Chandigarh is not like any other Indian city. You can tell the difference just by setting your foot in Chandigarh. It is like a quaint, picturesque village wrapped up in a layer of modernity. Being the first planned city of India it has historical significance. Nestled in the mighty Shivalik range of Himalaya, the city has got the perfect natural setting for beauty. On top of it, Chandigarh has got the perfect planning of a city by the visionary French-Swiss architect Le Corbusier. All these things together make this a unique city in India and there is a ton of things to do in Chandigarh.
Chandigarh has something to offer for all people; Gardens, parks, lakes, wildlife sanctuary, architecture, multi-cuisine eateries, museums, theaters and so on. We have put together a selection of outdoor and indoor activities for you to try at Chandigarh. Take a look at this list of top 30 things to do in Chandigarh before planning your visit!
You might want to check out this: Top 30 Places to Visit in Varanasi, India
Top 30 Things to Do in Chandigarh
1. Go for a Boat Ride in Sukhna Lake
Forget the hassle of life and take a boat ride in Sukhna Lake. Float in the serene lake and submerge yourself in the solitude of nature. Sukhna Lake is a 3 km square vast channel, made possible by damming Sukhna Choe, a seasonal waterfall. This water channel is regarded as the longest boating channel in Asia. This reservoir and the lush greenery surrounding it, are the home for many migratory birds and wildlife. Floating in the lake water surrounded by the mighty Shivalik range of Himalaya, you would feel closer to nature.
2. Take a Bicycle Tour
If you are a cycling fanatic, you will get a kick out of bicycling around Chandigarh. Taking a bicycle tour around Chandigarh is the best way to discover this city. Chandigarh’s meticulously planned roads and sectors make it really easy to maneuver from one place to another. Chandigarh also has some shaded cycling tracks that make the tour more pleasant. If you take a 2-3 hour ride, you can visit Leisure valley, Open hand monument, Sukhna Lake and other landmarks of Chandigarh. While cycling, don’t forget to wear your helmet!
3. Marvel at the Sculptures at Nek Chand Rock Garden
Imagine being in a garden full of beautiful sculptures, all made of scrap material! That is what Rock Garden at Chandigarh is. Founded by Nek Chand, this garden has a long list of admirer visiting every year. All the sculptures here are made with waste materials like broken porcelain, glass bottles, electric waste, and tiles. This garden also has artificial waterfalls that go nicely with the ambiance. You can easily spend 1-2 hours marveling at these unique installations. This garden in sector ten remains open from 9 AM to 7 PM.
4. Binge Shop at Sector 17 -Things to Do in Chandigarh
Shopping in sector 17 is like being on cloud nine for shopaholics. The shops have a lot to offer for everyone, from high-end brands to budget shopping. This is the main business hub in Chandigarh. In sector 17 you can find clothing, electronic product, shoes, even handicraft items. Sector 17 is also a great local gathering place. It has large open courts with a shaded seating arrangement. If you are not into shopping, you can still visit this place to get a sense of Chandigarh’s lifestyle.
5. Visit an Architect’s Den
Le Corbusier Center offers you a glimpse of the work and life of Le Corbusier in Chandigarh. It also unfolds the paths the city had to travel before becoming the face of modern India. The early drawings that Le Corbusier made for Chandigarh are displayed here. The Le Corbusier Center is a place where the people of Chandigarh can get to know the history of its origin. Architecture and history buffs will surely get a kick out of visiting this place in sector 19.
6. Try out Nik Baker’s -Things to Do in Chandigarh
Nik Baker’s is a common name for food lovers in Chandigarh. This popular eatery at Elante Mall is run by a professional Australian chef. Their food is made with the finest ingredients from all over India. They serve multi-cuisine food like Nachos, Waffles, Bruschetta, cheese straws, tequila filled handmade chocolates. They have a cushy, relaxing ambiance to go with the excellent food. After a day full of sightseeing, Nick Baker’s is the ideal place to satiate your food craving.
