BEST 20 Places to Visit in Manila, Philippines

The COVID-19 restrictions have been very daunting to our mental health, and when these were lifted, we all knew we’d want to travel again.

Manila is the sprawling capital city of the Philippines. It’s the second-most populous city in the country, it’s also known for its eclectic mix of architecture. Want instagrammable places to visit? For couples, perhaps? Malls for your shopping needs, churches, and museums for history geeks?

Here’s a list of 20 places to visit in Manila, Philippines after the never-ending COVID-19 restrictions.

Philippine history and culture

Being the capital city of the Philippines, it’s only fitting for Manila to be a hub of cultural artifacts dating from thousands of years ago, from the earliest evidence of human habitation to the Spanish period, American wars, Japanese occupation, Martial Law era, up until the contemporary period. 

Rizal Park

The Monument of Dr. Jose Rizal, Philippines’ National Hero

Named after the Philippines’ national hero, Rizal Park, or simply the Luneta Park is the largest city park in Asia, measured at approximately 58 hectares. The park boasts plenty of spaces for walking, playgrounds for children, gardens to explore, and water fountains to watch over. 

Location: Ermita, Manila, 1000 Metro Manila
Opening hours: Mondays to Sundays (5:00 AM – 10:00 PM)
Entrance fee: None


Historic Walled City of Intramuros

Dubbed the walled city of the Philippines, Intramuros is home to Spanish-era landmarks like Fort Santiago and Baluarte de Santiago. With its streets filled with cobblestones, and well-preserved architecture from more than 400 years ago, you’ll wonder if you’re still in the Philippines. The place boasts 7 sites to immerse yourself in rich cultural Filipino heritage. It’s one of the most instagrammable places to visit.

Location: 5/F Palacio del Gobernador, cor. Gen. Luna and Aduana Sts., Intramuros 1002 Manila, Philippines.

Click this Facebook post for the opening and closing hours and entrance fees

National Museum of the Philippines Complex

The National Museum of the Philippines Complex

The National Museum of the Philippines is a must-see. The museum is home to the National Museum of Anthropology, National Museum of Fine Arts, National Planetarium, and the National Museum of Natural History. It’s a massive museum that oversees several museums in the Philippines, and because of its hugeness, you wouldn’t know what to see first. 

Location: Padre Burgos Ave, Ermita, Manila, 1000 Metro Manila
Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays (9:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Entrance fee: None

Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex

Cultural Center of the Philippines

The Cultural Center of the Philippines is a haven for artists. Built in the 1960s, it’s the hub for performing arts for it was built for the promotion and preservation of Filipino culture. Watch choral recitals, dance performances, theatrical productions, and many more when you’re in the complex. 

Location: CCP Complex, Roxas Blvd, Pasay, 1300 Metro Manila
Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays (8:00 AM – 10:00 PM)
Entrance fee: P20 for students, P30 for non-students

Ayala Museum

Ayala Museum

Built in 1974, the Ayala Museum is a private museum that’s just sprawling in wonders. The newly renovated six-story building houses permanent exhibits on anything Filipino – culture, art, history, etc. The museum collection focuses on archaeological, ethnographic, historical, fine arts, numismatics, and ecclesiastical areas. This link will lead you to the museum’s complete booking guidelines.

Location: Greenbelt Park, Makati Avenue, corner Dela Rosa Street, Ayala Center, Makati, Metro Manila
Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday (10 AM – 5:30 PM)
Entrance fee: None

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Money Museum

Inside the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Museum

Suppose you want to know the history of commerce/trade in the Philippines before the Spaniards came until the present times. In that case, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Money Museum is one of the best places to visit if you’re into economics and are interested in the history of Filipino currency, this place is right for you. The BSP Money Museum is a marvelous place to go into, as it is a rich repository of Philippine money and is truly like a learning classroom to any visitor, young and old. 

Location: A. Mabini St. cor. P. Ocampo St.,Malate Manila, Philippines 1004
Open time: Mondays to Fridays (9:00 AM – 4:00 PM)
Entrance fee: None

Lakbay Museo

The entry to Lakbay Museo

Known as the first-ever Philippine Interactive Millenial Museum, Lakbay Museo is a fun place to visit, especially for kids. With the natural bright colors that entice kids, this place will surely entertain them. Instagrammable pictures should be taken here, too, so ready your cameras and find out more about Filipino culture and food. 

