Lucknow is the capital of Uttar Pradesh well known for its historical monuments, architectural wonders, arts, culture, dance, music and cuisines. It is also known as the ‘city of Nawab’ famous for its manners and hospitality. This city is the home of many famous poets and the center of Urdu poetry. The traditional elegant Chikankari embroidery and zardosi has made Lucknow renowned not only in India but also globally. It’s economy is progressing because of the contribution from the fields of education, commerce aerospace, finance, technology, tourism etc. It is a growing IT hub with number of software and IT companies setting up in the city. There are many tourist attractions in Lucknow like the awesome and admirable historical monuments, beautiful gardens and magnificent and attractive markets for shopping. Besides visitors can also enjoy the taste of delicious Awadhi and Mughlai food of this multicultural city. All this has made Lucknow a famous tourist destination.
There are several best places to visit in Lucknow, out of which following are the top 20 places to visit in Lucknow that are ideal and will make your visit pleasing, enjoyable and memorable one.
1. Bara Imambara
There are innumerable places to visit in Lucknow. Out of these well known monuments the Bara Imambara is one of the best places to visit in Lucknow city. This significant worship place of the Muslims was built by the Nawab Asaf-ud-daula in 1784, and is also known as Asafi Imambara. This place is usually visited by the Muslims every year to celebrate the religious festival of Muharram. It is considered to be one of the largest arched constructions in the world with no beams supporting the roof.
The unbelievable and amazing maze known as Bhool Bhulaiya situated at the upper floor of the structure is the most popular attraction of this monument. The entire building was constructed by making use of Lakhanui bricks and no wood or metal had been used. You can also have a look at the tomb of Nawab Asaf-Ud-Dowlah and his crown, which has been kept in the central hall. On visiting this splendid unique structure, the incredible Mughal architecture is worth admiring.
2. Chota Imambara
Chota Imambara also known as Imambara of Hussainabad is a respectful and renowned congregation hall of the Shia Muslims which was built by Muhammad Ali Shah, the third Nawab of Awadh, in the year 1838. This outstanding historical structure also serves as the tomb of Muhammad Ali Shah and his mother who is buried besides him. It is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Lucknow to see this splendid and incredible monument constructed with Persian and Indo-Islamic styles of architecture. There is an immense use of glass work and the walls are inscribed with Arabic calligraphy. The interior as well as the exterior of the monument are designed beautifully and maintained with complete care.
During festivals, especially Muharram this imambara is decorated with lights and chandeliers giving this monument an extremely beautiful and magnificent look. The fact is that the European visitors and writers in the 19th century were spellbound seeing the outstanding beauty of this structure at special events and they named it ‘palace of lights’. Just outside the imambara is the watch tower for lunar observation,whose construction was started by Nawab Ali Shah and he had planned to make it similar to Qutub Minar of Delhi and the leaning tower of Pisa. Though this tower was named Satkhanda or tower of seven stories, it was only a four stories structure, as the construction was completely stopped on the death of the nawab. Tourists visiting Chota imambara will definitely have an impressive memory of this one of the best best place in Lucknow that they will have an intention to visit it again and again.
Also See : Things to Do in Lucknow
Chowk is the oldest market in this colourful city with its rich cultural heritage. Here you get everything at reasonable price from traditional chikankari and zardosi materials and dresses, handmade jewelleries, handcrafted home décor items made from wood, bamboo and ivory, nagara shoes, ittar or perfume and several other items. There are wholesale shops of readymade clothes and fabrics with chikan and zardozi work.
One can enjoy shopping by bargaining and getting goods at lowest possible rate. There are many places in Lucknow for food but Chowk has many food joints that serves traditional Awadhi and Mughlai food like kebabs, biryanis, paratha with chicken or mutton and milk products too.The desserts made of pure milk and ghee available here. This place is known for selling tasty mouth watering sweets and malai paan. For locals as well as tourists it is an ideal place to visit at Lucknow for shopping as well as eating delicious food within their budget.
4. Rumi Darwaza
Rumi Darwaza, one of the historical places in Lucknow is an impressive and magnificent Awadh architecture also known as Turkish Gate was constructed in 1784 during the reign of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah. It is also a significant entrance point of the city through which the British entered after invading the city in 1858 after the Independence war in 1857. This structure is brightened and kept glowing at night with the help of the huge lantern that is placed on the top of the gate. The beauty and elegance of this gate is well maintained. Rumi Darwaza a splendid attractions in Lucknow is visited by tourists to view this magnificent gateway of heaven.
