Explore Chennai: its temples, cafes, entertainment and more!

Colonial-era relics, temples and a rich food and arts scene welcome visitors to Chennai. The city was established as a British trading post in 1639. Now Chennai is India’s fourth-largest city and the capital of the southeastern Tamil Nadu state. Chennai’s people are welcoming. A variety of attractions presents the chance to experience the best of Tamil culture.

Chennai’s historic heart is George Town, a medley of narrow streets and bazaars lined with traditional silk and spice shops. Admire the architecture of the red-sandstone High Court and take a tour of the 18th-century Armenian Church, one of the oldest churches in India. Learn about Chennai’s history at the museum of Fort St. George, India’s first British-built fortress.

Take a rickshaw to the Government Museum, set in a complex of British-era buildings. Check out the ancient bronze sculptures and a curious skeleton and taxidermy display. Spot work by notable Indian artists, such as Raja Ravi Varma, at the National Art Gallery.

Wander through the vibrant streets of Triplicane, where you’ll find the impressive eighth-century Parthasarathy Temple. Enjoy a dawn or sunset stroll along Marina Beach. It’s a hive of activity, from cricket matches and kite flying to fortune tellers and street food vendors.

Don’t miss the Portuguese-influenced Mylapore neighborhood. Marvel at the white-washed San Thome Church, built on the tomb of the apostle St. Thomas. See a typical example of Dravidian architecture, characterized by pyramid-shaped buildings, at the Kapaleeswarar Temple.

Chennai thrives in showcasing its Tamil culture through music and dance, most notably during the Margazhi Festival in December and January. See a vast collection of everyday art at the Rukmini Devi Museum. Sample the city’s delectable Tamil cuisine. Try dishes such as spicy chettinad pepper chicken and local vegetarian specialties.

Chennai is the busy transportation hub of South India, and is well served by trains, buses and international flights. The city is notoriously hot and stuffy; after a few days of sightseeing activity many visitors travel to nearby beach resorts and hill stations.

Known for

Shopping, Cafés and Temples

Top hotels in Chennai

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Image for Hyatt Regency Chennai
Hyatt Regency Chennai
5 out of 5
365 Anna Salai, Teynampet, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Rs4,687
per night
4 Oct-5 Oct
4.1/5Very Good! (245 reviews)

This family-friendly Chennai hotel is located near the airport, within 2 mi (3 km) of Consulate General of the United States, Chennai, Express Avenue and Spencer's ...

4.1/5Very Good! (245 reviews)

"Good and the Bad. I have to say when we first arrived here the quality of repair of the rooms and certain parts of the hotel especially the pool was a big let down for us and not what we would expect from a Hyatt. The star rating would be a lot lower if it wasn't for the service we got from the waiting ..."…"

Reviewed on 16 Sep 2019

Hyatt Regency Chennai
Image for Taj Club House
Taj Club House
5 out of 5
No 2 Club House Road, Off Mount Road, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Rs5,200
per night
27 Sep-28 Sep
4.4/5Wonderful! (304 reviews)

This family-friendly Chennai hotel is located in the business district, within 1 mi (2 km) of Spencer's Plaza Shopping Mall and Consulate General of the United ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (304 reviews)

"Location of the property is at the heart of Chennai. The staff was very courteous and helpful."…"

Reviewed on 13 Sep 2019

Taj Club House
Image for The Leela Palace Chennai
The Leela Palace Chennai
5 out of 5
175 Sathya Dev Avenue Extn, MRC Nagar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Rs7,899
per night
30 Sep-1 Oct
4.7/5Exceptional! (300 reviews)

This family-friendly Chennai hotel is located by the sea, within 3 mi (5 km) of Kapaleeswarar Temple and Marina Beach. Phoenix Market City is 5.7 mi (9.2 km) ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (300 reviews)

"Excellent facility with very attentive staff right from the time we checkin, choice of 3 beautiful restaurants that serve delicious food. Overall very pleased to spend a day here to celebrate my wife’s birthday. Well worth it and would recommend this hotel to anyone who visits Chennai."…"

Reviewed on 20 Aug 2019

The Leela Palace Chennai

Popular things to do in Chennai

Marina Beach
Image for Marina Beach

Marina Beach

Relaxed walks, pretty sunrises, elaborate entertainment, traditional Indian street food and historical landmarks make this one of Chennai’s liveliest beaches.

Kapaleeswarar Temple
Image for Kapaleeswarar Temple

Kapaleeswarar Temple

Marvel at the Dravidian architecture of this centuries-old temple, spot intricately carved figurines, watch devotees pray and experience a lively Hindu festival.

Fort St. George
Image for Fort St. George

Fort St. George

Spot impressive architecture and admire displays of British Raj artifacts as you explore this 17th-century citadel, one of Chennai’s finest colonial monuments.

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