The city of Nawabs and kebabs, Lucknow is a place where one can enjoy all facets of life right from culture, food, shopping and leisure activities to spirituality, art and history. A unique blend of oriental, colonial and ancient architecture, it is the capital of Uttar Pradesh which proudly upholds the essence of India’s heritage. The locals will welcome you warmly and you’ll have a hassle-free experience exploring the often overlooked places to visit in Lucknow. You can immerse yourself in the city’s rustic grandiosity through its boulevards, monuments and gardens or visit the many famous places in Lucknow such as Bara Imambara, Chota Imambara and a Mughar gateway Rumi Darwaza. Other options to explore are Bhool Bhulaiya, a maze of tunnels with views of the city and the Victorian Husainabad Clock Tower.
Check out this detailed list of places to visit in Lucknow and other tourist places near lucknow that will make for a wholesome trip experience.
Synonymous with historical places to visit in Lucknow, Bara Imambara or Asafi Imambara was built in 1784 by Asaf-ud-Daula, a renowned Nawab of Awadh. The monument hosts a large mosque called the Asfi Mosque, a maze called the Bhool Bhulaiya and a royal stepwell with water called the Shahi Baoli. As you enter the massive courtyard of Bara Imambara, two large gateways will lead you to the central hall, which is said to be the world’s largest vaulted chamber. Bara Imambara is a prominent place of worship for hundreds of Muslims who pay an yearly visit to the structure for Muharram celebrations.
Just west to the Bara Imambara lies one of the most visually appealing places to visit in Lucknow, the Chota Imambara or the Imambara Hussainabad Mubarak. Initially built by Muhammad Ali Shah, the third Nawab of Awadh as a congregation hall for the Shia community’s devotees in 1838, the monument later came to be known for being the Nawab and his mother’s mausoleum. Embellished with chandeliers and lamps made of crystals brought from Belgium, the Chota Imambara is also called ‘the Palace of Lights’. Don’t forget to visit this extraordinary example of Islamic architecture when in Lucknow.
A refuge for over 3000 Britishers during the revolt of 1857, the British Residency or the Residency Complex was once the residence of the British Resident General. The remains and ruins of the building that now contain hundreds of graves of the Britishers who died during the siege, are now protected by the Archeological survey of India. Pay a visit to this famous place in Lucknow for a bone-chilling history lesson.
A sixty feet tall memorabilia of the grandeur of Awadhi architecture, Rumi Darwaza in the old city is one of the signature places to visit in Lucknow. Located in the middle of Bara Imambara and Chota Imambara, this imposing gateway was built in 1784 by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula after a famine struck North India. In exchange for daily meals, the Awadhi workers built the great Rumi Darwaza for the Nawab. With busy roads running through both sides of the arch, the gate is often used as a symbol to depict Lucknow and looks majestic when lit up at night.
On the banks of the river Gomti, stands proudly the Umbrella Palace built by Nawab Ghazi Uddin Haider. A glorified memory of European and Nawabi architecture, Chattar Manzil once served as home for the Awadhi rulers and their wives. One of the most popular places to visit in Lucknow, the structure adorns an umbrella-shaped dome. The building is still in use and functions as a government office. However, many travelers pay a visit to witness this architectural marvel.
A Baroque style house built by Major Gore in 1800 was a hunting lodge later converted into a summer resort for the royals. Even though most of the structure was destroyed during the first war of independence, Dilkusha Kothi is one of the most famous places in Lucknow due to its historical significance and grandiosity. You can still find the remains such as the walls, a few towers, and a garden standing as a reminder of its glorious past.
Amrapali Water Park
If you’re done soaking in the town’s rich history, Amrapali Water Park is a great option to get a dose of adrenaline! One of the best places to visit in Lucknow to beat the heat, this aquatic park offers a variety of water slides named Black Hole, Aqua Trail, Crazy Cruise and Float Slide among others. Once you’ve enjoyed the refreshing waters, treat yourself to restaurants or video game parlours. Spend a fun-filled summer day at Amrapali Water Park on your trip to Lucknow.
