13 Coolest Things to Do in Venice at Night

If you’re heading to Venice for your next vacation, you may be wondering what sort of nightlife this city has to offer.

The charming Italian city offers many opportunities for a night out in Venice, from relaxing activities to unique cultural experiences.

Although Venice isn’t exactly a party city, this doesn’t mean you’ll have to head back to your room and call it a night immediately after dinner!

Whether you want to explore the city without the crowds, join a walking tour to learn about its secrets, have a delicious dinner, or enjoy a drink in a beautiful location, there’s plenty of ways to explore Venice at night.

While living in Italy for over 15 years, I visited Venice twice and explored it nearly every hour of the day and night, so I’ve created a list of the best activities you can try in Venice at night.

Be warned, a few of these may require some preparation, like packing your best dress or suit!

Without further ado, here is how you can spend a night in Venice, Italy.

The Best Things to Do in Venice at Night

Explore the city without the crowds

The normally very busy st marco piazza quite calm at night, with all the lights on and the sky a dark midnight blue
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One of the best things to do in Venice at night is just to explore the city after dark.

With the sheer volume of tourism this city sees, you can’t expect to find Venice deserted even at night, but you can still admire its beauty without getting quite so overwhelmed by the daytime crowds!

Head out after dinner for a stroll along the illuminated canals, charming squares, and gorgeous bridges.

Enjoy the sight of St. Mark’s Square without the masses, walk on the Rialto Bridge, and take in the charming views of the Grand Canal.

All of the major tourist areas in Venice are easily accessible by walking, but if you want to take it easy, you can always take the Vaporetto — Venice’s network of boats that serve as the city’s public transportation.

Line 1 travels along the Grand Canal, passing iconic buildings like the Ca’ Rezzonico Palace, Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, and Rialto Bridge, and it runs roughly until midnight.

Best of all, this is one the cheapest ways you can see Venice at night!

Go on an evening gondola ride.

the grand canal of venice at sunset, with orange and pink sky, with three gondoliers paddling in the canal waters

Let’s be honest: there’s no Venetian experience as iconic and essential as the gondola ride.

To make it an even more magical and memorable experience, you can do it at night — and even throw in a serenade if you really want to!

Of course, Venice’s canals are charming at any time of the day or night, but the atmosphere is undeniably more magical in the dark, with the reflections of the city lights sparkling on the water’s surface.

You can be spontaneous and hop on a gondola in the many spots around Venice or book a ride in advance if you’re more of the “plan ahead” type.

Evening gondola rides are a bit more expensive than day rides, but it’s well worth the expense for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

For a more budget-friendly experience, check out the sunset shared Grand Canal Gondola Ride (Tip: pick a date first to be able to scroll through all the options).

view of gondolas at night with the background of venice skyline in the back and a street lamp with three lanterns

The ride starts in St. Mark’s Square, and travels along the Grand Canal, passing by Teatro la Fenice, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, and Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, among other Venice landmarks.

If you’d prefer a romantic private gondola ride, you’ve got a few different options to choose from!

This Bridge of Sighs Gondola Ride passes by smaller canals for a more relaxed and intimate experience (which can be made even more romantic by adding on a serenade option!).

If you want to see the most iconic sights, try this Rialto Bridge Gondola Ride combining smaller canals and iconic Grand Canal sights.

Book your shared gondola experience or your private gondola ride here!

Have a traditional dinner by the canal

people taking a gondola right in venice at night, in a canal, gliding past a very crowded local restaurant and about to go under a bridge

Can you imagine any better way to spend an evening in Venice than enjoying a traditional dinner in a restaurant overlooking the Grand Canal illuminated by the city lights?

While the choices can be overwhelming, remember that many restaurants with a great view are pricey and sometimes overrated.

Trattoria Povoledo is located near Venice central station and serves a variety of fish and meat dishes.

Here, you can try Venetian dishes like black cuttlefish with polenta or the Venetian-style liver. 

You’ll also find classic Italian dishes, but only a few vegetarian options.

For an upscale alternative, dine on the terrace of Ristorante la Cupola.

For delicious vegetarian dishes, try La Zucca, a cozy restaurant by a small canal serving both classic Venetian dishes and incredible vegetarian alternatives to famous Italian dishes like lasagna.

Go on an after-hours tour of St. Mark’s Basilica.

