Saddar is the central business district of Karachi. 'Saddar' generally means 'centre' (of the town) and also 'head' (of State or organization). Saddar Town contains much of the oldest parts of Karachi, in particular the neighbourhoods of Kharadar and Mithadar which represent the pre-colonial history of Karachi. The names mean Salty Gate and Sweet Gate respectively and refer to the two main gates of the old walled town of Karachi which stood on the sites of the two modern neighbourhoods. The Salty Gate opened towards the Arabian Sea (hence the word “salty”) and the Sweet Gate opened towards the Lyari River (hence the word “sweet”).
During the colonial era, Saddar was the centre of Karachi, a status maintained from 1947 to the 1960s, when the federal government offices were based in Saddar. They have now been replaced by the offices of the provincial Government of Sindh. Many beautiful examples of colonial architecture can be found in Saddar Town including the main building of Karachi Grammar School, Frere Hall and the Sindh Club.
The federal government introduced local government reforms in the year 2000, which eliminated the previous third tier of government (administrative divisions) and raised the fourth tier (districts) to become the new third tier. The effect in Karachi was the dissolution of the former Karachi Division and the merger of its five districts to form a new Karachi City-District with eighteen autonomous constituent towns including Saddar Town.
Saddar can easily be reached by both rail and road. Two of Karachi Railway Stations, The Karachi Cantt Station and The Karachi City Station are located in the vicinity, which is also close to majority of hotels in the area. Two of Karachi's main highways - The National Highway and Super Highway ends at Saddar.
Mereweather Clock Tower (locally known as Tower), I.I Chundrigar Rd. This business landmark of the city is 35 m high tower and carries a clock with four faces. It was constructed by Sir Evans James in 1892 in the memory of Sir William L Mereweather who was the Commissioner of the Sindh at that time. The design of the tower is in the Gothic Revival style popular in Victorian England, and it was designed to evoke the architecture of Medieval England. The structure is built in buff colored Gizri stone and shows a heightened sensitivity to detailing and emphasis on carving and decoration. This tower is not the most visited landmark, although it is one of the most crowded points in the city because of its location.
Habib Bank Plaza, I.I. Chundigar Rd. The head office of Habib Bank Limited and was the tallest building in South Asia for more than a decade until the 156m tall World Trade Centre building were built in Mumbai in 1970. This 101 meter high rise building with 23 floors was built in 1963, has marvellous architecture and one of the most recognizable landmarks of the city.
Karachi Stock Exchange, is Pakistan's biggest and one of the oldest stock exchanges of Asia. It was also the “Best Performing Stock Market of the World for the year 2002".
State Bank Museum on I.I. Chundrigar Road, is the money museum of Pakistan that displays financial history of the nation dated back when the country was part of India. The exhibition hall comprise of seven Galleries and it remains opens Mon-Fri from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Free.
National Museum of Pakistan, Burns Garden, Dr. Ziauddin Ahmed Rd. Displays a two million years old axe discovered on the Potohar Plateau. There is a remarkable gallery describing the early civilisation of Debal and Mansura. The collection of 58,000 old coins goes back as far as the 7th century CE and there are hundreds of well preserved sculptures. Another gallery, the ‘Freedom Movement gallery’, contains a large collection of pictures and articles arising from the time of the Independence movement. Items on display include archaeological artefacts, Islamic art, and other historical documents. Quran gallery is recently renovated, equipped with air conditioning, modern lighting and audio system and has more than 300 copies of the Holy Quran, out of which around 52 rare manuscripts are on display. A gallery is dedicated to the materials obtained from cities of Mohenjodaro and Harappa of the famous Indus Valley Civilization. Sa-Tu, Th 10:00-13:00, 14:00-17:00; F 09:00-12:00.
