makati things to do

Make the most out of your trip to Makati City. What are the top things to do and attractions in Makati City? Which malls, parks, and museums in Makati City are worth going to? Where can you learn about the history and culture of Makati City? Where do you go to eat local food in Makati City? Which are the best bars in Makati City? Check out this complete guide to the best things to do in Makati City.

Makati City is known as a business district but thanks to its community of diverse cultures, nationalities, and socio-economic backgrounds, Makati has also become a major leisure hub for both locals and tourists.

Makati is famous for its skyscrapers, upscale shopping malls, restaurants, and entertainment hubs. But there is more to Makati than meets the eye. It’s not just about business and posh malls. There are areas within and outside Makati Central Business District (CBD) that not all travelers know of yet but should explore to get a full experience of what this city has to offer.  

makati things to do

From unique food joints and bars, recreational activities, museums, and weekend markets, Makati has it all. Mark your Makati map with this list of things to do in Makati that you should include in your itinerary.


Check Out Makati’s Malls that Offer More than Just Shopping

makati greenbelt mall

Makati houses a number of malls and the majority of them are conveniently located near each other. Talk about a one-stop-shop for your retail therapy! Aside from shopping, malls in Makati have areas for recreational activities that make them a great destination for families on weekends. Here are some of the Makati City malls we highly recommend:

  • Circuit Makati

Circuit Makati is the newest addition to Makati City's list of top-notch shopping destinations. Located at the old Sta. Ana racetrack, Circuit Makati’s Circuit Lane home to an impressive selection of both local and international brands. But Circuit Makati is more than just a shopping destination. It is a recreational hub with great facilities that families can enjoy.

Circuit Makati’s Globe Circuit Event Grounds is a large open field where concerts, events, and music/art festivals are held all year round. There are also sports facilities here including a football field (Gatorade Chelsea FC Blue Pitch), a skate park (Mountain Dew Skate Park), and a kart racing facility (City Kart Racing) for people who want an adrenaline rush. Circuit Makati’s Miracle Art Happyworld Museum is also a favorite family attraction along with PlayBook (video game lounge) and Onboard Game+Gastro Pub (board game café).

  • Greenbelt

Greenbelt has a total of five shopping areas from Greenbelt 1 to 5. All five are located at the heart of Ayala Center, with Greenbelt 5 as the newest and most upscale of all five shopping areas. You can find international brands such as Lancome, Shiseido, Anne Klein, Kenneth Cole, Liz Claiborne, Paul Smith, and Zara in Greenbelt 5.

What’s amazing about the Greenbelt Mall is that each shopping area has its own unique vibe, features, and architecture. For instance, the oldest, Greenbelt 1, dates back to the 1970s. It has small retail shops, restaurants, and a small cinema. The vibe is laid back and intimate compared to Greenbelt 3 whose cinema complex is bigger and more upscale. The shops in Greenbelt 3 are also more upscale including Marks and Spencer, Lacoste, and Hermes.

At night, Greenbelt transforms into a dining and entertainment hub complete with live music from its restaurants, cafes, and bars. Visitors can enjoy their cocktails and tapas while enjoying the warm weather in Greenbelt 3’s open-air restaurants.

  • Powerplant Mall

The Powerplant Mall is located in Rockwell Center, an area that is known as a “city within a city”. Chic, calm, and affluent, Powerplant Mall is a favorite go-to place for the rich and many celebrities. While it is smaller compared to its counterparts in Ayala Center, the vibe is exclusive. In recent years, Powerplant Mall has been catering to the city’s most fashionable shopping crowd with signature stores such as Signet, Koket Fashion Accessories, and limited edition sneaker store, Commonwealth.

  • Glorietta

Glorietta was once an open park used by a local film company to shoot a youth comedy-drama. After its conversion into a shopping complex, the first Glorietta Mall opened in 1991 and has quickly become an iconic shopping and entertainment destination for families. Glorietta is divided into five main sections from Glorietta 1 to 5 and is connected to nearby malls including Greenbelt and SM Makati. 

Like Greenbelt, Glorietta's 5 shopping areas is unique on its own. The first 4 are interconnected and converges into an activity area where various events are held. The newest addition, Glorietta 5, is a separate mall and is famous for being the home of the first Uniqlo store in Makati City. If you’re looking for locally made, stylish shoes for women, head to Ferretti Shoes in Glorietta 5.

