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Things To Do In Lucknow


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Lorne Catron



Welcome to Lucknow, the city of nawabs and one of the most vibrant and culturally rich cities in India. Nestled in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow is renowned for its historical significance, architectural marvels, delectable cuisine, and warm hospitality. With a perfect amalgamation of traditional charm and modern progress, this city offers a plethora of experiences for visitors of all ages and interests.


Known as the “City of Nawabs,” Lucknow has a glorious past that dates back to the Mughal era. It was once the capital of the Awadh region and a center for art, music, literature, and craftsmanship. Today, it stands as a testimony to its rich heritage, with its stunning historical monuments, grand palaces, and majestic gardens.


One of the highlights of Lucknow is its architectural heritage. From the iconic Bara Imambara, a labyrinthine complex that houses a grand mosque, to the regal Rumi Darwaza, a magnificent gateway adorned with intricate carvings, the city is a paradise for history enthusiasts and architecture lovers. The Chota Imambara, with its exquisite chandeliers and ornate decorations, is another must-visit attraction that showcases the grandeur of the Nawabi era.


In addition to its historical significance, Lucknow is also a melting pot of culture. The city is famous for its traditional dance forms like Kathak, its soulful music, and its elegant Urdu poetry. The annual Lucknow Mahotsav is a celebration of the city’s rich cultural heritage, showcasing performances, handicrafts, and traditional cuisine.


No visit to Lucknow is complete without indulging in its delectable cuisine. The city is synonymous with mouthwatering kebabs, biryanis, and rich Awadhi curries. Be sure to visit the iconic Tunday Kababi, known for its succulent kebabs that melt in your mouth, and sample a variety of aromatic delicacies at the bustling Chowk area.


For those looking to indulge in retail therapy, Lucknow offers a plethora of shopping destinations. From bustling markets like Hazratganj and Aminabad, where you can find traditional clothing, jewelry, and handicrafts, to modern shopping malls offering a wide range of national and international brands, there is something for everyone.


Historical Places to Visit

Lucknow is a treasure trove of historical sites that will transport you back in time. Here are some of the must-visit historical places in the city:

  • Bara Imambara: This architectural marvel is one of the most iconic landmarks in Lucknow. Built in the 18th century, it is a complex that houses the stunning Asafi Mosque, beautiful gardens, and the famous Bhool Bhulaiya, a maze-like structure that is both intriguing and mysterious.
  • Rumi Darwaza: Known as the Turkish Gateway, the Rumi Darwaza is a magnificent structure that stands tall as a symbol of Lucknow’s architectural brilliance. It was built in 1784, and its intricate carvings and grandeur are sure to leave you in awe.
  • Chota Imambara: Also known as the Hussainabad Imambara, this exquisite monument is a fine example of Islamic architecture. Its exquisite decorations, Persian calligraphy, and stunning chandeliers make it a must-visit attraction in Lucknow.
  • Lucknow Residency: Step into history at the Lucknow Residency, a site that played a significant role in the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Explore the ruins of this British-era complex, which offers a glimpse into the city’s past and the struggles of its people.
  • Raja Ji Ka Quila: Located on the banks of the Gomti River, this fort is a hidden gem in Lucknow. Built during the reign of Nawab Saadat Ali Khan, it offers panoramic views of the city and is a perfect spot for history buffs and nature lovers alike.

These historical sites not only showcase the architectural brilliance of the past but also provide a deeper understanding of the cultural and historical significance of Lucknow. Exploring these landmarks will give you a glimpse into the grandeur and splendor of the Nawabi era.


Cultural Attractions

Lucknow is a city steeped in culture and has a rich heritage that is reflected in its various cultural attractions. Immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural tapestry of the city with these top cultural attractions:

  • Kathak Dance Performances: Lucknow is known as the birthplace of Kathak, one of the eight classical dance forms in India. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness mesmerizing Kathak performances by talented artists, who bring to life the grace, rhythm, and storytelling of this beautiful dance form.
  • Music Concerts: Lucknow has a thriving music scene, with a special emphasis on classical Hindustani music. Attend a classical music concert or a Qawwali performance, which is a form of devotional music that has a deep-rooted history in the city.
  • Art Galleries: Lucknow is home to several art galleries that showcase the works of both established and emerging artists. Explore the galleries and admire the diverse range of visual art, from traditional Indian paintings to contemporary sculptures.
  • Lucknow Literature Festival: If you’re a bookworm or lover of literature, plan your visit during the Lucknow Literature Festival. This annual event brings together renowned authors, poets, and intellectuals for panel discussions, book readings, and engaging sessions that celebrate the literary legacy of the city.
  • Urdu Poetry: Lucknow is famous for its rich Urdu poetry tradition. Attend a mushaira, an evening of poetic symposiums, where Urdu poets recite their verses, evoking deep emotions and celebrating the beauty of the language.