Karachi Zoo (کراچی چڑیاگھر), Garden East Area, Jamshad Town. Established in the year 1878 and originally known as 'Mahatma Gandhi Garden', this is one of the oldest zoos in Pakistan. There are around 500 different species of birds, 180 species of mammals and nearly 200 species of reptiles in some 107 cages. Attractions include "White Lions", "Mumtaz Mahal" and the "Elephant House", where two female African bush elephants born in Tanzania, named 'Noor Jahan' and 'Madhu Bala' were brought. A Mughal Garden including Mughal-style fountains, established in 1970, occupies a major part of the zoo with green lawns and seasonal plants. The garden is famous for different varieties of roses and other flowers that are exhibited there. A "Natural History Museum", is also one of the famous attractions of the zoo with stuffed animals, skins, antlers, horns and feathers. The Municipal Aquarium is also located in the zoo. It was constructed in 1953 and has a total of 28 tanks which contain a total of around 300 fishes from about 30 species. There is also a boating lake and a "Reptile House" which is one of the few reptile houses in Pakistan. There are 13 species of snakes and lizards. Newly born hatchlings of turtles, tortoises, terrapin and crocodilians are also exhibited. Rs 10.
Supreme Court, M R Kayani Rd, formerly the Prince of Wales Museum.
Hindu Gymkhana (National Academy of Performing Arts), M R Kayani Rd. is one of the first Mughal revival buildings in the city constructed in 1925. The building is designed by Muslim architect Agha Ahmed Hussain. The plan and massing was based on the tomb of Itamad-ud-Daulah (1628) in Agra. The building is small in size and consists primarily of a hall and some smaller rooms used for administrative purposes. Stone for the 2-foot-thick (0.61 m) walls was acquired in Bijapur. The roof line is defined by delicate massing of cupolas and balustrades directly influenced by Akbar's Fatehpur Sikri. The octagonal corner towers framing the projecting central jharoka are capped with chattris. Smaller chattris highlight the corners of the projecting porch that carry the drooping bangladar roof used in Emperor Akbar's period. The projecting chajjas are supported by ornamental brackets. The cupolas of the chattris are reinforced concrete and the walls are dressed in Gizri stone. Some of the carved elements are of Jodhpur stone. Now converted to the National Academy of Performing Arts.
Polo Ground is a park alongside Pearl Continental Hotel in downtown Karachi. The park offers an excellent view of the city's skyline. There are plans to install a musical fountain, a jogging track and trees of different sorts and blossoms in the park.
Karachi Gymkhana is a club established in 1886. With over 9000 members, Karachi Gymkhana is one of the biggest clubs in Asia. Facilities in the club include a restaurant, snooker room, pool, bistro, games area, cricket ground, tennis and squash courts.
Freemasons Lodge, stands nearby the Governor House in Karachi, close to Zainab Market.
Frere Hall, is one of the icon of Karachi located just opposite to the Marriott Hotel in Karachi. It houses Sadequain Gallery, a library in addition to a serene park. Free.
Holy Trinity Cathedral, is the seat of Church of Pakistan Diocese of Karachi and is located on Fatima Jinnah Road close to Zainab Market. Built in 1855, the church is one of the major churches of the city. Its tall tower was previously used as a light house for ships at Karachi Harbour.
Sind Club is a private club constructed during British era. It was only a men's club and was used solely by Europeans. It had a sign which reads that ‘Natives and Dogs are not allowed’ until 1950 when the first Prime Minister of Pakistan was granted membership. Facilities at the Sind Club includes a swimming pool, tennis and squash courts, a strolling track, a pool room, an outside grill, a full pastry shop, sauna, visitors rooms and a fitness center.
Flag Staff House, (also called Quaid-e-Azam House) is a building over 100 years prior and was used Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan as his residence. It's currently home to the Jinnah House Museum.
Karachi Port Trust Building is another historic building located close to Mereweather tower. Its structure was finished in 1915. The building was also used as a hospital for warriors in the First World War.
K.M.C. Building is one of the famous building of the city located on MA Jinnah Road. The establishment stone for the KMC Building was laid in 1927 and its development was finished in 1930.
Khaliqdina Hall & Library is a building constructed during the British era to hold different occasions and events. There is also a library inside the building while one room is allocated as an office of a NGO. The building was used in 1921 as a court to trial Maulana Shaukat Ali and Maulana Mohammad Ali of Khilafat movement.
Denso Hall was developed in 1886 as the first library for the locals of India.
Empress Market in Saddar is the main shopping area of the city since British Raj. The building was built between 1884 and 1889 and was named to celebrate anniversary of Queen Victoria. A recreational park also exists adjacent to the market.
