A land that treasures India’s longest urban beach also makes its way to be the fourth largest metropolis in India. Welcome to Chennai, one of the must-visit places in Tamil Nadu where the greatest assets are its people who constantly devoted to their land. Surrounded by heritage, culture and rich southern lifestyle…it is impossible to not run-in the many tourist attractions the city possesses. And a bundle of places ideal for family trips and resorts for the love birds, and also laid back places for day breaks are all that we will be talking about in this blog of 20 best places to visit while holidaying in Chennai.
Places to Have Some Quality Family Time
Every sultry afternoon sees many beach goers making their way to Chennai’s most popular place, Marina Beach. However, it is during the warm afternoons that make this beach an ideal time to visit because you may find the beach all to yourself…well almost! With ‘chappals’ and black shades packed in your beach bag, consider visiting on weekday as it is usually less populated where you get to enjoy the sight of roaring waves and a treat of a coconut ‘pani and pachamanga (raw mango). Bring your kids along as Marina Beach also has a small entertainment place for little ones! merry-go-round anyone? However, the beach gets lively during sunset and post sunset with many tourists and locals who come to enjoy the open-air surroundings.
Fact: Marina Beach is India’s longest urban beach stretching about 6 kilometres long.
Arignar Anna Zoological Park
For a successful half-day extravaganza, gear up for a wildlife tour in Arignar Anna Zoological Park which is located in Vandalur area of the southern part of Chennai, thus locally known as the same, Vandalur Zoo. This is one of the best places to visit with family which takes about an hour drive from the main city. Here, travelling with kids won’t be a hassle as the park offers battery operated vehicles. Also, for those who have limited time to roam around the park, Vandalur Zoo offers safari vehicles. The park is home to many wildlife species, and with a minimal fee of not more than INR 30, is perhaps a good bargain to have an exciting day with family.
Nothing can go wrong while in Chennai’s Fun City. Excitement at its peak to lay hands on every arcade game, is what your preteens may experience. It is rather a popular place to go to for parents to treat overly active children always in need for some action. Fun City has play zones that mainly consists of soft play games such as multi-leveled crawl tunnels, rope bridges and lots of ball pools. There are also other activities for children like Kiddie and Big Rides that consist of indoor roller coasters and crazy gliders. It is an ultimate halting place for your kids to have an engaging day. Fun City has many outlets, and it happens to be located mostly inside the shopping mall. So while your kids run around the Fun City, you can store and cafe hop in the mall.
VGP Universal Kingdom
While Chennai has a few entertaining theme parks around the city, one exuberant or rather a famous destination packed with what we call engaging activities is VGP Universal Kingdom. This venue is an ultimate must visit place for a full-day excursion with family and friends. You will be accompanied with interesting arcade games and thrilling rides and other activities suitable for all age groups. The necessary things to do here are – onboard rides like the old favourite ferris wheel, mermaid ship, flashdance, dashing car and there are also water theme games. VGP Universal Kingdom also has a petting zoo (could be beneficial for kids to appreciate animals by nursing them). Beach and snow kingdom are the two USPs of VGP Universal Kingdom.
Hush-Hush Places for Couples
Vivanta By Taj – Fisherman’s Cove
A quiet ambience that surrounds the resort with a heart melting sight of the ocean, is what you will get to witness while at Fisherman’s Cove. A stay here can cost you a little than the average but being reputed to be one of the places in Chennai that offer a luxurious staycation, it is the best bargain you can find. Celebrate life and love in one of the best resorts in Chennai, Vivanta By Taj – Fisherman’s Cove. This resort’s grand architecture and lavish interiors are just what you need to make your romantic holiday memorable. Intact with charming cottages, villas, lounges, bars and spas, this property stands out from others. Located adjacent the beautiful sandy Covelong Beach away from the green patch land of the resort, it is a perfect paradise to simply be at…cherishing every moment.
P.S. Fisherman’s Cove is slightly off the main city of Chennai near Kovalam.