These cultural attractions offer a fascinating insight into the traditions, artistic expressions, and intellectual pursuits that have shaped Lucknow’s identity. Immerse yourself in the cultural fabric of the city, and you’ll discover the soulful essence that sets Lucknow apart.


Local Cuisine to Try

Lucknow is a food lover’s paradise, renowned for its sumptuous and indulgent Awadhi cuisine. From aromatic biryanis to melt-in-your-mouth kebabs, here are some of the must-try dishes in Lucknow:

  • Tunday Kebabs: These iconic kebabs are a culinary delight that originated in Lucknow. Made with minced meat and a secret blend of spices, these succulent kebabs are known for their melt-in-your-mouth texture and distinct flavors.
  • Lucknowi Biryani: Lucknow is famous for its slow-cooked biryanis, known for their aromatic flavors and tender meat. Prepared with fragrant long-grain rice and marinated meat, each bite of this biryani is a burst of flavors that will leave you wanting more.
  • Galouti Kebabs: Another specialty of Lucknow, Galouti Kebabs are delectable minced meat patties that are seared on a griddle to perfection. These kebabs are known for their tender texture and delicate blend of spices.
  • Nihari: A rich and flavorful meat stew, Nihari is a popular dish in Lucknow. Slow-cooked overnight, this hearty dish is typically enjoyed with naan or sheermaal, a sweet bread that perfectly complements its savory taste.
  • Sheermal: Speaking of sweet bread, Sheermal is a traditional Lucknowi bread that is baked until golden brown. Slightly sweet and flavored with saffron, this bread is the perfect accompaniment to savory dishes.
  • Rabri: Finish your meal on a sweet note with Rabri, a rich and creamy dessert made from sweetened condensed milk and garnished with nuts and saffron. This indulgent treat is a local favorite and is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Exploring the local cuisine in Lucknow is like embarking on a culinary journey through the flavors and traditions of Awadhi cooking. Whether you’re a fan of succulent kebabs or aromatic biryanis, the local cuisine in Lucknow is sure to tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving for more.


Shopping Destinations

Lucknow is a shopper’s paradise, offering a wide array of shopping destinations where you can find everything from traditional handicrafts to modern fashion. Here are some of the top shopping destinations in the city:

  • Hazratganj: Known as the heart of Lucknow, Hazratganj is a bustling shopping district that offers a mix of high-end boutiques, department stores, and street markets. From fashionable clothing and accessories to handicrafts and jewelry, you’ll find a wide variety of options to satisfy your shopping cravings.
  • Aminabad: A vibrant and chaotic market, Aminabad is a paradise for bargain hunters. This bustling market is famous for its traditional clothing, chikankari embroidery, and intricate jewelry. Don’t forget to indulge in some delicious street food while exploring the colorful lanes of Aminabad.
  • Chowk: Located in the heart of Lucknow, Chowk is a bustling market that is famous for its chikankari work. It is the perfect place to buy intricately embroidered clothes, home decor items, and artifacts. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the delicious street food while you’re there.
  • Sahara Ganj Mall: If you’re looking for a modern shopping experience, head to Sahara Ganj Mall. This upscale mall offers a wide range of national and international brands, along with gourmet eateries and a multiplex cinema.
  • Nakhas Market: Known for its wholesale market, Nakhas is the perfect place to buy traditional Indian fabrics, especially Lucknowi chikankari. This market is a treasure trove of beautiful textiles and offers a great opportunity to witness the local trade in action.

From bustling markets to modern malls, Lucknow offers a diverse shopping experience. Whether you’re in search of traditional handicrafts, trendy fashion, or mouthwatering street food, you’ll find it all in the vibrant shopping destinations of Lucknow.