St. Andrew's Church (next to Empress Market) was built in 1868 by a Scottish Mission. It was combined with the Church of Pakistan in 1970 when Protestant Churches of the country gets united. Four groups meet up in particular Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran and Presbyterian (Scottish) from four Dioceses.
Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Shahrah-e-Iraq (near the Empress Market). Built in Gothic Revival style and opened in April 1881, it's currently the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Karachi and can accommodate at least 1,500 worshippers at the same time. It's a protected monument because of its outstanding architectural beauty. The cathedral's grounds are adorned with a white marble monument to Christ the King.
Sindh High Court, Shahrah Kamaal Ataturk. Built in 1929 entirely out of pink-hued Jodhpur sandstone and one of the most imposing buildings in the city. Architecturally, it's a combination of local and Roman styles.
Quaid-e-Azam's Mausoleum and Museum, is one of the most recognizable landmarks of the city. Planned by Architect Yahya Merchant, this white marble Mausoleum with its bended curves, copper barbecues and a four-layered gem light fixture gifted by the Republic of China is a must see. There is museum and a vast park surrounding the mausoleum. Entry fee is Rs 20.
Wazir Mansion (Quaid-i-Azam Birthplace Museum), Barkati Street, Haji Sharif Balwani Rd, Kharadar (off M.A. Jinnah Rd). This two storey building was a family home completed in 1865, of the country's founder, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, where he was born and brought up. The house is foremost among Karachi’s historical and oldest buildings and is a protected national monument. It was renovated in 2008, has a reading hall and a library on the ground floor which has a collection of books related to the history of Pakistan and those that were once possessed by Quaid-i-Azam during his law graduation. The museum is located on the first floor and contains two galleries. One gallery incorporates three rooms including the one in which Quaid-i-Azam was born while the second and third rooms contain articles such as furniture which he used as the first Governor General of Pakistan. The second gallery on the second floor contains other relics of Quaid-e-Azam which are displayed in nine showcases. Relics includes his dresses and other personal items used by Jinnah.
There is much to do in Karachi, a city of more than 18 million people is unlikely to be short on activities. Simply let yourself be overwhelmed by this city, its size and scope, its heart breaking disparity between rich and poor, and its breathtaking sights and sounds. Karachi isn't just a city, it is a world unto itself.
The British built variety of private and public buildings during British Raj from 1858 to 1947 in Karachi, many of which colonial buildings and landmarks still remains today. The city possesses over 600 protected buildings dating largely to the British period. Some fine examples are located in the Karachi South district, such as Frere Hall, Mughal architecture styled Mohatta Palace and Hindu Gymkhana, Karachi Port Trust, Khaliqdina Hall, City Court Building, Denso Hall, Quaid-e-Azam House, Trinity Church, Sind Club, Karachi Gymkhana, Karachi Cotton Exchange, DJ Science College, Supreme Court, Saint Andrews Church, Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Sindh High Court, Wazir Mansion and the most notable Empress Market. There are a also lot of other modern and old structures to look at in this district specially in Saddar town.
To get the best experience, take a long stroll around the wide roads of MA Jinnah Road, and I I Chundrigar Road. Other famous monuments to be seen in I I Chundrigar area are the Mereweather Tower, Former Lloyds Bank building, Karachi Stock Exchange and many banks that are also excellent examples of colonial architecture in the city. This area preserves some of the finest private architecture from Karachi's early period. The area is known as main business street of Karachi and home to a large number of banks and office buildings. It is the also largest financial district in the country and often termed as the "Wall Street of Pakistan".
Karachi is consistently ranked as the world's most cheapest city so shopping here is cheap but you have to know how to haggle big time. There are various shopping areas in Saddar listed under Buy where you can buy traditional stuffs like, copper's, Brass onyx, inlaid woodwork, lacquer work, hand block printed.
Saddar is also a great place to go to the movies. Atrium Cinema has the world-class standards and show the latest Hollywood, Bollywood and Pakistani releases. The tickets are available at very low prices compared to the west and expect to wear 3D glasses for some of the latest Hollywood releases.