The Leela Palace
The Leela Palace, which is the only sea facing luxurious hotel in Chennai, illuminates solely with the finest furnitures, and displays a blend of vintage and modern decor. A stay in this 5-star hotel will offer an opportunity to the guests to make use of their exclusive amenities and the services. The hotel offers guests with a personal butler, spa facilities and dining option. Indulge in an all day dining at Spectra, try some best selection of Indian dishes at Jamavar or savour dishes from the Chinese Cuisine at China XO, the hotel provides it all. You will be treated no less than Kings and Queens at The Leela Palace.
Fab Hotel Beach Park Resorts
While spending time amidst the soothing ambience, and at the private beach where you lay sun toasting your body, you’ll say to yourself…beach resorts are something, isn’t it? Sure, there are a plethora of beach resorts in Chennai but one dignified abode, that saves money and offers a perfect getaway for couples is Fab Hotel Beach Park Resorts. For those couples seeking luxe and a chance to spend quality time in the beach, this resort is simply perfect. Its peaceful ambience and a spread out lawn is placed with pretty outdoor lounge, perfect to spend an evening seeing the sky turn pink. This decent resort offers all sorts of basic amenities at a not so expensive rate.
Green Meadows Resort
Green Meadows Resort certainly offers an enchanting sense or a feeling of truly being in South India. The architecture of the resort speaks of opulent southern art and tradition, it is positively recommended resort to stay for couples especially during honeymoon. Serendipity here is at top-notch, pleasing rooms that are floored to the perfection and lush gardens surrounded by an old world charm make your stay quite a heartwarming one. Come here and find what you are looking, a hideaway, a cozy nest. What’s best about this resort is that, the beach is only 100 metres from Green Meadows Resort.
Places to Chill with Friends
Besant Nagar Beach
‘Let’s go to ‘Bessie’ as the locals call it.’ Besant Nagar Beach also known as Edward Elliot’s Beach is a wonderful place you must visit with friends. It is a sandy place at the tip of the Marina Beach shore and it gives off an inviting feel to the passers by. Equally famous than the Marina Beach, Bessie fills up with tourists and college goers especially on weekends. The major attraction in Besant Nagar Beach is the Karl Schmidt Memorial. Along with star gazing and basking opportunity, the beach also has a few eating joints that sell, delicious treats. Also, the famous Velankanni Church and Ashtalakshmi Temple sit majestically nearby the beach.
Malls are the most common destination to go with friends, nothing can go wrong here. There are plenty of sightseeing to do (fashion police), many stores to go try some new arrivals, watch the latest movies and most importantly find a perfect spot and grab some munchies in the food court. Chennai has many such hangout places for friends but Express Avenue is by far one of the most preferred one. Perhaps for its arcade gaming which is said to be the largest in South India. Apparently, Fun City is a crowd pulling attraction of the mall.
Covering a large area of Chennai’s Adyar river and the coast, Theosophical Society is an outstanding destination to visit with friends. It comprises of sprawling emerald forests with a rustic ambience of everything ‘old-world,’ from broken down bridge called by the same name; memorial park; Adyar Banyan tree, which is a star attraction; and also various religious sites like mosque, church, temples and Buddhist shrines. Theosophical Society is a lovely vehicle free destination to come meander, listening to the sound of nature and appreciate its simple beauty. The Adyar library is also a must visit place if you are a book lover. What’s unique is that, this library has a huge collection of religion and philosophy books, some even as old as 1000 years.
It is dangerous drag racing but can’t deny the fact, it is fun! However, there is a safer option racing with your friends, visit the Kart Attack in Chennai. The sole place to visit to get your adrenaline pumping, and no, you don’t need to be a driving expert while Go-karting here. Kart Attack has a 260 meters long track with hairpin curves that make your heart race every time you take a turn. With each race that lasts for five minutes, you can show your sporty side and accept challenges with your friends. Kart Attack also has a few places to eat and enjoy the day slurping and savouring the much needed munchies and drinks after the intense clash of Go-karting.
