes to visit palaces and places of grandeur, Faluknuma Palace is not the only palace, Hyderabad has more palaces.

The Chowmahalla Palace, inspired by the Shah’s Palace in Tehran (Iran), is a charming well-maintained palace with hues of white and yellow paints contrasted with the lush green courtyards.

The palace is a must-visit for connoisseurs of the art, which is clearly visible in intricate artwork on the ceilings and walls along with lavishly made daily use items, weapons, and decorative fixtures.

Many of the heritage structures in Hyderabad are linked to the Nizams, who ruled the Hyderabad state before India’s independence.

The palace is also a part of the Telangana Tourism- Nizam palace tour which happens on Saturdays and Sundays.

Entry fee: Rs. 200 for foreign tourists.
Visiting hours: 10 AM to 5 PM, Closed on Friday.
Time required: 2 hours.

hyderabad nizam
Nizam Usman Ali Khan.

9- Spend An Evening At Shilparamam

Speaking of heritage, one cannot miss visiting Shilparamam, a small village (not a real village but a replica) created by the state government with the intention to preserve and conserve traditional crafts of the state, along with a depiction of the rural lifestyle.

The village is right in the heart of the newer part of Hyderabad, Hitech City and an urban oasis amidst the concrete jungle surrounding it, with waterfalls, greenery and a lake.

Anyone interested in purchasing traditional Indian handicraft items can do so at the artisan shops inside the village.

Entry fee: Rs. 60 for adults, Rs. 20 for children, Boat rides and other attractions charged
Visiting hours: 10:30 AM to 8PM
Time required: 2 hours

10- Visit The Purani Haveli

Among the other heritage monuments in Hyderabad are the Purani Haveli (translated to Old Bungalow) built in the old European-style facades interlaced with traditional Indian courtyards.

Beautifully designed interiors, mosaic floors, colourfully designed walls along with Nizam-era furniture are quite attractive to look at.

The Nizam’s museum, located within the premises has its own surprises such as vintage cars and a diamond-studded gold tiffin box.

Entry fee: Rs. 80 for adults, Rs. 15 for children
Visiting hours: 10:30 AM to 5 PM, Closed on Friday
Time required: 1-2 hours

11- Shop Around Charminar

fun things to do in hyderabad
Hitting the shops around Charminar is one of the fun things to do in Hyderabad. Polish up your haggling skills.

Hyderabad is known as a shopping destination as much as it is a food or tourist destination.

There are two distinct types of shopping one can do in Hyderabad.

The first is shopping in the older bazaars (or markets) of Hyderabad in areas close to Charminar.

There are many shops selling clothes, spices, antique items and jewellery around the Charminar area.

There is even a Kite Market close to the famous “Gulzar Houz”.

The second is shopping in the neo-modern malls and specialised shops (mainly cloth shops) that are interspersed throughout the city in the older as well as the newer areas.

Entry fee: Free
Visiting hours: 11 AM to 10 PM
Time required: 3-4 hours

12- Shop At Choodi Bazaar

things to do in hyderabad shopping women in black shopping at a bangle shop
Going jewellery shopping for bangles and other wedding adornments is one of the fun things to do in Hyderabad.

The area around Charminar is especially popular for its timeless bazaars where vendors, old and new, sell their wares to travellers and locals alike.

Laad bazaar (also known as Choodi bazaar or bangles market) is very old and has been operating since Charminar was formed 400 years ago making it one of the oldest markets in India.

This market is famous throughout India and nearby countries for various ladies’ adornments such as bangles, pearls, silverware, sarees (traditional dressing worn by Indian women), handwoven embroidered clothing, along with perfumes, paintings, spices and various other specialised items.

Women would especially love the Mehendi (called gorintaaku in local vernacular) which is a herbal paste applied on the palm and back of the hands (like a tattoo but easily removable).

As is the practice in any local Indian market, bargaining is an art that is hugely valued here.

Some of the other famous shopping districts close to Charminar are Char Minar bazaar, Begum bazaar, and Moazzam Jahi Market.

Entry fee: Free
Visiting hours: 11 AM to 10 PM
Time required: 3-4 hours

13- Watch A Movie At Prasads Imax

If one needs to cool their heels amongst modern-day amenities, they can head to one of the many malls interspersed throughout the city.

GVK One Mall, Prasads IMAX, Inorbit Mall, and Hyderabad Central are some of the most popular malls in Hyderabad, which are lined with shops and food joints from across the world.

Prasads IMAX theatre is one of the oldest theatre malls in Hyderabad and houses the largest IMAX screen in India, which is 72 feet high and 95 feet wide along with 635 seats.

An experience of a 3D movie on the IMAX screen is truly an extraordinary experience.

Entry fee: Mall entry is free but you have to buy tickets to theatre and other attractions.
Visiting hours: 11 AM to 10 PM
Time required: 2-3 hours

14- Head To Ramoji Film City For The Weekend

Ramoji Film City is a unique attraction related to Indian cinema and holds the distinction of being one of the largest studio complexes in India.

Films across various languages were shot here, and it still remains a favourite destination for moviemakers who wish to recreate various locales such as Europe and the Middle East without actually going there.

Any traveller visiting Hyderabad can visit here and explore a number of artificial and natural attractions within the studio.

It also has accommodation options for those on a luxury trip or for those on a tight budget.

