Shimla Bucket List: Top 10 Best Things to Do in Shimla, India

Shimla Tourist Attractions, Best Activities to do, and places to see in Shimla

Kalka-Shimla Toy Train

What are the top tourist attractions to visit in Shimla, India?

Shimla or Simla is the scenic capital and the largest city of the Indian state Himachal Pradesh. Located at the foothills of the Himalayan mountains in the northern part of India, the city of Shimla is surrounded by breathtaking nature with stunning views all around and is dubbed as the Queen of Hills. It’s the favorite destination for vacationers for the summer during British rule and to this day still displays British influences throughout the city.

Things to do in Shimla
Things to do in Shimla

Visitors are always impressed by the array of activities to do in Shimla. From adrenaline-pumping sports, nature activities, to cultural activities, Shimla has almost everything to offer. Both the summer and winter months provide the best times to visit this beautiful city with the different types of activities it can offer. Read more for the top 10 things to do in Shimla.

Hop on the Toy Train

When you’re in Shimla, the ultimate must not miss activity is hopping on the Kalka Shimla Toy Train. The Kalka Shimla Toy Train goes through a historic railway that’ll take passengers from Shimla to Kalka and vice versa and takes 4 hours and 40 minutes to complete.

Kalka-Shimla Toy Train
Kalka-Shimla Toy Train

Riders will be treated with a scenic experience going through the railway surrounded by pine trees on the mountain with amazing forested views below. The train will also go through scenic villages and haunted tunnels.

Explore The Ridge

Located at the center of Shimla, The Ridge is a huge open road and is largely referred to as the cultural hub of the city where major cultural activities take place. It’s one of the most visited places in Shimla with its own market place and connections to various other attractions along its pathway.

Shimla Mall Road
Shimla Mall Road

This includes the famous Scandal Point at The Ridge’s westernmost side where stunning sunsets and sunrises can be viewed over the mountaintops. People should also visit the Tudor Library and shop at Mall Road.

Shop at Lakkar Bazaar

Lakkar Bazaar photo via MapsofIndia FB Page
Lakkar Bazaar photo via MapsofIndia FB Page

You can reach Lakkar Bazzar through The Ridge by going to its easternmost end. Lakkar Bazaar stands out from other shopping centers in Shimla for its impressive collection of masterfully made wooden handicrafts and artifacts for sale. It’s highly recommended to visit the bazaar at night where the energy in the marketplace just doubles. It’s a great place to buy souvenirs and woven winterwear at cheap prices like beautiful Kallu shawls. Lakkar Bazaar also serves as the starting point to Jakhoo Peak.

Trekk to Jakhoo Temple

Jakhoo Temple photo by Rohan1331 via Wikipedia CC
Jakhoo Temple photo By Rohan1331 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, CC

Since we’ve already mentioned it, climbing up the mountainside to Jakhoo Peak is a great activity for nature lovers and hikers. The temple is said to at the highest point in Shimla at the height of around 2,455 above sea level. The trek will be enjoyable especially during colder seasons but can be quite tiring during the summer. The climb up can take about 1.5 to 2 hours long to complete. Travelers can also check out the Rothney Castle while climbing.

Visit Chadwick Waterfall

Speaking of trekking, another popular one is to the Chadwick falls located around 7 km from Shimla. The trek to the falls is often described as serene and peaceful where hikers will be surrounded by the lush greenery of the jungle. Along the way, travelers can get to spot different beautiful species of birds. The waterfalls itself is a peaceful thing to watch once visitors reach it, especially during sunrise. People get to experience solitude in nature away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Visit Summer Hill

Hill Station in Shimla
Hill Station in Shimla

If you want to experience a different place away from the crowds of people in the city, the picturesque suburb of Summer Hill is the best place to visit. It’s just 5 km away from the Shimla RIdge so you can hop on to the Toy Train or reach the suburb via the public bus. Some of the best things to do in Summer Hill are to photograph the beautiful scenery, go trekking and visit Manorville Mansion where Mahatma Gandhi stayed whenever he visited Shimla.

Visit the Indian Institute of Advanced Study

Indian Institute of Advanced Study in Shimla
Indian Institute of Advanced Study in Shimla

There are many historic places to visit in Shimla but none are as significant as the Indian Institute of Advanced Study established in 1964. The building where the institution is housed is called the Viceregal Lodge and was built by the British as a home for Lord Dufferin, Viceroy of India from 1884 to 1888. Over the years, the Viceral Lodge has served as an important setting for the state’s history. Visitors can scroll through its grounds, take photographs, or view the Institute’s historic collection.

Go Rafting at Tattapani

Whitewater rafting
Whitewater rafting

For thrill-seekers out there, Tattapani located 50 km away from Shimla is offers great rafting activities on the River Sutlej, one of the longest rivers of India. It’s a great weekend destination if when you’re in Shimla. It’s best to have this adrenaline-pumping experience from May to June. Tattapani also offers plenty of other activities if you’re not up for rafting. Trekking through its lush greenery is one and another is taking a relaxing dip at its natural hot springs.

Go Ice Skating

Shimla can boast to have the largest natural open-air ice skating rink in Asia so don’t miss out and go ice skating at the Ice Skating Club in the city. It’s one of the most popular activities to do in Shimla during winters at its peak season. The ice rink doesn’t melt due to the shade brought on by the thickly forested hillside and the rink has been hosting ice skating sports and recreational activities since 1920.

Sunset in Shimla
Sunset in Shimla

Go Birdwatching

The beautiful densely forested hillsides of Shimla are the perfect place to go immerse in nature and go animal and birdwatching. Go to Shimla Water Catchment Sanctuary to 8 km from Shimla to catch a glimpse of various wildlife including 100 different species of birds. It’s the perfect place to discover Shimla’s rich variety of flora and fauna.

Nature and wildlife enthusiasts can also visit Kufri National Park, located 20 km away from Shimla. The park is nestled in the Himalayan Range and sprawled over 90 acres. Visitors lucky enough to spot them can find over 180 different species of birds and various wildlife species in Kufri National Park.

Shimla Travel and Tour Packages

Searching for the best Shimla hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of affordable hotels and resorts via Agoda, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.

Want more updates about new tourist attractions in Shimla, India? Follow #TeamOutofTown, on Facebook, and TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest for more travel ideas.

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