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From Beaches to Temples: 7 Top Things to Do in Chennai

From Beaches to Temples: 7 Top Things to Do in Chennai

With its rich history and culture dating back centuries and its vibrant and bustling metropolitan vibs, there are so many things to do in Chennai for the first-time visitors.

It is a must-visit destination for tourists looking to experience the best of South India. From ancient temples and historical landmarks to modern shopping centers and trendy restaurants, Chennai has something for all.

In this article, we take you on a tour of the top 7 “must” things to do in Chennai, to help you make the most of your visit to this dynamic and captivating city.

Scroll down to read about 7 “must” things to do in Chennai.

7 Top Things to do in Chennai as a Traveler.

Visit the Marina Beach – Relaxing things to do in Chennai

Things to do in Chennai
The most popular destination in Chennai, Marina Beach tops our list of “Things to do in Chennai” as a visitor

Marina Beach is a popular tourist spot located in the heart of Chennai city in Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the longest urban beaches in the world, stretching for about 13 kilometers along the Bay of Bengal. Take a leisurely walk along the beach, indulge in some street food, or just relax and soak in the view. So, if you are one of those people who like to spend time relaxing, visiting this beach is one of the top things to do in Chennai.

The beach is easily accessible by public transportation, and visitors can take buses, taxis, or auto-rickshaws to reach there.

The beach offers a beautiful view of the sea, and visitors can enjoy a stroll or a swim in the sea. There are also several attractions in and around the beach, such as the Anna Memorial, which is a towering structure that honors the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, C. N. Annadurai. The lighthouse located on the beach is another popular attraction, where visitors can climb to the top for a panoramic view of the surrounding area. Other nearby attractions include the Kapaleeswarar Temple, Fort St. George, and the Government Museum. As you can see, there are several things to do in Chennai on this beach. So, don’t miss it out from your to-do list.

Things to do in Chennai
Marina Beach at night! – Things to do in Chennai

Marina Beach is a bustling spot, and it is open to visitors all year round. However, the best time to visit is during the early morning or late evening when the weather is pleasant, and the crowd is relatively less. Visitors should be mindful of their safety and avoid swimming in the sea during the monsoon season when the sea can get rough. Nonetheless, Marina Beach is an excellent spot to spend a leisurely day enjoying the sun, sand, sea, and plentiful of things to do in Chennai.

Explore the Kapaleeswarar Temple – Exciting things to do in Chennai

Things to do in Chennai
Visit the historic and famour Kapaleeswarar Temple – Things to do in Chennai as a traveler

This ancient temple is one of the most famous landmarks in Chennai and a testament to the city’s rich cultural heritage. Exploring this historic temple in Chennai can be a truly unique experience for any traveler looking forward to enjoying the best of all things to do in Chennai. This ancient temple is located in the heart of Mylapore, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, and is a testament to Chennai’s rich cultural heritage.

The temple’s history dates back over 1,300 years and is steeped in legend and mythology. It is said to have been built by the Pallava dynasty in the 7th century and was expanded and renovated over the centuries by subsequent rulers.

As a traveler, visiting the Kapaleeswarar Temple is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the spiritual and cultural traditions of Chennai. Admire the intricate and colorful architecture, which features ornate carvings and sculptures of gods and goddesses. Among several things to do in Chennai, you can also take part in the daily rituals and offerings to the deities, or simply soak in the tranquil and serene atmosphere.

In addition to its religious significance, the temple is also a hub for cultural activities and events, including music and dance performances, making it a must-visit for any traveler interested in exploring the cultural traditions of Chennai. Overall, exploring the Kapaleeswarar Temple is a unique and unforgettable experience for any traveler visiting Chennai.

Stroll around Fort St. George – Things to do in Chennai

Things to do in Chennai
Stroll around Fort St. George, Chennai – Things to do in Chennai as a visitor

This 17th-century fort is a well-preserved relic of the British colonial era in India.  Fort St. George is a historic fort in Chennai that was established by the British East India Company in 1644. The fort has played a significant role in the history of Chennai and India, serving as the headquarters of the British colonial government in the region for many years. Today, the fort has been preserved as a museum and is open to visitors who want to explore its history and heritage. If you are a history buff, you must definitely enjoy things to do in Chennai such as these.

As a traveler strolling around Fort St. George, you’ll be transported back in time to the colonial era of India. The fort is surrounded by impressive walls and ramparts, and the architecture of the buildings within the fort is a testament to the grandeur and power of the British Empire.

While enjoying the top things to do in Chennai, you can explore the many museums and galleries within the fort, which house a wealth of historical artifacts and exhibits. You’ll learn about the role that the fort played in the development of Chennai and the broader history of India under British colonial rule.

