Discover the bustling city of Makati. Find out why you should add this destination to your travel list in the Philippines. Learn about the tourist spots and activities it offers. Read on to for everything you need to know about exploring this urban center in Metro Manila.
Makati City or Makati is one of the many urban centers that make up Metro Manila in the Philippines. It has been the financial center of the Philippines since the 1960s.
Makati Central Business District (CBD) is home to several embassies, multinational companies, and essential local centers such as the Makati Business Club and the Philippine Stock Exchange. Apart from its business side, Makati is also known as the melting pot of international affairs and is quite famous for its multicultural lifestyle.
It is also known for its array of luxury malls, the majority of which can be found in Makati's prime shopping and entertainment hub — the Ayala Center. Many international brands in retail shopping have made their home in department stores in Makati located in Glorietta Malls and Greenbelt Malls.
But Makati isn’t just about business and top-notch shopping. It is also a foodie destination as well as an entertainment hub for people who are looking for both high-end and laid-back cultural immersions.
The city provides almost everything you need for a work-life balance, mainly leisure. So, if you’re traveling to Makati, here’s an ultimate guide to help you find its hidden gems.
Makati is a great destination all-year-round because unlike island destinations in the Philippines, you can still do activities here during the rainy season.
But if you want to explore Makati including its outdoor attractions fully, take note of the months with the sunniest days. Read on to find when are the best seasons to go to Makati, what's the climate and weather like, and what to wear:
The best months to go to Makati is during the -ber months of September, October, November, and December when the city is full of festive lights and Christmas decorations.
However, traffic can get worse than usual during the Christmas season. It is also during this time when a lot of people flock the malls for their holiday shopping.
If you have a lot of outdoor destinations included in your Makati itinerary, it's best to explore Makati during the dry months of January to May. Make sure to bring water bottles, caps, and umbrella with you if you're planning to do a lot of walking in Makati.
During the dry season, the temperature in Makati is warm. Take note that the hottest months in Metro Manila, in general, are from March to mid-May. During these months, the temperature could go up to 34°C during the day and dip to 26°C at night.
During the rainy season (June to October), rainy days are about 15 days every month with the lowest temperature at 25°C at night. Make sure to check for weather updates as well for the forecast on the days of your trip.
Most people in Makati wear corporate or office attires, but as a tourist, you can dress casual breathable clothes, especially during the dry months. You only need to wear formal clothes and closed shoes if you're entering the office buildings since the majority of them have strict dress codes.
If you're in the malls or outdoors at night, especially during the holiday season or rainy season, it's best to bring a light jacket with you to keep you warm.
Makati is located in the central part of Metro Manila and is accessible from neighboring cities and airports. If it's your first time to go here, it might be confusing as to which transportation option is best for you because of the many choices available. In this section, we'll break down for you the different ways to go to Makati:
Regular buses are coming from North and South of Metro Manila that passes by Makati. Look out for the signage that says Ayala LRT if you want a bus that will travel through Ayala Avenue or one of the significant roads inside Makati.
These days, the Premium P2P bus service, an initiative by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has given commuters and even tourists the ease and peace of mind of traveling around Metro Manila.
One-way fare starts at PHP100. You can check the schedules and routes of P2P buses here that go to/from Makati. Pick-up and drop-off terminals in Makati for P2P buses are usually in malls like Greenbelt and Glorietta.
If you don’t mind roughing it, take the Metro Rail Transit (MRT). Taking the train is, by far, the cheapest way to go to Makati from other major cities of Metro Manila like Quezon City, Pasig, Mandaluyong, and Pasay.
The MRT line travels along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue or EDSA, and you can get off at Ayala Station (near Makati CBD) if you're heading to Makati. One-way fare starts at PHP13.00.
Regular taxi or cabs ply the major thoroughfares of Metro Manila, including Makati. All metered taxis and cabs in the city have a standard flag-down rate of PHP40.00.
If you're coming from the airport, you will have the option of a regular metered white taxi/cab or the premium yellow taxi/cab.
Flagging down taxi or cabs can be difficult, especially during rush hour in Makati. Foreign travelers might also find riding public transportation challenging when going to Makati so we highly suggest using these apps when traveling to Makati.
