Known colloquially as the ‘Rome of the East,’ Manila is the vibrant capital city of the Philippines, and offers plenty for dedicated tourists to see and do during their stay. From family-friendly theme parks to beautiful historical tours, there is something to keep you occupied no matter your tastes. Tourist spots in Manila are unique, engaging, and overall fun – let’s talk about some of the best ones!
What’s so special about Manila?
Manila tourist attractions range from peaceful to downright exciting, with each location steeped in history and culture. You’ll find great insights into local food, shopping and get to hang out in some truly unique places during your stay. Grab food from a night market, or barter at a bazaar in a hidden alleyway to do as the locals do.
Filipino people are known for being incredibly friendly, so the best way to explore the city is through a local’s eyes! In Manila, it’s not uncommon to be invited into the homes and lives of strangers or be given a spontaneous tour by a new friend. So if you get asked to sing karaoke or visit a national monument – don’t turn it down!
Best of all, Manila is incredibly safe! The culture focuses on hospitality and friendship, so tourists are treated extremely well while exploring the historic streets. Manila tourist attractions bring in thousands of visitors each year, and each goes away feeling as though they’ve found a new favourite place.
Looking for things to do? Manila’s got you covered!
10 Of The Best Tourist Spots In Manila
Get your thrills at Star City Amusement Park
There’s no better way to start off in a new city than a visit to an amusement park! Star City, one of the best attractions in Manila, is just as fun once the sun goes down – just before sunset, watch the lights come up as the place springs to life! From the bright sparkle of the stalls to the screams of delight from the rollercoasters and thrill rides, Star City is truly a sight for sore eyes. Whether you visit with family, friends, or by yourself, we guarantee you’ll have an awesome time at this Manila tourist attraction.
Location: Vicente Sotto St, Pasay, Metro Manila
Entry fee: INR 645
Opening hours: 1400 – 2230, every day
Learn about history in Rizal Park
Spread over 140 acres, Rizal Park is the largest inner-city park in Manila and one of the most historically significant areas in the urban area. The local government built the park to commemorate writer Dr. Jose Rizal, the Philippines' national hero, on the site of his execution in 1896. While the origins of this Manila tourist attraction may be sombre, today, it houses beautiful gardens, a scenic lagoon, and statues of important historical figures scattered around the park. Often considered one of the top places to visit in Manila, Rizal Park is a place of quiet reflection and a fantastic location to wile away a sunny afternoon.
Location: Roxas Blvd, Malate, Manila, 1000 Metro Manila
Entry fee: INR 26
Opening hours: 0500 – 2100, every day
Visit the imposing Fort Santiago
Walkthrough Manila, and you’ll see evidence of Spanish colonialism around every corner. One of the best examples of these striking architectural features is the impressive Fort Santiago, which has stood in its original form since 1593. This imposing structure has seen the rise and fall of empires. Inside, it hides tributes to historical figures like Jose Rizal, including a complete replica of the cell he was held in during the Filipino revolution.
The intricate engravings on the thick, moss-covered walls make for a great holiday shot if you're a keen photographer. Take a walk through the ancient stone passageways, or hire a guide to tell you all of the secrets of this incredible historic building. Once you leave, you can even wander along the manicured banks of the beautiful Pasig River, admiring the gardens cultivated for over four centuries.
Location: Intramuros, Manila, 1002 Metro Manila
Entry fee: INR 100
Timings: 8 AM – 9 PM
Take a stroll along the Manila Baywalk
Taking a walk along the Manila Baywalk is one of the best things to do in Manila – just ask the locals! Measuring just over a mile long, the Baywalk is lined with skyscrapers, cafés, and traditional restaurants for sampling the local fare. If you visit during sunset, you’ll see the streets come alive with music, street performers, and sleepy cocktail bars waking as the sun goes down. There is also a great yacht club, where you can hire a small catamaran or dinghy to take you out onto the water for an unforgettable experience.
Location: Roxas Blvd, Malate, Manila, 1004 Metro Manila
See the animals at Manila Zoo
Everyone loves to see exotic animals, and Manila Zoo is one of the city’s most popular attractions. From native animals like monitor lizards to the magnificent Bengal tigers and Indian elephants, there is truly something for everyone at this tourist spot in Manila. Perfect for visiting with children, you can spend an entire morning wandering between over 100 displays. If you’d like to relax between stops, the zoo also harbours a fantastic native Botanical Garden showcasing endemic species to the Philippines. Grab a coffee, pack some snacks, and prepare for a zoological treat.