A complete crowd-puller and a famous place in Lucknow for all things shopping, the Hazratganj Market is a century-old arena located right in the heart of the city of Nawabs.With a number of factory outlets, showrooms, shopping complexes, malls, theatres and restaurants, Hazratganj, synonymous with Lucknow is every shoppaholic’s paradise! If you want to witness the vibrant soul of the market, don’t miss the Ganj Carnival that takes place on the second Sunday of each month.
The list of places to visit in Lucknow wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the Lucknow Chowk. It is here where you’ll find everything that the city is famous for — chikan garments, zardozi garments, Nagra footwear, perfumes and handmade jewelry. Get a taste of the Awadhi culture and heritage at this ancient market when you try the melt-in-the-mouth kebabs, biryanis, and top it all up with delicious rabris. There is nothing you won’t find at Chowk that is home to over 5000 shops.
Gomti Riverfront Park
A perfect spot to unwind, the Gomti Riverfront Park is a popular tourist attraction, stretching around 2 km across the banks of the river Gomti. The park owes its popularity to its scenic location and pristine surroundings. Sit by the musical fountain and watch the park glitter in beautiful lights after the sunset or enjoy quality time with your loved ones at the riverside park.
Chandrika Devi Temple
If you’re keen on exploring the spiritual side of Lucknow, Chandrika Devi Temple is one of the prominent places to visit in Lucknow. The 300 years old shrine, dedicated to a form of Goddess Durga, Chandi houses a stone idol of the deity with three heads. Even if you’re not religious, you will find the place to have a calming impact. The Chandrika Devi temple attracts hundreds of devotees especially during the Navratri festival.
A spiritual center for Muslims similar to other Jama Masjids in the country, the Jama masjid of Lucknow is a prime example of Mughal architecture. A famous place in Lucknow for all important occasions such as Asid-ul-fitr and Eid-ul-zuha, the gem is an integral part of the city’s Mughal past. The mosque was built on an elevated platform in 1423 by King Mohammad Ali Shah Bahadur to surpass Delhi’s Jama Masjid and features pillars that have intricate Hindu and Jain carvings.
The architectural tour of the city is not complete unless you visit the Constantia House. Boasting of colonial grandiosity, the historical landmark is a part of the La Martiniere College, a premier educational institution and a famous place in Lucknow. It houses the tomb of the French general, Major Claude Martin, the resident of the house who built it in 1785.
An incomplete yet marvelous piece of architecture, Satkhanda is Lucknow’s iconic watchtower. Intended to be a seven-storey structure, the tower hosts four storeys as it was left incomplete due to the sudden demise of King Mohammed Ali Shah, who started its construction in the 1800s. The red-brick tower resembles the Leaning Tower of Pisa in design and is one of the most famous places in Lucknow amongst tourists.
Did you know that Lucknow has its own Marine Drive? Named after its popular counterpart in Mumbai, Marine Drive is a famous place in Lucknow featuring a scenic spot by the road adjacent to the River Gomti. You’ll find a lot of young people from the city hanging out and similar to Mumbai, it’s a prominent spot for cycling, jogging, or long walks. One can even sit on the benches spread over the path and simply relax by the Gomti river.
If you’re looking for places to visit near Lucknow, you can consider visiting Dewa or Dewa Sharif. Located just 25 kms away from the city, the small town is one of the most famous tourist places near Lucknow, known for the shrine of Haji Waris Ali Shah. Located in the Barabanki district of UP, Dewa Sharif is an integral part of Muslim heritage in India and is regularly flooded with pilgrims from across the world.
A quaint town away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Bithoor in the Kanpur district of UP is a one of the most popular tourist places near Lucknow. It is known for its local legends, ancient ruins, artefacts and religious myths. An important pilgrimage site for Hindus, Bithoor is believed to be the home of Lav and Kush, Lord Rama’s children, according to Ramayana.
Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary
If you’re up for some bird watching and want to give your city-wrecked eyes some relief, head to Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary, one of the best places to visit near Lucknow for a quick getaway. Also known as Shahid Chandra Shekhar Azad Bird Sanctuary, it’s a popular tourist place near Lucknow. Lose yourself in dense forests that house over 250 species of birds including domestic birds as well as migratory birds that come and grace the sanctuary during winters.
National Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary
Another great option for a weekend getaway is the National Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary located around 265 km away from Lucknow. One of the best places to visit near Lucknow for wildlife enthusiasts, the sanctuary homes some of the most endangered species from the animal kingdom. However, it has become a popular tourist place near Lucknow due to its variety of Red crowned turtles, Gharial, Gangetic Dolphins and Indian skimmers, among others.
A prominent place for Buddhism and Jainism, Shravasti is an ancient city that has acclaimed its spot amongst the places to visit near Lucknow for the Ananda Bodhi Tree where Gautam Buddha meditated. The old city, distinguished as two parts Sahet and Mahet are popular tourist places to visit near Lucknow. While Sahet is known for the Buddist monastery Jetvahana Vihar, Mahet houses Kachchi Kuti, a stupa of Anathapindika and Pakki Kuti, the cave and stupa of Angulimal.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Khajuraho is aN awe-inspiring small town and one of the most loved tourist places near Lucknow. Visit its ancient temples to witness some of the world’s most exceptional pieces of art. Khajuraho is reknowned across the world for the erotic and sensuous carvings that adorn its temples along with other engravings that depict meditation, kinship, wrestling, spiritual teachings and royalty.
When you think of Lucknow, your mind automatically creates an image of Tunday Kebabs, the city’s most popular delicacy! To try this speciality, don’t forget to visit Tunday Kababi, a famous place in Lucknow which features on every foodie’s list. The melt-in-the-mouth meat complimented with the best kind of rumali rotis will leave a lasting impact and you won’t ever be able to remember Lucknow without craving kebabs from Tunday Kababi. There are two outlets - while the Chowk one serves only beef kebabs, you can find both mutton and beef varieties at the Aminabad outlet.
Rahim’s Kulcha Nahari
If you want to get an authentic taste of the city’s cuisine, Rahim Kulcha Nahari is one the best places to visit in Lucknow. Marinated in exotic spices, the meat is cooked overnight and then stuffed into freshly baked tandoori kulcha. After Tunday Kababi, this is one of the most famous places in Lucknow and you shouldn’t miss this if you’re a meat-eater!
Ratti Lal’s Khasta
Lucknow is full of pocket-friendly places that have mouth-watering food options. Try Rati Lal’s Khasta Kachori, one of the most popular places to visit in Lucknow for a Nawabi breakfast! Ratti Lal’s Khasta serves the best Barras and Pooris along with delicious chickpea subzi. If you love spicy food, don’t miss their red chilli aloo which is not for the faint-hearted.
Prakash ki Kulfi
Top off all the spicy curries and kebabs with the best kulfis in town at Prakash ki Kulfi! With only a single dish on the menu, that’s the Kulfi-faluda, Prakash ki Kulfi has gained a top spot on everyone who has a sweet tooth with their extremely delicious, bright yellow faluda served with chilled kulfi within seconds!
Sharma Tea Stall
Tea-lovers can find a retreat at Sharma Tea Stall, a famous place in Lucknow for all things chai! Order their bun-maska, freshly baked buns smothered in homemade butter for a fulfilling tea time. If you’re tired of roaming around in Hazratganj, make a quick stop at Sharma ji’s and grab a hot plate of samosas with yummy tea!
Idris ki Biryani
When in the town of Nawabs, choosing a biryani place might be more difficult than imagined. This is where Idris ki Biryani makes things easy. One of the most famous places in Lucknow for their age-old biryani recipe, Idris ki Biryani at Chowk is not to be missed! Get a quick fix of Nawabi royalty with a flavourful filling of biryani here.
Chappan Bhog ki Mithaiyan
If there’s one thing you can takeaway from Lucknow is a box of sweets from the Chappan Bhog ki Mithaiyan! An undisputed king of the sweets, the shop houses an exclusive variety of attractively decorated mithai made from unadulterated milk and milk products. Everyone who has tried sweets from this shop can vouch for their quality and taste!
Basket Chaat at Gomti Nagar
A trip to Lucknow is incomplete without trying basket chaat in Gomti Nagar. It is served in a fried potato shell which is made to look like a tiny basket and the chaat made of mashed tikkis, tangy and spicy chutneys, vegetables are filled inside the basket. The special way in which it is served and how the server asks you to eat up all except the plate and the spoon since the basket is edible, is a memorable affair!