This way, you can sit back, relax, and let someone else navigate the Metro Manila and Makati traffic.
Taxi/Cab, Car, and Carpool Booking Apps
For a more comfortable ride, you can hail a cab or use transportation apps like Grab or Owto that offer accredited taxi/cabs, private cars, and carpool. You can also book this if you're coming from the airports. Do take note that the fares vary on the time of day you make a booking.
If you're only carrying a compact backpack or small bag and don't mind riding a motorcycle, you can download the app Angkas. If it's raining, it's best not to ride this, so you don't get drenched and for your safety as well since roads can be slippery.
A lot of establishments and tourist destinations in Makati can be traveled to by foot. But it's best to check a Makati map first to find out the distance of the places you want to visit. The options to traveling within Makati are similar to the ones listed above in the Going to Makati section.
The classic Philippine jeepneys travel around the major routes of Makati that go through different paths within the city. Fare starts at PHP9.00. Make sure to check first which jeepney route you have to ride to get to your destination. You might also need to ride more than one jeepney depending on your goal.
The regular buses mentioned above that come from neighboring cities can also be an option when traveling in the town if you're going to places that are near major roads in Makati.
You have the opportunity to ride the northbound or southbound buses depending on your destination. Northbound buses have signages that say “Fairview,” while southbound buses have signages that say, LRT Buendia.
Similar to the taxi and cabs mentioned above, you can also flag these down when going around Makati. Locals even opt to ride these when in Makati since they want the convenience of not transferring to multiple jeepneys or buses anymore. For easier booking, you can also use apps like Grab or Owto.
Since destinations within Makati are only minutes away but the build-up of traffic adds up significant time to travel. That's why some commuters opt to ride motorcycles instead through the Angkas app.
Makati CBD has an elevated passageway called Dela Rosa Walkway, along Dela Rosa St., parallel to Ayala Avenue (one of the main roads in the city). This walkway connects you to some of the tourist spots and landmarks in the town.
From the malls connected to Ayala MRT Station to Makati Medical Center (at the end of Ayala Avenue). Again, make sure to check your Makati map and pay close attention to the street signs in the walkway, so you don't get lost.
Location is a significant factor when choosing which accommodation to book for your stay in Makati. It can mean the difference between a 5-minute walk or a 30-minute taxi ride going to your destination. Read on to help you choose where to stay in Makati.
Except for hotels, there are also other types of accommodations to stay in Makati. Let us give a round down of them for you from hotels, houses or condominiums for rent, to backpacker-friendly hostels.
From 1-star to 5-star hotels, there are several hotels that you can choose from for your home away from home in Makati. The hotels vary in price based on location and amenities.
The high-star rated hotels are mostly gathering in Ayala Avenue, Makati Avenue, and near the malls of Ayala Center. Meanwhile, the low-star hotels are in the inner streets of Poblacion and Makati CBD areas. You can find some options below based on your budget.
Aside from the towering corporate offices that fill up Makati's cityscape, there are also condominiums here where rooms are available for rent on a short-term and long-term basis.
Condos for rent with higher rates are located in the main streets like Ayala Avenue and Makati Avenue while the lower rents are in the inner streets similar to the hotels.
Hidden in some neighborhoods of Makati are small hostels perfect for budget travelers or backpackers. They don't have the high-end amenities of the modern hotels or rental condominiums in Makati. But they offer the basic needs of travelers who need a bed and shower for they stay in the city.
Neighborhoods and Areas
There are 33 barangays in Makati, but not all of these are tourist destinations. We selected the areas where most of the tourist spots and accommodations are to help you choose where to book your hotel.
The prime spot for accommodations and corporate offices in Makati CBD. If you want to walk to tourist spots in the city, this is the best place for you. It is the area along Ayala Avenue lined with towering buildings.
Exploring this area by foot is possible, too thanks to the underpasses equipped with escalators in every section. Makati CBD has two prominent regions of the east and west-sides of Ayala Avenue: Legaspi Village and Salcedo Village.
A more laid-back area in Makati CBD with its quaint coffee shops and green spaces like Legaspi Active Park and Washington Sycip Park that are famous spots for city joggers and dog walkers.
