7 Places For a Unique Night Out in Chennai, India
Traffic during the night in Chennai | © PlaneMad/Wiki Commons
Due to fewer clubbing options and shorter closing times, anyone visiting Chennai for the first time could easily gain a bad impression of the city’s nightlife. However, that doesn’t mean life in Chennai isn’t vibrant after sundown. In fact, on the contrary, for anyone who knows where to go, there are several unique options for a night out that go beyond just bar-crawling and pub-hopping.
The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust
It’s only natural that you’re surprised by the first one on this list. After all, with over 2,000 large and deadly reptiles, the MCBT is a scary (albeit fascinating) place to visit even during daylight, so who in their right mind would visit in the dark, right? Well, wrong! One of the best attractions about the MCBT is that it is the only wildlife attraction in the city that hosts a night safari. And believe it or not, staring into the glowing red eyes of giant crocs is a lot scarier and even more fascinating in the dark.
Open from Tuesday – Sunday 7 PM to 8.30 PM
MCBT Chennai, East Coast Road, Tamil Nadu, India, +91 90800 00123
Run by a small team of history and heritage buffs, Storytrails conducts some of the best evening trails in the city. These trails have specific themes such as the Peacock Trail, which takes you through the ancient and historic neighborhood of Mylapore with a guide, providing a curated experience of the region and its culture. Walk through Chennai after sundown and experience everything great about the city.
Trails last three hours from 4 PM – 9 PM
Participants in the Peacock Trail being taken around Mylapore’s Kapaleeswarar Temple by guides | Courtesy Storytrails India
Dine by the beach at Bay View
Chennai is gifted with a long and beautiful coast that offers some of the best views of the Bay of Bengal. But nowhere is that view more unobstructed or exclusive than at Bay View Restaurant in Vivanta by Taj Fisherman’s Cove Hotel, Kovalam. Best-known for its seafood fare, this restaurant provides a unique fine-dining experience that is a mix of the popular shacks in Goa and fancy fine-dining joints in Mumbai. Head here for a romantic outing unlike any other.
Open till 11.30 PM
Bay View Restaurant, Vivanta by Taj Fisherman’s Cove, Kovalam, Chennai, India, +91 44 6741 3333
Head to this unique establishment for a round of ‘night sports’ and play India’s favorite sport in an indoor environment! Located at the top floor of Citi Center Mall in Mylapore, Chennai, Netz Cricket has become one of the city’s most popular venues for some cricketing action in the evening, and is particularly popular with the city’s working-class populace who spend their days behind desks and miss out on playing sports when the sun is out. The spacious venue is well-equipped with everything needed for the game and regularly hosts tournaments. It even has a full-fledged spectator area with refreshment counters.
Netz Cricket, Citi Centre, 4th Floor Terrace, Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore, Chennai, India, +91 44 2847 7866
The culture of online to offline community meetups has become vibrant in Chennai over recent years and thanks to online communities, there are now several meetups for people with specific interests almost every week. These meetups include interests as varied as board games to book reading. So no matter what your interest is, you’re bound to find one that fits your needs.
Chennai is one of the very few places in India where the endangered Olive Ridley turtles visit seasonally in large numbers to lay eggs. And every year, conservation communities conduct large-scale volunteer walks along Chennai’s beaches to make sure young turtle hatchlings make it safely to the sea! Turtle walks take place all across coastal Chennai under the cover of the night when the turtles usually hatch. They are one of the most popular conservation activities in Chennai and the movement is spearheaded by student groups such as SSTCN, or conservation organizations such as the MCBT. Watching turtles hatch and helping to save this endangered species is a unique experience that few cities in India can offer.
Coastal areas between Chennai and Pondicherry are one of the most important nesting grounds for Olive Ridley Sea Turtles | © Pinku Halder
If you’re a more outdoorsy person who’d rather spend your nights on the road than inside fancy restaurants, Chennai routinely has several night-time bicycle ride events conducted by experiential activity operators such as Tent N Trek or meetup groups and communities. The bicycle trips usually take place in Chennai’s coastal neighborhoods and cover popular places and the best areas for cycling in Chennai such as the Marina Beach. So pedal away to get a taste of Chennai when the lights are out and enjoy the grandeur of this city without its chaotic crowds!