The Best Places to Go Shopping in Chennai

Chennai has a vibrant shopping culture
Chennai has a vibrant shopping culture | © suketdedhia / Pixabay
Arun Venkatraman

Chennai’s thriving shopping culture has turned the Indian city into an important commercial hub.

Besides being home to a number of iconic markets, Chennai has seen an increase in modern shopping malls and emporiums over the past few decades. For anyone looking to indulge in some retail therapy, the city has some great options to offer.

1. Ranganathan Street

Shopping Mall, Shop, Market

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© Dranjith / WikiCommons
Very few markets or shopping districts in the country can match the scale and sheer volume of T Nagar’s Ranganathan Street. This narrow, historic lane is home to some of the biggest retail emporiums in India such as Pothys, Saravana Stores, and Nalli – all of which have individual shops the size of malls lining the street. While Ranganathan Street is most famous for Kanchivaram silk sarees and gold jewellery, one can find just about anything here, from electronics to home decor. This place truly caters to people from all walks of life.

2. Phoenix MarketCity

Shopping Mall

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© Ashwin Kumar / Flickr

With a whopping 1.1 million square feet of shopping space, Phoenix Marketcity in Chennai’s Velachery is India’s largest mall. Filled with luxury and retail brands from across the globe such as Zara, M&S and Lifestyle, the mall is a shopper’s paradise. Although it is located in Velachery, near the southern edge of the city, Phoenix MarketCity sees more footfall than most other malls in the city and gets extremely crowded during the weekends.

3. Spencer Plaza

Shopping Mall

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© L.vivian.richard / WikiCommons

The heyday of Spencer Plaza as a mainstream shopping centre may be long gone, but India’s oldest mall has still managed to keep up with the times. It focuses on antiques and handicrafts (such as exquisite Rajasthani handicrafts and pashmina shawls) that you won’t be able to find at any other major mall in the city. Don’t forget to brush up on those bargaining skills before visiting the plaza.

4. Ritchie Street

Market

This tiny thoroughfare cutting through Chennai’s Chintadripet has been the city’s best-known shopping spot for electronics ever since the days when radio was at its peak. Today, this buzzing grey market is the go-to destination for cheap electronics – the catch is that you will probably have to forget about warranties (or even a bill, for that matter). If you’re visiting the city for the first time, make sure to take a local along to avoid getting fleeced.

5. Khader Nawaz Khan Road

Market

Until just a few years back, Khader Nawaz Khan Road in Nungambakkam was rated as one of India’s costliest retail spaces in the whole country. While other shopping districts in major metros may have overtaken it in recent years, the road still remains one of Chennai’s most sought-after luxury retail destinations and is home to more global luxury retail outlets than any other place in the city. From the uber luxe Bergamo Mall to Adidas Originals and Calvin Klein Jeans, this road is decked with several high-street brands. It is also home to a number of great local labels such as Silkworm Boutique.

6. Express Avenue Mall

Shopping Mall

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Located on Whites Road, the Express Avenue Mall in Royapettah is spread over nearly 1.7 million square feet and has about 300 stores including fashion outlets, entertainment spots, pubs and restaurants. The mall primarily caters to high-end shoppers and is also home to a swanky multiplex called Escape Cinemas.

7. Burma Bazaar

Market

Chennai’s largest flea market, Burma Bazaar, has remained an important shopping destination in the city despite a heavy crackdown on roadside markets by the municipality in recent years. The bazaar gets its name from the fact that it was largely established by immigrants from Burma in the ’60s after the Burmese civil war. For decades now, Burma Bazaar has been Chennai’s go-to destination for cheap fashion and has hundreds of stalls selling footwear, clothes, electronics, accessories, and more.

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