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  • Places to visit in Chennai encompasses Marina beach, historical Mahabalipuram, Birla Planetarium, San Thome church, Thousand Lights Mosque, Guindy National park, ancient and divine temples of Gods and Goddesses and this metropolitan city never stops with a small list. From old to contemporary and from nature to architecture, Chennai possesses an impressive variety of places to impress and entertain tourists.

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    With an old name of Madras in mind, one can explore multiple tourist places in Chennai where Eliot’s beach and Marina beach welcomes everyone to experience  fresh air and soothing winds, magnificent carved temples of Sri Parthasarathy and Kapaleeshwar that catches because of colors and tip tallness from far, Fort of British rule, experience grandeur of Connemara library, Royapuram fishing harbor to have an ultimacy of catching fishes and that’s still not all.

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    Chennai is also offering exciting camping experience for a getaway where a good bonfire with some music and dance can turn on the routine life. Some surfing and trekking in the nearby zones of the camp will totally let anyone be in an awe. So, don’t stop!! Get out of the cave and start exploring!

  • Must Visit Places in Chennai

  • 01Covelong Beach

    Covelong Beach

    Covelong Beach: The Coromandel coast in the proximity of Chennai is blessed to have Covelong Beach on its laps that shines brightly under the sun and stars due to plenty of activities it offers to its travelers. Known for its serene beauty of the surroundings, this beach was once a major port for the ships on the voyage.

    Attractions: Apart from providing pristine natural beauty studded with a line of palm trees, the beach has a closeness to ancient monuments like forts, churches and mosques and of course, the ancient town of Mahabalipuram as one definitely comes across this Covelong or Kovalam beach while on the way to Mahabalipuram. Also, crocodile farm is also a major attraction to the people here.

    Activities: Covelong Beach has been a rising star in terms of providing activities like watersports with windsurfing and swimming as the highest chosen option. In fact, people opt for Beach camping with the bonfire in the sands here. At the same time, this place is most popular for fishing and this activity has been going from generations while attracting thousands every day. 

    Distance: 40 km from Chennai

    Location: South of Chennai

    Best time to visit: November to March

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  • 02Marina Beach

    Marina Beach
    Image Credit : wikimedia

    India's largest beach is right around the corner when one is in Chennai. With an extent from Fort St. George to Besant Nagar, the beach is lined with up palm trees. A view when sky and water meet at both the ends is just visible right in front of the eyes when one stands at the shores.

    Attractions: An old lighthouse stands on the southern end of Marina along with several other structures like an aquarium, a swimming pool and a park nearby. The sunrise here is a classy example of breathtaking beauty.

    Activities: Entertaining activities are lined up when you are taking a stroll on the sands. The food stalls serve delicious seafood at optimum prices. At the same time, pony rides, beach games, and kite flying activities are also present to make your evening relaxing.

    Location: Within the city of Chennai

    Best time to visit: November to March

  • 03Mahabalipuram

    Mahabalipuram

    Also known as Mamallapuram, it is one of the best places to visit near Chennai. Mahabalipuram is an ancient place known for rock-cut built-up architecture with extensive carvings that will just awestruck anyone.

    Attractions:The iconic Shore Temple, among the oldest temples of South India, is carved out of a large block of granite. A short distance from this place of worship is ‘Descent of the Ganges’ or‘ Arjuna's Penance’. Among the world's biggest bas-reliefs, it depicts the story of the descent of the River Ganges from Heaven to Earth. ‘Pancha Rathas’ or the five chariots are again carved out of a single rock and are dedicated to the Pandavas along with one dedicated to their wife. Don’t forget to notice Krishna’s Butterball as this rock is hanging on a sloping floor and won’t fall even if anyone wants it to.

    Activities: Explore and observe the fine sculptures of the various monuments standing in Mahabalipuram. The drive from Chennai to Mahabalipuram along the seashore is quite an experience too. The beach at this tourist place near Chennai is also ideal for spending a day just lounging on the sand, relaxing and clicking perfect shots with friends and families.  A perfect getaway is right next to Chennai at this royal place.

    Location: 60 km from Chennai

    Best time to visit: November to March

  • 04Sri Parthasarathy Temple

    Sri Parthasarathy Temple
    Image Credit : Aj Photography - Flickr

    The temple is an old sculpture dedicated to Lord Krishna and is placed comfortably in the city of Chennai. Known for its historic presence, Sri Parthasarathy temple has its own charm with gopuram rising high and studded with carved sculptures in beautiful and bright colors topped with ‘amalkas’. The temple is easily noticeable from distance and hence attracts hundreds of devotees and tourists at the same time.

