Chennai is a city that has something for everyone, whether you're a history buff, a nature lover, or a foodie. The city has a unique blend of modernity and tradition, making it a fascinating destination for tourists. In this article, we have listed the 35 best places to visit in Chennai, so you can explore the city's diverse attractions.
Table of Contents
1. Marina Beach
Marina Beach is the most popular beach in Chennai and is also the longest natural urban beach in India. The beach stretches for about 13 kilometers along the Bay of Bengal and is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. You can enjoy a leisurely stroll, watch the sunset, or indulge in activities like horse riding and kite flying.
2. Kapaleeswarar Temple
Kapaleeswarar Temple is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in the Mylapore neighborhood of Chennai. The temple is known for its impressive architecture, intricate carvings, and colorful sculptures. It is a popular spot for both tourists and devotees, and you can witness the daily rituals and ceremonies being performed here.
3. Fort St. George
Fort St. George is a historic fort and the first English fortress in India. It was built in 1644 by the British East India Company and served as the administrative center for the British in South India. Today, the fort houses the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly and a museum that displays artifacts and exhibits from the colonial era.
4. Government Museum
The Government Museum in Chennai is a must-visit destination for history buffs and art lovers. The museum has a vast collection of exhibits that cover various subjects like archaeology, art, numismatics, and zoology. Some of the most notable exhibits include the Bronze Gallery, which has an extensive collection of bronze sculptures from different periods, and the National Art Gallery, which displays paintings from famous Indian artists.
5. Valluvar Kottam
Valluvar Kottam is a monument dedicated to the famous Tamil poet and philosopher, Thiruvalluvar. The monument is in the shape of a temple chariot and houses a life-sized statue of Thiruvalluvar. The monument also has a hall that can accommodate up to 4000 people and is a popular spot for cultural events and exhibitions.
6. Santhome Cathedral Basilica
Santhome Cathedral Basilica is a beautiful church located in the Mylapore neighborhood of Chennai. The church is built over the tomb of St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. The church has a beautiful neo-gothic architecture and is a popular pilgrimage site for Christians. The church also has a museum that displays artifacts related to St. Thomas and the history of Christianity in India.
Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram, is a town located about 60 kilometers from Chennai. The town is famous for its UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Shore Temple, Pancha Rathas, and Arjuna's Penance. These monuments were built during the Pallava dynasty and showcase intricate carvings and rock-cut sculptures. Mahabalipuram is also a popular beach destination, with several resorts and restaurants lining the coast.
8. VGP Universal Kingdom
VGP Universal Kingdom is an amusement park located on the East Coast Road in Chennai. The park has a wide range of rides and attractions, including roller coasters, water rides, and a dinosaur park. The park also has a beach inside its premises, which is perfect for a relaxing day out with family and friends.
9. Guindy National Park
Guindy National Park is a protected area located in the heart of Chennai. The park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including blackbucks, spotted deer, and several species of birds. The park also has a children's park, a snake park, and a butterfly park. It is a perfect spot for a picnic or a nature walk.
10. Chennai Central
Chennai Central is the main railway station in Chennai and is one of the busiest railway stations in India. The station has a beautiful colonial architecture and is a perfect spot for train enthusiasts. You can also take a train from Chennai Central to other parts of India and explore the country.
11. Besant Nagar Beach
Besant Nagar Beach, also known as Bessie or Edward Elliot's Beach , is a popular beach located in the neighborhood of Besant Nagar in Chennai. The beach is a perfect spot for a relaxing day out, with several restaurants and cafes lining the coast. You can also indulge in activities like surfing and fishing.
13. Birla Planetarium
Birla Planetarium is a planetarium located in the Kotturpuram neighborhood of Chennai. The planetarium has a state-of-the-art projector that displays the stars and planets in the night sky. The planetarium also has a science museum that displays exhibits related to astronomy and space science.
14. Crocodile Bank
Crocodile Bank is a conservation center located about 40 kilometers from Chennai. The center is home to several species of crocodiles and alligators, including the rare Indian gharial. You can also learn about the conservation efforts being made to protect these reptiles.
15. Cholamandal Artists' Village
Cholamandal Artists' Village is a unique community of artists located in the Injambakkam neighborhood of Chennai. The village was founded in 1966 by a group of artists who wanted to create a space for artists to live and work. Today, the village is home to over 20 artists and has a gallery that displays their works.
16. Thousand Lights Mosque
Thousand Lights Mosque is a beautiful mosque located in the Anna Salai neighborhood of Chennai. The mosque gets its name from the thousands of oil lamps that were used to light up the mosque before the advent of electricity. The mosque has a beautiful architecture and is a popular spot for both tourists and locals.
18. Semmozhi Poonga
Semmozhi Poonga is a botanical garden located in the heart of Chennai. The garden has a wide range of plants and trees, including several rare and exotic species. The garden also has a water fountain and a play area for children.
19. ISKCON Temple Chennai
ISKCON Temple Chennai is a beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Krishna, located in the Injambakkam neighborhood of Chennai. The temple has a beautiful architecture and is a popular spot for devotees and tourists alike. The temple also has a restaurant that serves vegetarian food.
Dakshinachitra is a cultural center located about 25 kilometers from Chennai. The center showcases the art, architecture, and culture of South India through exhibits, workshops, and performances. You can also learn about traditional South Indian crafts like pottery, weaving, and carpentry.
21. MGR Film City
MGR Film City is a film studio and theme park located on the outskirts of Chennai. The studio has a replica of a village set that is used for shooting movies and TV shows. The park also has several rides and attractions, including a mini-train ride and a 3D theater.