Location:  Level 1, S Maison, Marina Way, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City
Opening hours: Sundays to Saturdays (11:00 AM – 7:00 PM)
Entrance fee: P699.00

Presidential Museum and Library

Inside the Presidential Museum and Library at the Malacanang Palace

The Presidential Museum and Library is located in the Malacanang Palace, the official residence and workplace of the country’s president. It’s the only place in the Philippines where paintings and relics of the 1st to the current presidents of the Philippines are placed, and as such, such magnificent beauty is seen in its intricate architecture. Even though the palace is built in the 1750s, the place is still very well-maintained and still hosts guided tours for visitors. It’s one of the best places to visit in Manila for couples.

Location: Malacañan Palace, JP Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila
Opening hours: Mondays to Fridays (8:00 AM to 5:00 PM)
Entrance fee: None

University of the Philippines Diliman

The famous oblation statue of the University of the Philippines Diliman

The University of the Philippines is a premier institution of higher learning and has over 17 campuses all over the country to cater to its abundance of 20 thousand students. But over its 17 campuses, the UPD or the University of the Philippines Diliman is the most acclaimed, not only because it is the flagship university, but also because of the wide campus that statutes history. Jog around the famous oval and bask under the tall trees, enjoy the scrumptious street food and explore the Vargas museum – there’s really so much to do!

Location: University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City, Manila
Opening hours: Mondays to Sundays 6:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Entrance fee: None

Eat, dine, chill, and shop

The capital city of the Philipines is primarily one of the best places to shop within the country. With hundreds of shops in Manila, you’ll never run out of choices! That’s why we’ve chosen 4 places for you to eat, dine, chill and shop. 

SM Mall of Asia

The SM Mall of Asia is one of the largest shopping hubs in the Philippines. It’s not just a shopping mall, though, because every nook and corner is *entertainment* at best. You can watch movies from its wide selection of cinemas, and browse a huge selection of items from popular brands such as Rolex, Aldo, Nike, Adidas, and many more. The Dessert Museum is also just inside the mall, too. It’s an offbeat museum showcasing large, colorful sculptures of dessert items, plus sweets to sample.

Location: G/F, Main Mall, Seaside Blvd, 123, Pasay, 1300 Metro Manila
Open time: Mondays to Sundays 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Entrance fee: None


Bargains, bargains, bargains – Who wouldn’t want to shop for cheap pasalubongs? The Divisoria Market is the go-to place for Filipinos whose eyes are on the cheaper side of things. The market is a large one, with plenty of malls to shop in. The Divisoria Market is nestled in the middle of Manila’s Chinatown, and it was said to have started in the Spanish occupation – when Chinese traders were prohibited from selling goods within the walled city and were forced to establish a market of their own. Shop in the largest malls within the area, (168, Lucky Chinatown, and Dragon 8 Shopping Center), practice your negotiating skills with the tinderas, and rest and recharge in the Chinese restaurants whilst enjoying the scrumptious Chinese food. 

Location:  540 Commercio Street. Binondo Manila, 1010 Metro Manila Philippines
Open time: Anytime
Closing time: Anytime

Cubao Expo

Cubao Expo is not your ordinary mall. It’s a mall with so much character and history fused into one. Cubao Expo is originally known as Marikina Shoe Expo, where local shoemakers in the 70s used to showcase their products. Now, it’s a place for those who want everything all at once – to shop, dine and chill, and party. The place is known for its offbeat and artsy establishments such as vinyl stores, vintage shops, ukelele stores, and many other places to find hipster-y things and to immerse oneself in the underground scene. This is a very cool place for couples and a bunch of friends who just want to have fun.

Location: Cubao Expo, 3 General Romulo Ave, Cubao, Quezon City, 1109 Metro Manila
Opening Hours: Mondays to Sundays (8:00 PM to 11:00 PM)
Entrance fee: None

Bonifacio Global City

“Uyyy pawreh, let’s go to BGC, r u g?” – this is one of the most famous slang of the Filipino youth today. Well, what exactly is “BGC”? BGC is an acronym for Bonifacio Global City, the famous lifestyle and entertainment hub for those who want to experience the “cosmopolitan” life. This place features artsy murals on street walls, tall condominium buildings, and a variety of restaurants offering different cuisines. BGC feels like Makati, and its charm really is “to feel western in an Asian country”. Shop in the big-name stores, immerse yourself in the cocktail bars and enjoy dance parties in the mainstream nightclubs. There’s really so much you can do. 

Various restaurants and buildings open and close at different times, so check out this link for more information 

Location: Fort Bonifacio (Taguig); Post Proper Northside (Makati)
Entrance fee: None

Churches for the Religious

The Spanish spent 300 years (more or less) in the Philippines, and it’s a prerequisite for the Filipinos to adapt to the culture of the Spaniards, inclusive of its religion, of course. Christianity was brought by the Spaniards to the Philippines, and since then, churches around the country stood. These churches mark various historical events, and to step foot in these historic churches is more than a privilege. Here are three churches around Manila to explore.

