Top Things to Do in Shimla
Go Camping in Shimla
The true essence of a beautiful hill station can really be experienced in outdoor accommodation in nature. Since Shimla serves as an excellent base for many trekking expeditions, camping is among the popular things to do in Shimla.
Despite being a home to a large population, Shimla still possesses thick vegetation. Camping in Shimla is a must-experience activity for every adventure enthusiast or nature lover visiting Shimla.
Location: There are some perfect campsites in Shimla, offering magnificent views of the green hills around. You can pick a campsite among the major ones like Shoghi, Sarahan, Sandasu, and Chirgaon.
Highlights: The hills of Shimla are laden with Pine, Oak and Deodar forests that make the atmosphere soothing and apt for camping.
Cost: Variable and depends on the camp.
Visit the Shimla Ridge
Popular as the cultural hub of Shimla, The Ridge is a must on your
list of things to do in Shimla.
Whether looking for a quiet cup of coffee after a long day of sightseeing or
old British and Gothic establishments and architecture, The Ridge is your stop.
It also connects to Scandal Point at one end and Lakkar Bazaar (famous for woodcraft) at the other end. The Ridge becomes the hotspot of the city during fests and events, the most popular being the Summer Festival.
Location: Ridge Road, near Mall Road, Himachal Pradesh - 171001.
Highlights: The Ridge of Shimla is the hub of all the cultural activities of Shimla. Some of the prominent places of Shimla such as the Lakkar Bazaar, Mall, Scandal Point, Jakhoo hill, etc is in close proximity to the Ridge.
Cost: No entry fee.
Go Trekking in Shimla
Location: Trekking can be tried at several undulating terrains as well as hills in Shimla. Some of the popular and common routes for trekking include:
Shimla - Luhri - Ani - Khanag - Jalori Pass - Jibhit - Banjar
Shimla - Narkanda - Hattu Peak - Chaupal - Kedi - Halau - Kandol - Koti - Chakrata
Shimla - Narkanda - Khadrala - Sungri - Devidhar - Rohru - Shimla
Banjar - Bathad - Sarahan - Arsu - Rampur - Shimla
You can check here the list of best treks you can opt-in Shimla.
Highlights: Treks usually vary from each other and one can pick the length of the trek depending on the time and the capability. There are several shelters as well as the rest houses that have been set for the tourists to rest and re-energize.
Cost: Variable and depends on the length of the treks.
Shop till you drop at Mall Road
Get a glimpse of the local life by visiting Mall Road, a bustling street in the centre of Shimla. It is a perfect area for a thorough shopping spree with numerous shops for woollen clothes, local handicraft items, rugs, pottery items, jewellery, and many more that will fascinate you.
The best time to come and get the feel of it is during the evening when several tourists as well as locals come out on the road to the shop and explore around.
If you are not a crowd person but still want to experience the humdrum of the area, you have a variety of quaint little cafe to sit in with a hot cuppa and see the evening go by.
Now you know why coming here is one of the most favourite tourist activities to do in Shimla.
Location: Mall road, Shimla centre, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.
Highlights: Bustling market with different shops and cafes.
Cost: Depends on the shop.
Indulge in River Rafting
Location: The river Sutlej that flows near Shimla offers great options for river rafting. The very popular whitewater rafting place in Shimla is carried out from the Chabba to Tattapani. The length of this stretch is 12 km and takes about 2 hours to challenge the much rapid and aggressive Sutlej river.
Highlights: This adventure sport is usually carried out on an inflatable rubber dinghy.
Cost: Variable and depends on the length of the duration and the track you choose for rafting.
Check here: Some of the best packages of River Rafting in Shimla.
Experience the Ride on Toy Train
With gorgeous views of pine-covered hills,
this five-hour train ride should be on your things to do in Shimla list. A 96 kilometres run, this journey
will take you through 20 stations, 103 tunnels, 800 bridges and about 900
The distance between Barog and Shimla is the most amazing part of this journey when the train slows down due to a steep climb, giving you the opportunity to witness some mesmerising scenes. Advance booking is recommended.
Highlights: Barog Station which has the longest tunnel.
Cost: INR 65 to INR 500.
Suggested Read: Thrilling Paragliding Adventures in Shimla
Shimla is the capital city of Himachal Pradesh and offers great view, pleasant weather and beautiful bazaar for shopping to its guests. Along with some hot fritters, you can visit church while enjoying valley views around.
