There are two ways to look at Ahmedabad – first, as Gujarat’s largest city and one of the most important business hubs in Western India and second, as a city that loves its fun and preserves its culture. When you start looking at the city the second way, you will find several things to fill your free time with, from sightseeing and shopping to heritage walks and food tours. After all, moving around and discovering its many landmarks and cultural hubs is the best way to feel the pulse of this aspiring megapolis located on the banks of the mighty Sabarmati. From being home to the Indian Freedom Movement to some of the most niche museums in the country, Ahmedabad is a city that educates and also thrills.
So, are you all set to explore the city’s breadth and length? This blog is for you! Here we give you an assorted list of things to do and an overview of some of the best Ahmedabad points of interest. Read on!
Spend Some Time at the Sabarmati Ashram
Mahatma Gandhi had spent many years of his life at the Sabarmati Ashram; you clearly cannot spend days or years here, but spending a few hours is definitely worth your while. Located on the banks of the Sabarmati River, today the place remains a memorial where you can see the many poignant and inspiring artifacts that are associated with the Mahatma and the freedom struggle.
The on-site museum is a major highlight on a trip to Sabarmati Ashram. There are several galleries, all dedicated to the life of Mahatma Gandhi, many paintings, and also a library stocked with chronicles, books, videos and other archives from the great man’s life. Hriday Kunj is the part of the Ashram where Mahatma Gandhi stayed with Kasturba Gandhi for twelve years. Here one can see his kitchen, bedroom and other living spaces – including his cloth weaver (charkha) and writing desks.
Timings: 8.30 am – 6.30 pm; every day
Entry Fee: Free Entry
Have Fun at the Kankaria Lakefront
Heading off to the attractions set up near Kankaria Lake is one of the fun things to do in Ahmedabad. The lakefront offers a smorgasbord of delightful activities with the meandering waters of the lake providing a very scenic setting. The most popular attraction here is the Kankaria Zoo – a home for endangered and endemic species. Tigers and lions, large constrictors, elephants and a host of primate species will keep you engaged and fascinated as you learn about the treasures of our natural world. The lakefront is a perfect place for the young ones. It has many amusement park rides and the Kids City – a replica of a real city complete with a theatre, heritage center, a science lab, a prison and of course, an ice cream factory.
That’s not all. The lakefront also offers a range of activities including toy train rides, water rides, and even tethered hot-air balloon rides! You can discover how good you are at archery at the lakefront’s target practice section and get lost in the Mirror Maze, an old classic that everyone loves. Kankaria Lakefront also hosts many events, so don’t be surprised if you become an accidental audience to some live music or traditional celebrations on your visit.
Timings: 9:00 am to 10:00 pm; closed on Mondays
Adults – ₹20 per person
Children – ₹10 per person
Watch a Movie with Your Dear Ones at the Sunset Drive-In
We have seen it in numerous Hollywood movies and shows – a scene set in the relaxed atmosphere of a drive-in theatre. Along with enjoying the movie, it is also a great way to hang out and bond with friends and ideal for couples looking for a unique date idea. This is probably why movie watching at Sunset Drive-In is considered one of the fun things to do in Ahmedabad for youngsters.
This open-air movie theatre shows the latest releases on a large screen with sound systems set up for each car. A concept that is fairly new in India, this is an experience which you must try while in Ahmedabad. You can also bring your own food or enjoy the snacks from the nearby food court. The theatre is a local favorite and shows play only in the evenings; it also has a nice garden area.
Timings: 7:30 pm to 1:30 am; every day
Appreciate the Beauty of Vintage Cars at the Auto World Vintage Car Museum
Don’t we all love those vintage cars? Sleek, ornate and classy designs that defined the golden age of vehicle aesthetics, it is very rare to spot one on the road these days. Head to the Auto World Vintage Car Museum to catch a dose of these finely maintained beauties curated from all over the world.
Some of the major makes that you will encounter in this open-air museum include Rolls Royce, Mercedes, Cadillac, Packard, Lincoln, Maybach, and Lancia. Many of these wheeled treasures belonged to prominent figures of history and members of the old Indian royal families. Fancy a drive in one of these vintage cars? For an extra fee, you can hop behind the wheel and take a short trip down memory lane.
Timings: 8:00 am to 9:00 pm; every day
Entry Fee: ₹50 per person
Admire the Old-World Charm of Jama Masjid
Ahmedabad is a city with many layers. And away from the contemporary attractions, there are some very important pieces of history to explore in the old town. The Jama Masjid is an architectural delight and has been one of the city’s main symbols since the 15th century. At one point in time, this was the largest mosque in the subcontinent. The sandstone structure is surrounded by the perfect symmetry of a rectangular courtyard.
The place is a visual treat for those who have a thing for art and architecture. The detailed carvings on the minarets have fascinated design enthusiasts for generations. The minarets are another striking aspect of the mosque’s design. Jaali or perforated stonework can be seen across the premises of the mosque. Close to this beautiful heritage site, you will find the tombs of old royals of the Gujarat Sultanate.
