If you’re just kicking off the planning stage for your Karachi trip, get ready for some seriously cool adventures! We’re talking all the best things to do in Karachi, the coolest places to visit in Karachi, and a few tourist spots thrown in to make your experience extra special.
Karachi city is buzzing with life, soaked in history, and packed full of unexpected surprises. Visiting the majestic Mohatta Palace and the antique Empress Market is a must thing to do in Karachi, however, the real charm of Karachi extends beyond the typical tourist spots.
This city is an immersive adventure all on its own, with numerous engaging activities throughout the year. The key is uncovering Karachi’s hidden gems, and that’s precisely what we’re here to help with.
So get ready for the inside scoop on the top things to do in Karachi and all the best places to visit in Karachi. We’re about to dive into everything this eclectic city has to offer. By the time we’re done, you’ll be navigating Karachi like a local.
Places to Visit in Karachi
How to visit Karachi
As Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi is well connected to the rest of the country and the world. It’s home to Jinnah International Airport, making it easily accessible.
Once you’re in Karachi, you can choose to navigate the city by hiring a car via ride-hailing apps like Uber, Careem or the locally-loved, inDrive.
But for a real taste of Karachi life, why not give auto rickshaws a try? They’re a fun way to get to the best places in Karachi I’m going to share with you below.
This is a guest post written by Duaa. Duaa helps with the admin of running The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog but she lives in Karachi so who better to write up a post on the best things to do in Karachi than her?!
Best Things To Do in Karachi
Now let’s get into the best things to do in Karachi and places to visit including tourist attractions in Karachi but also, local areas where you’ll get to experience what this buzzing city is truly about!
1. Quaid-e-Azam Tomb / Mazar e Quaid
When we talk about the famous places in Karachi, the most significant historical spot is Quaid-e-Azam Tomb or Mazar-e-Quaid as locals say. This is where Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, is buried. It’s one of the best things to do in Karachi, especially for history enthusiasts. Apart from him, there are also graves of other important people who sacrificed their life for Pakistan.
Getting to the tomb isn’t hard – it’s right in the city’s heart, making it a crucial part of Karachi’s visiting places. You could easily catch an Uber or Careem. But for an authentic Karachi experience, hop on a local rickshaw!
Once you reach the complex, there’s a small entry fee. You’ll also be asked to leave your personal belongings behind. Once inside, you’ll feel a peaceful quiet that’s different from the usual noise of the city.
If you plan a visit, make sure to do so on a weekday when it’s less crowded. Remember, you’re walking on sacred ground, so be respectful, dress modestly and get ready for some intense history lessons.
2. Frere Hall
If you’ve got a thing for colonial architecture, then Frere Hall, one of the famous places in Karachi, is a paradise. It’s like going back in the past, all the way to 1865, making it one of the must-visit historical places in Karachi!
Firstly, you’ve got to appreciate the building structure. This best place to visit in Karachi will have you reaching for your camera every two minutes. Every inch is Instagram-worthy, from the high arches to the carefully maintained gardens.
Frere Hall is more than just a building, though. It’s a place where many cultural events and shows take place and a library. If you enjoy art and books, you’ll love the art shows and book sales held in the gardens around the building.
So, if you ever find yourself in Karachi, and are wondering about the things to do in Karachi, don’t miss out on spending an afternoon at Frere Hall. It’s a place where you can appreciate beautiful architecture, attend cultural events, and pick up a new book to read.
3. Empress Market
This is another colonial-era gem and a highlight among Karachi visiting places; it is a location you’ll love. Built in 1889, Empress Market is one of the most bustling places to visit in Karachi. It’s a lively place full of all kinds of stuff that shows what Pakistan is all about. When you first walk in, you’ll smell all kinds of spices. It’s like stepping into a Pakistani kitchen. Next, you’ll see many fresh fruits and vegetables grown locally.
You’ll also find rows of clothing stalls filled with traditional Pakistani outfits, the perfect place to hunt for a unique keepsake. And if you’ve got an eye for the old and rare, the antique stalls won’t disappoint.