About the Stay:
- Get ready for a beautiful stay in midst of forests which are fabricated with perfect privacy and high-class services. These cottages near Shimla are set in dense forest of oak and pine trees. Interior furnishings exude a warm and jungle ambiance – simple yet stylish and elegant.
- Not only comfort, cafe is hosted is highly experienced chefs who are brilliant in taste of various palettes and would not let you go away anywhere for your favorite dishes.
- So, just book your favorite variant, depending upon the group size and people and dive in the jungle with perfect solitude to calm self.
- The property offers 11 deluxe mud-finished cottage having large singles bed in each, 6 super deluxe pine cottages having private sit-out, 2 family suites with large sit-out and surrounded by trees and 1 deluxe suite having 2 large bedrooms having common living room in between.
Check-in time: 2 P.M.
Check-out time: 11 A.M.
How to reach?
If you have ever dreamed of flying, Shimla is the place where you can come and make your dream of flying come true. Due to its perfect hills, ideal for paragliding, Shimla serves as an excellent paragliding destination and makes it a mecca of thrill-seekers.
The vistas of the mighty mountain ranges you can witness during the activity are enough to make it an unforgettable experience. Try this activity in Shimla to shoot up the level of adrenaline running through your blood.
Location: The best place in Shimla to experience the exhilarating fun of paragliding in Shimla is Kangra Valley. Fly gracefully over the enchanting valley of Kangra and land like a champion on its meadows on your next visit to Shimla
Highlights: This adventure sport will make you fall in love with mountain ranges and valleys.
Cost: Variable and depends on the length of the duration.
Go through the list of different packages for Paragliding so that you can choose the best one for you.
Skate at natural Ice Skating Rink
Ice skating in Shimla usually commences in the month of December and goes on till late February. During this time, the skies are clear and the weather is cold thereby ensuring undisturbed sessions of ice skating.
Location: Lakkar Bazar, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171001.
Highlights: To the surprise of many, Shimla is the only ‘natural’ ice skating rink of India. This is the reason why this largest open-air rink, tends to attract both tourists as well as local, alike.
Cost: Cost will depend on the length of the session. Sessions of ice skating take place twice a day i.e. both in the morning as well as in the evening. The rink offers membership in both short-term as well as long-term basis.
Visit Chadwick Waterfall
Located in the Glen Forests, Chadwick Waterfall is a popular tourist site in Shimla. Flowing from a height of 1586 meters, the falls are surrounded by pine and deodars and carries the chilled water of the Himalayas. You can trek to the falls from Summer Hill or simply take a vehicle.
Either way, the scenery is unforgettable. It is also a preferred spot for picnics and day camps, and a water spot for the local wildlife. So, unless you wish to meet a leopard, it is advisable to head back before sundown.
Location: New Summer Hill, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh - 171005.
Highlights: The place was originally famous as the ‘Chidku Jhaar’ where Jhaar stands for waterfall and in the local dialect ‘Chidku’ means the bird. It is so-called because the waterfall is at such a height that only a bird can reach to the top. Britishers gave it the name ‘Chadwick Falls’.
Cost: No entry fee.
Take Blessings at Jakhoo Temple
Jakhoo temple is a famous religious tourist spot and coming here is naturally one of the most popular activities to do in Shimla. It is located in the Jhaku hill, amidst the dense forests of Deodar with the Shivalik ranges in the background.
To reach here, you have to trek for approx 2 km from the Ridge at the Shimla centre. On the way, you will be meeting numerous mischievous monkeys jumping around probably because this temple is dedicated to the lord of monkeys- Lord Hanuman.
It is believed that there are footprints of Hanuman when he came here to take sanjeevani booti for Lord Lakshman.
Location: Jakhu Temple Park, Jakhu, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.
Highlights: ancient temple, scenic views of Sanjauli and Shivalik hills.
Cost: No entry fees.
Know More: Best Time of the Year to Visit Shimla
Witness sunset at Scandal Point
Watching the sun exhibiting its crimson hues blended with each other is a treat to the eyes and soul. One visiting Shimla, must not miss out on this electrifying plight as it will rejuvenate you inside-out.
The name of the location adds a tint of mystery to it and, attracts the tourists from all over the map. Serenity and peace are interwoven in the aura of this point and, is just ideal to rediscover oneself.
Location: Located just 3 km away from the heart of the town.
Highlights: Breathtaking view of hills and the sun. Also, there are many options available for restaurants, eateries and places to shop in this area.
Cost: There is no fee to visit the Scandal Point.