Timings: 6:00 am to 10:00 pm; every day
Entry Fee: Free Entry
Take a Stroll through the Bhadra Fort
Located close to the Jama Masjid is the walled city, surrounded by the Bhadra Fort which was built several centuries back, in 1411. A stroll through these lanes will introduce you to Ahmedabad’s quaint charm – a part of the city rooted in history. Late afternoons and evenings are a good time to visit the Bhadra Fort and there are many historical landmarks spread around this locality. The Bhadra Fort Gate today stretches across a busy road and the Teen Darwaza is another famous gateway, often used as a symbol for the city.
The administrators of the city have taken great care to slowly restore the old ramparts and fortifications using authentic methods. If you love taking pictures, then the colors of the typical Indian bazaar can be the muse you need. A trip to Ahmedabad is incomplete without a visit to Bhadra Fort.
Explore the Famous Calico Museum
The biggest chapter of India’s early economic rise is its textile production and a perfect place to discover the wonderful details is the Calico Museum in Ahmedabad. Exhibits here have been accumulated and acquired over decades and chart the history of the industry. Artifacts include rich woven and raw fabrics from the time of the Mughals and regional embroideries that provide a glimpse at designs and motifs of old Indian cultures.
Apart from textiles, you can also see some sculptures, paintings and other crafts from various historical ages. Galleries are dedicated to different printing methods, tie and dye traditions, costumes, and textiles that were made for export. Set in an old haveli with beautiful ornate woodwork, the soothing premises are another reason to book a trip to the Calico Museum.
Timings: 10:30 am to 12:30 pm; closed on Wednesdays
Entry Fee: Free (Advance booking is required as the museum has a limited daily capacity for visitors.)
Shop at the Law Garden’s Night Market
Looking for a respite from sightseeing and museum hopping? The best thing to do is to go shopping. And what better place to discover the shopaholic that you are than the Law Garden, a public garden and night market in Ahmedabad? It’s also an ideal place to look for some authentic Gujarati outfits and handicrafts should you wish to take a piece of the city back with you. Walking through the garden and purchasing from a wide range of items is a delightful experience in itself. Adding more delight to this experience is the fact that you can haggle your heart out while shopping here.
From apparels, accessories, and jewelry to souvenirs and local crafts, this paradise of shopaholics has it all. What’s more? The market is also known for its delicious street food. So shop, take a bite, and shop again. Now, that sounds like every shopaholic’s dream come true, right?
Timings: 07:00 am to 10:00 am (approx.); every day
Explore Ahmedabad’s Culinary Culture at Manek Chowk
Manek Chowk, a prominent marketplace in old Ahmedabad, is a good place to tuck into quintessential Ahmedabad dishes. As interesting as it might sound, the place serves as a vegetable market in the morning and turns into a jewelry market and food street in the afternoon and night, respectively. Exploring its street food is one of the best things to do in Ahmedabad at night.
The street is a paradise for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike, and plates up some of the best and authentic Gujarati flavors for you. It is best known for a mouthwatering range of dishes, including pav bhaji (buttered bread and spicy curry), malai rabdis (a traditional dessert) and pudla, a Gujarati take on the pancake.
Must-try Items: Fafda Jalebi, Ice Cream Sandwich, Kulfi, Pav Bhaji, Chocolate Sandwich, Methi na Gota
Best Places to Eat: Mahalakshmi Pav Bhaji Center, Ashraji Kulfi and Ice Cream, Manek Pizza and Sandwich Center, Balan Dosa Center
Revive Your Childhood Memories at the Kite Museum
How about reliving your childhood, even if it is for a couple of hours? The Kite Museum in Ahmedabad, the first of its kind in India and the second in the whole world, has the power to take you back your childhood when you and your friends indulged in kite flying. The museum is housed within the same compound as the Ahmedabad City Museum, so you can cover both these attractions on the same day. The collection featured here includes a few rare kites, such as Japanese kites, mirror work kites, Radha-Krishna kites, block-style kites, and Garba kites, to mention a few. If you are looking for a place to visit with your little ones, the Kite Museum makes for a rare and interesting treat.
Timings: 10:00 am to 12:00 pm and 04:00 pm to 06:00 pm; closed on Mondays
Entry Fee: Free Entry
Ahmedabad is a vibrant city and its attractions are spread far and wide. To understand the different slices of a typical day in Ahmedabad, step into the streets and visit the landmarks that have shaped it. There are many other things you can do while in the city, from splashing around in Shanku’s Water Park and taking a guided heritage walk organized by the city’s Municipal Corporation to spending a quiet evening at the Victoria Garden and learning more about science at the Science City. Find hotels in Ahmedabad to have a nice base for your explorations across the cityscape. Plan your itinerary now and ready yourself for an unforgettable trip.