The location of Fort St. George is also significant, as it is situated at the heart of Chennai’s business district. The fort is just a short distance from the beach and the city’s many other tourist attractions, making it an easily accessible and convenient place to visit for travelers. Strolling around Fort St. George is a fascinating and enriching experience, allowing you to connect with the history and culture of Chennai and India in a meaningful way.

Shop at T. Nagar – Things to do in Chennai for shopping enthusiasts

Things to do in Chennai
Shop at T Nagar Chennai – Things to do in Chennai as a visitor

Known as the shopping hub of Chennai, T. Nagar is a must-visit for anyone looking to indulge in some retail therapy. Shopping at T Nagar in Chennai is a must-do among things to do in Chennai for any tourist visiting the city. Known as the shopping hub of Chennai, this bustling neighborhood offers a wide range of options for every budget and taste. From traditional silk sarees and jewelry to modern fashion and electronics, you’ll find it all here.

T Nagar has a rich history dating back to the early 1920s when it was developed as a residential area for government officials. Over the years, it has transformed into a major commercial and retail hub, attracting shoppers from all over the world. The neighborhood is named after its main thoroughfare, Thyagaraya Nagar, which is home to some of the most popular shopping destinations in Chennai.

As a traveler, shopping at T Nagar can be an overwhelming experience, with its narrow lanes, crowded streets, and seemingly endless rows of shops. However, it is also a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and discover some of the unique products and handicrafts of the region.

Whether you’re looking for traditional silk sarees or contemporary fashion, bargaining with the vendors is an essential part of the experience. T Nagar is also home to some of the city’s best street food, making it a great place to take a break and indulge in some local delicacies. Overall, shopping at T Nagar is a fun and exciting activity among several things to do in Chennai that should not be missed.

Try the local cuisine – Things to do in Chennai for foodies

Things to do in Chennai
Enjoy the local cuisine – Things to do in Chennai as a visitor

Chennai is famous for its delicious and spicy South Indian cuisine. The city is famous for its unique and spicy South Indian dishes. Sample some of the local delicacies, such as dosa, idli, and vada, at one of the many street-side eateries or upscale restaurants. 

The aroma of the food, the variety of flavors, and the vibrant colors of the dishes all come together to create a sensory experience like no other. As you take your first bite, you may experience a burst of flavors that can range from sweet and tangy to spicy and savory, leaving you craving for more. It is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Chennai.

Whether you’re trying street food or dining in a fancy restaurant, the local chefs take great pride in the food they serve and will often be happy to share the story behind the dish or the secret spice blend that makes it unique. Trying a new cuisine in Chennai is not just about satisfying your hunger, but also about immersing yourself in the local culture and experiencing the city’s vibrant food scene.

Here are some of the best eating points in Chennai that you can try:

Murugan Idli Shop – Known for its fluffy idlis and tasty sambar, this iconic eatery is a must-visit for anyone looking to indulge in some authentic South Indian cuisine.

Things to do in Chennai
Eat at Murugan Idli Shop Chennai – Things to do in Chennai as a visitor

Saravana Bhavan – With branches all over the world, Saravana Bhavan is a popular restaurant chain that serves up some of the best vegetarian food in Chennai. Don’t miss their famous filter coffee!

Adyar Ananda Bhavan – This famous sweets shop is known for its delicious traditional Indian sweets and snacks, as well as a range of vegetarian dishes.

Madras Pavilion – Located in the luxurious ITC Grand Chola hotel, Madras Pavilion offers a lavish buffet spread of South Indian, North Indian, and Continental cuisine.

Amethyst Cafe – This chic cafe is a great spot for a leisurely brunch or an evening snack. Don’t miss their delicious sandwiches, salads, and cakes. If you love cakes, tasting some here is one of the best things to do in Chennai.

The Marina – Located on the iconic Marina Beach, The Marina is a popular seafood restaurant that serves up fresh, delicious seafood dishes.

The Flying Elephant – Another high-end restaurant, The Flying Elephant offers a range of international cuisines, including Japanese, Chinese, and Italian.

Visit the Government Museum – Things to do in Chennai for history buffs

Things to do in Chennai
Visit the Government Museum Chennai – Things to do in Chennai

This sprawling museum is one of the oldest in India and houses an extensive collection of art, archeological artifacts, and natural history exhibits. A must-visit for history and culture buffs looking for some enjoyable things to do in Chennai.

Located in the heart of the city, the museum is situated on Pantheon Road, Egmore, near the Egmore railway station.

As you enter the museum, you will be greeted by a beautiful building that houses a vast collection of artifacts, exhibits, and galleries. The museum is spread over six buildings, and each building has its unique collection.