Offbeat Things to Do in Shimla
Take a walk in the Pine Forest
Blessed with lush green and deciduous pine forests, Shimla brings out its magical facet when you go for a walk in one of the pine forests here.
Explore the wilderness and the quietude early in the morning while walking as the warm sun rays filter through the pine leaves touching your cold face.
Such a magical stroll through these enchanted forests can surely be considered as one of the most soothing things to do in Shimla.
Location: Various locations.
Highlights: Walk in the forest, Have a picnic, Hike to the forests.
Cost: Free of cost.
Suggested Read: Gorgeous Hill Stations Near Shimla
Cycle Tour to Water Catchment Wildlife Sanctuary
Known for its natural beauty and vast landscapes, Shimla Water Catchment Wildlife Sanctuary is a must-visit. If you want to relax in the green surroundings then hiking or cycling through the sanctuary must be on your list of things to do in Shimla.
Prior permission from the Department of Wildlife is required. Once you manage that, get ready to meet foxes, eagles or even leopards.
Location: NH 22, Charabra Mashobra, Himachal Pradesh - 171012.
Highlights: Get a cycle and explore the wildlife. You can spot various species of birds and animals including Monkeys, Deers, and if you're lucky you can spot a Leopard too.
Cost: INR 200 per vehicle. Cycles can also be hired at the sanctuary for a nominal price.
Enjoy the view of Shimla from Summer Hill
Part of the seven hills that form Shimla, the view from Summer Hill is one of those that you will never forget. Also known as Potter’s Hill, during winter, the hill is covered in pure white snow, and refreshingly pleasant during summers, making it the perfect escape from bustling city crowds.
In the past, Summer Hill has hosted Mahatma Gandhi at the Georgian mansion of Rajkumari Amrit Kaur. Today, it is home to the famous painter, Amrita Shergil. Himachal Pradesh University is also located here and provides students with the ideal location for concentrated studies.
Location: 5 km from The Ridge.
Highlights: You need to take the toy train to reach Summer Hill which is an amazing experience to have in Shimla. Summer Hill is the greenest neighbourhood of Shimla town away from the city crowds.
Cost: No entry fee.
Take a Historical Walk in Kuthar Fort
The fort spans an area of about 52.8 square kilometres and is located in the middle of the exotic background, pools as well as the beautiful gardens.
Location: Kuthar Fort is located at a small distance from both Arki and Subathu.
Highlights: Stretched in the large area of the region, there are a number of fresh-water springs flowing through here. It is surrounded by different picturesque locations such as the Gurkha Fort from Subathu, Kunihar, and Kasauli hill station.
Cost: INR 5 per person for Children
INR 10 per person for Adults
INR 100 per person for Foreigners
Suggested Read: Homestays in Shimla for a Pleasant Stay
Have a coffee at Cafe Simla Times
Sip a hot cuppa while sitting in this warm cosy cafe overlooking the best of Shimla views. It is located within the Willow hotel and provides lip-smacking gourmet cuisines like Italian, Indian, Lebanese, Chinese and Thai along with exquisite drinks and cocktails.
It has snug indoor as well as charming outdoor settings for guests to enjoy their solitude. You can sit under the crisp sunlight during the day and stretch it till the sundowner drinks are served while listening to some live music by the local bands.
It is also a great place for a quick snack after your legs are weary by exploring around Shimla.
Location: Hotel Willow Banks, Mall Rd, Near Tourism lift, Bemloi, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.
Highlights: Rooftop cafe, famous among tourists, great food.
Cost: Approx INR 1500 for 2 people.
Popular Read: Top Places to Visit in Shimla
Experience Golfing like Never before at Naldehra
One of the best things to do in Shimla is golfing at Naldhera, which has the most alluring golf course surrounded by mesmerizing splendours.
The heart-stopping atmosphere of the environs adds up to an amazing golfing experience. With 18 hole golf course, you can also savour delectable delicacies at the property.
Location: The address of Naldhera golf course is, P.O. Durgapur, Naldehra, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171007, around 22 km from the heart of Shimla.
Highlights: One of the oldest golf course in India, Naldehra is the 9 hole golf course measuring 4,285 yards. The golf course is open throughout the year.
Cost: Rs 400/- (Green fee) for Indians and Rs. 570/- (Green fee) for Foreigners.
Ski through the Hillocks of Kufri
Exemplary hillock located at an altitude of 2622 meters is the winter sports capital of Shimla, with enthralling snow adventures, skiing being one of them. The scenic beauty of Kufri is beyond one’s imagination, covered with snow in all the quarters.