Empress Market is the best place to get a sense of the local life in Karachi, making it one of the best things to do in Karachi. From buying the freshest produce to navigating your way through the maze-like alleys, you’ll start feeling like a real Karachite in no time. And don’t worry about getting lost. It might sound scary but trust me; it’s fun! And people are super friendly here. If you lose your way, just ask someone.
You can also try tasty local snacks from street vendors like crunchy samosas or sweet jalebis; they are delicious! Just a stone’s throw away from Empress Market is, Jahangir Park. After shopping and eating, you can relax in this park and sit under a tree while watching the world go by.
Also, walking about 10 minutes from the market, you can see a beautiful old building, St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Its architecture is amazing, and it’s an important historical spot. So, wear your comfortable shoes and get ready for an adventure at Empress Market!
4. Mohatta Palace Museum
Mohatta Palace, one of the iconic Karachi visiting places, is a beautiful mansion in Karachi that you just have to visit! It used to be the home of a rich Hindu businessman, Shivratan Mohatta, but after India and Pakistan were split into two countries, he had to leave. Nowadays, it’s a museum showing Pakistan’s amazing art and traditions.
Walking through the grand doors of Mohatta Palace is like stepping back in time. Each room is filled with carefully preserved art pieces and objects from different periods and cultures in Pakistan. My personal favourite? The fine arts section, from delicate ceramics to intricate textiles, it’s a feast for the eyes and certainly makes it one of the best places to visit in Karachi.
Mohatta Palace, a prominent example of historical places in Karachi, isn’t just about indoor exhibitions. The palace itself is a masterpiece with a mix of Rajasthani and British architecture and beautiful gardens that are perfect for a peaceful walk. So make sure you take some time to enjoy the outside too!
Before you leave, pop into the museum shop. It’s a great place to find unique, handcrafted gifts as lovely reminders of your visit to this prominent tourist place in Pakistan. You have to pay a small fee to get into the palace, but it’s worth every penny.
5. Clifton Beach
Clifton Beach, one of the best things to do in Karachi, is the go-to place to relax and forget about everything else. It’s well-loved by both the locals and tourists.
If you like adventure, try camel rides, horse rides, or ATV drives. But if you prefer to chill out, just sit on the grass or bench by the seashore and enjoy the warm sun and golden sand at one of the best places to visit in Karachi. Just remember to put on some sunscreen as the sun can be pretty strong here. You can also enjoy the beautiful sunset from the sea view wall while sipping on your favourite drink.
When you get hungry, there are tons of food stalls along the beach that sell all sorts of snacks. From local Pakistani street food to ice cream and fresh coconuts, there’s something to suit everyone’s taste. Since you’re in Karachi, try a spicy ‘chaat‘ or a refreshing ‘gola ganda‘ (a kind of snow cone).
The beach can get busy on weekends and public holidays, so if you prefer peace and quiet, you might want to plan your visit on a weekday to this famous place in Karachi.
Here’s a tip when you’re planning to explore the Clifton area, one of the many diverse places to visit in Karachi. Try and visit Clifton Beach, Do Darya, Bin Qasim Park, Mohatta Palace, and Boat Basin Food Street on the same day. They’re all super close to each other – just about 15 minutes apart.
Let’s not forget about E Street, which is 10-minute drive from Clifton Beach. This street is famous for its cool cafes and places to eat in Karachi, so it’s a great place to relax after a day at the beach. The street has many cute and high-end cafes, each with a special vibe.
Among the cafes I’ve visited, Cafe Xanders holds a special place; their Babar Pasta is highly recommended. Also, don’t miss out on the lotus pancakes at Caffé Praha. E Street has it all if you’re in the mood for a strong cup of coffee, a sweet piece of cake, or a filling meal.
In need of some shopping? Head over to Dolmen Mall in the Clifton area. The mall has a mix of local and international brands, food courts, a movie theatre, and even an indoor amusement park for kids. This place is perfect for shoppers and a great place to find some souvenirs.
So there you have it! A day filled with sun, sand, delicious food, shopping, and some relaxing time in the park, all among the top things to do in Karachi.
6. Food Tour through Burns Road
One of the best places to visit in Karachi for food lovers is, without a doubt, Burns Road. Come to Burns Road with an empty stomach and fill your belly on a fun food trip down Burns Road in Karachi! This street is right in the city centre and super easy to reach.
