Kolkata is equal parts chaos and charming! From its busy corners to its ever-evolving markets, the City of Joy has plenty on offer to tourists who are ready to explore. Whether you are a literature student or a person who likes to dive deep into different cultures, there is something for everyone.
If you are planning to visit the city anytime soon, here is a list of all the best places to visit in Kolkata. While some are iconic, there are some places that are hidden from the touristy crowd of the city and still demand a visit.
Places to Visit in Kolkata:
1. Victoria Memorial, Kolkata
An imposing white monument, Victoria Memorial is one of the most visited places in Kolkata, and for all good reasons. Named after Queen Victoria, it now serves as a museum and is perfect for history buffs. If you ever feel like taking a walk down our past and reflect on how long India has come from its colonization days, visit this place. There are light and sound shows held in the evening. The era of India’s freedom struggle is shown not only through the light and sound show but through a series of paintings, artifacts, sculptures and books. We would recommend spending at least 3-4 hours to gain knowledge about our country’s past.
Museum – 10:00 am to 05:00 pm; closed on Mondays and National Holidays
Gardens – 05:30 am to 06:15 pm; every day
- Entry Fee:
Museum – ₹20 for Indians; ₹500 for foreign nationals
Gardens – ₹10 per person
2. Howrah Bridge, Kolkata
To say that Howrah Bridge is one of the top places to visit in Kolkata would be an understatement. An unofficial emblem of the city, Howrah Bridge merits a visit if you want to spend some time alone with just the ocean in front of you. Sit here in silence or simply observe the fishermen go about their work at dawn and dusk.
- Trivia: Did you know that the bridge has been renamed after Rabindranath Tagore and is now called Rabindra Setu.
3. Park Street, Kolkata
If posting photos of brunches with your bffs is your favorite thing to do, head to Park Street. Because this place has the most instagrammable cafes and restaurants! Park Street has become a hub for people who want to chill out in the evening. From high-end restaurants to iconic clubs and pubs, this place has them all.
- Trivia: Park Street is also home to India’s first independent nightclub.
4. New Market, Kolkata
Built by the British in 1874, New Market is the place where all the shopaholics go to get the best of clothes, jewelry, and other items. One of the places to visit in Kolkata for youngsters, the market is a maze of stalls and has around 2000 of these. If you can bargain and have a good eye for items, this market is perfect for you.
- Pro Tip: If you cannot shop in crowded spaces, avoid the place during the weekends. Check Malls in Kolkata
5. Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Kolkata
The temple is dedicated to Bhavatarani, an aspect of Goddess Kali and ‘the savior of the universe’. One of the oldest and most important temples to have ever been built, it receives pilgrims from all over the world.
The temple was founded by Rani Rashmoni, who lost her husband and was left with a vast amount of wealth. The idea of building this temple came to her in a dream and this was the last thing she did before going on a pilgrimage to Varanasi.
6. Kumortuli, Kolkata
Durga Pujo is perhaps one of the most vibrant and extravagant festivals to be celebrated in Kolkata. Spanning over 10 days, everything from the pandals to the delicious food served on the final day, this festival happens on a grand scale. While witnessing the splendor of this festival in the city should be on everyone’s bucket list, if you are more of a creative person, we recommend go and watch how the Durga idols are made in Kumortuli.
A potter’s community which is around 300 years old, the place buzzes with life in the weeks preceding the festival. Over 150 families reside in the area and toil away diligently to complete all the idols for the festival. You can take a walk through the place and talk to the potters and get a better idea of how these beautiful idols are made.
7. Babu Ghat, Kolkata
While Princep Ghat is one of the most famous places to visit in Kolkata, if you want to visit a place which is not much crowd and offers scenic views, visit Babu Ghat. Offering a stunning view of the iconic Howrah Bridge, it is perfect for photography enthusiasts and merits a visit before it gets too crowded.
- Location: Strand Road, BBD Bagh
8. College Street, Kolkata
If you want to shop for books in Kolkata, there is no better place than College Street. One of the top places to visit in Kolkata for youngsters, College Street is akin to Daryaganj of Delhi, the only difference being that this street is open throughout the week.