Places for Pilgrimage Tours
San Thome Church
This Roman Catholic Church, San Thome Basilica or St. Thomas Cathedral Basilica highly lives up to its name. Famed for its white exterior of exquisiteness, it is built on top of the tomb of 12th disciple of Jesus Christ, St. Thomas. This appealing beauty is a must visit attraction and only admiring it virtually won’t help, you need to be there. Its incredible Gothic-styled architecture and dome-shaped windows will spellbind you and not to forget its coloured glass and the majestic statue of bleeding Jesus is sight to see. San Thome Church is conveniently located near the beach and the famed street known for food which we will be talking about in the ‘places for food and art lovers’ section.
St. Mary’s Church
One of the most beautiful, sublime churches in Chennai, St. Mary’s is an Anglican Church adorned in lime colour. It has a simple architecture with small wooden doors; it may appear to look rather small from the outside but it is quite spacious on the inside. For those who want to experience a holy ambience, a visit to one of the finest churches in Chennai, St. Mary’s Church is a must.
This famous Hindu temple located on the shoreline of Elliott Beach is another grand place to visit while in Chennai. An interesting fact about this place is that, the visitors can witness prayers that are conducted six times a day. Ashtalakshmi is an ancient temple that comprises of three floors, as you take a walk inside this grand structure, you can see a statue of Lord Vishnu in three different postures with Goddess Lakshmi. The overall trip to this temple may give you are spirited sojourn learning about the history of Ashtalakshmi Temple and its significance. If you want to know more about the different Mythological characters of Hindu, click here.
Dedicated to Shri Kaligambal and Lord Kapaleeswarar, Kalikambal Temple is one of the famous place to visit for pilgrims. Established in the Thambu Chetty Street of Chennai, it is also closer to the Chennai Beach railway station. The beauty of this temple is perhaps its spire that is intact with various colourful idols of Hindu gods like Ganesha, Lord Rama and various forms of Goddess Kamakshi.
P.S. The temple remain closed between 12:00 pm to 4.30 pm, so make sure to avoid these timings and plan accordingly.
Places for Food Lovers
Serving such delicious food that it has become International. Murugan Idli, a southy delicacy has an outlet in Singapore and many other places in South India along with Chennai, of course! This chain of restaurant is originally based in the city of Madurai of Tamil Nadu and it has food lovers cramming for its scrumptious curd rice, paneer butter masala dosa and idlis. And while in Chennai, you have to visit Murugan Idli to have the best South Indian dish, there are about seventeen restaurants, so finding one won’t be a problem.
To find some of the best places for non-vegetarian food in Chennai come to Kutchery Road. Being close to the beach and the famous San Thome Church, it is ideal to come after mass prayer, grab some mouth-watery southey delicious food and hit the beach to unwind and spend an afternoon full of burps. Here, at Kutchery Road, some of the must haves are the biryanis in Best Biryani restaurant, delicious dry cakes or muffins at Ayyanar Bakery, Winners Bakery and some coolers at Shamna Cool Bar. There are many similar places that offer a perfect hangout places for friends to chill.
Places for Art Lovers
Cholamandal Artists’ Village
If you enjoy wandering the hallways filled with creative art works, come to Cholamandal Artists’ Village, it is one of the best places for art lovers. It is located a bit off the central city on East Coast Road towards Mahabalipuram and is an idealistic place to display your creativity; it is a self-supporting village for creative people, and artist on the rise. Here, at Cholamandal Artists’ Village, one can see the display of a collection of contemporary art like paintings and structures made solely using recycled items.
It is slightly off the city premises but a visit here is noteworthy. Trust us, this place won’t flush your hopes. Dakshinachitra is a massive museum displaying rich heritage of South India. A tour inside will give you an opportunity to witness the art and architecture, you can dwell in the houses of four Southern states – Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Kerala and Karnataka. Located in a 10 acre land, there are around 16 houses, each intact with exhibitions and traditional utensils used. Consider your trip to Dakshinachitra Museum because it is a wonderful place to learn, explore and simply admire the brilliant work done for future generation.