Take a Breather in Makati’s Green Spaces

makati ayala triangle gardens

If New York City has its Central Park, Makati City has not just one but a number of parks and green spaces that city dwellers and tourists can enjoy. Check out these parks and gardens within the city of Makati:

  • Ayala Triangle Gardens

As the name suggests, Ayala Triangle Gardens is a triangular open park located in the middle of Makati Avenue, Ayala Avenue, and Paseo de Roxas Street. Similar to how the Central Park in New York provides city dwellers and tourists an open, green space to work out and enjoy nature, Ayala Triangle Gardens is a favorite go-to park for early risers who want to squeeze in a run or a work out and working professionals who want to have lunch outside and for families. During the weekend, it’s a great place to bring the family and enjoy nature.

The Christmas season at the Ayala Triangle Garden is always bright, quite literally. Its annual Festival of Lights has become a tourist destination. In 2018, the Festival Of Lights tagged team with Disney and featured a giant Mickey Mouse-shaped structure and played some of the much-loved Disney songs.

For the rest of the year, there are many things you can do at the Ayala Triangle Gardens. You can visit the McMicking Memorial & Courtyard where you can see a rectangular water feature that was built as a tribute to one of Makati City’s founders. You can break out a sweat by jogging and taking a selfie afterward at the Make It Makati sign. Or, if you happen to drop by on the first Sunday of the month and looking for things to do in Makati, you can check out the Makati Street Meet which is a haven for food and music lovers.

  • Greenbelt Park

Greenbelt Park is a green oasis in the middle of a sprawling shopping complex. If you are tired of wall-to-wall people and stores, you can take a break and stroll along the Greenbelt Park. There are water fountains, a chapel, sculptures, a pond, and towering trees that provide people shade even during midday. Greenbelt Park's central location makes it a perfect place for meetups and casual strolls. And since Makati City is famous for its cosmopolitan culture, Greenbelt Park is surrounded by an assortment of cafes and upscale stores such as Hermes.

  • Washington Sycip Park

The Washington Sycip Park in Makati is a wonderful and quiet place to take a leisurely stroll in between meetings. It has a koi pond, which is said to bring one strength and good luck according to the Japanese culture. Ponds, in general, are also known to help lower blood pressure levels and anxiety. The park also has several sculptures by Filipino sculptor Impy Pilapil, a gazebo, and piped-in music. If you're looking for a not-so-secret pocket garden to visit when the day's stress gets to you, head to Washington Sycip Park in Legazpi Village and take a breather.

  • Legazpi Active Park

While many condominiums in Makati City have play areas, public gardens, and parks such as the newly renovated Legazpi Active Park can have a huge health benefit for both children and adults. Children can roam freely, with adult supervision, of course, giving families the chance to exercise outdoors and have quality time. So if you’re traveling with kids, take them to this park in Makati City!

  • Salcedo Park 

Salcedo Park, which is also known as Jaime C. Velasquez Park, is the home of Art In The Park. The yearly event features a huge collection of printed works, sculptures, paintings and more that you can purchase. During the weekend, it hosts the Salcedo Community Market, which is famous for gourmet eats and celebrity sightings. During the work week and if there are no events, it’s a great place to have your morning run.

Immerse Yourself in Makati’s Local Art, Culture, and Historymakati-museum

Not too much into shopping? Take a cultural trip and check out the works of local Filipino artists and learn about Makati’s rich history. Add these destinations in your itinerary:

  • Ayala Museum (closed for renovation until 2020)

Located in the heart of Ayala Center, the museum showcases the Filipino culture, heritage, and customs while also featuring some seasonal exhibits. It is also the home of the Filipinas Heritage Library where visitors can browse through rare books about the Philippines’ culture and history.

  • Yuchengco Museum

Located in RCBC Plaza, the Yuchengco Museum is a beautiful art and design gallery established by former United Nations (UN) diplomat, Alfonso Yuchengco. The three-level museum is home to many paintings from Filipino masters, photos of the founders’ meetings with world leaders, and a collection of José Rizal memorabilia.