Beautiful shot of St Mark's Basilica in Venice Italy at night with dark sky, blurred people indicating movement, detail of the basilica exterior still well lit

Visiting St. Mark’s Basilica during the day can be a challenge, especially in the busy summer months.

If you want to explore this gorgeous church at a more relaxed pace, consider joining an after-hours guided tour starting around 9 PM.

On this 1.5-hour St. Mark’s Basilica After Hours tour, you’ll get to see Venice’s most renowned landmark with just your group and a knowledgeable local guide.

Forget about long lines and fighting your way through the crowds without being able to pause and truly appreciate the beauty of this church.

Your guide can tell you about the construction of St. Mark’s Basilica and how it became the impressive structure you see today. 

You’ll get to visit all the areas you would see during the day, plus a few special ones.

Plus, you can admire the breathtaking mosaics as they sparkle in the dark, illuminated by just a few light sources!

This tour is very popular and tends to sell out in the summer months. Remember to reserve your spot ahead of time so you won’t miss this unique opportunity!

Book your St. Mark’s after hours tour here!

Go see a concert at Teatro la Fenice.

the gorgeous interior of the venice opera house with boxes, seating, and the view of the roof of the opera house, pastel blue with a giant chandelier

Pack your fancy dress or suit, and prepare for an unforgettable evening evening enjoying an opera, classical concert, or ballet show. 

Teatro La Fenice is one of Italy’s most renowned opera theaters, founded in 1792 and rebuilt twice after being damaged by two fires in 1836 and 1996.

The name of the theater, which means phoenix, symbolizes its rebirth from these two fires.

Teatro La Fenice has served as the stage for many historic premieres by renowned composers, including Verdi, Rossini, and Bellini. 

Each year, the theater offers a wide range of opera shows, classical music concerts, and ballet performances.

If you’re passionate about these performing arts, you should absolutely watch a show here.

Heads up! The theater has a dress code that changes depending on the event.

When attending a premiere night, women should wear a formal dress and men should wear a suit and tie. 

The other evenings are less strict, and jeans are even allowed.

However, even for afternoon performances, you may not be allowed to enter if you’re wearing a T-shirt and shorts, so dress appropriately!

Attend an alternative opera show.

an opera performer in a dark room

Another unforgettable way to experience an opera show in a more intimate setting is by attending an interactive, unique opera show.

This Italian Opera in a Historic Palace is a unique experience where it isn’t just about the performance — it also focuses on the interaction between the performers and the audience.

The opera show takes place in Palazzo Barbarigo-Minotto, a Gothic-style palace on the Grand Canal.

Each act of the show takes place in a different room, so the audience has to move along with the performers!

Depending on the day of the week, you can attend La Traviata, The Barber of Seville, or Rigoletto.

The experience includes both access to the show and a glass of wine or another drink.

Book your alternative opera experience here!

Join a night walking tour.

a view of a bridge in venice at night leading over a canal

If you don’t feel like wandering around Venice by yourself, a great way to get to know the city without crowds is by joining a walking tour.

This 2-hour night walking tour of Venice offers the perfect mix of famous landmarks and hidden gems.

You’ll meet your guide just before sunset and stroll through iconic squares and lesser-known streets while learning about Venice’s mysteries, secrets, and legends.

You’ll get plenty of photo opportunities and get to know a side of the city that you’d never have the chance to experience otherwise.

Your local guide will personalize the tour based on the group, and can tell stories about the places you pass by that you wouldn’t find in travel books.

Be sure to book your tour in advance, especially if you visit in the summer!

Book this night walking tour of Venice!

Visit the Doge’s Palace.

dark sky with the street lamps illuminated, showing the white and pink marble facade of the doge's palace, a famous landmark of venice at night

If you visit Venice between the months of May and September, you can explore the Doge’s Palace in the evening (on weekends).

The palace stays open until 11 PM on Friday and Saturday nights, giving you the chance to explore its lavish rooms, beautiful courtyards, and impressive art collection in a more tranquil atmosphere!

The Doge’s Palace is one of Venice’s most famous landmarks, located in the iconic St. Mark’s Square: a wonder of Gothic architecture that was once the residence of the Doge, back when the city was the seat of the Republic of Venice.

You’ll see the same things if you do an evening visit compared to what you’d see in the day.

Still, it’s worth doing at night, because in summer, you can take advantage of the longer days and experience it in the cooler evening temperatures!

The palace may still be crowded even in the evening, so it’s a good idea to book your trip in advance.

Pay a visit to the Venice Casino.