It is where you can find the Dela Rosa Walkway that lets you easily explore this half of Makati CBD on foot. You can also find the Legaspi Sunday Market here, where you can shop organic produce and handmade crafts.
The more corporate part of Makati CBD because of its office towers and condominiums. This area houses the Salcedo Saturday Market at Jamie Velasquez Park, the counterpart of Legaspi Village’s Sunday Market.
This other half of Makati CBD is where you can find the big green space of Ayala Triangle Gardens. This area is just a walk away from the watering hole of Poblacion.
Next to Salcedo Village is a revitalized hip neighborhood with its vibrant nightlife that attracts the millennial workforce of Makati and Metro Manila. It is also where most backpacker hostels in Makati are located.
A few minutes of walk or drive from Poblacion will take you to Rockwell Center most known for being the location of Powerplant Mall.
It is the shopping haven in Makati, which includes Greenbelt, Glorietta, Landmark, and SM Makati malls. It's located at the far end of Legaspi Village leading to the Ayala MRT Station. There are also several accommodations in this area, ranging from 3- to 5-star hotels.
Now that you know the types of accommodations and where the best areas to book a hotel in Makati area, here are several hotels in Makati you can choose from. We included accommodations that will fit your price preferences from luxury, mid-range, to budget-friendly.
Makati is home to several 4-star and 5-star hotels offering world-class facilities and services. If you’re looking for hotels in Makati CBD, nearby Ayala Center malls, here are some top-rated hotels that you can choose from:
Photo from Raffles Makati
Elegant, graceful, and sophisticated. Raffles Makati has everything you would look for in a luxury hotel, including its proximity to the heart of Makati: Ayala Center. The 30-story hotel lives up to its international name in terms of service, interiors, dining, and overall hotel experience.
Makati Shangri-La Manila
The name speaks for itself: the Makati Shangri-La Hotel is one of the country’s premier hotels. The suites are gorgeous, the amenities are world-class, and the dining experience is divine. It’s also a short walk from Greenbelt 3, SM Makati, and The Landmark, which are all top lifestyle and shopping hubs.
The Peninsula Manila
Photo from the Philippine Department of Tourism
This 5-star luxury hotel is famous for its history. For decades, it has set the bar high when it comes to sophisticated and luxury lodging. It was also named as a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel in 2019, the only one to receive such award in Makati and Bonifacio Global City to date.
Not willing to splurge for high-end amenities but still want a comfortable hotel to stay in Makati that will have everything you need aside from necessities? Check out these mid-range hotels in the city that are just walking distance from the main roads of Makati CBD, located in the inner streets of Legaspi Village and Salcedo Village:
Citadines Salcedo Makati
Photo from Citadines
If you want comfort and some peace, check-in at Citadines Salcedo Makati instead. Tucked away in the charming, upscale, and quiet neighborhood of Salcedo Village, the hotel is a short distance from various art galleries, pocket gardens, and fitness studios.
And if you happen to be staying over the weekend, don’t forget to check out the weekend market for some local food products.
The Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences
Photo from The Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences
If you love art, then you’ll love this hotel! Artistic inspiration is evident everywhere you look. The moment you step inside the hotel, the artworks on the wall wake up your senses and artistic inclination.
The injection of creative expressions in a full-service business hotel makes it one of the most popular go-to hotels in Makati.
New World Makati Hotel
If you're looking for a hotel that provides the best proximity to both business and leisure, book a suite at the New World Makati Hotel. Conveniently located in Makati Avenue and right behind Greenbelt 3.
All you have to do is cross the street after a long day's work and enjoy the drinks and festivities in Makati's prime leisure hub. The hotel’s modern guest rooms and suites are perfect for traveling families too!
Y2 Residence Hotel
If you’re looking for an affordable place to stay that doesn’t skimp on comfort, book a room at Y2 Residence Hotel. This condo-type hotel has a complete, functioning kitchenette, dining room, and spacious units for traveling families. While it’s close to several restaurants, you can also cook or bring in food from outside.