7. Visit the Open Hand Monument -Things to Do in Chandigarh
Go visit ‘the hand that gives and receives’ in Chandigarh Capitol Complex. This monument designed by Le Corbusier is one of the most sought-after places for tourists. This 26 m tall monument represents Chandigarh’s willingness to give and receive. It also represents the government of Chandigarh. This place was envisioned as a place where people can freely discuss political issues. This monument can rotate in the direction of the wind which symbolizes the constant change in our life. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit this unique monument in Chandigarh.
8. Breath in the Scent of Roses at Rose Garden
Visit Rose Garden and drink in the sight of 825 varieties of roses all at once. This 30 acre garden in sector 16 displays rare species of roses and different varieties of trees. It is a soothing place to relax among the vibrant colorful roses. The aroma of roses and the ambiance make visiting the Rose Garden a unique experience. Founded by Dr. M.S. Randhawa in 1967 this garden is visited by hundreds of tourists a day. One of the large festivals in Chandigarh, the Rose Festival is held here in February or March.
9. Enjoy a Soothing Evening at Tagore Theater
Visit the heart of performing arts in Chandigarh and spend a soothing evening. Tagore Theater in sector 18, arranges theatrical performances, plays, dance, music, and other live performances. This theater was designed by Aditya Prakash, a team member of Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh project. The unique design of this theater is an integral part of Chandigarh cityscape. This 600 capacity theater was constructed in 1961. You can visit the place and grab a show to get a glimpse of Indian culture.
10. Enjoy the Play of Shadows at the Tower of Shadow
Tower of Shadows is a unique work of Le Corbusier in Chandigarh Capitol Complex. Against the grand imposing presence of Legislative Assembly building, you might not even take notice of it. Tower of Shadows was built to experiment with the sunlight, to make it possible to control sunlight within the four corners of a structure. With the ever-changing path of the shadows this airy, partially open space is a perfect place for meditation. You can spend some time in the Tower of Shadows and bask in the sense of openness and light.
11. Hunt Some Souvenir at Tiny Shop-Things to Do in Chandigarh
Don’t balk at the name! Tiny Shop in sector 17 is the ultimate destination for souvenirs in Chandigarh. Opening in 1980, Tiny Shop is very popular among handicraft lovers. At Tiny Shop You can get artistic goods, collector’s items, handcrafted knick-knacks, toys, jewelry and so much more. You might not find the shop right away as this little gem of a place is tucked away from the main road and pedestrian way. Visit this shop and take home some unique souvenir all within a good price range!
12. Visit Chandigarh Ayurvedic Center
With the motto to live natural, Chandigarh Ayurvedic Center was founded 35 years ago. Ayurvedic is one of the oldest healing processes in the world. With 100% natural ingredient this place makes its own medicine. At Chandigarh Ayurvedic Center you can get a steam bath, leaf bundle massage, medicated rice massage, herbal powder massage, traditional ayurvedic massage, herbal water therapy, sand therapy, foot Massage, head massage and so on. If you are craving an afternoon of relaxation then head out to Chandigarh Ayurvedic Center!
13. Check out Hops n Grains -Things to Do in Chandigarh
Craving freshly brewed, frothy beer? Head out to Hops n Grains at sector 9, Panchkula. This is the oldest brewery in Chandigarh. Hops n Grains offer four types of lager beer, made with Australian barley, German hops, and French Yeast. The fine quality of the beer is achieved by not combining any extra additives with the main ingredients. Spreading over 3 floors, this rustic pub also offers Italian and Indian cuisine. Hops n Grains is also a great place to experience the nightlife of Chandigarh.
14. Taste Punjabi Foods
Tasting authentic Punjabi foods are a must thing to do in Chandigarh. It is the best place to check out Punjabi foods. Rajma Chawal, Tandoori Kebab, Spicy butter chicken, Chole bhature are the must-have Punjabi foods here. You can go to a restaurant or the roadside dhabas to entice your taste buds with Punjabi food. You can go to Garg Chat for Gol Gappe, Bholey di Hattey for Rajma Chawal, Katani Dhaba for Aloo Paratha, Pehalwan da Dhaba in Sector 15 for Chicken Tikka. These Punjabi foods will surely make you crave more for them!