Saddar is the place where people from across the country come to shop. The area is the hub of shopping by the people since British era. There are a great number of shopping places in Saddar, ranging from the traditional bazaar to the modern shopping malls. Some of the popular places for shopping in Saddar includes:
Zebunissa Street (formerly Elphinstone Street), is one of Karachi's most renowned shopping districts. It is also one of the city's most vital arteries which used to be called as 'Karachi's Piccadilly Circus' by British tourists, as it is lined with historic colonial buildings from the British Raj era. It is home to major stores of Karachi such as Bata, Chottani Jewelers, English Boot House, Sputnik Footwear and Fitrite.
Zainab Market is a labyrinth of small shops selling handicrafts and casual clothing including export-surplus or slightly defective genuine name brands such as Nike, Polo etc. manufactured locally for export or very good copies of the real thing for a fraction of the real price! Check out the brass-ware, the pashminas, the rugs and the leather goods as well, all for very reasonable prices. But don't be shy to haggle. It's expected and quoted prices are invariably 30-40% inflated. The market is located close to the Avari Towers hotel and across the road from the imposing 'State Life' buildings - ask any taxi driver.
Rainbow Center, is a building adjacent to the Empress Market, that is famous as the hub of video entertainment in Pakistan and the country's video piracy industry. The center was reported to be the largest CD and DVD market in Asia and perhaps one of the largest hubs of pirated CDs in the world. In 2000, it was estimated that more than half of the 350–400 shops housed in the Rainbow Centre were exclusively engaged in video piracy.
Empress Market, Preedy St. A famous marketplace dominated by a Gothic-Mughal-style clock-tower of the colonial era situated in Saddar, which is one of the most congested areas of Karachi. The market is one of the most important landmarks of the city and traces its origins to the British Raj era, when it was constructed in 1889 and named "Empress Market" to commemorate Queen Victoria, Empress of India during late 18th century. It was constructed as a marketplace to cater for the European elites who were either living in or frequently visiting Karachi at that time. Today, it is amongst the most popular, oldest and busiest places for shopping in Karachi and one of the few historical spots of the city. Commodities sold in the Empress Market range from condiments, footwear, fruit, vegetables and meat to stationery materials, textiles and pet shops.
Cooperative Market, is one of the major marketplaces in Saddar. Co-Operative sells the most diverse goods, beginning with clothing and ending with electronics. Tourists may find a huge number of potential gifts, such as traditional souvenirs, rugs, and other culture related products of Pakistan.
Bohri Bazar, is a market named after the Bohra community and its catalog has something for everyone. Here you'll find everything from silver to jewelry, clothes, shoes, kitchenware, blankets, and even food. Bohri Bazaar is located near the campus of Dow Medical College and Civil Hospital.
Mobile Market, is the market of mobile phones in Karachi. Here you can buy the world's cheapest Samsung phone and Chinese/Pakistan made smart phones at incredible prices. Mobile companies after sales service centers are also located here.
Urdu Bazaar is the largest market of Books in Karachi. More than books, Urdu bazaar is famous for school, home and office stationery which is available at the world's most cheapest prices.
Uni Plaza is the computer market located on II Chundrigar Rd. Here you can buy and sell various second-hand computer accessories including printers and scanners. Techno City is another computer market located just next to Uni Plaza and here you can buy new laptops at wholesale prices.
Botal Gali, is well-known for its collection of second-hand bottles, which can be bought and sold for various prices. Here, you can find a variety of colourful and beautifully carved bottles available in a range of sizes. The most common ones are the plastic and glass ones, especially the smaller palm-sized bottles used by the local perfume and ittar industry. Of course, many bottles found here are also used solely for decoration purposes – the key is to scout relentlessly until you find the perfect one.
Medicine Market is the wholesale market of medicines and other pharmaceutical products. The world's cheapest surgical instruments are available here.
Saddar Underground Market is a small basement market established 65 years ago to enable people shop and get into other markets without crossing the street.
Electronic Market sells various electronic products from 3D television to microwave ovens at wholesale prices. Several electronic companies such as Sony and Samsung have their outlets here.
Regal Market is another computer market near Empress Market.
Makro, is an indoor wholesale center selling wide range of products from eatables, fruits and vegetable to electronics and mobile phones under one roof. There is ample underground parking space available here for free.
