To most locals, ECR (East Coast Road) is the beginning of the journey that takes them to Pondicherry and beyond. But there’s so much to do on ECR itself that sometimes you miss out on all the fun. Check out this list of awesome things to do in ECR and find out what they are.
Top Things To Do In ECR
Visit Cholamandal Artists' Village
If you’ve never been here, it is going to be an experience you will never forget. Set up in 1966, this place is the largest artists’ commune in the country and one of the most popular places in the country for international artists to meet and spend time. The Cholamandal Artists’ Village has galleries that you can walk through, displaying art by artists living in the village, and they also have an exhibition that runs all year long. There’s also a book shop, a gift shop and a cafeteria, allowing guests to spend a full day just enjoying the art.
Chill At VGP Universal Kingdom
There’s no way you’ve driven down ECR and missed the VGP entrance because it’s not just bright, it’s pretty large and inviting. Started in a time when India didn’t any amusement parks, VGP has become quite a staple in the city of Chennai. Right next door is the resort, VGP Golden Beach, where you can stay while you’re having a good time at the park. They’ve got tons of rides like Ferris Wheel, Balloon Racer, Dashing Car, fun water rides and even the Snow Kingdom to enjoy some winter fun.
Tickets: INR 450 (for children – the Universal Kingdom & Aqua Kingdom), INR 550 (for adults – Universal Kingdom & Aqua Kingdom) and INR 795 (for children – Snow Kingdom, Universal Kingdom & Aqua Kingdom).
Go To MGM Dizzie World
Another amusement park along the same stretch is Dizzie World, and like any good amusement park, they have rides for all ages. For kids, they have Cup Saucer, Dizzie Express, Rocket Tower and Shoe House. As for adults, they have rides like Kamikaze Ranger, Revolution, Tomb Raider and so much more. The amphitheatre that will also keep you entertained for hours! You can also stay at MGM Beach Resorts for a perfect staycation experience.
Tickets: INR 549 (for children) and INR 699 (for adults)
Boat At Muttukadu Lake
The lake is most famous for boating and the boathouse set up alongside the lake allows you to rent a boat or hire a boat for half an hour. It’s actually quite enjoyable because you get to go around the lake a few times (depending on the duration of the ride) and see parts of the city you didn’t know existed.
Pricing: INR 530 (three-seater speed boat), INR 560 (eight-seater motorboat), INR 200 (four-seater rowboat) and INR 120 (two-seater pedal boat).
For more things to do in Muttukadu, click here.
Head To The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust
If you’ve never held a baby crocodile in your life before, then this is definitely something that cannot be missed. The Madras Crocodile Bank also has a night safari (7 pm - 8:30 pm from Tuesdays to Sundays) which allows you to truly experience the Tamil Nadu wildlife after the sun goes down. They have regular feedings of animals on Sundays and every Sunday evening, before the park closes, there’s a feeding of Jaws, one of the largest crocodiles in the park too. They also house water birds and even have a nesting beach for Oliver Ridley Sea Turtles.
Tickets: INR 30 (for children under 10), INR 50 (for adults); Night Safari tickets are INR 100 (for children under 10) and INR 200 (for adults).
Read more about turtle walks here.
Surfing in Chennai is catching on, and if you’re looking to try it out but don’t know how to, head to Surf Turf. The surf school offers everything from surfboards and basic surfing gear to rent/buy, along with qualified instructors to teach you how to surf. Situated in Covelong Point (30-minute drive down East Coast Road), this place will make you fall in love with the sea all over again!
To read more about water sports in Chennai, click here.
Go For Catamaran Rides At Kovalam
A straight drive down the road from ECR, the Kovalam beach offers rides for the adventurous soul. The guides are present right on Beach Road at Kovalam and depending on the tide, you could get yourself and the gang a ride into the waters. Equipped with life jackets and all the precautionary measures, you don’t really have to be a swimmer to do this. The annas here take you right in the centre and help you get down in the water, with the help of a rope. For the next good half an hour, you get to chill, literally in the middle of nowhere. All water around and nothing else. Pure bliss! Price: INR 800
Go For A Cycle Ride
The need for a getaway from the heat and rush of the city to get some fresh air is vital. Take your bike and go on early morning cycling across the highway stretch from OMR to ECR. Not only is this the perfect time to get some fresh air but the stretch is safe with 24/7 police patrolling and has magnificent views of the beach. For more cycling spots in Chennai, click here.
Stay At A Beach House
ECR is blessed with plenty of beach properties, and if you're in the mood for a staycation, it cannot get better than this. There's B’s Hive – Kadal, a serene villa bang opposite to the beach on the East Coast Road. There's Lakshmi Gardens and Sagarika Gardens too. Read more about the best beach houses in ECR here.
Adventure Aero Sports Association, a para-motoring facility in Palavakkam, organises tandem (two people – a rider and a pilot) para-motoring experiences every weekend on ECR. This means you can literally paraglide above the Bay of Bengal! Their venture, Fly2Day, also lets you indulge in paramotoring, which is just like paragliding but better because you don’t have to launch off a hill. You’re just propelled into the air with the help of an engine. Fun times, eh?
Stroll Along Casuarina Drive
If you’re looking to move past the beaches and take a morning walk or evening drive at an alternate breezy location, near the East Coast Road, then Casuarina Drive is the lane to visit. Pretty villas, rustic doors, vintage lamp posts and cement benches of the promenade, you can totally go for a long walk or drive here.
Dine With Bae
ECR is studded with some of the prettiest and the most peaceful restaurants that are perfect for dates. Kipling Cafe is a crowd favourite. You can also head to Upper Deck or Bay View for a candle light dinner. Find the best romantic restaurants in ECR here.
Shop For Furniture
ECR is studded with small shops and roadside sellers offering handcrafted cane furniture. There are plenty of restored wooden furniture stores too. You can also check out Teakwood Heirloom if you're looking for fancy, teakwood furniture.
Stay At A Beach Resort
If you're feeling bougie, ECR offers some really fancy hotel properties with private beaches and amazing seafood. There's MGM Beach Resort, VGP Golden Beach, Green Coconut Resort and more. Pack your bags and unwind at these properties for a sun-filled staycation. For more staycation places in Chennai, click here.