    Timings:4 am to 11:30 pm

    Entry Fee:None

    Photography: Allowed

  • 05Birla Planetarium

    Birla Planetarium

    Want to be on moon and stars at an affordable cost? Well, Chennai has Birla Planetarium, situated near Anna University waiting to generate the gist of Science amongst the young minds.

    Attractions: The planetarium runs regular audio-visual programs on astronomy that amazes its visitors. Apart from this, it also exhibits programs on Solar System, Cycle of Stars, Sky and Seasons, Comets and Man on the Moon. Also, Science Park, Traffic Park, and Science on Wheels are the special highlights of Science Centre which are of special interest for young visitors and hence, it is one of the best things to do in Chennai.

    Timings:10 am to 5:45 pm

    Entry Fee: INR 40 for adults, INR 25 for children

    Photography: Not Allowed

  • 06Elliot’s Beach

    Elliot’s Beach

    Though a less crowded beach than Marina, Eliot has its own catch. Now named at Besant Nagar Beach, it attracts people because of the serene beauty and clean brown sands.

    Attractions: The Schmidt Memorial is a huge draw of Elliott Beach which was built in remembrance of a Dutch sailor, Karl Schmidt. This white built-up has given an extra tip to the beach for recognition. Apart from that, on the southern side, the famed AshtaLakshmi Temple and Velankanni Church are present, popular among the residents of Chennai.

    Distance: 10-15 km from Chennai

    Location: South of Chennai

    Best time to visit: November to March

  • 07San Thome Church

    San Thome Church

    The sparkling vast white structure of San Thome stands on the tomb of St Thomas. This place is definitely an important one in religious terms but doesn’t fail to attract travelers from all over Chennai. This monument is one of the best places to visit in Chennai as it reminds us of the colonial past relations that Indians had.

    Attractions: A nostalgia will arise within when this church is viewed from inside out. From stained glass panes of the windows, sitting statue of St Thomas, museum, library, shops that sell candles and flowers are one of the classy additions in the monument. The highest tip embarked with Cross and sloping red roof is totally catchy when viewed from outside.

    Timings: 6 am to 8 pm

    Photography:Allowed

  • 08Kapaleeshwar Temple

    Kapaleeshwar Temple

    The unique architectural style, in-depth detail of gopuram and temple head and the magnificent height of around 37 meters are what makes this temple best place to visit in Chennai. The Dravidian style of temple construction is most famous in cities of South India and Kapaleeshwar temple is a live example of the same. 

    Attractions: The temple is home of deities Shiva and Karpagambal, holds a festival in the months of March and April while attracting thousands of devotees in its premises. Asl, a huge tank filled with water is another catchy place having a religious value as well as was used as a store of water in historical times.

    Location: Within Chennai city

    Timings: 5:30 am to 12 pm, 5-9 pm

    Entry Fee: None

    Photography:Allowed

  • 09Thousand Lights Mosque

    Thousand Lights Mosque

    Since the architecture has a special corner in the heart of Chennai, Thousand Lights Mosque stands tall in this list. The place has got its name because of a special feature i.e. a total of 1000 oil lamps light up the hall of the mosque. Imagine the beauty!!! Also, it is one of the biggest mosques in the country. These magnificent domes give a home to a large space used to offer prayer to God. Along with this, a separate hall is made for women also to pray in this calm and serene space.

    Timings: 5:30 am to 9 pm

    Entry Fee: None

    Photography: Not allowed

  • 10Fort St. George

    Fort St. George

    History of India with British is a fact that can't be changed. And the live example standing in front is Fort St. George. During the British rule, it was made as a center point for official purposes but now encompasses St. George museum with paintings, coins, silverware, arms, porcelain, and documents. Also, it has given space to historic monuments of St. Mary's church under its cloud. The Flagstaff at the Fort is one of the tallest structure in the country. 

    Timings: 9 am to 5 pm (except Friday)

    Entry Fee: INR 100 for foreign tourists and INR 5 for Indian visitors (only the museum)

    Photography: Allowed

  • 11Connemara Public Library

    Connemara Public Library

    Libraries are definitely storehouse of books but Connemara library has its unique style of placement of books and flanked broad arches which makes it stands apart from others. Constructed in the late 19th century, Connemara library is a treasure house of centuries-old publications. With a collection of over 600,000 books, it is one of Asia’s largest libraries. Be it avid readers or scholars doing research work, one could easily get lost in this enchanting world of books as they immerse themselves in their favorite activity.