22. Armenian Church
Armenian Church is a historic church located in the Parrys neighborhood of Chennai. The church was built in the 18th century and has a beautiful architecture that reflects the Armenian style. The church also has a cemetery that has the graves of several prominent Armenians who lived in Chennai.
23. Madras Crocodile Bank Trust
Madras Crocodile Bank Trust is a conservation center located about 40 kilometers from Chennai. The center is dedicated to the conservation of crocodiles and other reptiles and has over 2500 individuals of different species. The center also has a museum that displays exhibits related to reptiles.
24. Pulicat Lake
Pulicat Lake is a beautiful lake located about 60 kilometers from Chennai. The lake is a popular spot for bird watching, with several species of migratory birds visiting the lake during the winter months. You can also indulge in activities like boating and fishing.
25. Muttukadu Boat House
Muttukadu Boat House is a boating facility located on the East Coast Road in Chennai. The facility offers a wide range of boats, including rowboats, pedal boats, and motorboats. You can also indulge in activities like water skiing and windsurfing.
26. Chetpet EcoPark
Chetpet EcoPark is a beautiful park located in the Chetpet neighborhood of Chennai. The park is spread over 16 acres and has a wide range of plants and trees. The park also has a lake that is perfect for boating and fishing. The park is a popular spot for picnics and family outings.
27. Puzhal Lake
Puzhal Lake is a scenic lake located on the outskirts of Chennai. The lake is a popular spot for bird watching, with several species of migratory birds visiting the lake during the winter months. You can also indulge in activities like boating and fishing.
28. Shirdi Sai Baba Temple
Shirdi Sai Baba Temple is a popular temple located in the Mylapore neighborhood of Chennai. The temple is dedicated to Shirdi Sai Baba, a famous saint who is revered by both Hindus and Muslims. The temple has a beautiful architecture and is a popular spot for devotees.
29. Sri Parthasarathy Temple
Sri Parthasarathy Temple is an ancient temple located in the Triplicane neighborhood of Chennai. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna and is one of the oldest temples in Chennai. The temple has a beautiful architecture and is a popular spot for devotees.
30. Cholamandalam Artist's Village
Cholamandalam Artist's Village is a community of artists located in the Injambakkam neighborhood of Chennai. The village was founded in 1966 and is home to over 20 artists. The village has a gallery that displays the works of the artists.
31. Connemara Public Library
Connemara Public Library is a historic library located in the Egmore neighborhood of Chennai. The library was established in 1896 and has a vast collection of books and manuscripts. The library also has a museum that displays rare books and artifacts.
32. Theosophical Society
Theosophical Society is a spiritual organization located in the Adyar neighborhood of Chennai. The society was founded in 1875 and is dedicated to the study of ancient wisdom and spirituality. The society has a beautiful campus that includes a library, a temple, and a meditation center.
33. Madras War Cemetery
Madras War Cemetery is a cemetery located in the Nandambakkam neighborhood of Chennai. The cemetery has the graves of soldiers who died during World War I and World War II. The cemetery is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and is a peaceful spot for reflection and remembrance.
Chennai is a city that offers a wide range of attractions and experiences for tourists. From historic monuments to beautiful beaches, from cultural centers to wildlife sanctuaries, Chennai has something for everyone. We hope this comprehensive guide to the 35 best places to visit in Chennai will help you plan your itinerary and explore the city to the fullest.
What is the best time to visit Chennai?
The best time to visit Chennai is between November and February, when the weather is pleasant and cool.
Is Chennai a safe city for tourists?
Yes, Chennai is a safe city for tourists. However, it is always advisable to take precautions like avoiding isolated areas at night and keeping an eye on your belongings.
What are the popular food items in Chennai?
Some of the popular food items in Chennai are idli, dosa, vada, sambar, rasam, and biryani.
Are there any adventure sports activities in Chennai?
Yes, there are several adventure sports activities in Chennai like surfing, parasailing, and trekking.
What are the popular shopping destinations in Chennai?
Some of the popular shopping destinations in Chennai are T. Nagar, Pondy Bazaar, and Phoenix MarketCity.
Is it easy to travel around Chennai?
Yes, it is easy to travel around Chennai. The city has a well-developed public transportation system that includes buses, trains, and auto-rickshaws.
What are some of the must-try street foods in Chennai?
Some of the must-try street foods in Chennai are vada pav, bajji, kothu parotta, and egg rolls.
Is it necessary to tip in Chennai?
Tipping is not mandatory in Chennai, but it is always appreciated for good service.
Can I visit the Chennai attractions on foot?
While some attractions like Marina Beach and Fort St. George are within walking distance, it is advisable to use public transportation or hire a taxi to visit the other attractions.
Are there any famous festivals celebrated in Chennai?
Yes, Chennai is known for its colorful and vibrant festivals like Pongal, Diwali, and Navaratri. The city also celebrates the Tamil New Year in a grand manner.
What is the dress code for visiting temples in Chennai?
It is customary to dress modestly and conservatively while visiting temples in Chennai. It is recommended to wear clothes that cover your shoulders and knees.
Can I visit the Chennai beaches at night?
It is not recommended to visit the Chennai beaches at night as they can be unsafe. It is advisable to visit them during the day and in the company of others.
What are some of the water sports activities available in Chennai?
Some of the water sports activities available in Chennai are surfing, windsurfing, jet skiing, and parasailing.
Are there any day trips I can take from Chennai?
Yes, there are several day trips you can take from Chennai, including Mahabalipuram, Kanchipuram, and Pondicherry.
What are some of the famous historical monuments in Chennai?
Some of the famous historical monuments in Chennai are Fort St. George, Kapaleeswarar Temple, and Government Museum.
We hope these FAQs help you plan your trip to Chennai better. If you have any more questions, feel free to reach out to us. Happy traveling!