15 Amazing Tourist Spots in Manila That You Can Visit This 2021

horse carriage in manila

The city of Manila is a place that is both old and modern. With its rich history, almost all areas have become great tourist spots in Manila that everyone wants to visit. From the preserved architecture brought by Spanish colonialism to outstanding Filipino culture, Manila has everything you’d ask for!

And because these Manila tourist attractions are just oh-so-beautiful and very historic, you might think that everything comes at a price. But whether you are on a tight budget or if you’re just naturally a sucker for free things, there are tourist spots in Manila that you could actually visit for free!

15 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Manila this 2021

From old to modern attractions, Manila tourist spots won’t disappoint you. Here’s a list of the best places in Manila that you can explore alone or with someone.

  1. Baluarte De San Diego
  2. Fort Santiago
  3. Casa Manila
  4. Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant
  5. Escolta
  6. National Museum of the Philippines
  7. Rizal Park
  8. Manila Baywalk
  9. San Agustin Church
  10. Manila Cathedral
  11. Binondo
  12. Manila Ocean Park
  13. Dessert Museum
  14. SM Mall of Asia
  15. Seaside Dampa

To guide you on your Manila trip, we’ve listed 10 best places to visit in Manila that you should not miss!

1. Baluarte De San Diego

intramuros makasaysayang lugar sa pilipinas

One of the most historical places in Manila is Intramuros. When you see Intramuros, it will have you second-guessing whether you are still in the Philippines because of its cobbled streets and preserved establishments with Spanish-inspired architecture. Among the most popular Intramuros, Manila tourist spots is Baluarte de San Diego.

Baluarte de San Diego used to be a drowning chamber during the Spanish era. It was built and designed by the Jesuit priest Antonio Sedeno in the late 1580s. Its main feature is the circular dungeon called Fort Nuestra Señora de Guia. Today, Baluarte de San Diego is surrounded by beautiful gardens, adorned with lush plants, pathways, fountains, and an attractive pergola that will remind you of fantasy land. That is why it has become a popular place for weddings, family parties, and other special occasions.

2. Fort Santiago

One of the must visit places in Manila is Fort Santiago in Intramuros. It is the oldest Hispanic stone fortress in the Philippines. There are kalesas or carriage, old dungeons, an old theater, gardens, and more to keep your eyes and ears busy as you take in all the history.

The great news here is, the government has opened its dungeons for the public so visitors can explore the dungeons that were used as storage vaults and powder magazines of the Baluarte de Santa Barbara, a stone structure constructed in 1592. During World War II, the dungeons were used by Japanese troops to imprison resistance fighters and political prisoners. This Manila tourist spot is definitely a must-visit!

3. Casa Manila

intramuros luzon tourist spots

At Casa Manila, you’ll find out how the rich lived during the Spanish era in the Philippines. Its main attraction is a fully-furnished home-turned-museum that shows how Filipinos lived during the colonial era. While every corner is beautiful and Instagrammable, visitors are not allowed to take photos. When inside, walk only on the carpeted areas so that you do not damage the wooden floors. Of all the luxurious furniture in Casa Manila, the most notable are the toilets. Apparently, in the old days, toilets were built in twos or more to allow people to sit beside each other and chat while they did their business. Casa Manila is surely a great place to visit in Manila.

4. Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant

barbaras restaurant intramuros

If you’re looking for places to visit in Manila that will satisfy your hungry tummy, dine in at Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant. Intramuros never disappoints our history and sightseeing cravings but other than these, it’s also a good place to find the top restaurants in Manila. One of these is Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant. If you’re looking for authentic Filipino food to add to your historical day trip, Barbara’s is the perfect place to go to. Try all of the dishes from their grand buffet, while enjoying cultural dance performances. Plus, Barbara’s is a perfect place for a romantic date that will give you the best vibe of Intramuros at night.