Burns Road is always buzzing with life, making it one of the most famous places in Karachi. It can get very busy, especially in the evenings and on weekends. But don’t let that stop you; it’s all part of the unique experience of exploring the best things to do in Karachi. As soon as you get there, you’ll smell lots of yummy food from all the different stalls and restaurants. If you need help figuring out where to start, just follow your nose or this guide.
You cannot miss some legendary food points like the Waheed Kabab House is a must-visit! Trust me, their beef kababs and malai Boti are to die for. Then there’s Fresco, which is quite famous for its samosa and dahi baras – an absolute treat to your taste buds!
But the food adventure doesn’t stop there. Head over to Cafe Lazeez for some mouthwatering karahi and Chicken Sajji. For dessert, there’s no place like Delhi Rabri for the best Rabri (a sweet, creamy dish) and Delhi Sweets for an indulgent doodh dhulari and gulab jamun. Also, do yourself a favour and get a matka kulfi from Dilshad Kulfi. Trust me; it’s a creamy delight that you don’t want to miss! Last but not least, the Biryani from Food Centre is one of the best food to eat in Karachi, which surely makes this one of the places to visit in Karachi with friends.
Be sure to arrange your day cleverly so you can hit all these nearby hot spots in one go. Start your day with a visit to Quaid e Azam’s tomb, then wander around Empress Market and soak up some history at Frere Hall. As the evening arrives, you’ll be ready for a tasty food adventure at Burns Road.
7. Explore the Port Grand
Port Grand is located alongside the waterfront of the 19th-century Native Jetty Bridge; it stands as one of Karachi’s famous places and is a hub of food, shopping, and entertainment. The beautifully lit walkways, the cool breeze from the Arabian Sea, and the lively atmosphere of Port Grand will immediately uplift your mood, making it one of the best things to do in Karachi.
You’ll need to pay a small entry fee of 300 Rs, which roughly converts to $1, and you can roam around from 4 pm until midnight.
In Port Grand, there’s a fun mini-golf course that tends to be a crowd favourite. But if you’re not afraid of heights and enjoy cool views, make sure you hop on the giant Ferris Wheel. As it takes you higher and higher, you’ll get a great overview of the Port Grand complex, the Arabian Sea, and even the city’s skyline.
You might enjoy the horse carriage rides if you fancy a calmer activity. It’s a leisurely and quite romantic way to see the complex, especially in the evening when the place is all lit up.
And let’s not forget the art lane. It’s a unique section of Port Grand where local artists showcase their work. You’ll find everything from paintings and sculptures to traditional crafts, making Port Grand one of the best places to visit in Karachi.
Port Grand often hosts live performances by local musicians, adding a lively dimension to the fun things to do in Karachi. From traditional Pakistani music to rock, pop, and jazz, there’s something for everyone. Enjoy the music while having some delicious food – a match made in heaven!
Last but not least, the food at Port Grand is worth trying. There are many options, from street food stalls to upscale restaurants. Don’t be afraid to try new things – you might discover your new favourite dish!
8. Boating to Manora Island
Manora Island, one of the places to visit in Karachi, a small peninsular land attached to a sandy beach, is a hidden gem in the Arabian Sea off the southern coast of Karachi. This place is well-loved by explorers and locals from Karachi who want a peaceful break from the busy city.
Yet, the real charm lies in the journey itself, where you hop on a boat from Keemari port and sail towards Manora Island, which is one of the best things to do in Karachi.
To take a boat ride around Manora Island, you must head to the Manora Ferry point at Kemari Port in Karachi. The boats there are usually available throughout the day, offering different tours around the island.
You can join a group tour or hire a private boat for an exclusive tour of the island, a popular choice among places to visit in Karachi with friends. The prices will vary depending on the tour length and the boat type. Before you hop onto a boat, agree on the tour’s price and duration with the boatman to avoid any misunderstandings later.
Settle in, kick back and enjoy the stunning view of the island and the surrounding Arabian Sea. It’s an unforgettable experience that gives you a whole new perspective on Manora Island.
