The cultural capital of Southern India, Chennai, is a perfect fusion of magnificent heritage and modern developments. Though it might look like any other metropolitan city at first sight, the more you explore Chennai, the more you will fall in love with it. For those who want to see every aspect of Chennai, even a week-long vacation is not enough. And, if you have only a day to spend in the city, then, all we can say is check out our list of places to visit in Chennai in one day. We hope this will help you in getting to know the city better.
1. Sri Parthasarathy Temple
Built by the Pallavas in the 8th century, Sri Parthasarathy is one of the oldest temples in Chennai, dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The structure that we see at present is the result of renovations and upgrades made by the kings of the Vijayanagar Empire in the 16th century. The main highlights of the temple are five icons depicting the forms of Lord Vishnu – Rama, Krishna, Narasimha, Ranganatha, and Gajendra. With elaborate carvings on the towers and pillars, the temple is amongst the 108 sacred centers of Sri Vaishavites, and is swarmed by devotees throughout the year.
- Location: Narayana Krishnaraja Puram, Triplicane
- Timings: 05:30 am – 12:00 pm; 04:00 pm – 09:00 pm
2. Government Museum
Established in 1857, the Government Museum is the second oldest museum in India. With sections ranging from Art to Zoology, the museum possesses archaeological and numismatic collections. The main attraction of the museum is the huge collection of Roman antiquities and South Indian bronzes. Built in Indo-Saracenic style, the National Art Gallery within the museum is another crowd-pleaser, which houses rare works of famous artists including Raja Ravi Varma. Read more about things to do in Chennai
- Location: Pantheon Rd, Egmore
- Timings: 09.30 am to 05.00 pm (Closed on Friday)
- Entry Fee: ₹15 for Indians; ₹250 for Foreigners
3. Valluvar Kottam
Valluvar Kottam is an architectural marvel that was built to pay tribute to the famous Tamil poet Saint Thiruvalluvar. The monument is a 101-feet high temple chariot standing on a region that was once the deepest point of Nungambakkam Lake. Made of 3000 blocks of stone, the chariot is the replica of the temple chariot in Thiruvarur. A 33-meter tall statue of Saint Thiruvalluvar is installed in the chariot and all the chapters from his famous work, Thirukkural, are depicted in the corridors of the front hall of the chariot. Furthermore, there’s an auditorium that can accommodate approximately 3500 people.
- Location: Tirumurthy Nagar, Nungambakkam,
- Timings: 08.30 am – 05.30 pm
- Entry Fee: ₹ 10
- Accommodation: Budget hotels near chennai airport
4. Santhome Cathedral Basilica
Also known as San Thomas Cathedral Basilica, this minor basilica is one of the significant religious sites for Christians. Inspired by the Neo-gothic style, the cathedral is a beautiful piece of architecture with large windows and well-lit interiors. It is believed that one of the 12 apostles of the Christ who visited the place was put to death in 72 A.D. Santhome Cathedral Basilica is built on the top of his resting place. The museum in the church has the fingerprint of the apostle, a stone receptacle, and a lace head that was used to kill the apostle.
- Location: Santhome High Road
- Timings: 06:00 am – 09:00 pm (All days of the week)
- Accommodation: Budget Hotels near egmore railway station
5. Kapaleeshwarar Temple
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Kapaleeshwarar Temple was built in the 8th century by the Pallavas. However, the structure that we see today was rebuilt in the 16th century by the rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire. Amongst the most beautiful temples in Chennai, the temple exhibits a rich history and culture of the city. There is a 37 meters tall gopuram in the temple, which is inspired by Dravidian architecture. The temple has bronze idols of 63 Nayanars and other beautiful sculptures, so, if you are an art lover, this temple is a must-visit attraction.
- Location: Vinayaka Nagar Colony, Mylapore
- Timings: 05:00 am – 11:00 am; 04:00 pm – 09:30 pm
Also Read: Places to Visit in South India
6. Marina Beach
Your trip to Chennai is incomplete without visiting the second longest beach in the world – Marina Beach. Known for its alluring sunrises, the golden sand augments the beauty of the beach where you can indulge in fishing, water sports, and windsurfing. For the food lover in you, there are plenty of food stalls on the beach serving delicious seafood and snacks. If you want to explore the beach more, walk to the lighthouse to enjoy the spectacular view of the ocean.
7. Semmozhi Poonga
Semmozhi Poonga is a botanical garden set up by the Horticulture Department of Government of Tamil Nadu. Covering 20 acres of land, the garden has more than 500 species of plants including rare flora and medicinal herbs. Some of the exotic plants in the park including Bonsai varieties are imported from countries like Thailand and China. Attractions like water and rock gardens make this place a popular picnic spot in Chennai.
- Location: Ellaiamman Colony, Teynampet
- Timings: 10:00 am – 07:30 pm
- Entry Fee: ₹ 15
8. T. Nagar
Nobody leaves Chennai without packing some silk sarees in their bags. And, that accounts for T. Nagar’s popularity amongst tourists. Haven for shopaholics and silk lovers, it is a bustling shopping district with stores selling beautiful silk sarees and gold jewelry. The shops here offer heavy discounts on saris and other items. Once done with shopping, we suggest you eat at street side stalls that serve authentic South Indian food.
9. Vivekananda House
Vivekananda House is a historic place housing permanent exhibition of exquisite paintings depicting Swami Vivekanand’s life and Indian culture. Swami Vivekanand stayed here after his return from the west. The building is famous for its architecture and inspire thousands of people who visit the museum every year.
- Location: Kamarajar Salai, Triplicane
- Timings: 10:00 am – 12:30 pm; 03:00 pm – 07:30 pm (Closed on Monday)
- Entry Fee: ₹ 10
10. MGR Film City
MGR Film City is a popular film studio complex, named after the Tamil actor and long-time Chief Minister of the State, MG Ramachandran. Spread over 70 acres of land, the film city has indoor and outdoor shooting locations with replicas of landscaped gardens, and artificial sets serving as backdrops. If it’s your lucky day, you might even spot famous Tamil actors shooting at MGR Film City.
- Location: Taramani
- Timings: 08:00 am – 08:00 pm
- Entry Fee: ₹ 25
Chennai might not have a lot of world-famous monuments, but there’s something about the city that attracts travelers from all corners of the world. We recommend that you plan a weekend getaway in Chennai to see an altogether different side of the city. And, to make your holiday in Chennai more memorable, book a hotel in Chennai in advance to get better deals.