Location: Adriatico St, Malate, Manila, 1004 Metro Manila
Entry fee: INR 132
Timings: 0800 – 1800, Monday to Saturday
Visit the elegant Manila Cathedral
Due to its Spanish colonial history, the Philippines is a heavily Catholic country and is home to many beautiful cathedrals and shrines. Surviving earthquakes, tsunamis, and wars, the Manila Cathedral truly is a testament to the Filipino spirit. Widely considered to be one of the best attractions in Manila, the original Basilica was constructed in 1571 and is now onto its eighth construction in just over four centuries.
Wander through the silent pews and marvel at the jaw-dropping Neo-Romanesque architecture, or take a moment of solitude and reflection. It’s important to remember that while the building is open to the public, it is a place of worship, and to be respectful when you visit. Make sure to check out the sky-high arched ceilings, housing a magnificent organ that almost deserves its own spot on this list!
Location: Sto. Tomas, Intramuros, Manila, 1002 Metro Manila
Timings: 0700 – 1800, every day
Appreciate traditional art at the Ayala Museum
If you love to explore eras past, you can’t miss out on the Ayala Museum! Manila museums tend to skew towards the extraordinary, and the Ayala is no different. Explore authentic relics and remnants of Filipino history across four breathtaking floors, or lose yourself in the magnificent art and cultural displays.
For those who like to get more hands-on, the Ayala also hosts regular lectures and workshops on contemporary Filipino culture and explores the significance of art and dance in the nation’s history. Listen to experts discuss fascinating topics, or go on a self-guided adventure through the stunning dioramas and exhibits showcasing the best of Manila and the Philippines.
Location: Manila, Philippines
Open: 0600 – 2000, every day (temporarily closed until 31 January 2022)
Relax in Paco Park
When it comes to relaxing Manila tourist attractions, there is no place quite like Paco Park. Made for those seeking a moment of peace in this busy city, this beautiful inner-city park is the perfect place to unwind.
Known for its lush horticulture and floral displays, Paco Park has both visual and historical significance dating back to the Spanish colonial period. Formerly a cemetery for wealthy Spaniards, nowadays the park is filled with locals, tourists, and everything in between. Keep an eye out for the many events and festivals held in the park throughout the year, or simply spend an afternoon napping under one of the many native trees.
Location: Belen, Paco, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines
Check out Spanish history at Casa Manila
Manila’s history is intertwined with Spanish culture, so it stands that there is a fantastic museum dedicated to Spanish architecture! The famous architect Imelda Marcos built the museum in 1980, and this tourist spot in Manila attracts thousands of visitors every year. Marvel at the beautiful Spanish colonial design, and learn more about how Spanish colonies operated within the Philippines.
While the architecture is undoubtedly beautiful, the real treat lies inside Casa Manila. See authentic Spanish colonial furniture, and appreciate the tiny details that make this a treat for history buffs everywhere!
Location: Plaza sans Luis Complex, General Luna St, Intramuros, Manila, 1002 Metro Manila, Philippines
Open: 0900 – 1700 Monday - Saturday
Visit the famous Money Museum
Tucked amongst the old buildings is one of the more unique places to visit in Manila. For all the coin collectors, the Manila Money Museum is a gold mine of banknotes, currencies, and coins from years past. Marvel at the bartering pieces of civilizations past, or learn about how goods and services were traded in the past.
Owned by the Central Bank of the Philippines, this museum delves deeply into the country’s economy, from ancient settlements to Spanish rule and beyond. There are self-guided tours available through the museum, or friendly guides to further explain the history and significance of the coins.
Visit Tourist Attractions in Manila with Monster Day Tours!
There you have it – 10 of the best must-see tourist spots in Manila! After visiting these spots you should go for a relaxing walk on some nearby beaches or grab food at Manila's best restaurants and if it happens to be nighttime make sure to enjoy Manila's nightlife! This city is a treasure trove of hidden secrets and vibrant culture, and Monster Day Tours can help you get the most out of your stay. If you want to learn more about what we do, or need help planning an unforgettable day out, get in contact today!