CDGK Parking Plaza is located close to Empress Market in Saddar. There are shops on its ground floor.
Atrium Mall, on Zebunissa Street is one of the brand new and largest shopping mall in the city. Its also home to Karachi's only 3D Cinema, a Gaming Zone, Zam Zam departmental store and a giant food court.
The beauty of the food in Saddar is that you will probably find cuisine for every taste. Some of the notable food districts in Saddar includes:
Burns Road, For authentic Karachi food this is the place to be. The best tasting Nihari, Sajji, Bottis and Tikkas can be found in this congested corner of Old Karachi. Burns Road is a part of Saddar the main business district of Karachi. Most of the restaurants here are built in really old pre independence era Victorian style buildings which sort of gives you the feeling of being in a crowded part of Old Delhi. Hygienically this may not be the cleanest part of town, but if you are a big time foodie and you really want to taste real Karachi food then seriously this is the place to head to. If food preparation hygiene is really an issue for you then the best option is to head to Food Centre, the biggest and prettiest building on the street. Places to head to here include Punjab Lassi house for the best Lassi in town, Food Center and Sabri Nihari. Other than these there are many more restaurants scattered througout this street. Restaurants accept only cash here. Price wise you can easily have food dessert and a glass of Lassi for less than Rs 300.
Atrium Mall Food Court, is a large food court located on the third floor of Atrium Mall. It has several restaurants including popular fast food chains such as McDonalds, KFC and Tutti Fruti to restaurants such as Pizza Hut and many more.
Port Grand Promenade, along side Karachi Harbor is the city's only pedestrian friendly food strip with scores of restaurants, cafes and eateries such as Aylanto, Chairman Mao, Bistro, Skewers, Mr. Cod, Mr. Burger, Oishi Sushi etc.
Drinking alcohol in public areas is nominally banned and most of the top end hotels have their own bars. Try local brands like Murree Brewery, in addition to that there are other brands such as Budwieser and Barveria with non-alchoholic beer.
Crown Inn, near Karachi Cantt. Station . Rooms from USD 20 plus tax
Paradise Hotel, Abdullah Haroon Road, ☎ +92-21-3568-0011. A tall building hotel. Rooms offers views of Saddar town but worst street noise but overall a good option for the price value. Rooms are larger than average and fairly comfortable. Rs 2,500-3,500
Hotel Jabees, Main Saddar, Rooms from USD 20 plus tax
Al-Bilal Hotel, 233 Sohrab Katrak Rd
Ocean Hotel, 241 Sohrab Katrak Rd
Gulf Hotel,  Dr.Daudpota Road, ☎ +92-21-3566-1235. Pretty simple as a midrange hotel but very reasonable prices. Good executive rooms for little extra charges with air-conditioner. Rs. 1,500-2,500.
Ameer Hotel, Fatima Jinnah Road, Cantt. Station
Hotel Sarah, 30-Sb-6,Parr Street,Saddar
Hotel Ambassador, Dr.Daud Pota Road, Off Wellington Street,Saddar
Hotel Al-Mustafa, Raja Ghazanfar Ali Road Saddar
YWCA, MA Jinnah Rd. A women-only budget lodging is located in Mama Parsi girls’ school compound. Probably the safest budget lodging for solo women. Can stay for a maximum of 3 months. Very reasonable price and includes a small kitchen for self-caterers. The gates of the lodging are closed at 10pm.
YMCA, Stachen Road
Best Western Plaza, 18/2,Civil Lines,Dr.Dawood Pota Road, Near Railway st.
Hotel Bloom luxury, Golf Club Rd, ☎ +92 21 356-75261. A nice choice as compare to other budget hotel in the city in term of quality. Some balcony rooms are also available. Ask at the reception. Rs 2,500-4,000
Hotel De Paris, Plot #13,5-B/2,Saddar,Mir Karam Ali Talpur Road
Movenpick Hotel, Club Road, ☎ +92 21 35633333, fax: +92 21 3563-3209. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. An international managed five star hotel which is recently renovated. There are 407 rooms inside the hotel including 21 suite, which are vary according to price, hotel offering some fashionably elegant rooms in the city. There are some five restaurants inside the hotel named "Al Bustan" and "The Pakistani" which offering Pakistani, a Italian trendy atmosphere "La Mamma" and "Kabab-Ji Restaurant" which offer Lebanese cuisine. There is one good 24 hours coffee lounge and a snacks restaurant also located inside the hotel. Swimming pool and fitness centre are available on the premises. Also a shopping arcade provides a variety of souvenirs and an excellent branch of Liberty Books store located inside the hotel. Rs 14,500-75,000.