One Pacific Place Serviced Residences
If you want to stay week-long in the low-key but exclusive neighborhood of Salcedo Village, here’s a hotel that won’t eat up your entire budget. The rooms are clean and tasteful, the buffet breakfast is good, and the hotel is near significant malls, including SM Jazz, Glorietta, and Greenbelt.
Do you have a tight budget and only need a decent place to sleep or shower in when in Makati? Then budget-friendly accommodations are perfect for you. Here are some of your options on top-rated locations to stay in Makati. When you have a limited budget and don’t mind walking or riding public transportation when going to the busier parts of the city:
U Hotels Makati
Photo from U Hotels Makati
This hotel has an impressive ranking online. Situated in the low-key, food-and-drink community of Poblacion, the no muss, no fuss rooms offer you basic hotel comforts.
As champions of the Philippine art scene, each hotel floor showcases the artwork of a Filipino painter. Think of it as a budget-friendly, local version of The Picasso Hotel. Its proximity to the local bars and foodie spots makes it an ideal budget-friendly hotel.
Another Poblacion accommodation is this hip hostel that offers private rooms and dormitory rooms for budget travelers and backpackers. They have a communal kitchen and pantry, dining room, and reading lounges.
They also provide a co-working space for digital nomads. Their in-house funky container van restaurant called TRUCK serves breakfast and snacks and transforms into a bar at night.
Photo from the Philippine Department of Tourism
If you love city life, you'll enjoy exploring what is probably the Philippines' most famous urban jungle. But even if you're a nature lover, foodie, sophisticated or the adventurous traveler, Makati has something to offer for everyone.
If you enjoy soaking up on the arts and culture scene of a city, you’ll be glad Makati is home to several museums and contemporary art galleries. Here is the list that you can add to your museum tours.
The Drawing Room - If you want to see some of BenCab’s works but can’t make it to his museum in Tuba, you can view some of his original sketches here.
The Ayala Museum - This museum is famous for featuring works that showcase Filipino history, customs, and tribe. (closed for renovation until 2020)
Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium - Visit this in RCBC Plaza if you love watching plays.
Guadalupe Ruins - Go to this 400-year-old church if you love architecture and history.
Just because it's called the "urban jungle" doesn't mean there are no pockets of greenery that you can enjoy. Here are some of the most popular green, recreational areas that make Makati one of the most livable cities in Metro Manila. Whichever hotel you’re staying at, you can check the Makati map for the nearest green space.
Ayala Triangle Gardens - It locates in the middle of Makati CBD. Think of it as Makati's minuscule version of Central Park. During the Christmas season, Ayala Triangle Gardens becomes a famous holiday destination because of its annual Festival of Lights.
Washington SyCip Park - This hidden park features the sculptures by Impy Pilapil, the koi pond, towering trees, and the piped-in music.
Salcedo Park - Also known as Jaime Velasquez Park, this is home to Art In The Park. It is created to make visual arts accessible to everyone. If you are up for some action, go to the Philippines' first concrete urban skate park for novice and pro skaters who want to practice in peace and hang out at the mall later.
Photo from Make It Makati
Makati is known for its impressive array of luxury malls and departments that carry must-have local and international brands.
Greenbelt - Located in the heart of Ayala Center. It’s a popular dining and entertainment hub known for its international stores and chic boutiques.
The Landmark - This is a multi-level department store with a supermarket located right next to Greenbelt.
Glorietta - Another Ayala Center mall, just walking distance from Greenbelt Malls. It houses local and international retail stores and dining options.
SM Makati - It is the home to international stores like Uniqlo, H&M, Forever 21, and more. It is located beside Glorietta.
Power Plant Mall - If you want to avoid the crowd, go here. Top favorites here include Dean & Deluca in Edades Tower and Rockwell Glasshouse Harlan+Holden along Hidalgo Drive.
Century City Mall - It has the nickname “The Mall of Modern Makati,” a place that has everything you need from top shops, services, and family-friendly restaurants. The upscale food court called the Hole In The Wall.
Makati is also a foodie haven. There's no one cuisine though that best represents Makati. Thanks to its diverse community, you can find cuisine from Filipino, Korean, Japanese, Indian, to Italian, you can find all here in Makati.