The first building you encounter is the Bronze Gallery, which houses a vast collection of ancient bronze sculptures, dating back to the Chola, Pallava, and Pandya dynasties. The gallery is dimly lit to highlight the intricate details of the sculptures and is a visual treat for visitors.

The next building is the Art Gallery, which displays an impressive collection of Indian art, including Tanjore paintings, Mughal miniatures, and modern art. There is also a section dedicated to traditional South Indian musical instruments and their history.

The next building is the Children’s Museum, which is specially designed for kids and has interactive exhibits on science, history, and technology. You can make this a part of your things to do in Chennai list if you want your kids to gather more information.

The other galleries include the Archaeology Gallery, which showcases artifacts from the Indus Valley Civilization, Megalithic Age, and Roman Era. The Zoology Gallery displays a wide range of animal specimens, including reptiles, birds, and mammals.

The experience of visiting the museum can be both educational and entertaining. The museum is open from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM on all days except Fridays and national holidays.

Take a day trip to Mahabalipuram – Things to do in Chennai for exploring the culture

Things to do in Chennai
As a visitor, taking a day trip to Mahabalipuram is a great experience as it offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of South India – Things to do in Chennai

Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram, is a small town located about 60 km south of Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. As a visitor, taking a day trip to Mahabalipuram is a great experience as it offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of South India.

The trip typically starts early in the morning from Chennai, with visitors boarding a bus or hiring a taxi for the journey. The road trip to Mahabalipuram takes about 2 hours and offers some stunning views of the Bay of Bengal. It is one of the things to do in Chennai, if you like scenic drives.

Once you reach Mahabalipuram, the first thing that strikes you is the vast expanse of monuments and temples spread across the town. Mahabalipuram is known for its rock-cut temples and monolithic structures that date back to the 7th and 8th centuries.

Some of the must-visit places in Mahabalipuram include the Shore Temple, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Pancha Rathas, which are five monolithic temples dedicated to the Pandavas. The town also has a beach, which is a great place to relax and unwind after a long day of sightseeing.

The town has a bustling market that offers a range of souvenirs, handicrafts, and traditional textiles. Visitors can also enjoy a range of local delicacies and street food, including the famous south Indian filter coffee and masala dosa.

A day trip to Mahabalipuram is a great way to explore the rich cultural heritage of South India and experience the warmth and hospitality of the local people. It will make your list of things to do in Chennai wholesome.

Wrapping Up!

In conclusion, Chennai is a vibrant and culturally rich destination that offers an array of experiences for tourists. From its beautiful beaches to its historical monuments and delicious cuisine, this South Indian city has something to offer for every kind of traveler. There are many things to do in Chennai that you can enjoy.

Its welcoming locals, favorable weather, and affordable prices make it an excellent destination for budget travelers. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful getaway or an adventure-filled vacation, Chennai is sure to leave you with unforgettable memories.

So, plan a trip to Chennai and explore the rich and diverse culture of this fascinating city. You can also exploe Pune for your next travel destination. Check out the top thinhgs to do in Pune here.

FAQ

  1. <strong>What is the best time to visit Chennai?</strong>

    The best time to visit Chennai is between November and February when the weather is pleasant and cool. This is the winter season in Chennai, and the humidity is low.

  2. <strong>What is the currency of Chennai?</strong>

    The currency of Chennai, as in the rest of India, is the Indian Rupee (INR). ATMs are available throughout the city, and credit cards are accepted at most hotels and restaurants.

  3. <strong>What are the must-visit attractions in Chennai?</strong>

    Some of the must-visit attractions and things to do in Chennai include visiting the Kapaleeswarar Temple, Marina Beach, Fort St. George, San Thome Cathedral, Government Museum, and Mahabalipuram.

  4. <strong>Is Chennai a safe place for tourists?</strong>

    Yes, Chennai is a relatively safe place for tourists. However, like in any other city, tourists should take necessary precautions to avoid petty crimes such as pickpocketing, bag snatching, and fraud.

  5. <strong>What are the famous dishes in Chennai?</strong>

    Chennai is famous for its South Indian cuisine, and some of the famous dishes include dosa, idli, vada, sambar, rasam, biryani, and filter coffee.

  6. <strong>How can I travel around Chennai?</strong>

    Tourists can travel around Chennai using local transport such as buses, trains, and auto-rickshaws. Taxis and private cars are also available for hire. Ride-hailing apps such as Ola and Uber are also widely used in Chennai.

  7. <strong>What is the dress code in Chennai?</strong>

    Chennai is a conservative city, and tourists are advised to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites. Women should cover their heads and wear long skirts or pants, and men should avoid wearing shorts.

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