Everything from course books to second-hand novels can be found at College Street. Don’t forget to haggle and wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
9. South Park Cemetery, Kolkata
Fan of everything spooky and haunted, visit South Park Cemetery. One of the most haunted places in India, this place is equal parts beautiful and equal parts eerie. Established in 1767, the cemetery was founded by the British and is a remnant of their architectural style. Take a walk through the cemetery during the day and you will find plenty of spots that are worth admiring.
However, by night the place is shut down and entry is prohibited because of the strange incidents that have happened in the past.
10. Old Chinatown, Kolkata
The only Chinatown in all of India, this place is a haven for people who want to taste the delicacies of this Asian country. The place evolved after Chinese traders who came to work on the ports settled here. While the place may have lost its authenticity, there are some stalls that still serve authentic Chinese appetizers like pork sausage, prawn crackers, momos and fish ball soup.
- Timings: 10 am – 8:30 pm
Apart from these places, there is Mother Teresa’s House which also merits a visit. Of course, Kolkata has plenty of attractions worth seeing and if you have enough time on hand, explore the city in its tram (or on foot), you will be surprised and in awe. Which is your favorite place in the City of Joy? Book hotels in Kolkata
Places to Visit in Kolkata Video:
Frequently Asked Questions About Kolkata:
Q: What are the most loved shopping places in Kolkata?
A: New Market, Chandni Chowk, Burrabazar, Gariahat Market and Hatibagan Market are the most popular places to visit in Kolkata for shoppers. Malls like South City, City Centre I & II, Quest, Acropolis and more are great for finding branded everything. Park Street is also quite popular, especially for designer stuff.
Q: What are local markets in Kolkata famous for?
A: Kolkata’s markets are known for a variety of sarees including Laal Paad, Tant, Kantha and Baluchari or Swarnachari. Moreover, you can find Solapith handicrafts, Kalighat paintings, conch shell bangles, terracotta artefacts, Putul dolls, Dhokra crafts and jute items in the oldest shopping districts in Kolkata.
Q: Suggest some street food delicacies that are a must-try in Kolkata.
A: A food trail through the streets of Kolkata should always start with the delicious puchkas, followed by churmur, ghugni chaat, aloo chop, peyaji, shingara, jhalmuri and the famous kathi rolls. To end it on a sweet note, try rasgullas or chanar jilipi.
Q: I”m looking for fine dining places in Kolkata. Any recommendations?
A: Aaheli, Alfresco, Bohemian, La Cucina and Asia Kitchen are some of the best restaurants in Kolkata. But we’d also recommend you to try streetside eateries like Sree Hari Mistanna Bhandar, Vien and Mitra Cafe to enjoy authentic flavours of Kolkata.
Q: Where can I go for partying in Park Street, Kolkata?
A: There are many good pubs in Kolkata’s Park Street including Someplace Else, The Myx, Hard Rock Cafe, Olypub, Roxy, M Bar Kitchen, Aqua, Tantra, Barf Soda Paani and The Lords and Barons.
Q: What are the main transit hubs in Kolkata?
A: Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport is the main air gateway to the city, connecting it to cities across India, Southeast Asia and some in Europe. There are two main railway stations in Kolkata — Howrah and Sealdah. For inter-city and inter-state buses, Esplanade Bus Station is the main gateway.
Q: How to travel within Kolkata?
A: To get around Kolkata, you can use public transport like CSTC, CTC and WBSTC buses, suburban trains, the very famous yellow ambassador taxis, age-old tram network, auto rickshaws and the latest addition, Kolkata metro.
Q: What is the best time to visit Kolkata?
A: October to February are the ideal months to visit Kolkata, especially if you are interested in sightseeing and outdoor activities. However, you can plan a trip to the city at any time of the year as it has something or the other to offer in every season.
Q: What are the Kolkata experiences that must not be missed?
A: Do not miss to see the majestic Royal Bengal Tiger at Sunderbans, stop by the famous Victoria Palace, try the local delicacies, explore the largest science museum in the subcontinent, take a ride on the tram, spend a day learning about the local culture in Kumortuli precinct and shop your heart out at the city’s age-old street markets.
Q: Are there any good places near Kolkata for a weekend trip?
A: Sunderbans (109 km), Bakhali (132 km), Bishnupur (141 km), Shantiniketan (157 km), Tajpur (174 km) and Digha (180 km) are a few of the most popular weekend getaways from Kolkata.