Add these highly-rated Makati restaurants and bars to your itinerary for the best Filipino and international food tour in this bustling city.
The Milkyway Café
Photo from The Milkyway Café
Located behind Greenbelt Mall in Arnaiz Avenue is one of the oldies but goody restaurants in Makati. They have been serving Filipino comfort food since they first opened their doors in the 1950s.
Must-tries here are local cuisine from Pampanga in Northern Luzon, their kare-kare (peanut-based beef stew), and their iconic purple yam and homemade ice cream desserts.
This fine-dining restaurant located in Ayala Triangle Gardens was listed in Monocle's 50 Best Restaurants in the World for 2019. The elegant restaurant housed in what used to be an airport control tower of the Manila International Airport serves contemporary European and Asian dishes.
XO 46 Heritage Bistro
Photo from XO 46 Bistro Filipino
Known for its “honorific” style of service wherein staff members greet and talk to you in pure Tagalog. Must-try dishes include nilasing na hipon (crispy fried drunken shrimp), kalderetang baka (beef stew), and kare kareng crispy tadyang (crispy ribs in thick peanut sauce).
Hidden in a compound along Chino Roces in Makati is the aptly named Little Tokyo. It offers authentic Japanese cuisine from takoyaki, okonomiyaki, sushi, and other dishes that local and foreign Makati dwellers love going back to again and again.
101 Hawker House
If you’re craving Singaporean food, this restaurant serves hawker favorites. Including nasi goreng (fried rice), Hainanese Chicken, and the famous char kway teow (fried flat noodles).
Photo from Make It Makati
Looking for filling dishes that won't break the bank in Makati? Your foodie experience won't be complete without ordering or eating at one of the famous "Jolly Jeep" locations in Makati.
Think of it as Makati's version of the legendary food trucks in New York City. These are scattered around the streets of Makati CBD and are favorites of workers in the city. Must-try is the sisig at the Rada jolly jeep.
Go to Salcedo Market at the Jaime Velasquez Park in Salcedo Village on a Saturday for gourmet bites such as lobster and scallop balls, Japanese-style pancakes with kesong puti (local cheese) filling, and even baklava, a Middle Eastern sweet dessert.
The Philippines' First Starbucks
If you're a coffee-lover, then it's worth visiting this Starbucks on the ground floor of 6750 Ayala Building. It first opened its doors on December 4, 1997, and gave the country a taste of the Starbucks Experience.
Part of Makati’s charm is that it has something to offer for people from all walks of life. From the most exclusive and expensive bars to the budget-friendly watering holes, you’ll find countless ways to drink and relax in the city.
Photo from Antidote
If you feel like splurging for the best drinks and an upscale drinking ambiance, check out these luxury bars in Makati:
Antidote - Located at I'M Hotel, this is the Philippines’ first jellyfish-themed rooftop party bar.
Buddha-Bar - This is the most famous bar in Makati given its long history in the party scene and unique Zen ambiance.
Long Bar - If you want a more upscale drinking experience, go to Raffles Makati and get yourself the signature Makati Luxury Sling. Inspired by the famous Singapore Sling, this one has 24-karat gold flakes as its main ingredient.
Secret Bars or Speakeasies
Photo from Prohibition Liquor Lounger
There are also several hidden bars in Makati if you don’t want to fight for a table at the most crowded joints in the city. These are hidden in plain sight and can be challenging to find. If you don't know where they are located, but that's part of their uniqueness as secret bars.
The Prohibition Lounge - As the name suggests, this is inspired by the 1920s Prohibition Era. Located somewhere in Greenbelt, near Dillingers 1903 Steak and Brew (hint!), the bar has an impressive lineup of liquor, designer cocktails, and gourmet grubs.
Penthouse 8747 - Unlike The Prohibition Lounge, this bar gives off its location all too easily. But, entering this 1920s themed bar makes you feel like you're walking into the set of the movie The Great Gatsby. Bold, beautiful, and bright in its Art Deco glory, The Penthouse 8747's ambiance is relaxed.
