The full list of cool things to do in Delhi would easily exceed the thousands. It’s a cool city, with lots of people, a long history and lots of reasons to celebrate it.
With the old and new quarters offering everything from magical markets to swanky malls and servings of street food and sessions of high tea, you could holiday here for years and never get bored. But, as always, time is limited, so these are the 52 things you should do in Delhi, to really make the most of your trip.
52 of the Best Things to Do in Delhi
1. When people call it the ‘Taj Mahal of the 20th century’ you know it’s worth a visit. Open to all faiths, go worship and meditate in the beautiful Lotus Temple.
2. Pay your respects to the fallen soldiers with a walk under the India Gate memorial (look for the flame flickering in the arc).
3. Learn a little about the city’s legends with the light and sound show at the Red Fort.
4. Feel the energy at Gandhi Smriti, the house where Gandhi spent the last days of his life.
5. Do a book swap via the ‘little free library’, otherwise known as a small blue box, in the area of Sarita Vihar.
6. Learn about the lives of Delhi’s street children from former street children themselves with a Salaam Baalak Trust tour.
7. Pick up some sweet and milky daulat ki chaat from one of the Sitaram Bazar vendors.
8. Take in the sounds of the trance-like qawwalis (devotional songs) at the Hazrat Nizamuddin.
9. Pack some pakora and go picnic in the pretty Lodi Gardens.
10. Upgrade your jewellery collection with a visit to the silver shops in Dariba Kalan.
11. Then put on your gladrags for a drink at the Imperial Hotel’s fancy 1911 Bar.
12. Enjoy a veggie only meal at Saravana Bhavan.
13. Get yourself some good luck by standing with your back against what’s known as the ‘Iron Pillar of Delhi’,a 1600-years old rust-resistant, iron column.
14. Make a donation to the Digambar Jain Complex’s bird hospital and pay the injured birds a visit.
15. Do the Old Delhi Bazaar Walk & Haveli Visit to tick off food, shopping and history in one go.
16. Spice up your Instagram with snaps of Naughara area’s nine painted houses.
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17. Force yourself out of bed for the 4am Ghazipur Village Flower Market and realise it was totally worth it.
18. Develop a new love for crafting at the National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum in New Delhi.
19. Learn how to really move with a Bollywood dance class.
20. Volunteer at the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Kitchen.
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21. Go boating in the river by the Purana Quila Old Fort.
22. Resist buying multiple pieces of pottery from Kumhar Gram, the largest pottery village in India.
23. Learn about the evolution of the toilet and history of sanitation at the Sulabh Museum of Toilets.
24. For a souvenir with a twist, head to the Tihar Jail where you can buy some crafts and eat lunch all made made by prisoners being rehabilitated.
25. Load up on leather goods at the Ballimaran Bazaar.
26. Visit the Kingdom of Dreams for a flavour of live Indian entertainment.
27. Buy a book from the packed People Tree Bookshop.
28. Burn off all the naan with a workout in the open air gym at Nehru Park.
29. Talk all things travel and meet like-minded wanderlusters at the Kunzum Travel Cafe.
30. Sprawl out on the green at Tau Devi Lal Park.
31. Party the night away in Connaught Place’s bars, clubs and restaurants.
32. Release your inner hipster among the cafes and design studios of Champa Gali Street.
33. Get that British feeling by watching the changing of the guard at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
34. Learn to walk the line in a Hauz Khas Village and Asola Lake slackline session.
35. Take a tour of the Kathputli Colony where over 800 folk artists showcase some off their mad magic, snake charming and dancing skills.
36. Step out in style with a tailor made suit or sari from New Delhi’s Khan Market.
37. Catch a game of cricket at the Feroz Shah Kotla cricket ground.
38. Be wowed at the Akshardham Temple’s architecture.
39. Get some henna outside Hanuman Temple in Connaught Place where hundreds of artists gather.
40. Let those senses work in The Garden of Five Senses.
41. Climb the minaret of one of India’s largest mosques at the Jama Masjid.
42. Get political by sitting in on a parliament session at Parliament House. Just register online and sit in the gallery.
43. Whip out the binoculars and try to spot some of the 320 bird species at the Okhla Bird Sanctuary.
44. Get your astronomy on at the Jantar Mantar old observatory tables.
45. Rise and shine for the weekly Sunday book market.
46. Ruins of tombs, a mosque and a water tank may not sound cool, but go and be surprised by how pretty the ancient Hauz Khas Complex is.
47. Stock up on your spices at the Gadodia Market.
48. Get all the supernatural feels at the Feroz Shah Kotla fort where spirits and djinns are said to haunt.
49. Pose up a storm to the backdrop of the Lodhi Art District’s colourful street art.
50. Walk the many steps of the Agrasen ki Baoli step well.
51. Pakora the day away with an authentic cooking class.
52. See the city from a different perspective with a bike tour.