    Timings: 9 AM to 7.30 PM

    Entry Fee: None

    Photography: Allowed

  • 12Nettukuppam

    Nettukuppam

    An age-old rusty bridge with its head pointing in the sea is what Nettukuppam is all about. The feeling of self-placement in high waves could be felt at this bridge where one can sit with their legs hanging down. For the photography enthusiast, this is like a double treat where one can click some memorable pictures. This is one of the most famous beaches in Chennai which is visited by a huge number of people all around the year.

    Distance: 24 km from Chennai

    Location: Northernmost tip of Chennai

    Advice: The bridge piers are not advised to explore in the morning due to high tides.

  • 13Guindy National Park and Snake Park

    Guindy National Park and Snake Park

    The city life has a special edition of a variety of species and is the only national park situated in the middle a city. Guindy has many birds, animals, and reptiles as its residents. The visitors can treat their eyes with the presence of blackbucks, spotted deer, jackals, tortoise etc. The snake park is home to cobras and pythons, while the birds found here include partridge, quail, flycatcher, and buzzards. This place is surely one of the best places to visit in Chennai that make anyone forget the regular city life.

    Timings: 9 am to 5:30 pm

    Entry Fee: INR 20 for adults, INR 5 for children

    Photography: Allowed, INR 20 for the camera and INR 100 for Handycam

  • Historical Tourist Places in Chennai

  • 14Vellankani Shrine

    Vellankani Shrine

    This grand monument stands off the Elliot's Beach and gives a totally different aura to the whole zone. The pristine white structure of the church having tall towers stands overlooking the Bay of Bengal and is visited by thousands of solace-seekers every day. One can also attend the mass prayer conducted both in Tamil and English. Annai Vailankanni Shrine has a charm unparalleled amongst the surroundings.

    Timings:5 am to 9 pm

    Entry Fee: None

    PhotographyAllowed

  • 15Madras High Court

    Madras High Court

    When in Chennai, one can't miss an opportunity to visit Madras High Court. Madras High court is one of the highest courts in India. The court exercise original jurisdiction over the whole city. While you are at the court, get amazed by the majestic architecture of the building. The red built-up under the blue sky is very catchy. And decorated ceilings in the interior with the stained glasses are in itself a masterpiece here. The tallest tower in the center of the building gives a gist of Dravidian Architecture which was used in ancient temples of South India.

    Distance:2.9 km from Chennai

    Open time:10 AM- 5:45 PM

    Location:The court is located at N Fort Rd, Parrys, George Town, Chennai, Tamil Nadu

  • 16Mylapore

    Mylapore
    Image Credit : RAJVINOTH JOTHINEELAKANDAN - Flickr

    The exotic destination with a distinct culture in the neighborhood of Chennai is Mylapore. Known for tree-lined avenues, Kapaleeswarar temple, and Ramakrishnan Math as famous attractions, the zone has a combination of thousands of temples, churches, and mosques on its land. San Thomas Basilica and Adi Kesava Perumal Temple have their prominence stand tall. Known as the oldest residential area this place is historically known as Vedapuri.

    Attractions: Apart from the Architecture, the major cultural addition here is music sabha and the musicians. In the month of December, many sabhas are organized to revive the age-old culture of playing music in a group. Also, Mylapore food has its own smell and fragrance of its delicious cuisines.

    Distance: 8 km from Chennai city

    Location: Mylapore is located south of the British built city Chennai.

    Best time to visit: October to March

  • 17Vivekanandar House

    Vivekanandar House
    Image Credit :  Srinivasan G - Flickr

    A place to get inspired and relish a totally new knowledgeable experience will bring any individual to Vivekananda House where they can get a good tour of Swami Vivekananda's life.

    Attractions: His utmost significant teachings can be received by visiting the gallery, meditation room, and Vivekananda Park. This historic place houses a permanent exhibition on Indian Culture and Swami Vivekananda’s life and will give a positive vibe when one is on its tour. This place is one of the best places to visit in Chennai as Swami Vivekananda spent few days at this place after his return from West.

    Distance5.6 km from Chennai

    LocationVivekanandar House is located at Kamaraj Salai(Marina beach road), Neelam Basha Durgapuram, Near Triplicane, Chennai, Tamil Nadu

    Open time:10:00 AM- 12:30 PM, 3:00 PM- 7:30 PM

  • 18Royapuram Fishing Harbour

    Royapuram Fishing Harbour
    Image Credit : Kannan Muthuraman - Flickr

    This harbor attracts many people to spend some time in leisure while shopping in one of the biggest fish markets. This amazing harbor can accommodate about 575 fishing boats and one can view fishermen catching for their daily needs even bustling in the nights. The place offers one of the best photographic locations while fishermen throw their nets, pile up the fishes and organize them in local markets. The best thing about this place are the people who shout at the top of their voice trying to be the best bidder.