5. Lucknow Zoo
Popularly known as Lucknow Zoo, “The Prince of Wales Zoological Garden” was established in the year 1921 in Lucknow and later in 2001 it was renamed as “Lucknow Prani Udyan”. Again in 2015 its name is changed to “Nawab Wajid Ali Shah Prani Udyan”. This zoo is a home to several species of animals, birds, aquatics and reptiles such as Royal Bengal Tiger, White Tiger, Lion, Wolf, Jackal, Leopard cat, Hyena,Great Pied Hornbill, Golden Pheasant and Silver Pheasant, Hoolock Gibbon, Himalayan Black Bear, Indian Rhinoceros, Giraffe, Hippopotamus, Black Buck, Swamp Deer, Barking Deer and Hog Deer, Langur, Japanese Monkey and Chimpanzee, Indian Giant Squirrel, Flying Squirrel, Indian Porcupine, Ghariyal, Indian Python, Indian Cobra, Viper, Rat Snake, Turtle, Eagle Owl, Owlet Jungle, and many more.
It is a fun place to visit in Lucknow especially for children who enjoy watching these fascinating animals and birds and also having a joyful ride in the toy train. You can also be delighted by having a view of the vintage train displayed in the zoo and also visiting the State Museum exhibiting artefacts from Awadh that is located inside the zoo. Lucknow Zoo is regarded as the best place to visit in Lucknow in one day.
6. Begum Hazrat Mahal Park
On 15th August 1962 in the old Victoria park, in Hazratganj the State Government had built a marble memorial in honour of Begum Hazrat Mahal, the first wife of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah for her most important role during the First Freedom Movement in 1857. The memorial was decorated with flowers and brightened with multicoloured lights and the park was renamed as Begum Hazrat Mahal Park. Beautiful and attractive fountains, flowers, trees and stoned pathways enhances the beauty of the park.
The greenery around the park and the peaceful atmosphere makes it a good place to visit in Lucknow to relax and take a break and be far away from the hustle and bustle of city life. This spectacular garden in Hazratganj area is regarded as one of the perfect places to visit in Lucknow for couples to spend a quality time together. It is a quite big park and also ideal for family outings on weekends or holidays. This park is also used for Ramlilas, Dussehra celebrations and Lucknow Mahotsav.
Hazratganj is the oldest shopping place which was started during the British rule. Today it is one of the famous market places at Lucknow for shopping branded products. There are many big shopping malls and showrooms selling branded and designer clothes. You can get wide range of Chikankari dress materials and readymade clothes, embroidered sarees etc. There are jewellery shops having pure and beautifully designed ornaments, shops selling antique items and so on.
Several food joints and restaurants are available serving delicious food. Moti Mahal in Hazratganj is the best place to purchase wide range of mouth watering sweets. This is the best place to visit in Lucknow with family where they can enjoy shopping, have food together and before returning home watch movie at the theatre in Hazratganj. Tourists can visit this place for shopping branded items and enjoying Lucknowi food.
8. Chattar Manzil
Chattar Manzil is a well known historical monument in Lucknow and is one of the best tourist places in Lucknow. It has an umbrella shaped dome. The construction of this monument was started by Nawab Saadat Ali Khan and completed after his death by Nawab Nasiruddin Haider. Originally ie. in 1780’s this monument was of Indo-European architecture style but later during the revolt of 1857 it was damaged by the British and reconstructed according to their wish. In this palace one can have a view of the royal lifestyle of the Mughal Nawabs and the beautiful gardens all over. Recently it was used as an office for the Central Drug Research Institute but now there are plans of setting up two new museums and a library in this old historical monument.
9. Dr. Ambedkar Park
Dr.Ambedkar Park is an impressive and beautiful public park and memorial which was constructed in honour of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar and all those who dedicated their life for humanity, equality and social justice like Jyotirao Phule, Narayan Guru, Kanshi Ram and many others. The construction of this memorial was done in 1995 and it was named as Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar Udyan. Later in the year 2008 after renovation and many changes this park was opened for the public by Chief Minister Mayawati and it was renamed as Dr. Ambedkar Park.
It is the surely one of the best place to visit in Lucknow in the evening. Red stone is used to built this beautiful memorial.There are two domes and facing towards them is a statue of Dr.Ambedkar seated in a chair. Many other statues of social reformers are also constructed. Statues of 62 elephants on either side of the main entrance of the memorial is an attractive and amazing sight. The peaceful atmosphere over here makes this park an ideal place to visit in Lucknow with girlfriend to spend quality time or have a walk together and take a view of great social reformers and the beauty of the park.