Once you set foot on Manora Island, you’ll find plenty of things to see and do. Start by visiting the iconic Manora Lighthouse. Remember to wear comfortable shoes, because there are quite a few steps to climb to the top!
The Manora Fort is another must-visit historic site, with its ancient cannons and the remains of British colonial architecture, contributing to the island’s status as one of the best places to visit in Karachi.
Once you’re done enjoying the views, it’s time for some beach fun. The island’s long beach is great for a relaxed walk or a picnic. You can pick up seashells or just sit back and watch the waves. You can stay in one of the huts built in a row if needed.
Tips: pack plenty of water, sunscreen and snacks, especially if you’re visiting during the hot summer months. Also, remember that the beach can get quite crowded on weekends, so if you prefer a quieter experience, try to visit on a weekday.
9. Visit Charna Island
In the Arabian Sea of Karachi, Charna Island feels like a secret paradise just waiting to be discovered. It’s one of the best things to do in Karachi if you’re into snorkelling and scuba diving.
The sea around the island is calm and inviting, which makes it the go-to spot for underwater adventures. And the reason behind these clear, beautiful waters is the island’s mountain that blocks wind and currents.
Getting there is a bit of a journey but worth it. You have to first get to this fishing area, a beach called Mubarak Village, about a couple of hours’ drive from Karachi. Then, you’re up for a gorgeous 30-minute boat ride to the island.
Charna Island stands out amongst other famous Karachi places for its crystal-clear blue water, a sight not common, especially near Karachi. Once you’re there on the island, there are lots of fun things to do. If you like water sports, you can go snorkelling, scuba diving, cliff diving, or jet skiing. If you don’t like water activities, no problem! You can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the cool sea air, making it one of the best places to visit in Karachi to relax.
Just a little heads-up, be mindful of where you’re stepping. The island’s got some sharp rocks, and you wouldn’t want to hurt your feet. A pair of covered sandals should do the trick.
Now, if you want to get a taste of the local vibe, I’d recommend trying out the street food in Mubarak Village before or after your island trip. There’s also another beach called French Beach, another fancy beach and a great place to visit in Karachi, which is located near Mubarak Village. It’s usually less crowded than the city beaches, and the sea views are mind-blowing.
10. Visit Bahria Adventure Land
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Karachi, Bahria Adventure Land should definitely be on your list. This theme park is one of the famous places in Karachi that offers affordable fun and is quickly becoming a favourite spot for both kids and adults – truly one of the best places to visit in Karachi.
It’s located on the outskirts of Karachi, within Bahria Town, and the drive is a beautiful escape from the city’s hustle. Depending on where you’re coming from, it could take you anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to get there. It opens from 3 pm to 11 pm, so make sure to plan your day accordingly.
The ticket pricing of Bahria Adventure Land is based on height. If you’re taller than 4 feet 3 inches, you’d be going for the Green Ticket, which is Rs. 3000. If your height falls between 2 feet 6 inches and 4 feet 3 inches, you’d get the Yellow Ticket for Rs. 2000.
Once you’re there, get ready for a day of thrills and chills! From wild roller coasters to the more relaxed train ride, there’s something for everyone. Not only does it have thrilling rides and water features, but it also hosts a lively marching band and other attractions, which makes it one of the best places to visit in Karachi with friends.
One of the standout features, especially for kids, is the Dino Park. Another major attraction in Bahria Adventure Land is the Day and Night Zoo, also known as Danzoo. It’s the first of its kind in Pakistan, built to international standards. They have a good variety of both exotic and native animals.
A few things to remember when visiting Bahria Adventure Land: wear comfortable clothes and shoes because you’ll be on your feet often. And don’t forget to stay hydrated, especially if you’re visiting during the summer.
You can stop by the food court in the park that serves a variety of local and international cuisines if you are hungry. Or, if you’d rather eat outside the park, you can find various restaurants within Bahria Town.
And don’t think the fun ends when you leave the park! Bahria Town itself is a sight to behold with its clean, wide streets and beautiful architecture. You could make a whole day out of exploring this place.
11. Onederland at Lucky One Mall
One of the best places to visit in Karachi, especially for fun-seekers, is undoubtedly Onederland. This top-notch indoor amusement park is the epitome of entertainment and rightly stands among Karachi’s famous places.