    Distance: 6 km

    Location: The harbor is located at the north of the Chennai Port and is under the administrative control of the Chennai Port Trust.

  • 19Besant

    Besant

    Located on the East Coast of Bay of Bengal and bounded by Thiruvanmiyur to the South lies this amazing place Besant.

    Attractions: On a vacation or a day out, this option can be kept high on the list because of attractions like Elliot’s beach in the basket. For those, who love to visit religious places, this is a double treat as they can visit the Annai Velankanni Church and the Ashtalakshmi Temple along the shore which is very famous among the people of Chennai. Named after the famous personality Annie Besant this place is best known for its serene and tranquil setting which attracts visitors from all over the world.

    Distance:The distance from Chennai to Besant is 13.5 km

    Location: Besant is located on the east coast of Bay of Bengal.

  • Places to Visit with Family & Kids

  • 20Arignar Anna Zoological Park

    Arignar Anna Zoological Park

    A little away from the city center, Arignar Zoological park is a home to more than 500 species of wild beings where some of which are endangered.

    Attractions: An aviary, lion safari, deer safari, and an elephant safari form the most popular sections of the zoo. Apart from this, a separate section for nocturnal animals could be reached too. An aquarium, butterfly house, reptile house, amphibian house, crocodile enclosure are part of the premises which makes it one of the best places to visit in Chennai.

    Timings: 9 am to 5 pm (except Tuesdays)

    Entry Fee: INR 30 for adults and INR 10 for children between 5-12 years

    Photography: Allowed, INR 25 for camera and INR150 for a handycam.

  • 21Semmozhi Poonga

    Semmozhi Poonga

    Semmozhi Poonga Park is a botanical garden in the Chennai city covering an area of over 20 acres. With family and friends, this place can be visited to explore the exotic and rare flora and fauna. Not just this, medicinal herbs are also found here and we know, how much they matter to all of us.

    Attractions: Visitors can relax on the park grounds that are subdivided into the rock garden, butterfly garden, fern garden, sunken garden and many more themed gardens on its laps. The sights of natural beauty with ducks swimming in ponds, dancing lights, and well-maintained tree lines energize anyone with fresh air and breath of flowers. 

    Timings: 10 am to 8 pm (except Tuesday)

    Entry Fee: INR 15 for Adults, INR 10 for Children(Below 10 yrs)

    Photography:Allowed

  • 22Crocodile Bank

    Crocodile Bank

    Started as a research station and conservation center, the bank is first in Asia for crocodile breeding. The Crocodile Bank even houses alligators, gharials, muggers,  snakes, sea turtles and water birds in its premises. In all, there are around 2500 creatures within the boundaries of the Bank and one can spot crocs as well as gharials basking themselves on the edge of the water body during the day. There is also a souvenir shop where one can purchase books and memorabilia related to these reptiles including the famous research and awards.

    Distance: 40 km South of the Chennai

    Timings: 8:30 am to 5:30 pm (except Monday)

    Entry Fee: INR 35 for adults, INR10 for children below 10

    Photography: Allowed, INR 40 camera and INR 100 for the video camera

  • 23Dakshina Chitra

    Dakshina Chitra

    Also known by the term ‘Living-history museum', the museum is built in order to explain the historical aspects of Tamil culture to the present generation. Built in an area of 10 acres, DakshinaChitra is a small village has been recreated using replicas of traditional South Indian houses dating back to the 19th and 20th centuries.

    Attractions: The exhibition has a plethora of living beliefs of art, folk performing arts, craft, and architecture of India and in particular of South Indian traditions. From a typical Tamil house to basic utensils, a fisherman's life to various fabrics is all depicted in the museum. Regular events of classical dances and musical concerts also take place to attract the tourists. 

    Distance: 25 km South of the Chennai

    Timings: 10 am to 6 pm (except Tuesday)

    Entry FeeINR 100 for adults INR 30 for children between 5-12 and INR 250 for foreign visitors

    Photography: Allowed

  • 24MGM Dizzee World

    MGM Dizzee World
    Image Credit : wikimedia

    Dizzee World is an amusement located in the city with a themed style to attract its visitors, from young to old. With several thrilling rides like spider spin, roller coaster, the funny mountain, the place also has an amphitheater for performances. The water park in the premises has a wave pool apart from many other rides and slides and magnetizes hundreds every day.