15. Check out Sodhi’s Zaika -Things to Do in Chandigarh
Sodhi’s Zaika is a famous street food hub in Chandigarh. Opening just in 2016, it grabbed huge attention from food lovers. According to reviewers, the Kulche Chole here is to die for! Kulche is a handmade flatbread made from flour, and Chole is a hot and spicy dish of chickpeas. This combination will surely make your mouth water. Apart from Kulche Chole, you can also check out Chat papri, Bhalla chat, kahri Chawal and many other varieties of Punjabi food.
16. Go Trekking at Timber Trail
If you want to go trekking in Chandigarh, Timber Trail would be an ideal spot. Running along Highway 22, Timber Trail leads to Parwanoo. This amazing trail in the Shivalik Range is full of lush greenery. There is a resort for those who want to spend the entire weekend. Timber Trail is a much sought after picnic spot. Try to avoid visiting at weekends as many weekenders flock here for picnic or trekking. If you want to get away from all the buzzing of the city, take a weekday trip to Timber Trail. This is one of the most fun things to do in Chandigarh.
17. Take a Stroll along Leisure Valley
Want to walk along a long stretch of greenery with beautiful gardens to wander in? Leisure Valley will give you the opportunity. This 8 km long green stretch connects gardens and parks of Chandigarh from sector 1 to sector 53. Walking along the Leisure Valley you can breathe in the fresh air and drink in the sight of the different themed gardens of Chandigarh. Leisure valley connects Rose Garden, Smriti Upvan, Terrace Garden, Children’s Traffic Park and other important gardens of Chandigarh.
18. Visit Chandigarh Capitol Complex
Visiting Chandigarh Capitol Complex is definitely a must for all tourists. This classic specimen of modern architecture was declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO. Designed by Le Corbusier, this Complex is a source of pride for Chandigarh. The complex comprises of the high court, Bidhan Shava and the secretariat for Punjab and Haryana state. Situating at the center of Chandigarh, this complex is the focal point of the city. You can take a guided tour around the complex which will also show you the interior of the buildings.
18. Enjoy Lion Safari at Chattbir Zoo -Things to Do in Chandigarh
Spend a day at Chattbir Zoo with Lions, Royal Bengal Tiger and 85 different species of animals. Chattbir Zoo provides a chance to enjoy the life of animals in a natural setting. Visitors remain in a caged motor vehicle which shows the around different species. This 202-acre zoo is the largest zoological park in Northern India. Visiting the zoo, you will get an idea of the evolution of wildlife in Chandigarh.
19. Visit the National Gallery of Portraits
India has a long history of civilization and struggle. At the National Gallery of Portraits, history will come alive before your eyes. You will get to know the path that India had to travel to gain freedom. Portraits of freedom fighters, sculptures, documents, murals, books on the fight for freedom, paintings, and rare photos are displayed here. If you are a history buff, this museum in sector 17 is definitely a must-visit for you. This is one of the most fun things to do in Chandigarh.
20. Spend a Day at Sukhna Wild Life Sanctuary
Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary is heaven for bird watchers and nature lovers. Spreading around the Sukhna Lake this green Sanctuary is the home for exotic birds and local wildlife. This sanctuary was originated by afforestation in the surrounding land of Sukhna lake. Hanuman, monkey, Indian hare, squirrel, jackal, Sambar, wild boar, jungle cat are common in Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary. There are 150 varieties of local and exotic birds. Reptiles, turtles, snakes are also seen here.
21. Enjoy a Bullet Ride -Things to Do in Chandigarh
The Bullet is one of the common private rises in Chandigarh. Chandigarh people love their bikes. So traveling in a bullet bike should be in your list of things to do in Chandigarh. If you don’t own a bike, you can rent one and go biking. If solo traveling is not your thing then you can contact one of the bullet riding groups in Chandigarh and team up with them. A bike ride from Chandigarh to Himachal will surely give you a thrilling experience. Be sure to grab your helmet before you go!