Parks and Gardens to Explore

Lucknow is not only known for its historical monuments and delectable cuisine but also for its beautiful parks and gardens. These green spaces offer a tranquil escape from the bustling city and are perfect for leisurely strolls, picnics, and enjoying the natural beauty. Here are some of the top parks and gardens to explore in Lucknow:

  • Gomti Riverfront Park: Located along the banks of the Gomti River, this well-maintained park offers a serene and picturesque setting. Take a leisurely walk or enjoy a boat ride on the river, and admire the beautiful landscaping and charming views of the city skyline.
  • Ambedkar Memorial Park: Spread over an expansive area, this park is a memorial dedicated to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution. The park features beautifully landscaped gardens, marble statues, and a museum, offering a peaceful atmosphere for relaxation and reflection.
  • Janeshwar Mishra Park: Known as the largest park in Asia, Janeshwar Mishra Park is a sprawling green space that spans over 376 acres. With its lush lawns, jogging tracks, cycling paths, and a musical fountain, it’s the perfect place to unwind and enjoy nature’s beauty.
  • Butterfly Park: As the name suggests, this park is a haven for butterfly enthusiasts. It houses a wide variety of butterfly species and provides a unique opportunity to witness the enchanting beauty of these colorful creatures up close.
  • Moti Mahal Lawns: Situated in the heart of the city, this well-manicured garden is a popular spot for picnics and gatherings. With its verdant lawns and a beautiful fountain, it offers a peaceful atmosphere to relax amidst nature.

Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or a spot for outdoor activities, Lucknow’s parks and gardens offer a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Embrace the serene ambience, soak in the natural beauty, and rejuvenate your senses amidst the lush greenery.


Nightlife and Entertainment

While Lucknow is known for its rich cultural heritage and traditional charm, it also offers a vibrant nightlife and entertainment scene. From lively clubs to cultural performances, here are some of the top nightlife and entertainment options in the city:

  • Clubs and Lounges: Lucknow boasts a burgeoning club scene, with a range of clubs and lounges offering live music, DJ performances, and a chance to dance the night away. These venues attract both locals and tourists, making them a great place to unwind and enjoy the city’s nightlife.
  • Cultural Performances: Lucknow is renowned for its cultural performances, showcasing the city’s rich heritage through music, dance, and theater. Keep an eye out for events and festivals that feature classical music concerts, Kathak dance performances, and theatrical plays.
  • Night Bazaars: Experience the charm of Lucknow at its vibrant night bazaars. These bustling markets come alive after sunset, offering a variety of street food, traditional crafts, and live performances by local artists. Hazratganj and Aminabad are popular destinations for night bazaar experiences.
  • Cinema Halls: Catching a movie is always a popular form of entertainment, and Lucknow has numerous cinema halls showcasing the latest Bollywood and regional films. Visit a multiplex for a comfortable movie-watching experience or check out one of the older, single-screen theaters for a touch of nostalgia.
  • Live Music and Comedy Shows: Lucknow hosts a range of live music and comedy shows at various venues across the city. Keep an eye out for performances by local musicians, stand-up comedians, and renowned artists to immerse yourself in the live entertainment scene.

Whether you prefer dancing the night away, immersing yourself in cultural performances, or enjoying a movie or live comedy, Lucknow offers a diverse range of options to suit every taste. Explore the city’s vibrant nightlife and entertainment scene, and create unforgettable memories during your visit.


Festivals and Events

Lucknow is a city that celebrates its culture and traditions with great enthusiasm, and throughout the year, it hosts a plethora of festivals and events that showcase its vibrant spirit. Here are some of the top festivals and events to experience in Lucknow:

  • Lucknow Mahotsav: This annual festival is a celebration of Lucknow’s rich cultural heritage and Nawabi traditions. The festival features a week-long extravaganza of music, dance performances, handicraft exhibitions, and delicious food stalls, offering a delightful experience for visitors.
  • Chikankari Festival: Lucknow is famous for its intricate chikankari embroidery, and the Chikankari Festival is dedicated to celebrating this traditional craft. The festival includes fashion shows, exhibitions, and workshops that highlight the artistry and beauty of chikankari work.
  • Muharram: Muharram is an important religious event observed by the Shia Muslim community in Lucknow. The city comes alive with processions, religious gatherings, and the reenactment of the battle of Karbala, creating a deeply spiritual atmosphere.
  • Diwali: Diwali, the festival of lights, is celebrated with much fanfare and excitement in Lucknow. The city is adorned with colorful lights, and people come together to exchange greetings, burst fireworks, and indulge in delicious sweets. The vibrant markets of Lucknow come alive with festive decorations and special Diwali shopping.
  • Eid: Eid is a significant festival for the Muslim community in Lucknow, and the city is adorned with festive decorations and lights. The markets are filled with traditional sweets and delicacies, and people come together to offer prayers, exchange greetings, and celebrate with family and friends.

