15 Fun and Almost Free Things To Do In Bangalore


Bangalore is an ever-changing melting pot of entrepreneurial spirit and revived traditions—a city offering something for everyone. And the list of things to do in Bangalore just keeps growing. Be it the cafe culture or concept of delicious breweries, this city has kick-started several trends that were adapted by other metropolitans like wildfire.

But contrary to popular belief, there are ways you can explore Bangalore without shelling out all your money. Here are 15 things to do in Bangalore, the inexpensive and offbeat way.

1. Delve into contemporary art at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath

Of all the inexpensive things to do in Bangalore, a visit to the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath—an essential part of Bangalore's cultural history and contemporary art scene—is a must.

This art gallery that hosts a wide array of Indian and international artists. It is also a centre of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, the community which has worked hard for the restoration of paintings at the Mysore Palace, Bangalore Town Hall and Vidhana Soudha.

The best time to visit Chitrakala is during Chitra Santhe, a festival that brings together artists from around the country. The Chitra Santhe usually happens in the first week of January.

Photo of Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Kumara Park East, Sheshadripuram, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India by Sreshti Verma

Timings: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (open all days of the week except Sunday)

Cost: ₹50 per person

2. Have an evening picnic at the Glasshouse of Lal Bagh

A visit to Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens is another activity that should be on the top of your list of things to do in Bangalore. Its inception dates go back to the 18th century, when Hyder Ali decided to replicate the mighty Mughal Gardens.

But the credit of making Lal Bagh an iconic national structure goes to Tipu Sultan, who not only expanded it to a massive 40 acres but also brought plants from different corners of the world to create a conservatory of around 300 species.

There are some stunning places to have a cozy picnic inside Lal Bagh, like by the lake, near the Kempegowda Tower, under the 100-year-old trees or by the golden-lit Glasshouse.

Photo of Lalbagh Botanical Garden, Mavalli, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India by Sreshti Verma

Pro Tip: Every second and fourth weekend of each month Karnataka government organises "Janapada Jaatre", which is a folk fair featuring folk dances, musical performances and plays from all over Karnataka.

Timings: 6:00 am to 7:00 pm

Cost: ₹20 per adult (Entry is free from 6:00 am to 9:00 am and from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm for joggers/walkers)

3. Watch dreams come alive at Ranga Shankara Theatre

Shankar Nag, an iconic Kannada actor, envisioned an approachable and affordable place where theatre artists and lovers could come together.

The dream of bringing the stage to the masses would have died with him if his wife, Arundhati Nag didn't put her sweat, blood and every penny to create Sanket Trust to help manifest Shankar's dreams. The idea is of 'a play a day', meaning Ranga Shankara showcases a play every day (except Mondays) at very cheap prices.

Watching a play here is a dream for art enthusiasts looking for things to do in Bangalore. It will not only lend your support to the art but also help struggling playwrights who can't afford fancy stages.

Photo of Ranga Shankara, 8th Cross Road, R K Colony, 2nd Phase, J. P. Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India by Sreshti Verma

Pro Tip: Some upcoming plays are Gokula Nirgamana, Mysooru Mallige and Tamil adaptation of William Shakespeare's The Tempest. Check out more here.

Timings: 7:30 pm everyday except Mondays

Cost: ₹100-200

4. Walk into the world of meditations and pyramids at Pyramid Valley

A massive pyramid, as tall as a 10-storey building and spacious enough to accommodate 5,000 people lies at the centre of the Pyramid Valley International. The role taken up by its creators is to spread awareness about the science of meditation, vegetarianism and pyramid power. Even skeptics appreciate the peaceful energy of the place. If you are not into meditation, the Pyramid Valley can still be on your "what to do in Bangalore" list because of its inspiring sculptures and philanthropic approach.

Photo of Pyramid Valley International, Uttarahalli Hobli, Harohalli, Karnataka, India by Sreshti Verma

Pro Tip: You can either take a direct taxi from Kempegowda International Airport to the valley, which costs around Rs. 1,850 or board the KRSTC bus from the Majestic Stand or Kanakapura Road-Ring Road junction (Banashankari) to Harohalli. From here, the Pyramid Valley is only an auto-ride away.

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Timings: 7 am to 7 pm

Cost: Nil

5. Go on a breakfast tour of the city

This city is known for its breweries and cafe culture, but most of its residents still start their day with authentic breakfast meals, which date back centuries. If you're still wondering what to do in Bangalore over the weekend, you can actually take a breakfast tour around the city and stay full till dinner.