Situated inside the Lucky One Mall – the biggest mall in Pakistan and the second biggest in South Asia – Onederland is a highlight among the places to visit in Karachi. If you’re brainstorming fun things to do in Karachi, this indoor theme park should be on your list.
Once you get there, you’re going to be spoilt for choice. From thrilling rides to VR experiences, there’s a bit of everything. Some of my favourites are the 4D cinema and the indoor roller coaster.
There’s the ‘Freak Out‘ for the thrill-seekers, which swings you around with your legs dangling. If you’re into virtual fun, then ‘Lazer Maze‘ is right up your alley. You’ll have to navigate your way through a room filled with laser beams. They also have bumper cars and a carousel for good, old-fashioned fun, making Onederland a hit among the places to visit in Karachi with friends.
Apart from the rides, there’s a huge gaming zone with many arcade games. There’s also a soft play area for kids to run around and have a blast.
But the fun at Lucky One Mall doesn’t stop at Onederland. There’s a whole mall waiting to be explored! It’s a shopaholic’s dream, with many shops selling everything from clothes to electronics. The food court has a variety of restaurants, so you’re guaranteed to find something that tickles your taste buds. If you’ve got some energy left after all that, you can hit the bowling alley for a few games.
12. Take a Walk at Bin Qasim Park
Bin Qasim Park, or as the locals sometimes call it, Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim, is a huge park next to Clifton Beach in Karachi, standing proudly among the famous places in Karachi. Whether you’re looking for things to do in Karachi or seeking peaceful Karachi visiting places, this park checks both boxes!
It’s easy to get to – just grab a rickshaw or use an Uber or Careem and ask for ‘Bin Qasim Park near Clifton.’
The park is big, with a long jogging track perfect for evening walks or morning jogs. This fact alone makes it one of the best places to visit in Karachi for fitness freaks. Throughout the park, you’ll also see stunning rose bushes, immaculate green lawns, towering plants, and intricately-designed fountains.
If you need a break, you’ll find some lovely wood and marble benches to sit on, making it a good place to read a book or listen to music. If you’re with your family, there’s plenty of room for kids to run around and have fun. There are food courts serving a range of fast food options and shops where you can pick up a souvenir or two.
The park is open from 7 am until 9 pm, but it’s best to go earlier, especially around sunset. Just remember to keep an eye on your belongings while you’re there.
Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast, a nature lover, or just someone looking for a quiet moment, tie those shoelaces, grab your water bottle, and head on over!
13. Attend Karachi Literature Festival
Imagine being in Karachi just as the city gears up for one of its most awaited events – the Karachi Literature Festival, or KLF, as locals fondly call it; it’s one of the highlights among Karachi’s famous places for literary enthusiasts.
Organized by the Oxford University Press Pakistan, this annual festival celebrates literature, promotes artistic expression, and showcases Pakistan’s diverse cultures and traditions. This makes it one of the top things to do in Karachi, even if you don’t understand Urdu.
While it’s true that some events, like the mushairas (poetry readings) and speeches, might be in Urdu, there’s also plenty of English content. Plus, there’s so much more to the KLF, like you’ll find book sales where you can pick up new reads at bargain prices and food stalls serving delicious meals. You get to enjoy a truly local experience, immersing yourself in Karachi’s vibrant culture and artistic scene, which makes it a must on the list of Karachi visiting places.
To get to the festival, keep an eye on the official event details, which provide specific dates each year. The festival is held at the Beach Luxury Hotel, an iconic Karachi spot, usually between February and March. It spans several days, and the festival is free and open to all, making it a must-visit if you find yourself in Karachi during this time.
Remember that it can get quite busy, so plan your day well. Prioritise the sessions you want to attend, and keep some time aside to explore the festival grounds, indulge in local food at the stalls, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere.
Karachi truly is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. From its vibrant street life and rich history to the hidden gems that offer a unique perspective of the city, there’s something here for every traveller. Whether you’re seeking adventure, culture, or just a genuine taste of Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi won’t disappoint.
I hope this guide has led you to the best things to do in Karachi and helped you plan your visit to Karachi’s top attractions!
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