The ‘City of Joy’ has a lot to offer to people with its touristy attractions and old-world charm. Whether you like to explore historical monuments or prefer a culinary walk through the streets, Kolkata has got you covered on every front. From exploring its beautiful libraries and bookstores to relishing the famous ‘Rasgullas’, there are plenty of things to do in Kolkata. And, to help you plan a detailed itinerary that has all the top things to do in Kolkata, we have this blog. Already excited? Let’s start on our trip to Kolkata, shall we?
Here’s our list of top 15 things to do in Kolkata:
1. Stop by the famous Victoria Memorial Palace
No list of things to do in Kolkata would be complete without the mention of the beautiful Victoria Memorial Palace. Built of white makrana marble, this most photographed places in the entire city is designed in the Indo-Saracenic Revival Architectural style and is being transformed into a museum dedicated to Queen Victoria of England.
Upon entering the palace-cum-museum, you will feel like you’ve been transported to a monument in Europe. Though there are historic Indian design elements like paintings of Mughal emperors, the overall interior of the palace reveals a different vibe altogether.
P.S: Do take a stroll in the garden surrounding the palace.
- Location: Queen’s Valley
- Entry Fee: INR 30 (For Indians); INR 500 (For foreigners)
- Timings: 10 AM to 6 PM (Closed on Monday)
2. Get Acquainted with the Royal Bengal Tigers at Sundarbans
If wildlife safari is your thing, you just cannot afford to miss Sundarbans mangrove. One of the largest river deltas in India, this place is not just a haven for the Royal Bengal Tigers but also a UNESCO World Heritage site of Bangladesh. So, if you are keen to observe the mighty tigers, we recommend you take a trip to Sundarbans. You will need to have permits from the Office of the Field of Directors, Sundarbans Tiger Reserve to enter the estuary area.
- Location: Gosaba
- Entry Fee: INR 60 (For Indians); INR 200 (For foreigners)
- Timings: 8 AM to 6 PM
3. Visit Mother Teresa’s House
A humanitarian, missionary and above all, a woman of strength who devoted her life to serving those in need, Mother Teresa has amazed us with her generous work. If you have always been in awe of her (like me), visit her former home and charity in Kolkata, also known as the Motherhouse to take a closer look at how she lived and to know more about her ideologies. The place houses Mother Teresa’s tomb and a museum where all her personal belongings have been preserved.
- Location: Bose Road
- Entry Fee: INR 60 (For Indians); INR 200 (For foreigners)
- Timings: 10 AM to 9 PM
4. Try your Hand at Street Photography at New Market
Also known as the Sir Stuart Hogg Market, this place is an absolute shopper’s paradise. The market has different sections for every item and you can easily browse through it for some rare finds. The real beauty of the place is the chaotic action surrounding it with plenty of street vendors, food stalls, good restaurants and pushcart transporters hovering around the market. You can simply observe people all around you or click some amazing shots.
- Location: Taltala
- Timings: 10 AM to 9 PM
5. Explore the Myriad Temples of Kolkata
Home to the extravagant and eclectic Durga Pujo festival, going on a temple tour around the city is a definite thing to do. From the famous and often crowded Kalighat temple to the peaceful and calm Belur Nath Mandir, there are plenty of temples to visit in the city. You should also stop by the Dakshineshwar Kali temple, located opposite of Hoogly river. The temple is not only picturesque but also has a fair-like atmosphere with bustling street food vendors, stalls and other Hindu objects for sale.
6. Spend a Quiet Evening Near Howrah Bridge
While there are plenty of things to do near Howrah Bridge, just spending a quiet evening at the bridge is an experience that is worth taking time out for. A symbol of Kolkata, the bridge is constructed without any nuts and bolts and is the third longest cantilever bridge in the world. With plenty of pedestrians crossing it every single day, we recommend you become a part of this crowd for one day and simply soak in the view of the beautiful Hoogly river and the flower market located below the bridge.
P.S: Don’t forget to take your camera along with you if you want to take some amazing shots.
7. Educate Yourself on Different Topics at the Indian Museum
One of the oldest and the most prominent multipurpose museums in India, this one is a treasure trove of knowledge in the form of manuscripts, journals and archaeology of archaic artefacts that will definitely make your inner nerd happy. Case in point would be an ancient relic of Egyptian mummies, Lord Buddha and various contemporary paintings. Plus, it has a library with big and informative books. Do you need any more reason to visit the place?