5. Escolta

Escolta is one of the most underrated tourist spots in Manila. Although it looks greatly damaged and forgotten after World War II, it’s actually those factors that make Escolta so interesting. That’s why it’s easy to see why millennials and photographers love to visit it. Now, Escolta is not just a famous photography subject but also a great place to experience good food, arts, crafts, and music festivals. Make sure to visit this place in Manila for a trip to remember.

6. National Museum of the Philippines

If you’re into history and culture, the National Museum of the Philippines is the perfect Manila tourist spot to visit. It is home to Juan Luna’s famous Spoliarium—a gigantic painting more than four meters high and seven-and-a-half meters wide, making it the Philippines’ largest painting. Another great thing about this museum is that admission is free! So don’t miss this best tourist spot in Manila!

7. Rizal Park

The city of Manila has a lot of parks to visit. One of these is the Rizal Park where the monument of Philippines’ National Hero Jose Rizal is. This is considered one of the most historical places in Manila because this is where Jose Rizal was executed.

You can experience peace and a calm environment away from the city’s hustle and bustle. The park has also become a favorite leisure spot in Manila. You can also have a picnic there while enjoying Rizal Park’s greenery and calming ambiance. Apart from Rizal’s monument, there are also artworks and museums, fountains, and other statues found within the park. Don’t miss Rizal Park as it’s one of the most beautiful Manila tourist attractions.

8. Manila Baywalk

Another most frequented tourist spot near Manila is the Manila Baywalk in Roxas Boulevard. It is famous for all ages because everyone can walk, bike around, or just sit there while enjoying the majestic views of the sunset and Manila Bay. The good thing here is, you don’t have to pay to enjoy the amazing views, that’s why it’s one of the most popular Meteo Manila tourist spots! There are also many restaurants near the SM Mall of Asia by the Bay where you can eat at. Once you get there, it’s very easy to access other places to visit near Manila as there are many transportation terminals in the area.

9. San Agustin Church

One of the best places to visit in Intramuros is the San Agustin Church. This tourist spot in Manila is the oldest church in the Philippines and the only church which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Manila. You’ll be amazed at the masterpiece painted on its ceilings. And one amazing fact to know about San Agustin Church is that the Philippines’ first governor-general, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, is buried there.

10. Manila Cathedral

The Manila Cathedral, one of the most historical places in Manila, is the Premier Church of the Philippines as it was the first-ever cathedral in the country. The Cathedral we see today is not the original structure. Actually, the cathedral has been through a lot but stands still. It has been a witness to a history that is worthy to tell to every generation—from ups and downs to wars and love stories. The Manila Cathedral is surely one of the best places to visit in Manila.

11. Binondo

When in Manila, you can never consider yourself a real foodie until you have been to Binondo. Not only Binondo offers a great food adventure but it is also home to the oldest Chinatown in the world. From fried siopao, dim sum, and roast duck to adventurous eats like frog legs, Binondo has just about everything your tummy could ever crave. Don’t miss the Beef Lamien in Lan Zhou La Mien and Hakaw in Wai Ying Fastfood. They’re not famous to foodies for nothing, that’s why this tourist spot in Manila is a must-visit!

12. Manila Ocean Park

If you want a sea adventure, why not visit Manila Ocean Park? It is one of the most popular Manila tourist attractions. Manila Ocean Park has regular aquatic performances and chances to get up close to some beautiful tropical fish. Everyone, especially the kids, will love this adventure! Manila Ocean Park also offers one of the most exciting things to do in Manila— the Aquanaut experience. It allows you to wear an oxygen-filled space helmet and walk underwater. This ocean park surely is a great place to visit in Manila.

13. Dessert Museum

Photo credits to The Dessert Museum

If you’re looking for quirky and colorful NCR tourist spots, the Dessert Museum is your best bet where you can have the sweetest trip in Pasay. It consists of 12,000 square feet of dessert play area with 8 mouthwatering themed-rooms of sugar-filled happiness. This is the only museum you’ll ever slide into! And as you slide and play, you will also be treated to samples of desserts especially curated to fit the themed room. The Dessert Museum is definitely a must-visit tourist spot in Metro Manila.