You will just get spellbind as you ski through the snow, at this quaint slice of Himalayas. Moreover, here you can also delve in Heliskiing, which is reached by helicopter instead of a ski lift and, is a little costlier.
Location: Located at a distance 13 kilometres from Shimla, you can enjoy skiing at Kufri’s amusement park.
Highlights: You can indulge yourself in various adventurous activities like trekking, camping, tobogganing, etc. Kufri along with Chail and Shimla forms the famous Golden Triangle of Himachal Pradesh.
Cost: The cost ranges between Rs 300/- to Rs 500/-.
Visit to Apple Orchards
One of the most exciting activities to do in Shimla is picking apples in the lovely apple orchards. Shimla is blessed with the perfect weather to grow apples and thus, is filled with numerous orchards that produce and export copious amounts of crispy, crunchy and deliciously sweet apples.
You can even learn a lot about the process of growing different types of apples by interacting with the farmers there.
Location: Various locations in Shimla.
Highlights: Apple picking, photography.
Cost: Depends on different orchards.
A local town near Shimla which is situated on an elevation of 5100 feet is called as Junga. It is around 26 km from Shimla and is surrounded by green hills with snow-capped mountains and has a forest cover of kail, deodar, pine, cheel, ban and other trees.
About the camp:
The camp is located in the upper reaches at an altitude of 5100ft. Moreover, it is situated amid dense pine forests and is in close proximity to the Shimla, Chail etc. Extraordinary holiday awaits you under starry nights and sunlit mornings at this camp.
About the Stay:
The stay encompasses 20 tents which can be accommodated on double sharing basis easily and has en-suite toilets and bathrooms for your comfort. A total of 40 people can stay here at a time.
Check-In Time: 11:00 AM
Check-Out Time: 11:00 AM
About the activities:
The activities include indoor games like chess, carom, outdoor games like badminton, football and nature walk around the site. You will also be provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner cooked in home style.
How to reach?
The camp is around 35 km from Shimla bus stand and can be reached by cab or taxi. You will be given exact details right after the booking confirmation.
Minimum number of people required- 2.
Other Things to Do In Shimla
Shopping at Lakkar Bazaar
Location: Adjoining the Ridge in Shimla.
Highlights: The Shimla’s Lakkar Bazaar is famous especially for its woollen apparels. In the Bazaar, you can come across a diverse range of artefacts, pashmina shawls, woollens and handicrafts for you to pick from. Dry fruits and the "Kullu Shawls" of the bazaar are also very famous.
A popular eatery here in the Lakkar Bazaar is the Sita Ram. It serves the best sumptuous ‘chole bhature’ to satiate your hunger post shopping. Other things found at the Bazaar include wooden handicrafts, Chinese shoes, Tibetan mats and carpets. Shops also house handmade shoes, woollen caps and dolls.
Cost: No entry fee.
You can also go for local sightseeing in Shimla near the Bazaars.
Visit Rashtrapati Niwas
Presently known as the Institute of Advanced Studies, Rashtrapati Niwas is a stunning building and visiting here is one of the best things to do in Shimla.
Only some parts of the institute are open for tourists to visit while others are used by the institute. It will take your breath away with its Scottish architecture and the lovely vast lawns around it.
It is located on the western end of Shimla ridge, 3.5 km away from the centre. The institute is open for tourists from 9 am to 4:50 pm and remains closed on Mondays and national holidays.
Location: Rashtrapati Nivas Chaura Maidan Road, Near, Observatory Hill, Boileauganj, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.
Highlights: Scottish architecture, immaculately manicured gardens.
Cost: Entry fees is INR 50 for Indian Nationals and INR 100 for Foreigners.
Separate fees for senior citizens, children and garden area guided tour at INR 30.
Go Johnnie’s Wax Museum
A recent addition to tourist attractions in Shimla, the museum was inaugurated in 2016. Currently, housing 16 life-size statues of popular personalities from fields on movies, sports and politics, the statues are made at the famous Madame Tussauds in London.
You can also get a wax replica of your hand at an additional nominal cost. Put this on your things to do in Shimla list and get ready to meet Harry Potter, Barack Obama, Tony Stark and Amir Khan amongst others.
Location: Near Willow Bank, 2, Mall Road, The Mall, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh - 171001.
Highlights: Statues are handmade in London. All the statues look amazingly realistic which makes it a must-visit place in Shimla.