Marriott Hotel, Abdullah Haroon Road, ☎ +92-21-111-223-344 (fax: +92-21-3568-9510), . A five star hotel situated opposite the historic building of Frere Hall with elegant rooms and good service. Hotel offer business facilities and Leisure Club with tennis and squash courts, swimming pool and a fitness centre. There are also good restaurants: "Dumpukht" (Bar B Q), "Suzie Wong" (Chinese cuisine) and a popular "Nadia Coffee Shop" (continental and Pakistani cuisine).22,000-94,000. edit
Pearl Continental Hotel, Club Road, ☎ +92 21 111-505-505 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . checkin: 15:00; checkout: 12:00. Five star hotel with 258 rooms and 21 suites. Tennis and squash courts, swimming pool and a health club. Restaurants inside the hotel offer japanese, pakistani and chinese cuisine. There is also a steakhouse and a seafood restaurant.Rs 14,000-85,000. edit
Avari Towers, Fatima Jinnah Road (opposite the historic Quaid-e-Azam House Museum), ☎ +92 21 111-282-747 (email@example.com), . Hotel has 236 rooms in addition to suites and presidential suites. Tennis courts, swimming pool, fitness centre with Jacuzzi, sauna etc. are located on the premises. There are also four restaurants.Rs 18,000-70,000. edit
Regent Plaza Hotel & Convention Center, Main Shahrah-e-Faisal, . Just 15 minutes drive from Jinnah International Airport, Regent Plaza Hotel & Convention Centre Karachi is conveniently located hotel within easy access from all Karachi attractions. The hotel has a grand façade, which leads into an elegantly decorated lobby presenting an eye catching blend of National and International décor. The hotel recently undergone a massive renovation which has resulted in enhancing its quality and desirability.edit
Saddar is packed with Internet cafés, resturants and hotels offering free WiFi and computer access. Be wary of key loggers which reputedly are epidemic at Internet cafés. There have also been cases where memory cards get infected with a virus when plugged into an Internet café computer.
The area code for Karachi is 21. Prefix +92 If you are calling from outside Pakistan. Phone numbers are eight digits long. All mobile numbers, however are 11 digits long and begin with "03", and should not be dialled with the city prefix. Omit the '0' when dialing a cell phone from outside Pakistan and prefix the '92' code.
Internet Access, can be obtained easily on mobile phone or notebook computers with the help of GRPS, supported by almost all of the 5 mobile operators but their speed is low. Alternatively, you can buy PTCL Evo , which is a USB internet device with speed upto 9.1 mbps. Witribe , Qubee  and Wateen  also offers wireless pocket modems with good speed at low prices.
Wifi, There are several free Wifi Hotspots in Karachi  in hotels, malls and cafes/resturants. Wateen HotSpot  is a paid WiFi service, which is being offered free of any charges for a limited time only.
Cell phone, coverage in the city is pretty good. There are various service providers offering a huge variety of plans. Among them are Mobilink, Warid Telecom, Telenor, Ufone & Zong (China Mobile). Its not a bad idea to buy a new sim and use a prepaid plan to get yourself connected while you are in the city. You can purchase a new sim only from the customer care centers of the cellular companies by providing a copy of your passport while you can recharge your sim from almost every general store in the city.
Postal & Courier, can easily be found across the city. Some popular postal & courier companies include TCS , Leopards , Pakistan Post , DHL , Fedex  etc. TCS Saddar Express Center can be found on II Chundrigar Road, Karachi Cantt Station, Cooperative Market, MA Jinnah Road (Custom House, Radio Pakistan, Light House, Jodia Bazar, Memon Masjid & Gul Plaza) and Metropole Hotel. Whereas Saddar Post is located on Rafiqi H J Rd opposite Jinnah Hospital.