    Timings: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm on weekdays, 10:30 am to 7:30 pm on weekends and holidays

    Entry Fee: INR 799 for adults (with food), INR 577 for kids (food included), INR 550 for adults, INR 450 for kids

    Photography: Allowed

  • 25Cholamandal Artist Village

    Cholamandal Artist Village
    Image Credit : wikimedia

    This artists’ commune is a platform for the resident painters and sculptors to showcase their creations to the visiting guests. This place is actually famous for bringing modernity in the artistic creation.

    Attractions: The well-decorated interiors are embarked with interesting art and craft with two galleries, an open-air theatre, a bookstore and a craft shop in the premises. For people interested in aesthetics, they can enjoy the work of artists in a serene ambiance surrounded by optimum vegetation around the village.

    Distance: 9 km from Chennai

    Timings: 9 am to 6:30 pm

    Entry Fee: INR 20 for adults and INR 5 for children

    Photography: Allowed

  • Places to Visit near Chennai (within 100 Kms)

  • 26Muttukadu

    Muttukadu

    Muttukadu is one of the tourist places near Chennai at the backwater of Bay of Bengal. This place offers a relaxing aura in nature with fun-filled activities for its visitors.

    Attractions: The Boathouse in Muttukadu is where all the action is. Apart from this, the beach at Muttukadu draws a sizeable crowd during trips to this area. Get a glimpse of various species of birds at the backwaters during migratory season.

    Activities: Rowing, water skiing, speed boat riding, windsurfing and paddle boating are exciting activities that can be availed at Muttukadu. Also, birdwatching is one of the passionate activity for the bird lovers here.

    Distance:31 km

    Best time to visit: November to March

  • 27Sadras

    Sadras

    The coastal town of Sadras was once a Dutch fortress which was taken over by the British in later years. It is currently in ruins but a few structures within can still be viewed.

    Attractions: The glorious Sadras Fort was constructed by the Dutch as a post for exporting goods. It has a vast compound which contains a large granary, stables, and structures used to mount elephants. Picturesque tombs, cannons and carved pieces of stones could be viewed here. A history buff would love to be a part of this place.

    Activities: A picnic with family or friends could cheer anyone up after the fort tour.

    Distance: 71 km from Chennai

    Location:Eastern coast, South of Mahabalipuram

    Best time to visit: October to March

  • 28Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary, Kanchipuram

    Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary, Kanchipuram

    This bird sanctuary is inundated with thousands of birds of varied species during the migratory season. The lake within the sanctuary is the all-important source of water for these creatures, around which they build their nests and thrive.

    Attractions: Birds of diverse origins are what you can see at this place to visit near Chennai. While some birds like cormorants, egrets, moorhens, and terns are found at other places in India, others like snake bird, ibis, stork, heron, and spoonbill come all the way from Europe to make Vedanthangal their home for a few months.

    Activities: Bird watching and capturing the experience with your cameras is the major activity to be carried on here.

    Distance: 78 km

    Location: Close to Palar River, south of Chennai

    Best time to Visit: November to February

  • 29Tiruttani

    Tiruttani

    This small town is known for the temple dedicated to Murugan that stands on top of a hillock here. One can reach the temple by climbing up the 365 steps that take you to it. A few religious festivals are celebrated here during which many devotees visit the temple.

    Attractions: This pilgrimage center has a number of temples located here apart from the famous Murugan temple. Some of them are Shivan temple, Bajan Kovil, Vinayagar Kovil, and Eswaran temple.

    Activities: A trek to the temple hill to boost your energy high.

    Distance: 90 km

    Location: West of Chennai

    Best time to visit: October to March

  • 30Pulicat Lake & Bird Sanctuary

    Pulicat Lake & Bird Sanctuary

    Formed at the backwaters of the Bay of Bengal, Pulicat is the second largest lagoon in India that has brackish water. And the bird sanctuary stands on a piece of land in the middle of this lake.

    Attractions: The spectacular sight of thousands of pink Flamingos flocked together can be viewed only at this place. Besides, you can also spot pelicans, herons, kingfishers, storks and many more at the sanctuary. There are quite a few fishing villages on the lake’s edge which one can visit if interested.

    Activities: Boating in the lake where one can see birds splashing in the water. Photography by the birdwatchers can be done here and is a treat to the eyes of professionals.

    Distance: 98 km from Chennai

    Location: Eastern coast, North of Chennai

    Best time to visit: October to March

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