Where: 7th Cross, Margosa Road, Malleshwaram, Bangalore

Must try: Puri and Benne Dose

Timings: 7:30 am to 12:30 pm and 4 pm to 9 pm

Cost: ₹200 for two

Photo of Mavalli Tiffin Rooms, Saint Marks Road, Shanthala Nagar, Ashok Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India by Sreshti Verma

Where: 14, Lalbagh Road, Mavalli, Near Basavanagudi, Basavanagudi, Bangalore

Must try: Masala Dosa, Rava Idly and lots of Sambar

Timings: 6:30 am to 11 am and 12:30 pm to 9 pm

Cost: ₹250 for two

Where: 39, St. Marks Road, Bangalore

Must try: Vegetable Omellete and Cold Coffee

Timings: 9 am to 11:30 pm

Cost: ₹700 for two

Indian Coffee House, Church Street

Photo of Koshy's, Saint Marks Road, Shanthala Nagar, Ashok Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India by Sreshti Verma

Where: 19, Ground Floor, Church Street, Bangalore

Must try: Scrambled Eggs and Filter Coffee

Timings: 8 am to 8:30 pm

Cost: ₹200 for two

6. Buy a daily pass for ₹ 140 and ride through Bangalore in a volvo

If you have an entire day to spare and can't figure out what to do in Bangalore, then BMTC should be your best friend. Head to the nearest Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation's bus stand and buy the daily pass which allows you to ride the BMTC endlessly (or however much you please) for 24 hours. Find a particular spot exciting? Get off, roam around and then hop back on the bus, travelling the way locals do. This is probably the best way to get a real glimpse into the ever-changing city of Bangalore.

Photo of 15 Fun and Almost Free Things To Do In Bangalore by Sreshti Verma

Pro Tip: The Gold Day Pass costs ₹140. The BMTC passes through 35 bus stops – you can check them out here and plan a trip accordingly (if you are not in the mood for spontaneity).

Timings: 5 am to 10 pm (Most buses)

Cost: ₹140 for The Gold Day Pass

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7. Take a bicycle road trip to the famous Sholay Village.

Situated a little over 40 km south of Bangalore, the town of Ramnagar is probably the most iconic places in the history of Indian cinema. As the place where the iconic movie, Sholay was shot, Ramnagar must be etched in a lot of people's memories. But not many know the exact spot and how to reach there. If you have been guessing what to do in Bangalore and waiting to get on that bicycle, then a road trip to Ramnagar (and further till Ramdevarabetta, if you have the time) should be your calling. Once there, visit the Sippy Village named after Ramesh Sippy, director of Sholay.

Photo of Ramnagar, Karnataka, India by Sreshti Verma

Pro Tip: Take the Bangalore to Mysore highway and definitely stop at Renukamba Hotel for a delicious thatte idli breakfast. Ramnagar is the town directly after Bidadi, and is pretty close to the highway.

Timings: 8 am to 5:30 pm

Cost: ₹5 (for parking at Ramdevarabetta)

8. Get your shopping fix at the artistic flee markets

For those who are not history or nature enthusiasts, shopping at the weekend flea markets can be your version of fun things to do in Bangalore. Sunday Soul Sante and Kitsch Mandi are two trendy flea markets of Bangalore, which have transformed the way India looks at pop-up shops. Both of these are seasonal bazaars which bring together art, craft, musical performances and workshops. In fact, keep your eye out and plan a trip to Bangalore precisely around these markets.

Sunday Soul Sante in May 2016. (C) Sunday Soul Sante

Photo of 15 Fun and Almost Free Things To Do In Bangalore by Sreshti Verma

Pro Tip: You will have to keep a close eye out for when these markets pop up next, Sunday Soul Sante and Kitsch Mandi keep updating their Facebook pages with upcoming events. Once there, remember to bargain if you want a fair deal.

9. Head to CounterCulture to witness the music scene of Bangalore

More often than not cafes and pubs easily lose sight of live music, and soon turn out to be about bad DJ-ing and endless alcohol. CounterCulture is still following the path it had set out on with pride. What was once a factory warehouse is now a buzzing indie space, which constantly welcomes live entertainment from different parts of the country. The minimalist design goes very well with their delicious food and general vibe. Of all the fun things to do in Bangalore, this is probably the best.

That's Avial performing at full swing to a packed audience at Indie March. (C) CounterCulture

Photo of CounterCulture, Hutchins 2nd Cross Rd, C K Gardens, Saint Thomas Town, Cooke Town, Bangalore, Karnataka, India by Sreshti Verma

Pro Tip: The place holds sports screenings as well. Prices of tickets can vary per artist, but once inside, you don't have to spend a lot on food and drinks. Just chill and enjoy the music.

10. Go on bicycle tour around the city

For those visiting Bangalore, bicycling around the city is one of the most popular ways to get acquainted with the people, culture and the landscape. In fact, Bangalore is one of the leading hotspot for cycling enthusiasts in the country. The city is dotted with several cycling trails which cater to bikers of all skill-sets—right from novices looking to go for a casual ride to professionals seeking the adrenaline rush. Sounds like a fun thing to do in Bangalore?