Casino di Venezia on Grand canal in Venice, Italy with the canal,  boat, and a dock

Another exciting way to spend an evening in Venice is a trip to the casino. The Venice Casino is the oldest in the world, founded in 1638!

Since 1946, the casino has occupied a gorgeous Renaissance palace on Canal Grande, Ca’ Vendramin Calergi.

The palace housing the casino has a rich history and was the last residence of the German composer Richard Wagner.

Aside from the casino, the building also houses a small museum dedicated to the composer.

Even if you’re not a gambling fanatic, spending an evening in the Venice Casino can be a unique experience.

Aside from the casino and Wagner’s Museum, the palace houses a dining area and a beautiful garden. 

Before your visit, remember to dress appropriately!

The casino requires a formal dress code, so shorts, flip-flops, and tank tops are most definitely not allowed.  

Watch the sunset and have a drink at Skyline Rooftop Bar.

Man's hand serving an orange drink with crushed ice and mint

Skyline Rooftop Bar is the perfect spot to spend a couple of hours with a great cocktail or a glass of wine while watching the night fall over Venice.

Head over just before sunset and you’ll be rewarded with the incredible sight of Venice’s rooftops in the soft golden light before the city lights slowly turn on.

Skyline Rooftop Bar is in the neighborhood of Giudecca and offers panoramic views of Venice.

You can just have one of their signature cocktails or pair it with a light meal or the typical Venetian cicchetti — just be prepared to pay a lot more for it, but you’re paying for the view.

Also, the bar hosts many events in summer, including live music and pool parties, so check the schedule in advance if any of that sounds fun to you!

Have a classic Venetian aperitivo at the bacari.

a venice favorite pre-dinner tradition of eating a cichetti tapa plate and having an aperol spritz or glass of wine with some small snacks

Another Venetian experience not to be missed is having an aperitivo at the bacari. 

A bacaro is a traditional Venetian taverna, usually small and rustic, serving drinks and small bites.

The most typical Venetian aperitivo consists of a glass of wine, called ombra in Venetian, and cicchetti.

The cicchetti are small slices of bread topped with various ingredients, from cold cuts and cheese to fish and veggies.

If you don’t want to drink wine, you can pair the cicchetti with an Aperol Spritz, a popular cocktail made with Prosecco, Aperol, and soda.

You’ll find countless bacari all over Venice, so many that the choice can feel overwhelming!

A few great options are Bacaro Risorto Castello, Bacareto da Lele, Cantina do Spade, and Cantina do Mori.

Enjoy a drink in a historic bar.

entrance of an iconic venetian bar, harry's bar, where lots of famous writers and actors spent time
Photo Credit: Clayton Parker, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

After a delicious dinner, a great way to spend the late evening in Venice is to head to one of the historic bars and enjoy a drink. 

One of the most famous bars in Venice is Harry’s Bar.

After its opening in 1931, it quickly became a favorite among writers and actors the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Orson Wells, Truman Capote, and Katherine Hepburn.

Harry’s Bar is also known for being the birthplace of the Bellini! 

The founder of the bar, Giuseppe Cipriani, invented the cocktail made with prosecco and peach purée.

The cocktail quickly became famous, and it’s a must-try when stopping by Harry’s Bar!

If you’re looking for a more upscale location, you absolutely have to stop by the luxurious Bar Dandolo inside Hotel Danieli. 

The atmosphere in this bar will make you feel like you traveled back in time to the 1800s.

You can order exquisite cocktails and enjoy live piano music for an unforgettable night.

Experience Venetian nightlife.

view of the rialto bridge at night from the grand canal

If you’re looking to party in Venice, you should know that the city is not renowned for its lively nightlife!

However, if you’re truly determined, you can find a few areas in the city where you can listen to live music and have a drink even late at night.

Campo Santa Margherita is among the most popular areas for late-night drinking and music.

The area is mostly frequented by university students, given its vicinity to the Ca’ Foscari University and the train station. 

Here, you’ll find bars that stay open until 2 AM, like Skillà Bar and Margaret Duchamp.

Another popular area for going out at night is Rialto.

Here, you’ll find lots of bacari where you can start the evening with an aperitivo and a few bars that stay open until late, like Rétro Wine Bar and Bacaro Jazz.

If you’re looking for nightclubs, you’ll have to head to Venice Mestre, as the historical center is not exactly a party place.

Try Area Venice, Porta Gialla, or Tag Club.

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