Bars in Poblacion
If you’re itching for something more low-key (and budget-friendly) bars, take a trip to the watering hole neighborhood of Poblacion in Makati and feel free to do your pub crawl. Here are some highly recommended spots:
Kermit Manila - Miss the beach? Here you can enjoy the beach chill vibe while drinking with friends.
Polilya - Looking for local craft beer? It is the place to go.
YOI - This Japanese and Scandinavian bar is known for being a sake bar.
As one of the busiest business districts in Metro Manila, Makati is one of the most modern urban destinations in the Philippines. It offers the convenience of other major international cities but for a hassle-free trip, take note of these insider tips:
The majority of establishments (from hotels, malls, to restaurants) in Makati accept credit cards. ATMs and banks are also visible in significant roads and malls so you can quickly withdraw or exchange foreign currency to Philippine Peso (PHP).
Locals speak Filipino and English. Most of the people in Makati are employees that come from different parts of the Metro and the Philippines, but the majority of them are fluent in English.
Because of the large number of people going in and out of Makati, the local government enforces strict traffic laws including designated loading and unloading stations for public and private vehicles, especially in major roads. If you are driving yourself with a rented car or other types of cars, download navigation apps like Google Map or Waze.
It's essential to take note that rush hour or the busiest traffic hours in Makati are from 6 to 8 AM and 5 to 8 PM. These are the hours when going to offices and going home to destinations in and outside of the city.
Makati can be toured for as short as a full day. But if you want to immerse yourself in the vibrant city life, you can opt to stay here for three days and two nights.
Here are sample itineraries for both. Feel free to customize this sample itinerary based on what you want to do in the city, especially if you have kids traveling with you. The city offers so much for both locals and tourists, so maximize your stay by planning.
9:00 AM - Have a leisurely, hearty breakfast at Ayala Triangle Gardens
11:00 AM - Visit The Drawing Room
12:00 PM - Eat lunch and catch a movie at Greenbelt 3 Cinemas or shop for some souvenirs at Kultura in SM Makati
3:00 PM - Go on a food tour and have an authentic Jolly Jeep experience
4:00 PM - Have a quiet moment at Washington Sycip Park
5:00 PM - Catch a play at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium in RCBC Plaza
9:00 PM - Have a late dinner and do a Poblacion pub crawl
Day 1: Park + Local Food + Nightlife
2:00 PM - Check-in at the Citadines Salcedo Makati
5:00 PM - Walk to Ayala Triangle Gardens
6:00 PM - Dinner at XO 46 Heritage Bistro in Valero street
8:00 PM - Drinks at The Buddha Bar
11:30 PM - After-party coffee and cake at Commune
1:00 AM - Head back to the hotel
Day 2: Weekend Market+ Mall + Local Food
8:00 AM - Go to the Salcedo Saturday Market where you can grab breakfast while shopping
10:00 AM - Head back to the hotel to freshen up
12:00 PM - Grab lunch and window shop at Greenbelt 5
5:00 PM - Catch a play at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium in RCBC Plaza.
7:00 PM - Eat nasi goreng at 101 Hawker House
9:00 PM - Back at the hotel
Day 3: Park + Shopping
7:00 AM - Go for an early run at Jaime C. Velasquez Park or Ayala Triangle Gardens
8:30 AM - Have the breakfast at the hotel
10:00 AM - Buy some pasalubong (food souvenirs) at the Echo Store in Salcedo Village. We recommend getting a jar of crab paste, a package of moringa powder, and a bottle of tawilis in oil.
12:00 NN - Hotel checkout and depart for the airport
See You in Makati!
Despite the changing times, market trends, consumer demands, and the sudden birth of new commercial and residential developments around Metro Manila, Makati remains to be one of the most coveted go-to cities in the Philippines not just for local and foreign tourists but also as locations for offices.
Many regional headquarters, multinational companies, and startups are setting their nests in the nearby Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. Makati is still one of the most sought-after business addresses in Metro Manila despite the inevitable traffic jams during rush hour.
Visiting Makati alone or with family, for business or leisure, the key to maximizing your visit is to determine which side of Makati you want to experience for your city tours.
Do you want the corporate Makati, the party hub Makati, or the laidback, community Makati? The city has everything to offer. We recommend staying over the weekend for you to experience the best of both worlds.