A 100-km bicycling race taking place in Bangalore; (C) Raghu Mohan

Photo of 15 Fun and Almost Free Things To Do In Bangalore by Sreshti Verma

Pro tip: The trails at Cubbon Park and the Ghati Ghats are most popular among novices as they have wide-open paths with little to no traffic.

11. Rendezvous with the Royal Bengal Tiger, Asiatic lions and other wildlife at Bannerghatta National Park

Located about 22 km from the city, a jungle safari in Bannerghatta National Park is one of the best things to do in Bangalore with your family. The jungle safari here takes you on a trip through the natural reserve where you can spot a number of animals—including the Royal Bengal Tiger, Asiatic Lions, elephants, porcupines, sloth bears, and many others—in their natural habitat.

(C) Muhammad Mahdi Karim

Photo of Bannerghatta National Park, Bannerghatta Road, Bannerughatta, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India by Sreshti Verma

Pro Tip: There National Park also houses a zoo, a butterfly park, and an elephant sanctuary. Along with the Grand Safari, which is a 16km journey through the natural reserve, you can see all the attractions in under ₹300.

Timings: 9:30 am to 5 pm (Tuesdays - closed)

Cost: ₹260 on weekdays and ₹280 on weekends

12. Try rock climbing in Savandurga

Located about 60 km west of Bangalore, Savandurga is a popular trekking and picnic spot. But what many don't know is that it's also a great place for rock climbing. Adventure enthusiasts looking for things to do in Bangalore, this is your calling. Housing, what is known as the the largest monolithic hill in the world, Savandurga is a great place to try your hand at this adventure activity. Once you reach the top, you can also visit the temple and fort situated atop the hill.

(C) Chris Conway

Photo of Savandurga Hill, Karnataka by Sreshti Verma

Pro tip: Although trekking is allowed for everyone, you need to take prior permission from the authorities before rock climbing.

Timings: No fixed time but early morning and night treks are quite popular and favoured

Cost: ₹250

13. Tap into your literary side at Atta Galatta

With a focus on regional literature, Atta Galatta is a warm and inviting space in the city for anyone who is eager to read and learn. They have select events throughout the week—everything from poetry recitation competitions, to book readings, book launches, workshops, plays, and reading sessions for children. If you want a break from the hustle-bustle, and that too without paying a dime, head to this beautiful book store.

(C) Atta Galatta

Photo of Atta Galatta, KHB Colony, 5th Block, Koramangala, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India by Sreshti Verma

Pro tip: They have a calendar on the website with a list of events scheduled for up to three days.

Timings: 11 am to 8 pm

Cost: ₹200 for two (for food). Additional cost may be applicable, as per the event

14. Explore the world of French cinema at Alliance Française De Bangalore

If you're a world cinema buff, then this is probably the thing to do in Bangalore for you. Primarily a language school and cultural centre, Alliance Française De Bangalore hosts screenings of classic French films on the second Wednesday of every month, and screenings of French documentaries on the fourth Thursday of every month.

A play underway at Alliance Française De Bangalore Source

Photo of Alliance Française de Bangalore, Kaverappa Layout, Vasanth Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India by Sreshti Verma

Pro tip: They also host special events, food soirees, wine tasting sessions, musical nights and much more. Keep an eye out on their Facebook page for upcoming events.

Timings: Movies are usually screened in the evening on second Wednesday and fourth Thursday of every month

Cost: Nil

15. Rediscover Bangalore through pencil strokes with Pencil Jam

Every Sunday, art enthusiasts from across the city unite at interesting landmarks to spend the day sketching.

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You can participate in the event, organised by Pencil Jam, a community for art lovers, just by RSVPing and showing up with your sketch pad and pencil. You can catch up with fellow artists, hone your skills, and see Bangalore through a new eye. Who said city tours had to be boring? This sounds like a fun thing to do in Bangalore!

(C) Pencil Jam

Photo of Pencil Jam, Buddha Vihara Road, Pulikeshi Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India by Sreshti Verma

Pro tip: Meet-up details are shared a day or two in advance on the website as well as the Facebook page

Timings: Usually Sunday afternoons

Cost: Nil

Best Budget Places To Stay In Bangalore

Hotel: Hotel Bangalore Central, Delite Suite, FabHotel Canvas

Hostels: Locul.Uptown, Mañana, The Little Blue Window Hostel

Homestays: 78 Mi Casa Homestay, Polaroid Home, The Anantha

Does this list remind you of all the fun you had on your Bangalore trip? Tell us all about it here!

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