10. Marine Drive
Similar to the Marine Drive in Mumbai, the Marine Drive in Lucknow is also popular among the locals and is considered to be the perfect place to hangout in Lucknow. It is an impressive and amazing long stretch road along the Gomti river. In the evening the whole place is brightened up with attractive lights on the entire pathway. One can sit and relax on the garden benches on the pathway and enjoy the cool atmosphere and the beautiful sunset at Marine Drive.
This place is well known for the dangerous stunts performed by the bikers. Youngsters are more attracted towards this place busy playing music, partying and enjoying every moment. Marine Drive is actually one of the best places to visit in Lucknow at night not only for young generation but for all to enjoy a walk on the pathway or sit and admire the beauty of nature.
11. The Residency (British Residency)
If you are a history lover, it is hard to miss out The Residency during your Lucknow tour. The Residency carries a lot of historical importance for India and considered as a national monument. The building witnessed the famous 1857 revolt, Seige of Lucknow. At the time of the revolt, this place was used by the British Resident General.
The place is surrounded by several well-maintained gardens, where you can sit and enjoy the architectural beauty of the building. The Archaeological Society of India is currently taking care of this place. The entry fee for visiting The Residency is INR 5 for Indians, while the foreign tourists need to pay INR 100. The Residency remains open all days. However, you can visit this place between 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. You will need around two to three hours to explore the entire residency.
12. Dilkusha Kothi
The architectural beauty was built in 1800 by the British for the Nawabs of Lucknow. You can witness a unique fusion of British and French architecture at Dilkusha Kothi. It used to be the temporary residence of the Lucknow nawab at the time of hunting. However, the building was heavily damaged during the 1857 revolt, the first war of independence. Even today, you can witness the impact of the attack.
It is situated around 5 kms from Hajratganj. Dilkusha Kothi is a perfect place to visit with your family. The place is well maintained by the administration and the state government of Uttar Pradesh. Indians need to pay INR 5 as entry fee while a foreign national is required to pay INR 100. Dilkusha Kothi remains open throughout the week, while you can visit the place from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
13. Shahnajaf Imambara
Shahnajaf Imambara, located at RanaPratap Road, is a perfect combination of architecture and natural beauty. The silver tomb is situated on the bank of the Gomtiriver. Shahnajaf Imambara carries the grave of Nawab Ghazi – ud – din Haider, and his three wives. The architecture of Shahnajaf Imambara can blow your mind. However, most of the people visit this place to enjoy the beautiful garden located in front of the Imambara. The garden is well-maintained by the authorities, and you can smell a hygienic environment at the Imambara premises.
You can visit the Imambara throughout the year. However, it is highly recommended to plan your journey during the spring to witness the blooming flower in the Shahnajaf garden. The place is kept open all days of the week. You can visit this place from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. There is no entry fee required to visit Shahnajaf Imambara.
14. Hussainabad Clock Tower
With a height of around 67 meters, Hussainabad Clock Tower is among the tallest towers in the country. The clock tower was designed by Roskell Payne. The gunmetal made tower is situated very near to the Rumi Darwaza. The pendulum present on the clock tower is having a length of more than 14 feet. The clock tower is one of the most underrated tourist destinations in Lucknow. The Hussainabad Clock Tower is surrounded by a green garden, where you can sit, and enjoy the giant architecture wonder.
The clock tower is a perfect tourist destination for history buffs. Besides, the place is suitable for photography as well. Therefore, you can click some amazing photos, and cherish the rest of your life. Hussainabad Clock Tower remains open throughout the week, and one can visit the place from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Moreover, the entry is free for both Indians and foreign nationals. Typically, you need around an hour to visit the place.
15. La Martiniere School
La Martiniere School is one of the well-preserved colonial buildings in the entire city. The college consists of two schools, La Martiniere boys’ and La Martiniere Girls’ school. The boys’ school and the girls’ school were established way back in 1845 and 1869 respectively. The boys’ school got the royal battle honours for its contribution in 1857 revolt, making it the only school in the world to get such honor.
The combination of great architectural work and historical importance make it a place worth visiting. The school is quite well preserved, and all the historical evidences are kept safely. As the monument happens to be a school, do not be surprised to see a lot of youngsters roaming around the campus. La Martiniere School is a great place to visit for history lovers. You need at least three hours to explore this place.
