Are you folks also looking for things to do in Chennai this vacation? Let us read this guide to have an overview of the things you can explore while in Chennai. According to studies, there are 400+ million tourists in the world. It is the dream of millions of tourists to enjoy all kinds of things in one place. But it is rare to find such places in already existing tourist destinations. City life, local cuisines, seafood, nature, monsoon, summer, and serene beaches are what every tourist aspires to experience. However, there are fewer such existing places to offer all in one.
It is a place where all traveler’s tastes are available. Whether you are a nature, city, religious, or entertainment person, it has everything you need in one place. Not only do you enjoy what you love, but also you end up enjoying what others like. India’s 5th largest city and the city of temples and tradition, Chennai has a way to amuse tourists each year with 3-4 million people visiting it.
So, here is everything you need to know to enjoy the most visiting Chennai.
1. Let us Know Chennai:
Chennai, also called Madras till a few decades ago, is the capital city of Tamil Nadu, south India, established in 1688, making it the second oldest city after London. Residing on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal makes Chennai one of the hottest places in India during summers. But that does not stop Chennai from attracting millions of people because most tourists visit Chennai to enjoy one of the famous beaches, Marina beach.
The coastal city bagged a bunch of titles like no other city. In 2015, the tourist-guide publisher, Lonely Planet, marked Chennai as one of the must-visit cities in India in the top 10 cities. National Geographic mentioned Chennai in its “top 10 food cities list,” the only south Asian city to get featured. In 2017, UCCN (UNESCO Creative Cities Network) added Chennai to its list for its rich musical tradition.
Being home to the Tamil film industry, it is also known as the major film production center. And Lonely Planet named Chennai the ninth-best cosmopolitan city in the world. Just these titles are enough to prove Chennai is the perfect tourist destination. It offers amusement parks, great seafood, the best temperatures, and many more.
2. Best Places to Visit in Chennai, Tamil Nadu:
2.1. Entertainment World:
- VGP Universal Kingdom
- VGP Snow Kingdom
- Wild Tribe Ranch
- Adventure Zone
- Monkey Monk
- Kishkinta Theme Park
- MGM Dizzee World
2.2. Local Cuisines (restaurants):
- Dindugal Thalappakkatti
- Southern Spice
- Nair Mess
- Murugan Idli Shop
2.3. Nature Lovers:
- VGP Marine Kingdom
- Mattukadu Lake
- Chetpet Nature Park
- Arignar Anna Zoological Park
- Guindy National Park
- The Huddleston Gardens of Theosophical Society
- Ubbalamadugu Falls
- Semmozhi Poonga
2.4. Beach Lovers:
- Marina Beach
- Besant Nagar Beach
- Elliot’s Beach
- VGP Golden Beach
- Thiruvanmiyur Beach
- Elliot Beach
- Breezy Beach
- Kasimedu Beach
3. Top 15 Exciting Things to do in Chennai:
Well, a city means many things and emotions. Some experiences make you feel on cloud nine, while some make you emotional. Here are some of the things you should experience while you are in Chennai. And they provide you the mixed emotions.
3.1. Spend Time in Marina Beach:
The best thing about Chennai is that you can find a place for peace in the city. Marina beach is the longest natural urban beach in India stretching 13 kilometers. As the world’s second-largest beach, Marina is the most crowded beach, with 30,000 daily visitors.
Marina beach is an outstanding source of peace in the fast pacing city. The chilly and warm breezes, tasty seafood on the seashore, and sunbathing fulfill your beach dreams, while the evening air and warm waves provide peace. And it is the place where you find most couples in the entire Chennai. Though it is just a beach, it is still a must-visit place in tourists’ hearts. You get all these free of cost.
3.2. Visit MGR Film City:
MGR film city can be a splendid spot for people interested in the entertainment category. It was established in 1994 with a motive to attract filmmakers and tourists and was named after the former CM of Tamil Nadu, MG Ramachandran.
Visiting the film city will give you a glimpse of how Indian movies are filmed, especially in southern India. MGR film city encompasses a film school, shooting locations (indoor and outdoor), counterparts of the village and urban areas, religious spaces like a temple, churches, mosques, post offices, police stations, and landscape gardens in Italian and Japanese styles. It will cost you 25.0 INR as an entry fee.
3.3. Enjoy the food:
South Indian food is considered one of the best cuisines among tourists. But Chennai or Tamil Nadu is widely famous for sambar, and other combination foods include Idli, Dosa, Chutney, and vada. These are available both at fine dining restaurants and on street food courts. However, on-street food courts give you more local flavor than dining in restaurants as they sugarcoat things to maintain their dignity.
Apart from the local foods, trying the non-veg items cooked locally will satisfy you the most. Other worth trying famous foods in Chennai are Uttapum, Paniyaram, Bhaji, Pakoda, Boli, Paruppu Payasam, and Rasam.
3.4. Shop in T-Nagar:
T-Nagar is one of the busiest and most crowded places in Chennai. It is an economic hub and a residential area famous for shopping. The most popular shops, brands, and things are available here than anywhere in Chennai. T-Nagar became one of the largest shopping districts by revenue by selling top-quality products.