22. Taste the Desserts at Sai Sweets
If you haven’t tasted any Indian sweets, head out to Sai Sweets at Satyadeep Hotel. It serves the best sweets in Chandigarh that will make you crave more. You can take your pick from delicious Laddoo, Gulab Jamun or Barfi. If you have a sweet tooth you wouldn’t leave the place without tasting all of it. Don’t forget to bring home some sweets from this place!
23. Explore International Doll’s Museum
International Doll’s Museum is definitely a unique place to visit in Chandigarh. Dolls from Korea, Germany, Netherlands, Russia, Denmark, and Spain are displayed here. There are also Disney themed dolls- Aladdin, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, etc. These dolls are an absolute favorite among kids. Visiting this museum of 250 different dolls and puppets will be a visual delight for you.
24. Ride on the Tourist Bus -Things to Do in Chandigarh
Want to ride an open roof double Decker bus and explore Chandigarh? Chandigarh Tourism is here for you. They operate two half-day trips in an open roof double Decker bus only for tourists seven days a week. It travels through the main tourist attractions like Rose Garden, Rock Garden, Government Museum, etc. So, hop on and go exploring!
25. Explore the Parks and Gardens
As you are planning to visit ‘the City of Garden, exploring the serene gardens is definitely a must thing to do in Chandigarh. These vibrant gardens are the lifeline of the city. You can explore the gardens nearly from all sectors. Some gardens here are themed, like Rose Garden, Hibiscus Garden, Japanese Garden, Topiary Garden and so on. These gardens are what make Chandigarh beautiful.
26. Visit the Chandigarh Version of Eiffel Tower
The miniature Eiffel tower is in the Leisure Valley, sector 10. It was made for the Chandigarh Carnival, one of the largest carnivals in Chandigarh. In 2013 it was built as a tribute to a Bollywood film ‘An Evening in Paris’. Needless to say, this Eiffel tower stole the limelight at the 2013 carnival. Since then it became a very popular place to visit in Chandigarh.
27. Explore the Museums -Things to Do in Chandigarh
Chandigarh with its rich heritage has some notable museums to visit. Visiting these museums is a must thing to do in your Chandigarh trip. At the Government Museum and Art Gallery, you can appreciate Gandharan sculptures, Rajasthani miniature paintings, and artifacts of different timelines. To know about the evolution of life, you should head out to the natural history museum. Architecture museum displays the rare sketches and documents of architects. In a nutshell, the museums of Chandigarh cover a wide variety of interests from science, history to architecture. These well-maintained museums prove that Chandigarh values its roots and heritage.
28. Enjoy Golfing at Chandigarh Golf Club
If you like golf you can head out to Chandigarh Golf Club and have a relaxing day of golf. This international style golf club has 18-hole courses spanning 7202 yards. Golfing here is an absolute delight because of the views of Sukhna Lake and the lush green surroundings. It is a great place for both professional and amateur golfer. If you are a total novice, don’t worry. They provide lessons for the newbies!
29. Visit Mansa Devi Mandir
Mansa Devi temple is 11 km away from Chandigarh, in Panchkula. It has two temples on its premises. The main temple was built by Gopal Singh; the other is the Patiala temple. This temple garners a lot of attention from archeologists and historians due to its long legacy. The wall of the temple is decorated with paintings. The best time to visit the temple would be during the Navaratri festival when a nine-day long festival is held here.
30. Go Trekking at Nepli Reserved Forest
Chandigarh is a heaven for trekkers and nature lovers. With its hilly surroundings, it offers some breathtaking trekking destination. Taking a short trek at Nepli Reserved Forest, you can breathe in the fresh air and at the same time enjoy the diverse wildlife. Surrounded by small hills and thick green you can get to see jackals, antelopes, hyena, wild hare and so much more. To take part in this nature walk you have to gather permission from the authority.
In Conclusion, you have a lot of options to try out in Chandigarh, from gardens and museums to late-night pubs and trekking adventures. The city is famous for its welcoming nature and low crime rate. While visiting Chandigarh, you will fit right in with the locals because of their hospitality. So, plan your trip to the first modern city in India and while you are at it, don’t forget to try out this list of top 30 things to do in Chandigarh!