- Entry Fee: INR 20 (For Indians); INR 500 (For foreigners)
- Timings: 10 AM to 5 PM (Tuesday to Sunday)
8. Indulge your Inner Shopaholic at Park Street
A beautiful boulevard lined with all kinds of shops, this place is perfect for splurging on everything from unique paper mache products to beautiful cotton sarees. Some of the things which you definitely need to check out when shopping in Kolkata are jute items, books, terracotta statues, tea and dokra.
To witness the Park Street come alive with colours and light, visit the place during Christmas celebrations. It is a sight worth taking a trip to this city.
9. Visit the Iconic Eden Garden Stadium
Being India’s largest cricket stadium, we suggest you to snap a panoramic shot of Eden Gardens and post it on the gram because this is where some of the most iconic Test Series have taken place. Almost resembling the Colosseum of Rome, the stadium is a kind of a pilgrimage site for all international cricketers. Why you ask? Because the cheering crowd and all their frenzy gives a sportsperson the much-needed zeal they require to excel at the game. So, treat your inner sports nerd to a time that will forever be remembered fondly.
- Location: BBD Bagh
- Entry Fee: Varies with the matches
- Timings: 5 AM to 11 PM
10. Visit the Largest Science Museum in the Indian Subcontinent
Opened to the public in the year 1997, the Science City is one of the major tourist attractions of Kolkata. After all, it is one of the biggest and most diverse science museums in the entire Indian subcontinent. Built with the aim of the popularisation of science in a fun and interesting manner, it has different sections dedicated to some amazing genres. An instance would be the optical illusion section on the ground floor. If you are interested in the underwater species, the aquatic world has detailed representations and aquariums to help you bolster your knowledge about it.
- Timings: 9 AM to 8 PM
- Entry Fee: INR 50
11. Get Awestruck at the Famous Marble Palace
Whether you are a history connoisseur, lover of all things artistic or simply like to click pictures of palaces and monuments, this place is perfect for you. Built in the Neoclassical style of architecture, Marble Palace is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions of Kolkata. From paintings by international artists to exquisite chandeliers and grand statues, there are plenty of things here to ogle at.
P.S: It is said that the palace closely resembles the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
- Timings: 10 AM to 4 PM
- Entry Fee: Free
12. Commute through a Tram for a day
India has a diverse mode of transportation throughout the country. Be it the cycle rickshaws in North India or the meter taxis in South, travelling through these is another experience altogether. And when you are in Kolkata, ditch the convenience of Uber and Ola for a tram ride.
Still not convinced? This is the only tram network in India so you might as well experience it before it is gone, no?
13. Visit the Haunted South Park Street Cemetery
Fan of all things spooky, the cemetery on South Park Street should be on your itinerary. This was one of the first non-church Christian cemeteries to be built out of Europe and America. Built in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, the cemetery is serene and beautiful in its own right.
However, a lot of people who have visited the cemetery have complained of eerie feelings, breathlessness and haunted incidents. Some people have also recorded apparitions on their camera. All this makes this one of the most haunted places in Kolkata.
If all this intrigue you, do visit the place on your trip to the city.
To know about more such places in Kolkata, read our blog on Haunted Places in Kolkata.
14. Spend a Day in Kumortuli – Biggest Cultural Precincts of Kolkata
While the festival of Durga Pujo is one of the most exciting events of the city if you want to marvel at how these colourful and beautiful idols are made, visit Kumortuli. The quarters of potters who have been at the art of clay making and moulding big (and beautiful) idols of the goddess is sure to awestruck you.
15. Relish the Street Food of the City of Joy
Any trip to Kolkata would be incomplete without trying their delectable and sinfully good delicacies (read Rasgullas). While you can easily find some of the most high-end restaurants here, the real joy is devouring the street food of Kolkata.
Start with Puchkas, the savoury has been an integral part of everyone’s childhood (and adult life). Of course, there are other tantalizing dishes like Churmur, Ghugni Chaat, Jhalmuri and the famous Kathi Rolls. For your sweet cravings, there is the quintessential Rasgullas but if you are looking for something new and unique, try Chanar Jilipi – a twist to the classic jalebi.
Read our detailed blog on Street foods of Kolkata.
Of course, the city has plenty of other things to surprise you. If you have visited Kolkata before, do tell us what is your favourite thing to do in the city.