This place is famous among tourists and locals as it has quality products for locals and the best souvenirs for tourists. Window shopping, walking on the commercial streets, and women can truly enjoy these streets as the market offers more to women than men. T-Nagar is the best place to go if you are interested in buying jewelry or sarees at affordable prices.
3.5. Visit Swami Vivekananda House:
Swami Vivekanandha’s house, also known as the Ice House, is a pilgrimage for his followers. It is a place where Vivekananda stayed for six weeks in 1900. Although this two-story building was built in 1877 or before, it is a chef-d’oeuvre of Victorian architecture with its mesmerizing architecture of sunburst and gabled roof.
Visiting this ancient house is the best because it tells a lot about the nation’s history though it is a pilgrimage. And going to the Vivekananda museum helps you understand the life journey of this incredible personality and the true secrets of ancient India with the original manuscripts o of Vedas and Upanishads.
3.6. Go to Breezy Beach:
Breezy beach stays on the remote side of Valmiki Nager, Chennai. It is the hidden tourist spot and the less polluted beach in Tamil Nadu since it is not as famous as Marina and Elliot’s beaches. Breezy can be a perfect evening getaway point to live in a world of peace under the peaceful evening sun and tides, as there will not be more members.
However, in recent years, its peaceful nature, cleanliness, and pleasantness have attracted more tourists as they crave sunbathing at the pristine beaches. Visiting this beach is one of the best things you could do to entertain yourself.
3.7. Scuba Diving:
Being a coastal city, Chennai can reach boiling temperatures in the summers, and beating those temperatures will be a top priority among the residents. But what if you were there as a tourist in the summer? So, to maintain the temperatures, Chennai also has an option to go scuba diving. Neither residents living there nor tourists know about this much.
Next time when you visit Chennai, ensure that this one activity is on your bucket list to explore the different world in a different world of entertainment.
3.8. Visit Royapuram Fishing Harbour:
Sometimes, a trip filled with only entertainment cannot satisfy you. But an excursion that is educational and entertaining can give you pleasure. So, Chennai does the same. It can teach you as much as it entertains you. Visiting Royapuram harbor is the best example of that. Under the administration of Chennai Port Trust, this harbor is the most crowded seaport, famous for fishing and seafood.
You see all kinds of tools used for successful fish production when you come here. Tools that range from fishing to collecting to storing to deboning to selling are available 24/7. Moreover, boats in different sizes spice things up. Royapuram fishing harbour is the best place in the country to learn more about fish. The name indicates the same. Roya means prawns.
3.9. Visit Mahabalipuram:
Though Mahabalipuram is not in Chennai, it is yet a great visit 60km away from the city. It is a UNESCO world heritage site, widely known for the 7th-8th century group of Hindu temples, altogether called a shore temple. Visiting this small ancient town is a surer way to dive deep into ancient times, the historical buildings, temples, cave temples, carvings, local devotees, and many traditions and cultures.
The temple complex overlooks the shore of the Bay of Bengal. With historical and cultural attractions aside, the small town is also known for surfing and cafes. And for architecture photographers, the shore temple will be a great source to capture beautiful photographs.
3.10. Explore Tamil Culture at Kapaleeshwarar Temple:
This south Indian state is a place if you ever need to learn Indian Culture. Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Mylapore, Chennai, is one such temple that indeed exhibits the Tamilian tradition. Built in the 7th century, it is the oldest and most prominent lord shiva temple in Chennai. The temple is famous among tourists for its architectural designs.
Again, it is the best place for traditional and architectural photographers. And the best source to understand the long years of Indian tradition.
3.11. Visit Fort St. George:
Fort St. George was built by the British east India company in 1640. It houses a church, a museum, and Wellesley House, which contains the paintings of fort governor. Visit the museum, also called fort museum, to wonder at the varied collection of antiquities, which are well preserved in different galleries. These well-protected ancient items exhibit the tradition of the British.
The best thing about this is that the famous places such as Marina beach and the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly are a few minutes apart from the fort museum. So, with one travel you can enjoy all three famous tourist spots. (Till 3 pm, visit the museum and the legislative assembly. After 3 or 4 pm, try spending your time on the marina beach shore)
3.12. Travel Through East Coast Road:
East coast road or ECR is the national highway 49. It is known for the beautiful scenery it has to offer for travelers and is one of the most scenic coastal highways in India, with the Bay of Bengal on one side and greenery, rivers, backwaters, mosques, churches, UNESCO heritage sites, and many such more on the other side.
For people looking for the best nature photography site on their travel, then ECR should be an option. If there is a place that you can enjoy even on your journey on highways, it is Chennai.
3.13. Go to National Art Gallery:
The art gallery in Egmore is one of the oldest Indian art galleries. The national art gallery, the government museum, and the Connemara library are in the same complex with a walkable distance from each other. Just as the title indicates, it is an art gallery that contains the paintings of Mughal kings and the rare works of Raja Ravi Varma, the greatest painter in the history of Indian art.
It also has famous Tanjavur paintings, including some British rulers and kings, Connemara and Lord William Bentinck. Also, there are miniature paintings that represent battle and court scenes. The art gallery shows the entire Indian history through these sketches.
