Chennai, a city known for its culture and cuisine, is situated on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. Due to its vicinity to the coastline, the city doesn’t experience extreme temperature variations across the three seasons – summer, monsoon, and winter. However, as a result of its location near the equator, Chennai has a humid and hot climate all through the year. So, when is the best time to visit Chennai? The period from November to February is ideal for booking your hotels in Chennai and heading out for a trip. The non-peak months of summers and monsoons can also be considered depending on what you want to explore.
Let’s take a detailed look at the best season to visit Chennai, climatic conditions in summers, winters, and monsoons, and how to explore the city in each season.
Chennai in Summers (March to June)
Summer in Chennai is characterized by hot and humid weather and scanty rainfall. March marks the beginning of this dry season and it continues till June. The season peaks in late May to early June, which is the hottest part of the year in Chennai. With the mercury levels soaring high, this period is locally known as Agni Nakshatram (which translates to fire star) or Kathiri Veyyil.
The only relief you can expect in the scorching Chennai summer is the gentle breeze that blows in the evening. Since the days are blazing hot and the nights remain equally warm, summer is not the best season to visit Chennai and explore the cityscape.
- Maximum Temperature: 33 to 38 degree Celsius
- Minimum Temperature: 22 to 28 degree Celsius
Things to Do in Chennai in Summers
If you are visiting the city during summers, it’s advisable not to step out during the daytime. However, you can include indoor tourist places as well as early-morning and night-time attractions in your itinerary. Here’s a list of things to do in Chennai in summers:
- Go for an early morning or late-evening stroll on Marina Beach, Elliot Beach or Basant Nagar Beach
- Escape to the hill stations near Chennai – Yelagiri (230 km), Horsley Hills (263 km), Yercaud (340 km), Kolli Hills (360 km), etc.
- Watch a late-evening cultural show at Kalakshetra
- Go for a guided ghost tour in the night to the haunted places in Chennai
- Watch a movie at the Prarthana Beach Drive-in Theatre
- Beat the heat with a glass of beer at the best pubs in Chennai – Pasha, Gatsby 2000, Blend, etc.
- Take a Night Safari trip to Madras Crocodile Bank
- Visit the water parks in Chennai – MGM Dizzee World, Kishkinta Theme Park, MGM Dizzee World, etc.
- Enjoy a ‘cool’ time at VGP Snow Kingdom
- Go shopping or catch a movie at the air-conditioned shopping malls in Chennai – Phoenix Marketcity, Express Avenue Mall, Fountain Plaza, etc.
- Celebrate Aruvathimoovar Festival (March-April)
Chennai in Monsoon (July to October)
Monsoon arrives in Chennai with torrential rain and strong winds, providing respite from the summer heat. You can expect heavy downpours between July and early September. The post-monsoon or the retreat of monsoon (September and October) is the time when the city experiences occasional rainfall due to the tropical cyclones emerging in the Andaman Islands located not far away.
While the peak monsoon season is not considered to be the best time to visit Chennai, you can definitely plan your trip in the post-monsoon months.
- Maximum Temperature: 32 to 36 degree Celsius
- Minimum Temperature: 24 to 26 degree Celsius
Things to Do in Chennai in Monsoon
Sightseeing in the rain-washed city can be a pleasant affair, but only if you are not caught in a sudden downpour. The top things you can do in Chennai during the monsoon season include:
- Explore the waterfalls near Chennai – Tada Waterfalls (90 km), Kailasakona (90 km), Talakona (190 km), etc.
- Go on one-day getaways from Chennai – Mahabalipuram (60 km), Kanchipuram (75 km), Pondicherry (150 km), etc.
- Visit the museums in Chennai – Government Museum, Fort Museum, Vintage Camera Museum, etc.
- Enjoy the rains with a cup of filter coffee and great South Indian food at the best restaurants in Chennai – Dakshin, Annalakshmi, Junior Kuppanna, Kumarakom, etc.
- Pay your respect at the temples in Chennai – Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Parthasarathy Temple, Kalikambal Temple, etc.
- Visit the beautiful churches in Chennai – Armenian Church, Mary’s Church, Velankanni Church, etc.
- Head to Fun City for Pool Gaming and Bowling
- Attend the Hindu Metroplus Theatre Fest (around August)
- Celebrate Aadi Festival and enjoy the shopping deals during the period (around August)
Chennai in Winters (November to February)
Winters in Chennai are pleasant but the temperature does not drop really low. It means the city experiences warm winters as compared to most other states in India. The season sets in by November and extends till February. January is the coolest month of the season. The city experiences cyclone and depressions during this season due to its proximity to the Bay of Bengal.
Occasionally, the NE monsoon hits Chennai between October and December, resulting in rainfall. During the daytime, a cool breeze blows in from the sea. Even though the days are bright and sunny, the weather remains pleasant. All these factors come together to make winter the best season to visit Chennai.
- Maximum Temperature: 19 to 22 degree Celsius
- Minimum Temperature: 29 to 31 degree Celsius
Things to Do in Chennai in Winters
Winters are the best time to experience Chennai and its culture in its full splendor. From sightseeing to picnics to street shopping, the list of things to do in Chennai in winters is exciting. Here’s a list:
- Explore the tourist attractions in Chennai
- Plan a day at the picnic spots in and around Chennai – Semmozhi Poonga, Muttukadu Lake, Covelong, etc.
- Spend a day at the Guindy National Park or Arignar Anna Zoological Park
- Explore the lakes in and around Chennai – Puzhal Lake, Korattur Lake, Chembarambakkam Lake, etc.
- Visit the mighty forts in Chennai – Fort St. George, Fort Geldria, Vellore Fort, etc.
- Enjoy the street foods in Chennai
- Go Fishing at Barracuda Bay
- Try some adventurous things to do in Chennai – Scuba diving, surfing, obstacle courses, etc.
- Celebrate Karthikai Deepam (November-December) and Pongal (January)
- Attend the Madras Music Season (December), Margazhi Festival of Dance and Music (mid-December to mid-January), and Natyanjali Dance Festival (February-March)
Regardless of the time of your visit, you won’t have a dull moment in this lovely city. So, now that you know everything about the best time to visit Chennai, go ahead and plan your itinerary.