A cultural center packed to the brim with history, art, and variety, Hyderabad’s reputation as a spectacular travel destination has exploded in recent years. A city of over three million people and plenty of historic sites, including Charminar and Mecca Masjid, Hyderabad is an excellent stop for any avid traveler. Plan your trip today! 5 Must-See Attractions: Shri Jagannath Temple- A monument of marble and ornate architecture, Shri Jagannath Temple offers a calming retreat from the sounds of the city. Charminar- Originally constructed in the 1500’s, Charminar’s pillars radiate Hyderabad’s history, serving as one of the city’s most famous icons. Taj Falaknuma Palace- A massive palace designed to resemble a scorpion, Falaknuma is just a short distance from Charminar and an excellent place for a lunch or stay. Buddha Statue- Constructed with the Statue of Liberty in mind, the Gautama Buddha statue is the largest depiction of Buddha in the world. Shilparamam Cultural Society- A nice crossover between a shopping excursion and a sampling of Hyderabad culture, the best artists in the city show off their skills in this center city bazaar. 5 Great Sites for Kids: Ramoji Film City- A complex dedicated to demonstrating the variety and excellence in Indian cinema complete with a theme park for fun! Hussain Sagar Lake- The large lake north of the city is perfect for an afternoon boat ride around the massive statue of Buddha in the middle. Birla Planetarium- Planetariums evoke wonder wherever you are, and Birla is a state of the art venue for viewing constellations. Nehru Zoological Park- Perhaps the best zoo in all of India, Nehru offers safari options, acting as a breathing oasis amid the city. Surendrapuri Mythological Awareness Museum- An excellent opportunity to learn about Indian mythos, highlighted by colorful statues and representations of religious figures. 5 Free Attractions: Inorbit Mall- A massive shopping center perfect for walking through and window shopping at the variety of clothing and food options. Mecca Masjid- Not far from Charminar, Mecca Masjid stands as the oldest and most architecturally striking mosque in Hyderabad. Lumbini Park- A nice place to get some fresh air in the city and take a midday stroll. Golkonda Fort- While not entirely free, entry to fort is very inexpensive and allows for a unique look at old Hyderabad architecture. NTR Garden- Also requires a small fee, but NTR Garden provides a tremendous amount of well-manicured botanical variety right next to Hussain Sagar Lake. 5 Great Restaurants: Absolute Barbecue- A fusion of Barbecue, Asian, and Indian food, Absolute Barbecue holds a high reputation in the city, serving tons of food and fantastic food options for all eaters. Olive Bistro- A mix of Mediterranean flavors is the specialty of the Olive Bistro. The pizza in particular has a fabulous reputation. Jewel of Nizam- The authentic local cuisine of Hyderabad is the specialty of the Jewel of Nizam; the Gilfali kebab is a favorite of locals. Jonathan’s Kitchen- A restaurant specializing in variety, offering a bevy of different international foods, including pizza, Indian dishes, and a variety of soups. Karachi Bakery- Walking into Karachi Bakery is like walking into heaven. There is a tremendous assortment of desserts, breads, cookies, and other bakery items, you won’t leave empty handed. 5 Great Nightlife Spots: 10 Downing Street- An English style night bar serving a variety of cocktails, beer, and plenty of snack options to keep you satiated. Mad Over Beer- MOB is the perfect place for a peaceful night, enjoying a few European brews. Liquids- A dance club equipped with a DJ, fun mood lighting, and drinks for interested patrons. Altitude Lounge Bar- Sporting what might be the best view of Hussain Sagar Lake, the Altitude Lounge Bar is an excellent spot to take in dinner and a few drinks. Bottles & Chimney- A large bar and lounge complete with a full menu, featuring foods from around the world, and plenty of drinks to help you enjoy the night. 5 Romantic Getaways: The Pasta Bar Veneto- Italian food is always a good mood setter. Whether you are re-enacting the scene from “Lady and the Tramp,” or just enjoying a pasta dinner, Veneto is the place for an intimate evening. District N- Complete with an eclectic dinner menu and excellent service, District N is the perfect place to spend an evening together. Sanjeevaiah Park- A trip outside in the fresh air always makes for a peaceful date, and Sanjeevaiah is located alongside Hussain Sagar Lake, adding tranquility to your date. Meghavi Spa- This spa hits all the major date needs: food, atmosphere, and fun, by relaxing via a spa day and food. Little Italy- A favorite of locals, Little Italy provides a romantic ambiance for couples looking to enjoy a night of food and each others company. 5 Must-Try Foods: Biryani- Depending on the cook, biryani consists of rice, a variety of spices, and choice meat as the feature. Keema Samosa- A baked pastry pocket housing meat and an array of spices. Osmania Biscuits- A sweet biscuit with custard flavoring and plenty of sugar. Boti Kebab- A mixture of mutton meat and paste, featuring yogurt, lemons, onions and a few different spices. Khubani Ka Meetha- a sweet dish consisting primarily of almonds and apricots in a syrupy sweet soup. Climate: Hyderabad typically has two major climate trends throughout the year. For the most part, the city deals with high average temperatures year round. Typical temperatures hover in the high 80’s to low 90’s Fahrenheit from July through February and rise further into the high 90’s and 100’s in March through June. The climate toggles between a wet and a dry season. The dry season extends from November to May, and the tropical season stretches from June through October. Transportation: Movement around the city typically occurs by car or metro. A bus system called the SETWIN is also available, but is lesser used. The Metro light rail system connects the main parts of the city to allow visitors to avoid using cars; however, most travelers move via Taxi or rental car. While the roads may be crowded, they provide an easier, safer way of traversing the city without the individual responsibility of navigating the different transportation options. Safety Precautions: Hyderabad is an active city with lots of hustle and bustle; therefore, it’s best to keep your valuables close among the crowds and tourist destinations. Carry wallets in your front pocket, and bring a slash-proof PacSafe bag to carry your itinerary, identification, and money. Hyderabad can be crowded at times; therefore, it is important to have a plan when traveling about the city and research ahead of time. Souvenirs: Hyderabad eludes a vibrant culture and flair, unique to the city. The best way to capture this essence might be through a small piece of art, or hand-made tchotchke. Trip Highlights: The sites, particularly Charminar and the Buddha Statue, are sometimes crowded, but stick as the biggest memories of your trip to Hyderabad. Paperwork: A passport is required for any non-India resident to travel to Hyderabad. It is important to retain a copy of all major forms of identification and trip itineraries. Air Travel Information: Travelers to Hyderabad fly primarily into Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (HYD). Many major airlines, including British Airways, Jet Airways, and Air India all service the airport. Transportation to the airport is available via taxi, car rental, and Pushpak; a bus that service the airport and other major sites in Hyderabad.