16. Sikandar Bagh
Spreading over 120 square yards, Sikandar Bagh is one of the many witnesses of the 1857 revolt. Nawab Wajid Ali Shah built this magnificent building as his summer residence. The tourist place is located near the National Botanical Research Institute. At that time, the entire structure was built at a budget of 500 thousand INR. Most of the structures of Sikandar Bagh were destroyed during the 1857 revolt, and now, you can witness only a single structure in Sikandar Bagh.
The gateway of Sikandar Bagh is the combination of European, Chinese, Indian, and Persian architectures. Currently, the Archaeological Survey of India is taking care of the historical monument. The entry to the Sikandar Bagh is completely free of cost for both Indians and foreign tourists. You can visit the place any day, from 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM. It will take around a couple of hours to explore the popular tourist destination.
17. Shaheed Smarak
Shaheed Smarak is located on the bank of the river Gomti, opposite to the Residency. The huge marble building is among the top tourist destinations in the Lucknow. The monument was built in 1970 tributing the heros who sacrificed their lives during the 1857 revolt. Shaheed Smarak is surrounded by a beautiful garden full of greenery. The combination of the white marble building, green garden, and Gomtiriver offers a great visual, which makes it a must-visit place in Lucknow. You can also explore the massive auditorium and a historical library present on the premises.
Shaheed Smarak opens 24 x 7, throughout the week. However, it is advisable to visit the place in the evening to enjoy the beautiful sunset over the Gomti river. The place has no entry fees for Indians as well as foreign tourists. You need to spend at least a couple of hours to explore the entire place.
18. Jama Masjid
If you are a believer, irrespective of the religion, Jama Masjid is a place to visit in Lucknow. It was built in 1845 to surpass the Delhi Jama Masjid in terms of size and architecture. The Lucknow Jama Masjid is one of the most beautiful Masjids in India. Thousands of people attend the Friday prayer in Jama Masjid every week. Non-Muslims are not allowed inside the mosque; however, they can visit the outside region of the mosque. However, talks are going on to allow the non-Muslim community to enter the mosque as well.
You can visit the Jama Masjid all days of the week. However, the entry is restricted before 5:00 AM and after 9:00 PM. Besides, you will not be permitted to enter the Masjid during prayer time. The religious place has no entry fees for both foreign nationals and Indians. It will take around a couple of hours to explore the Masjid premises.
19. Safed Baradari
Nawab Wajid Ali Shah built this white marble palace in 1854. Safed Baradari is located at Qaiserbagh, around 2 km from the city limit. Initially, Safed Baradari was known as Qasr-ul-Aza. As the name suggests, Safed Baradari has as many as twelve gates, and one can enter from any given gates. However, the eastern gate is used as the primary entrance of the monument. You can witness a massive ground on the front side of the entrance. From the fencing to interiors, everything looks quite fresh and well-maintained.
After the annexation of Oudh, the Britishers used the building as a court for many years. Currently, Safed Baradari is used as a wedding hall. The peaceful environment and superb architecture make it a wonderful place to visit. You can visit Safed Baradari from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, throughout the week. The tourist destination doesn’t charge any entry fee for both Indians and foreign nationals.
Nawab Mohammad Ali Shah began building this watchtower in 1842. However, the construction work got delayed for several years due to the unfortunate death of Nawab Mohammad Ali Shah. But later, around 1880, the construction of Satkhanda was finally over. The entire watchtower structure is made up of red-brick. The 67 meters tall watchtower is located just opposite to Hussainabad Imambara, around 5 km from the Lucknow city centre. Tourists across the world visit this place to witness the splendid medieval architecture.
The tower is a mixture of Italian and French design. Satkhanda is considered as the tallest tower in India and one of the tallest watchtowers across the globe. Satkhanda watchtower attracts a massive number of visitors throughout the year. The geographical position plays a vital role in the popularity of Satkhanda tower. The place is open for tourists every day, 24 x7. You need at least an hour to enjoy the architectural beauty, without having to pay any entry fee.
Historical monuments, beautiful parks, local, street and wholesale markets, branded showrooms, shopping malls, and many more are the awesome places to visit in Lucknow. For tourists Lucknow is a perfect destination for sightseeing and shopping. Apart from this there are several places to visit in Lucknow in summers for locals as well as tourist. During summer people can visit amazing amusement and water parks in Lucknow like the Nilansh Water Park, Dream World Amusement Park, Anandi Water Park and so on and get relief from heat, enjoy and have fun with their friends and families.