3.14. Enjoy MGM Dizzee World:
Dizzee world is an immense and oldest theme park in India with a great history. The history of this park makes this amusement park more popular among its residents and the tourists of Chennai. Dizzee stands as the first to bring the Jurong’s Bird Show from Singapore to India in 1999 and also had a hot air balloon ride in 1998, providing unique experiences to visitors.
Although all these activities are not available now, Dizzee still got some incredible features with various rides (funny, scary, entertaining, and many more) for its recent visitors.
3.15. Read Books in Anna Centenary Library:
Finally, Chennai is even a place for book lovers. If you are ever in Chennai and feel like reading a book, you should check out this place. It is a state library in Kotturpuram, named after the great politician C. N. Annadurai. It has a collection of 500,000 books (still counting) in various genres, from children to adults. And it cost 1720 million USD for the state government to establish the library. So, reading books is one of the things to do in Chennai.
4.Places to Visit Near Chennai:
If you are a resident of Chennai or an international traveler staying for a long time, why not explore the outskirts of Chennai? There are some terrific places to explore with the 100kms.
4.1. Pulicat lake:
It is 55km away from Chennai. October to March is the best time to visit Pulicat. It is widely famous for its bird sanctuary. And the best getaway destination for people with kids as various migrating birds come to stay there.
This little town is 75km away from the city center. Kanchipuram is also known as the silk city and the golden city of thousand temples. It is famous for the traditionally prepared skill sarees and is considered one of the sacred cities of India.
Vedanthangal is 89km away from the city. November to February is the best time to visit the place. It is a wildlife sanctuary, especially for birds providing a home for 30,000 migrating birds. This place can be great for wildlife and nature photographers to click on terrific pictures.
4.4. Tada Falls:
This destination is 91km away from the capital city. Ubbalamadugu waterfalls near Tada is a one-stop destination for nature and adventurous people. It is an immense site for both trekking and camping. The water here is crystal clear. However, one must be a little more careful while trekking as the path is narrower and slippery. The best time to enjoy Tada falls is August to December.
Before you pack your bags, we bet you will have a couple of this to consider, googling why that particular destination is the best while there are hundreds of others and how to get there. Here is everything you need in detail.
5.1. Why is Chennai the best place to visit?
There are multiple reasons, but some of them are:
- Chennai allows you to experience various things, something that you enjoy and something that makes you uncomfortable. Chennai is the best place to get used to what you do not like.
- Apart from the city life, you will witness beautiful sunrise in the early morning, fun things, beautiful architecture, sunbathing on the pristine beach, lush green areas, historical monuments, religious sites, adventurous things, historical sites, fun rides in amusement parks and all the major attractions will only leave you positive about the Chennai city.
- There are various things to do in Chennai, but only if you know how to do them.
5.2. How to get there?
Whether you are an international traveler or an Indian, you can always travel to Chennai at ease.
5.2.1. By Air:
Chennai is one of the major cities in India, and it has 6 international airports, 15 domestic airports, and 3 custom airports. So, you do not have to worry about traveling by air unless you do not prepare in advance. This mode of the transport system is best for international travelers.
5.2.2. By Train:
Chennai has 40 railway stations with 3 railway terminals. So, trains are available all over the country. Though you are from the north or east or west, prefer the train since you can also enjoy other places on the way.
5.2.3. By Road:
The road transport system is preferable only for residents living in southern India as it gets harder to travel for long distances in the same position. And also, there are direct buses to Chennai that are only available only in southern states of India.
5.3. What to carry?
Chennai is just like the other tourist places you have been to before. Still, women traveling alone should carry pepper spray or a pocket knife to stay safe, and always have the emergency numbers of the ambulance, police station, or whatever the numbers given by the state tourism department. Here are some tips on what to pack to Chennai:
Pack appropriate clothes:
Chennai temperatures reach the sky periodically. In such circumstances, if you wear rigid apparel, you cannot enjoy the city. Similarly, when visiting shrines, refrain from wearing casual western clothes. It may make you look weird among other locals as they all dress traditionally. But there are no constraints on clothing to visit temples.
Other than apparel, follow the state tourism guidelines to stay safe while staying in Tamil Nadu.
5.4. How many days do you need to enjoy Chennai?
Chennai is vast, and it takes months to enjoy the whole city. However, depending on the number of days you stay, be wise to choose the best attractions. For a four-day stay, our recommendations would be:
You will be tired after a long journey, so take a rest for a while and enjoy the local food in the nearest street food courts. Pay a visit to Marina beach in the evening to enjoy the cool breeze and the evening sky.
Set out to any of the mentioned amusement parks and be there till evening. At 4 pm, get back to the room and rest for a while. Go to any of the advised beaches and enjoy the seafood.
Enjoy all the locals, like the museum, art gallery, temples, scuba diving, and others.
Go shopping. Return to the room and start packing to return home.
Although Chennai is prone to floods during rainy seasons and reaches boiling temperatures in the summer, it is still a notable site for tourism. With millions of people visiting Chennai every year, you can have a great time either. Following the above advisory, you can enjoy the coastal city.