Cost: INR 250 per person.
Enjoy a panoramic view from Kiala forest
The perfect destination for nature lovers,
wildlife enthusiasts and adventure sports lovers, Kiala Forest gives you dense
vegetation and varied wildlife. Enjoy a panoramic view of the city or capture
unforgettable moments in the wilderness, you will never be disappointed.
The best way to explore this reserve forest is on foot so if you have luggage with you, feel free to use the locker facility available. A little away from the main city, this is the perfect getaway from the busy crowds, right into nature’s lap. You are advised to carry snacks and water.
Location: Kotkhai, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh - 171202.
Highlights: The forest is quite deep and you can also spot leopards and other wild animals while exploring the forest.
Cost: No entry fee.
Also Read: 20 Best Resorts to stay in Shimla
Day Outing at Green Valley
With a lot of tourists coming here, Green valley or as the locals call it Hassan Valley, is one of the paramount places to visit for a detour from Shimla for a day.
It lies amidst the beautiful mountain ranges and is just 10 Km away from Shimla by car. It is located on the way to Kufri from Shimla, so travellers can stop here on the way and enjoy the panoramic views of the Himalayan ranges.
Roam around, have a picnic or hike in the dense evergreen forest of Deodar here. An ideal place to come to breathe the fresh mountainous air, away from the now touristy Shimla, Green valley is surely a place worth visiting.
Location: Kufri, Himachal Pradesh 171012.
Highlights: Breathtaking views of Himalayan Ranges, dense Deodar forests.
Cost: No entry fees.
Also Read: Stunning Places to Visit Near Shimla
Awaken the spirituality at Tara Devi Temple
Visiting Tara Devi Temple is one of the most popular religious activities to do in Shimla. Situated at an altitude of 1851 above sea level and set at an ideal location with quiet forests and valleys at its backdrop, this temple oozes out positive vibes and tranquillity.
As you step into the premises of this temple, you will see that it is a fully wooden building and has been recently renovated just like the old structure of 250 years, probably more.
The idol of Tara Devi inside is built from Ashtadhatu, a unique blend of eight elements. It is pretty easy to come here as it is located 11 km from Shimla.
Location: NH.22, Kachi Ghati, Bagh, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171001.
Highlights: Peaceful religious setting.
Cost: No entry fees.
Learn the Culture at Himachal State Museum
If you are coming to Shimla with your children, Himachal State Museum is a great place to take them. The museum highlights ancient, archaeological, and artistic objects such as antique tools, utensils, coins, and traditional garments.
They are a great source to know the culture and heritage of Shimla and Himachal Pradesh. With the museum also providing with scenic views atop the secluded hill, it would surely be one of the fascinating activities to do in Shimla.
Make sure you come here after checking your calendar as it remains closed on Mondays and other public holidays.
Location: Museum Road, near Doordarshan Kendra, Chaura Maidan, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.
Highlights: Archaeological objects, hilltop views.
Cost: INR 30 for Indian Nationals and INR 100 for Foreign Nationals.
Light a candle at Christ Church
Built in a Neo-Gothic style by the Britishers, Christ Church is a very popular landmark in Shimla. Tourists and architecture lovers usually come here to ogle at the colourful stained glass windows and the Sanctuary Wall Fresco.
Some also come here with a religious purpose and even light a candle after praying. The fact that this church is the second oldest church in Northern India makes it more alluring to visit.
Visiting here in winters is surely one of the best things to do in Shimla, as its beauty doubles up and looks just like a castle surrounded by the thick white snow.
Location: Hotel Ridge View, Ridge To US Club, Lakkar Bazar, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.
Highlights: Neo-Gothic style of architecture.
Cost: No entry fees.
Hike to Shaily Peak
One of the prettiest spots in Shimla, Shaily Peak is located about 22 km away from Shimla at Nalhendra hill station.
It is a lush green peak with dense forests and rocky trails, to which you can trek for about 8 km, starting from Khatnol. Pack along some food and water for a great picnic after reaching the top.
The ideal time to visit here would be early in the morning when it is still misty and magical. The stunning views of the sunrise and the beautiful sunset from the hilltop are to die for.
A golf course is also present here for you to enjoy playing in the lush green terrains of Shaily. With all these, visiting Shaily peak is surely one of the top things to do in Shimla.
Location: Nalhendra, Himachal Pradesh.
Highlights: Admire nature, photography, trekking.
Cost: No entry fees.
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