Every film lover across the world must have definitely heard of Bollywood, the Indian cinema industry.

An interesting revelation for many non-Indians is that India being a land of more than 100 languages, there are many regional language cinema industries within India.

While Bollywood focuses on Hindi language movies, Hyderabad is home to Telugu language movies called Tollywood which in its own right is a multi-million dollar industry.

There are other languages like Tamil, Malayalam, Punjabi, Marathi, etc which themselves have their own industries.

Entry fee: General Guided One Day Tour with-out-Food: Rs. 1250 adults, Rs. 1050 children
Visiting hours: 9 AM to 5:30 PM
Time required: 5-6 hours

15- Absorb The Nuances Of Hinduism At Birla Mandir

Although religion is a way of life for most Hyderabadis, they are also very accommodating when it comes to foreign travellers.

Hyderabad has Hindu places of worship such as the Birla Mandir, Chilkur Balaji temple, the Jagannath temple near Banjara hills, which are open to most tourists as long as they have the appropriate attire.

The Birla Mandir is quite famous for being perched on a hill in the centre of the city, but also for its beautifully carved marble walls and floors within and outside the temple.

Every temple in this list has its own unique charm and reason for popularity among the masses and is frequently visited by the locals.

Entry fee: Free
Visiting hours: 7 AM to 12 PM, 3 PM to 9 PM
Time required: 2 hours

16- Learn About Science And Look At The Stars At Birla Science Center

Located just beside the Birla Mandir is the Birla Science Center, which is a must-see for travellers with kids.

The Science Center has many attractions like the Planetarium, Science Museum, 3D Universe and Gallery of Modern Art.

The Planetarium has half-hour shows on the universe and cosmos, but do check the exact timings for English language shows.

The Science Center also has a museum that has exhibits from various scientific fields like Archeology, Interactive Science, Antarctic Diorama and others, and will hold the interest of kids for hours.

Entry fee: Planetarium+ Science Museum+ Art Gallery: Rs. 325
Visiting hours: 10:30 AM to 8:30 PM, Planetarium English show timings: 11:30 AM, 4 and 6 PM
Time required: 4 hours

17- Spend A Thrilling Day At Wonderla Amusement Park

Hyderabad’s growth in recent years mirrors India’s growth and this has seen a lot of growth in entertainment avenues as well.

Wonderla amusement park is a wonderful place to spend time with family where there are rides suited to everyone’s appetite.

The rides are divided into High Thrill Rides, Water Rides, Family Rides and Kids Rides.

Whether one wants to just relax in the water in the water park, or get your adrenalin pumping in the Thrill Rides, there is something for everyone here.

Entry fee: Rs. 1099 for adults and Rs. 879 for children (non-peak days), Rs. 1299 and Rs. 1039 for children (weekends and holidays).
Visiting hours: 11 AM to 6 PM, Waterpark timing: 12:30 PM to 5 PM
Time required: 5-6 hours

18- Jump Around At Skyzone Trampoline Park

Skyzone Trampoline Park is Hyderabad’s indoor trampoline jumping range where kids and adults can jump their way through nine different courses of varying difficulties.

Although it seems like an easy thing, jumping on the trampoline for a long time gives a thorough workout to the legs and the lungs.

Mind you, trampoline jumping should be done on a light stomach but with a lighter heart.

The park offers one-hour packages with additional charges for the next hour.

Entry fee: Rs. 900 for 1 hour (peak days), Rs. 650 for one hour (non-peak days)
Visiting hours: 12 PM to 8:00 PM all days, closed on state and national holidays
Time required: 3-4 hours

19- Visit The Fauna At Nehru Zoological Park

A trip to Hyderabad isn’t complete without visiting the Zoo, which is named after India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

It is on the banks of a lake which is home to many migratory birds, and displays many indigenous birds and animals found in the sub-continent.

There is also a nocturnal house inside the zoo that reverses day and night times for the animals inside it, which keeps the nocturnal animals active during the daytime for visitors to see.

Entry fee: Rs. 50 for adults, additional tickets for the Toy Train and buggies. 
Visiting hours: 8:00 AM to 5: 00 PM, Closed on Monday
Time required: 4-5 hours

20- Spend An Evening At The Statue Of Equality

The Statue of Equality is the second-tallest sitting statue in the world, which is 66m (216 ft) high.

The statue commemorates 1000 years since the birth of Ramanujacharya, a renowned Vedic philosopher, social reformer and proponent of social equality in the 10th century.

Today, the statue stands as a representation of secularism and equality of all religions in India.

According to the Indian constitution, India is a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular and Democratic country and this statue is a representation of Secularism and Equality.

Do not miss the Dynamic Fountain Show and the laser show which happen every day.

Entry fee: Rs. 200 for adults, Rs. 125 for children
Visiting hours: 11 AM to 8 PM, Closed on Wednesday
Time required: 3 to 4 hours

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Vamsee Chandra lives in Hyderabad in India and is a financial markets trader by profession. An engineer with an MBA, he is a free-spirited traveller at heart. He has visited 17 countries on three different continents (Asia, Europe and North America) and has a personal target of visiting 50 countries before he retires. His favourite city is Paris, for its amazing museums and people. His favourite building is Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world, and his favourite countryside is the Bavarian region in Germany, where the Neuschwanstein Castle is located.