Places to visit in Chennai

  • Post last modified:12 April 2022
  • Reading time:20 mins read

Chennai is a metropolitan city situated in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. It is arguably one of the most developed and cool cities in Southern India. The many historical landmarks and tourist attractions offer enough places to visit in Chennai for people of all ages.

Also referred to as Madras, Chennai is among one of the most-visited tourist places in India by foreign travellers. Chennai is also one of the most sought-after health tourist destinations in India. This magnificent city was rated as one of the best cities to visit in the world by Lonely Planet.

The gateway to South India, Chennai should definitely be a part of your itinerary while covering the southern part of India. Chennai is home to the Tamil Film Industry which is also fondly referred to as Kollywood. In this article, we cover some of the most beautiful places in Chennai that should not be missed.


Places to visit in Chennai

  1. Marina Beach
  2. Government Museum Chennai
  3. Santhome Cathedral Basilica
  4. Fort George
  5. Guindy National Park
  6. Arignar Anna Zoological Park
  7. Arulmigu Sri Parthasarathyswamy Temple Tiruvallikeni
  8. VGP Universal Kingdom
  9. B.M Birla Planetarium
  10. Vivekananda House

Marina Beach

Marina Beach
Marina Beach

Marina Beach, without a doubt, has to be the face of Chennai’s tourism. This massive beach is among one of the longest beaches in India. Marina Beach spans a total distance of 6 Kilometers from Fort St George to Foreshore Estate. With over 30,000 thousand visitors on weekdays and 50,000 visitors on weekends, Marina Beach is one of the most-visited beaches in the world. Swimming is legally prohibited at Marina Beach. Swimming is not allowed due to the unpredictable undercurrent pattern here.

The Olive Ridley Sea Turtles, which has been classified as an endangered species, can be spotted at Marina Beach. Apart from this, marine animals are like mullets. Lactarius, Jewfish, whitebait, sharks and crabs can be spotted along the beach. Marina Beach is situated along the Coromandel Coast on the Bay of Bengal. Apart from being really long, Marina Beach is also pretty wide throughout its entire stretch. Marina Beach is definitely one of the best places to visit in Chennai.

Best Time to Visit: Throughout the year

Major Attractions: Olive Ridley Turtles

Ideal Duration to Explore: 2 Hours

Government Museum Chennai

Government Museum Chennai
Government Museum Chennai

Also known as the Madras Museum, the Government Museum Chennai is one of the most popular tourist places in Chennai. This is the place to learn about human history and culture in depth. Government Museum Chennai is one of the oldest museums in the country as well as the world. The large collection of Roman antiquities in the Government Museum of Chennai is fascinating.

The National Art Gallery, a popular attraction among the artistically inclined, is also situated at Government Museum Chennai. Artworks of popular artists Raja Ravi Verma can be admired at this spectacular art gallery. One of the major attractions at this museum is the collection of bronze idols dating back to 1000 BCE. Established in 1851, Government Museum Chennai attracts thousands of visitors every year.

Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday from 09:30 AM to 05:00 PM

Major Attractions: Bronze idols, Roman antiquities, and vintage art

Ideal Duration to Explore: 2 to 3 Hours

Santhome Cathedral Basilica

Santhome Cathedral Basilica
Santhome Cathedral Basilica

Santhome Cathedral Basilica situated in Chennai is also known by the names of National Shrine of St Thomas and San Thome Church. This iconic church was built in the 16th Century by Portuguese explorers over the tomb of Saint Thomas. In the 19th Century, the British completely rebuilt the church. The building that stands tall as the cultural and religious pride of Chennai was built by the British. Santhome Cathedral Basilica is one of the top places to visit in Chennai.

The British architectures built this cathedral in the Gothic Revival style. A small tower in the centre of this cathedral indicates the exact location where St Thomas was buried. Saint Thomas touching the wound of Jesus after he was resurrected can be seen in the stained glass at the altar of Santhome Cathedral Basilica. If you are a tourist or simply a believer, visiting this wonderful religious attraction is a must.

Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday from 06:00 AM to 09:00 PM

Major Attraction: Tomb of Saint Thomas

Ideal Duration to Explore: 1 Hour

Fort George

Fort George Chennai
Fort George Chennai

Historically known as the White Town, Fort George is an iconic fort situated in the heart of Chennai. Founded in 1639, Fort George is the first-ever British fort to be erected on Indian soil. This fort is now home to the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly. The fort is surrounded by walls that are 20 feet tall. The French forces had briefly gained control of Fort George between 1746 to 1749. As a result of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle that ended the War of the Austrian Succession, Fort George was handed back to the British.

Fort George is also home to a fort museum. This museum houses interesting relics and artefacts. Maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India, this museum is home to portraits of former Governors of Madras. Whether for admiring the architecture or for learning about the influence of the British Raj over Madras, visiting this historical fort is a must. Fort George is one of the major tourist attractions in Chennai.

Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday from 09:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Saturday to Sunday from 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM

Major Attraction: The architecture and the Fort Museum.

Ideal Duration to Explore: 1 Hour

Guindy National Park

Guindy National Park
Guindy National Park

Although not as large in size as compared to some of the other national parks in South India, Guindy National Park is still one of the best places to visit in Chennai. Spanning a total area of 2.70 square kilometres (1.04 square miles), Guindy is in fact one of the smallest national parks in the country. This beautiful national park is home to as many as 400 blackbucks and 2000 spotted deers. Apart from this, a large number of jackals, snakes, geckos, tortoises and birds can also be spotted here.

Established in 1977, Guindy National Park attracts thousands of visitors every year. For those looking to get close to nature and get away from the hustles and bustles of the city, there are few better options than Guindy National Park in Chennai. Over 60 species of butterflies and spiders call the Guindy National Park their home. The lush greenery and the diverse flora and fauna here is worth checking out.

Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday from 09:00 AM to 05:30 PM

Major Attraction: Snake Park

Ideal Duration to Explore: 2 Hour

Arignar Anna Zoological Park

Arignar Anna Zoological Park
Arignar Anna Zoological Park

Also known as the Vandalur Zoo, Arignar Anna Zoological Park was established in 1855. This extraordinary zoo is affiliated with the Central Zoo Authority of India. This zoo holds an amazing achievement of being the first-ever public zoo in India. Arignar Anna Zoological Park is spread across a total area of 602 hectares (1490 acres) and is among one of the largest zoos in India. This is definitely one of the must-visit destinations in Chennai.

The breeding program undertaken at Arignar Anna Zoological Park has been a huge success. The management at this zoological park has been successful in breeding and thus ensuring the survival of several rare species. Arignar Anna Zoological Park is also home to a zoo school where you can learn all about wildlife and its conservation.

Opening Hours: Monday from 09:00 AM to 05;00 PM, Wednesday to Sunday from 09:00 AM to 05:00 pm

Ideal Duration to Explore: 3 to 4 Hours

Things to do: Admire majestic animals from up close

Arulmigu Sri Parthasarathyswamy Temple Tiruvallikeni

Arulmigu Sri Parthasarathyswamy Temple Tiruvallikeni
Arulmigu Sri Parthasarathyswamy Temple Tiruvallikeni

Commonly referred to as just Parthasarathyswamy Temple, this Hindu temple has been existing at the current site since the 6th Century AD. This Hindu Vaishnava temple is a major cultural and historical landmark of Chennai. Devotees from across the country visit this temple throughout the year to seek blessings from Lord Vishnu. Panguni Serthi, Pallava Utsavam, Ramanujar Utsavam, and Vaikunda Ekadashi are some of the major festivals celebrated here with much zest and pomp.

This temple was built by Narasimhavarman I of the Pallava dynasty. This mesmerizing temple is one of the oldest structures in Chennai. . Like many other historic temples in Tamil Nadu, the gopurams and towers here are beautifully carved with intricate designs. Arulmigu Sri Parthasarathyswamy Temple Tiruvallikeni is one of the best places to visit in Tamil Nadu.

Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday from 06:00 AM to 12:00 PM, Monday to Sunday from 04:00 PM to 08:00 PM

Major Attraction: Architecture

Ideal Duration to Explore: 1 Hour

VGP Universal Kingdom

VGP Universal Kingdom
VGP Universal Kingdom

VGP Universal Kingdom situated in the heart of Chennai is an amusement park that offers thrilling rides to people of all ages. If you are someone who loves to get an adrenaline rush, this amusement park is definitely for you. The rides here will offer the adventure you have been searching for. VGP Universal Kingdom started operating as an amusement park in 1997 and has since then been entertaining visitors from around the world. VGP Universal Kingdom is one of the best places to see in Chennai.

Spread over a total of 44 acres, VGP Universal Kingdom is home to Tamil Nadu’s first Snow park, Petting Zoo, Beach Live Shows, Paneer fort, and a massive water complex. The statue man standing at the entrance of this amusement park welcoming visitors is one of the major attractions here. The statue man is a person standing stationery. People often try to break his concentration and get him to break character but in all these years have never succeeded.

Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 11:00 AM to 07:30 PM, Saturday to Sunday from 10:30 AM to 08:00 PM

Major Attractions: Snow park, Petting Zoo, Beach Live Shows, Paneer fort, and Statueman

Ideal Duration to Explore: 4 to 6 Hours

B.M Birla Planetarium

B.M Birla Planetarium
B.M Birla Planetarium

For those with a keen interest in worlds beyond our world, visiting the B.M Birla Planetarium is a must while in Chennai. At this planetarium, cosmic shows are held on the perforated hemispherical aluminium inner dome. This planetarium is situated in the Periyar Science and Technology Centre. Built-in 1998, this is one of the most modern planetariums in India.

A versatile opto-mechanical GOTO GM II starfield projector, special-effects projector and an X-Y table system for simulating various celestial phenomena together make the cosmic shows here mesmerizing. Courses in astronomy and night-sky observation can be taken at the B.M Birla Planetarium. This is without a doubt one of the finest places to visit in Chennai.

Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday from 10:00 AM to 05:45 PM

Ideal Duration to Explore: 2 Hours

Things to do: Watch the cosmic show

Vivekananda House

Vivekananda House
Vivekananda House

Constructed in 1842 by Frederic Tudor, this building shot to fame when Swami Vivekananda stayed here during his visit to Chennai in 1897. At the Vivekananda House, one can learn all about his life and teachings. The exhibition here focuses on teaching the masses about the life and ways of one of the greatest spiritual leaders of India. The purpose of this building originally was to store ice. Hence, it was at the time also commonly referred to as Ice House.

This building was sold to Biligiri Iyengar, a prominent advocate, by Frederic Tudor once the ice business collapsed. Adv. Iyengar named the building Castle Kernan upon buying it. In 1914, the Government of Madras acquired the building. To honour Swami Vivekananda and his visit to Chennai, the government named this building Vivekananda House in 1997. This is one of the most beautiful places in Chennai.

Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM, Monday to Sunday from 03:00 PM to 07:15 PM

Major Attractions: Exhibition on Swami Vivekananda’s life

Ideal Duration to Explore: 1 Hour

Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu, is a haven for tourists of all ages. Whether you are a backpacker, a solo traveller or travelling with your friends and family, you won’t be short of things to do during your visit to Chennai. Exploring the many temples, historical landmarks, beaches, and parks of Chennai is a must if you wish to make the best out of your trip to Tamil Nadu.


FAQ

What is famous in Chennai to eat?

Idli and Sambhar as well as Dosa and Chutney are two of the most legendary dishes to come out of Chennai. While in Chennai, trying them is an absolute must. Uttapam, Vada and Bhaji are some of the other things that are famous to eat in Chennai.

How many days are enough for Chennai?

It is highly recommended to visit Chennai for at least 5 days if you wish to explore the depths of the city. The entire city can also be covered in 3 to 4 days if you are on a short vacation.

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