  • Museo ng Makati

If you want to learn more about the history of Makati City, there’s no better place to do your research than at the Museo ng Makati in Poblacion. The building was built in 1918 and has served as the Makati Town Hall until 1961. Today, the museum holds a collection of murals, artifacts, rare and old photos of Makati, dioramas, and relics of Makati’s rich cultural history. Museo ng Makati’s special attraction is the living exhibit of the Philippines’ different regions that shows its unique characteristics. The museum also holds special events so it’s best to check online for the schedule to better time your visit.

  • Nuestra Señora de Gracia Church (Guadalupe Church)

Guadalupe Church is an important structure in Makati’s history. The so-called Guadalupe Ruins is one of the oldest structures in the entire city dating all the way back to 1629. The 400-year-old church is a must visit for both the religious and a different type of lovers—those who love architecture and history. Located in Bernardino Street in Guadalupe Viejo, make sure you add the Guadalupe Church to your itinerary.

  • Sto Niño de Paz Greenbelt Chapel

The Sto. Niño de Paz Chapel, which is more commonly known as the Greenbelt Chapel, is situated at the heart of Ayala Center. The chapel is known for its circular pattern, outdoor garden, lagoon, and sculptures. But, apart from its beautiful aesthetics, families flock to the Greenbelt Chapel to listen to solemn homilies. Its location also makes it the perfect spot for families to  go on weekends for lunch or dinner after hearing mass.

  • Santuario De San Antonio Parish

The Sanctuario de San Antonio Parish in Forbes Park is famous for its Baroque architectural style. Many are drawn to this beautiful church because it is reminiscent of the Catholic churches found all over Europe. Filipino National Artist Fernando Amorsolo worked on the church’s hand-painted murals.

What’s interesting to note is that the Sanctuario de San Antonio Parish stands on what was once a grassland that Joseph McMicking donated to the city. McMicking is known as one of the city’s founders and the one who pioneered its rise as the Philippines’ financial district.

  • Saint Andrew the Apostle Church

Located in Bel-Air II, the Saint Andrew the Apostle Church was designed by Filipino National Artist Leandro Locsin in 1968 and was dubbed as a modern-looking church. The church’s patron saint died on an X-shaped cross that can be seen on the altar. This is why the layout of the church also follows an X-shaped layout. In fact, if seen from above, the church looks like a flowing white tent. It may not be as old as the Guadalupe Church but it’s worth a visit if you love to see its intricate architectural details inside and outside.

Bring Out the Child in You in These Makati Recreational Activities

Makati City offers fun activities not just for kids but also to kids at heart. From the mentally challenging to adrenaline-pumping, Makati has them for you.

  • Mystery Manila

Channel your inner Sherlock in this one of a kind activity best done with a group of friends or family. The whole activity only takes less than 50 minutes but the brain work and teamwork that go into the activity is truly something else.

The themed scenarios give participants clues on how to solve the mystery. It fosters collaboration, teamwork, creativity, and problem-solving skills. If you’re tired of the usual movie nights with your friends, try something new and visit Mystery Manila in Jupiter Street or at the Century City Mall in Makati.

  • City Kart Racing 

Have you ever wanted to try kart racing? Well, now you can and you don’t even have to travel all the way to the Embarcadero de Legazpi in Bicol to try it! Head to Circuit Makati and get your heart racing. Open to both first-timers, beginners, and professionals, the facility offers courses and lessons to ensure safety and enjoyment. If you visit at night, the course lights up which make the whole experience even more exhilarating and badass. While walk-ins are welcome, it’s best to make a reservation, especially if you’re coming in big groups.

Eat and Shop for Food Like the Locals

makati salcedo market

While there are many restaurants in Makati City’s malls and lifestyle hubs, we recommend visiting these other options for an entirely different foodie experience:

  • Salcedo Market

Visiting the Salcedo Weekend Market at Jaime Velasquez Park in Salcedo Village is a thrill for the senses. Though it can get crowded and hot (especially during the summer), the aroma of gourmet delights cooking on the spot and the wide display of local produce and items for sale make a trip to the Salcedo Market worth it.

If you find yourself in the market crowd, make sure you try the vegetable samosas, lobster and scallop balls, the Japanese pancakes with your choice of filling (try kesong puti and peanut butter for that savory and sweet delight), pierogi (traditional Polish dumpling), and the crazy delicious baklava, a popular Middle Eastern dessert. Before you head home, why not get a pack of tinapa (dried smoked fish) and maybe a jar of locally made crab paste?