These festivals and events provide a glimpse into the rich cultural fabric of Lucknow and allow visitors to experience the city in its full glory. Immerse yourself in the vibrant celebrations, indulge in the local delicacies, and revel in the joyous atmosphere of the festivals and events that make Lucknow truly come alive.


Day Trips from Lucknow

While Lucknow has a plethora of attractions to offer, there are also several captivating destinations nearby that are perfect for day trips. Here are some exciting day trip options to consider:

  • Ayodhya: Located just a few hours away from Lucknow, Ayodhya is a revered city known for its religious and historical significance. Visit the iconic Ram Janmabhoomi, explore ancient temples, and soak in the spiritual ambiance of this historic place.
  • Allahabad: Situated at the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna, and Saraswati rivers, Allahabad is a city known for its religious significance. The Triveni Sangam, where the rivers meet, is a major attraction, and the Kumbh Mela, held every 12 years, is a truly breathtaking experience that should not be missed.
  • Naimisharanya: Known as a center for pilgrimage and spirituality, Naimisharanya is a sacred forest mentioned in ancient Hindu texts. It is believed to be the abode of Lord Vishnu. Explore the ancient temples and immerse yourself in the spiritual aura of this serene place.
  • Kanpur: A major industrial city, Kanpur is located a short distance from Lucknow. Explore the vibrant markets, visit historical sites like the Kanpur Memorial Church and Shri Radhakrishna Temple, and enjoy a boat ride on the serene Ganges River.
  • Dudhwa National Park: Nature enthusiasts will delight in a day trip to Dudhwa National Park, a wildlife reserve renowned for its rich biodiversity. Embark on a thrilling safari to spot tigers, elephants, deer, and a variety of bird species in their natural habitat.
  • Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary: Located in neighboring Rajasthan, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is a haven for birdwatchers. Home to a stunning array of migratory birds, including the famous Siberian cranes, this sanctuary offers an unforgettable experience for nature lovers and photographers.

These day trips from Lucknow not only provide a change of scenery but also offer unique experiences that showcase the cultural, historical, and natural diversity of the region. Embark on these adventures and create lasting memories as you explore the wonders that lie just a short distance away from Lucknow.



Lucknow, with its rich history, cultural heritage, and warm hospitality, offers a truly immersive experience for visitors. From exploring magnificent historical monuments to savoring the delectable Awadhi cuisine, the city is a treasure trove of diverse experiences. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a food lover, a culture seeker, or an outdoor enthusiast, Lucknow has something to offer for everyone.


Immerse yourself in the city’s architectural marvels, such as the Bara Imambara and Rumi Darwaza, and delve into its rich cultural tapestry by witnessing beautiful Kathak performances and indulging in Urdu poetry. Don’t forget to sample the mouthwatering Tunday Kebabs and Lucknowi Biryani, which are sure to tantalize your taste buds.


Explore the bustling markets, such as Hazratganj and Aminabad, for a shopping extravaganza filled with traditional clothing, jewelry, handicrafts, and international brands. Take a leisurely stroll through the parks and gardens, bask in the tranquility, and soak in the natural beauty that surrounds you.


And as the sun sets, delight in the vibrant nightlife of Lucknow, with its clubs, cultural performances, and bustling night bazaars. Experience the festive spirit of the city by joining in the celebrations during festivals like Diwali, Eid, and the Lucknow Mahotsav.


When you’ve explored all that Lucknow has to offer, venture on day trips to nearby destinations like Ayodhya, Allahabad, and Naimisharanya to experience more of the cultural, religious, and natural wonders of the region.


In conclusion, Lucknow is a city that mesmerizes with its rich history, cultural vibrancy, and culinary delights. It invites visitors to immerse themselves in its charm, walk through its picturesque streets, and engage with its warm-hearted people. A trip to Lucknow is not just a journey through time but an experience that will leave an indelible mark on your heart.