San Agustin Church

Beyond being a place of prayer, San Agustin Church Manila is a work of art that every visitor to the city looks forward to seeing. The church was built in 1595, and it was originally known as the Church of the Immaculate Conception of San Agustin. Being the oldest church in the Philippines, San Agustin Church has notable elements such as lofty Baroque retablos (altars) and wall buttresses separating crypto collateral chapels. Its ceiling murals in the trompe l’oeil technique set it apart. San Agustin Church in Manila was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS) in 1993 as part of the Philippines’ Baroque Churches series.

Location: General Luna St, Intramuros, Manila, 1002 Metro Manila
Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays (8:00 AM to 5:00 PM)
Entrace fee: None

Binondo Church

The eye-catching red paint with the mix of baroque architecture of the Binondo church is what really makes this church unique. The Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz, or the Binondo Church as the name it’s known, symbolizes the unique fusion of Chinese tradition and the Catholic faith. In fact, the masses held here are held either in the Filipino language or in Hokkien or Mandarin. This church is also one of the oldest churches in the Philippines, for the church was established in 1596 by the Dominicans. Walk through the church and on the floors you’ll see pieces of tombstones with Chinese and Latin texts. 

Location: 1006 Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz, Binondo, 1006 Metro Manila
Open time: Mondays to Sundays (9 AM to 5:30 PM)
Entrance fee: None

Quiapo Church

Home to the miraculous Black Nazarene, the Quiapo Church is a well-known church not only in the Philippines but also worldwide. The Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene is a hotspot for tourists who wants to take a look at the baroque details of the church’s interior, and for those who want to pay homage to the miraculous statue. Around the church, there are a variety of outdoor stores that serve a variety of needs, from spiritual to personal—you can find fortune reading and faith healing services, as well as balloons, flowers, clothing, statues, figurines, icons, herbal medicines, and more.

For the official schedule of the masses, click this link.

Location: 391, Quiapo, Manila, 1001 Metro Manila

The marvelous outdoors for the adventurous

Manila isn’t just about the Philippines’ history, the shopping, and the churches, but it’s also about the great outdoors. Here are 4 places to visit in Manila for your adventurous alter ego. These places are great for families, friends, couples, and approximately anyone of all ages!

Manila Ocean Park

The first world-class marine theme park in the Philippines happens to also be the largest. Manila Ocean Park is an oceanarium that’ll fill your eyes with hues of blues, and sea creatures that’ll leave you in awe. This massive oceanarium is one for the books, as it features not only marine life but also land animals (be astonished by various species of birds, rabbits, lizards, and eagles). Watch sea lion shows, and bird shows, and spend the night in their famous H20 Hotel which features ocean-like walls and floor-to-ceiling views of the ocean. 

Location: M. Adriatico St, Malate, Manila, 1004 Metro Manila
Opening hours: Thursdays to Sundays (12:00 PM to 8:00 PM)
Entrance fee: Tickets start at P620

Manila Zoo

The newly renovated and modernized Manila Zoo is the best place to visit in Manila if you’re one to experience wildlife. As of April 2015, the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden was home to over a thousand animals from 90 different species (that’s a lot!). A Bengal tiger, Malayan civet, monitor lizard, and hippopotamus, among others, live in the modernized and improved Manila Zoo. Explore the gardens, learn about the plants, and stand in awe of the various animal species that the Manila Zoo can offer.

Location: M. Adriatico St, Malate, Manila, 1004 Metro Manila
Opening hours: Mondays to Sundays at (8:00 AM – 8:00 PM)
Entrance fee: General Admission is free!

Manila Baywalk

Relax and watch the sunset amidst the buzzing city of Manila on the famous Manila Baywalk. The 2-kilometer strip of beach stretches beside Roxas Boulevard, past the Manila Yacht Club, and is bounded by the US Embassy and the Philippine Cultural Center. The golden skies, calm bay waters, palm trees, and beautiful plants that sway in the breezes, and the boats anchored in front of the harbor’s cafés and restaurants make this boulevard famous. If you’re on a budget, various street foods like kwek-kwek, sweet corn, kropek, etc., are also there for your foodie self. 

Location: Roxas Blvd, Malate, Manila, 1004 Metro Manila, Philippines
Opening hours: Always
Entrance fee: None

Final thoughts

This is the year we’re all waiting for, and whilst it’s fun to tour around Manila, don’t forget that the pandemic is still upon us. So mask on and follow the social distancing restrictions that each spectacular place in Manila requires. Enjoy your post-pandemic adventures, friends!