  • Jolly Jeep

Wonder where the workforce of Makati gets their daily source of home-cooked Filipino food? You need to try the famous jolly jeep stalls scattered around the inner streets of Makati CBD. The first half of the name is actually inspired by Jollibee, the Philippines' most famous local fast food chain, Jollibee, while the second half is from the jeepney, the iconic local transportation in the country.

While there are a ton of these in Makati, not all jolly jeeps offer the same food and the same quality. For starters, you can try out the humble cult-favorite sisig of the jolly jeep in Rada Street, located in front of Planter’s Bank.  

Follow the Crowd in Poblacion for the Best Bars in Makati City

poblacion makati

This neighborhood in Makati has become the unofficial laidback, friendly watering hole community. It has a strip of restaurants, pubs, bars, and cafes that contribute to what makes Poblacion, Makati the go-to foodie and drinks haven. Here are some of the places you should include in your personal pub crawl.

  • Yoi Sake Bar

Yoi Sake Bar’s drinks menu highlights the sake, a traditional Japanese rice wine. Managing director Tadeo Chua can help explain to you some of the sake offerings so don’t be afraid to ask. If you’re craving for gourmet baked oysters, there’s no better place to get it than at Yoi’s. They make it with Havarti cheese, mushroom cream, and get this, caviar. How’s that for decadence?

  • Z Hostel Roofdeck

If you want to hang out where a younger crowd is, go up, all the way up to the Z Hostel Roofdeck. It’s fitting to note that the roofdeck area is also the hostel’s communal area, making it a perfect place for some cold beer and no-fuss party grubs. Partying here is very casual. There’s no dress code. Just some cool music, new friends, and an amazing view to match.

  • Polilya

If you want to sip local craft beer from Engkanto Brewery, head to Polilya and love local. The bar’s tropical décor make it refreshing any time of the day. There's even a chandelier of sample bottles at the bar, which is a great conversation starter as well as a design piece. The bar makes you feel like you’re in someone’s living room—comfortable but not too stuffy. Just a place where you can drink and eat with friends after a long day’s work.

  • El Chupacabra

Craving for tacos? Everyone will tell you to go to El Chupacabra. It’s a favorite spot for both locals and foreigners who want a taste of Mexican tacos with their go-to drinks.

  • Agimat

Agimat Foraging Bar and Kitchen is for the brave souls. If you’re looking for authentic, “fear-factor” style street food such as balut (boiled fertilized duck egg) and lengua (ox tongue), this is your place. And when it comes to drinks, Agimat offers 10 eccentric cocktails that pay tribute to the natural elements, namely Lupa (soil), Hangin (air), and Apoy (fire) to name a few. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Agimat is that they serve the drinks along with a ritual or dance. This includes some local beats, sounds, and folk dance moves.

  • Pura Vida

Pura Vida dishes up authentic Costa Rican dishes and drinks. Fun, colorful, laidback, and inspired by the beach life, Pura Vida helps you loosen up and just enjoy the reggae vibe. It’s definitely the first and perhaps the only of its kind in Makati City. Pura Vida’s menu includes South American favorites such as fajitas, chicharrones, and patacones.

  • Finders Keepers

Finders Keepers isn’t located in Poblacion but it’s one of those “hidden” speakeasy bars in Makati that make you feel elated when you do find it.  Located along Sabio Street, it’s popular for its strict non-smoking rule, laid back yet eclectic vibe, and cool music. Hint: just look for a taco place called the Taqueria Real. Finders Keepers is also famous for being meticulous in their drinks preparations. Instead of just splashing and pouring in the individual ingredients, the bartenders here measure each ingredient as carefully as possible to ensure that the drinks are made the way they should be.

Explore the Hidden and Not-so-hidden Treasures of Makati Today

Even if modern-day Makati City skyline is littered with skyscrapers and condominiums, there are still many green, open spaces that make the city what it is today: a true champion of the “Live-Work-Play Lifestyle.” Makati has made it possible to live and play at the same city where you work.

The city truly offers something for anyone, regardless of age, socio-economic background, and race. Makati City is a true melting pot of city life customs and traditions and it has many hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

Start your own exploration of the city. Check out Makati City tours and activities to see this bustling destination in a new light.