The capital of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla is a thriving metropolis that is so full of culture and tradition that it’s almost impossible to visit the city and not fall completely in love with it. One of its most sought-after features is its climate; because of Shimla’s location near the Himalaya Mountains, the weather is cool and refreshing throughout the year. There are so many things that visitors will be able to see and do, so we’ve compiled a list of their most popular attractions and restaurants to help you navigate through it better. Be sure to learn more about Shimla’s history at the Himachal State Museum or have a delicious meal at the Wake and Bake Cafe.

1.Rothney Castle

Rothney Castle
© Rothney Castle

Rothney Castle is a 19th century mansion that was originally built for colonial reformer and naturalist Allan Octavian Hume. Hume used it as his personal residence as he started the Indian National Congress; he was also known as the ‘Father of Indian Ornithology’ as he collected nearly 82,000 species of birds. Today, the castle and surrounding gardens are still as magical as ever and show some remnants of the bird haven that it once used to be. Flowers of all sorts can be seen blooming seasonally and resident and migratory birds continue to visit throughout the year.

Address: Jakhoo Rd, Lakkar Bazar, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171001, India

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2.Himachal State Museum

Himachal State Museum
© Himachal State Museum

There’s no better place to really learn about Shimla’s rich culture and history than at the Himachal State Museum. The museum opened in 1974 and originally only had a few hundred artifacts; today, the museum houses over 10,000 antiques and artifacts that reflect Shimla’s growth over the years. The collection includes a number of drawings, paintings, special Rajasthani and Mughal paintings, pahari miniature paintings, sculptured, bronzes, woodcarvings, decorative arts, numismatics, anthropological objects, manuscripts, and more. The museum also hosts an array of explorations, lectures, workshops, exhibitions, and festivals that visitors are invited to attend and enjoy.

Address: Chaura Maidan Rd, Chaura Maidan, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171004, India

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3.Himalayan Bird Park

Himalayan Bird Park
© Prashant/

The Himalayan Bird Park is a wonderful attraction that the entire family will enjoy! Everyone from the young to the elderly can be seen visiting this park and its residents of native and exotic birds from all over the world. It’s a great way to spend the day outdoors and see all the natural beauty that Shimla offers. You’ll be able to see a gathering of peacocks, pheasants, peafowl, and so much more. Spend a couple of hours touring the facility, meeting all the different birds, and learning about their lifestyle from the friendly and knowledgeable staff.

Address: Museum Road, Near Advanced University, Chaura Maidan, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171004, India

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4.Gorton Castle

Gorton Castle
© Neil/

Displaying stunning neo-Gothic architecture, Gorton Castle is a beautiful 19th century landmark that all visitors should visit when in Shimla. You’ll see the structure stand out long before you reach it, with its unique red galvanized iron roofing towering over the trees. The majestic building was designed to function as the Central Secretariat of the British Government and was later used as the seat of the Accountant General of Government of India. Visitors today can explore this architectural masterpiece designed by Sir Swinton Jacob and tour its 125 rooms, bay windows, and balconies which are beautifully decorated with jaali work inspired by the Rajasthan culture.

Address: Mall Rd, Nabha, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171003, India

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5.Wake and Bake Cafe

Wake and Bake Cafe
© Pixel-Shot/

Wake and Bake Cafe is a wonderful and intimate little dining establishment in Shimla. It’s one of those cozy and intimate places that have the perfect setting to relax and reenergize yourself after a day of exploring the area. Wake and Bake is renowned for their extensive menu which is filled with delicious meals like their ham and cheese omelet, their hand-tossed pizza with chicken and mushrooms, cheese and spinach waffles, and the lemongrass chicken served with potatoes and a salad. There are also so many coffees, teas, smoothies, milkshakes, and other drinks to choose from as well; the peanut butter banana smoothie is a crowd favorite!

Address: The Mall, 34/1, Mall Rd, Middle Bazar, The Mall, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171001, India, Phone: +91-17-72-81-31-46

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6.Indian Coffee House

Indian Coffee House
© avs/

Take a minute from your Shimla vacation to have a peaceful meal in the relaxing and soothing ambiance of Indian Coffee House. The friendly and hospitable staff will go out of their way to ensure their patrons have an amazing experience. Serving breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, the cafe/ restaurant has a menu filled with North Indian, South Indian, and Chinese cuisine. All of the dishes infuse locally sourced fresh vegetables, especially seasonal produce that may only be available for limited amounts of time. Some of the things on their menu that are worth trying are the paneer and vegetable dosa (crepe), the gobi (cauliflower) Manchurian, and the kadai mushroom, which is a dish of mushrooms and shredded capsicums cooked in a delicious gravy.

Address: No 1, The, Mall Rd, Lower Bazar, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171001, India, Phone: +91-17-72-65-29-82

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7.Honey Hut

Honey Hut
© Honey Hut

The Honey Hut is one of Shimla’s coziest and most convenient cafes and juice bars. As their name states, they’re known for adding a hint of honey to much of their delicious culinary concoctions. Their most popular drink is the ‘turmeric honey latte’ which they state follows an ancient recipe and will boost your immune system. In addition to their coffee and tea drinks, you can also try out one of their ‘Nature’s Special Juices’ such as the Passion Fruit Honey Smoothie or the Cool Cucumber which has hints of ginger and mint. Take home some wonderful honey-infused goods as well; Honey Hut sells an assortment of natural and eco-friendly body and skin care products.

Address: Khadi Bhawan, 70, Mall Rd, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171001, India, Phone: +91-17-72-65-03-47

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7 Best Things to Do in Shimla