14. SM Mall of Asia

Located in Pasay City’s Bay City, SM Mall of Asia is the third-largest shopping mall in the world. There are four interconnected main buildings that house hundreds of retail outlets and restaurants. More than shopping and food, SM has incorporated expansive entertainment activities around it. These include an Olympic-sized ice skating rink, an IMAX theater, an entertainment arena, MOA Eye Ferris wheel, EXPLOREUM Science Center, and the SMX Convention Center. You can also enjoy a fresh seafood buffet by the bay while watching the sunset. SM MOA is the best place in Manila to experience all things you want: sightseeing, adventure, and food tripping.

15. Seaside Dampa

line of fresh seafood at seaside dampa pasay

This is the largest seafood place in Manila can be found in an avenue of hotels, shopping malls, and casinos. This market offers a variety of fresh seafood, where one can shop and have the food cooked in one of the nearby restaurants. Simply choose a restaurant, check their menu for seafood dishes, and decide how you want your dish to be served and prepared. From buttered shrimp to crabs in salted egg sauce, this seafood heaven is perfect for family gatherings and celebrations! Grab yourself a ton of seafood and enjoy the wonders of this marketplace. You buy, you feast! It’s as simple as that! Dampa is not just a tourist spot Metro Manila but it’s also a place where you experience the best seafood in the metro.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tourist Spots in Manila

Q: Is there an entrance fee in Intramuros?

A: There is no admission fee to enter the Intramuros district, but note that some attractions in Manila, such as Fort Santiago and San Agustin, charge a small entrance fee.

Q: What are the best places to go in Manila?

A: Here’s a list of the must-visit places in Manila Philippines:

  • Baluarte De San Diego
  • Fort Santiago
  • Casa Manila
  • Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant
  • Escolta
  • National Museum of the Philippines
  • Rizal Park
  • Manila Baywalk
  • San Agustin Church
  • Manila Cathedral
  • Binondo
  • Manila Ocean Park
  • Dessert Museum
  • SM Mall of Asia
  • Seaside Dampa

Q: Is Intramuros open at night?

A: Intramuros is open at night and in fact, offers a romantic vibe. But note that some attractions are closed from 6pm onwards.

Q: Is Manila open for travelers?

A: As of writing, Manila is still under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) so not all tourist spots are open. However, some Manila places like Intramuros, are now open again.

Q: What are the best places to visit in Intramuros?

A: Intramuros is a beautiful place every traveler must visit. Here are some of the best Intramuros tourist spots to check out: 

  1. Fort Santiago
  2. Manila Cathedral
  3. San Agustin Church
  4. Casa Manila
  5. Silahis Center
  6. Baluarte De San Diego
  7. Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant
  8. Light and Sound Museum
  9. Museo de Intramuros
  10. Bahay Tsinoy

Q: What is the Walled City in the Philippines?

A: Intramuros. The Intramuros Manila description is “The Walled City”

Q: What is the LRT station near Intramuros?

A: The LRT station near Intramuros is Central Terminal Station. From there, it’s just a five-minute walk to the walled city Philippines.

Q: How much is the Kalesa ride in Intramuros?

A: A Kalesa ride in Intramuros costs around PHP 350 to PHP 500 for 30 minutes. The trip will take you to the best tourist spot in Manila, and a number of historical landmarks in the former seat of government of colonial Philippines, including Baluarte de San Diego, Plaza Mexico, and Puerto Real.

Now that you’ve seen all the best tourist spots in Manila, it’s time to look for your hotel! Book budget hotels in Manila at www.zenrooms.com and enjoy high-quality accommodation at a very affordable price!

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Some spots might be closed or there might be travel restrictions placed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Please keep the government mandate in mind.

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