The birthplace of Christopher Columbus, pesto, and focaccia, the seaside city of Genoa has so much to offer tourists who venture to the Ligurian capital. From the UNESCO World Heritage site of Strada Nuova which showcases ornate palaces and their history to the San Lorenzo Cathedral to the Piazza de Ferrari, there's no excuse to be bored in Genoa during the day or night.
As the sun sets over the city, Genoa comes to life in a different way. The city’s architecture and history are on display in its many illuminated buildings and landmarks. Visitors can enjoy the atmospheric evening strolls along the waterfront, through the winding streets of the old town, or a trip up the funicular to one of the city’s hilltop neighborhoods for sweeping views. You can even go see an opera.
If you’re looking for a night out on the town, Genoa has plenty to offer. There are plenty of bars and nightclubs to choose from, as well as restaurants serving up delicious regional cuisine. You'll find food and drink menus that are traditional or modern and the same goes for the atmosphere.
Prior to heading out on the town, make sure your bags are safe. Head to a Bounce luggage storage in Genoa to drop them off and continue enjoying everything nighttime in this city has to offer.
No matter how you choose to spend your evening, Genoa's history and culture is sure to impress. From its stunning architecture and various attractions to its vibrant nightlife, this city has something for everyone. Here are some of the best ways to experience Genoa at night.
One of the most iconic sights in Genoa is the Aquarium, which is located right in the heart of the Old Port. At night, this massive glass structure lights up brightly, making it a true spectacle. Inside, there are over 11,000 animals on display, including sharks, rays, penguins, and more. The Aquarium is open until at least 8 pm, depending on the season, making it the perfect evening activity.
The famous Genoa Aquarium was founded in 1992 and is one of the largest aquariums in Europe. It's a must-see for anyone interested in marine life and ecology. The Genoa Aquarium is a great place to learn about the wonders of the ocean. The knowledgeable staff is always on hand to answer any questions you might have, and there are plenty of interactive exhibits to keep everyone entertained. The Aquarium is the perfect place to spend an evening exploring the amazing world beneath the waves.
Stroll along the waterfront
As the sun starts to set, and especially if you have just been to the Genoa Aquarium, a trip around the area in the evening is a special experience. Marvel at the many historic sailing ships, the shimmering water, and the impressive buildings. You can easily get back to Old Town on foot from here.
If you're looking for a more natural and scenic evening waterfront walk, head to the nearby picturesque fishing village of Nervi. You're still part of the Metropolitan City of Genoa here, but this little seaside area is quite ritzy. A highlight of a visit to the area is the Anita Garibaldi walk. A promenade, built into the side of a cliff, runs for two kilometers and is especially scenic at sunset. After your walk, head to the highly-rated Cubilla American Bar in the Nervi neighborhood, which is one of the best places to stay in Genoa if you like the outdoors. The bar has interesting cocktails and live music with a comfortable and cozy atmosphere.
Catch a performance at Teatro Carlo Felice
The Carlo Felice Theatre is one of the most famous opera houses in Italy and was built in the early 19th century. In its long life, it has been home to some of the most famous operas and performers in history. The theatre is beautiful inside and out, and its unique architecture is a sight to behold. At night, the theatre is illuminated with hundreds of lights, making it an even more stunning sight. Even if you don't want to attend a show, consider an evening walking tour that will take you by the area (most do) to see the building lit up to perfection.
It's easy to get to the Carlo Felice using public transportation or on foot. It's adjacent to the Piazza de Ferrari and the De Ferarri metro station. It's best to check online to see what will be playing when you arrive, and if you can get tickets in advance, that's even better. But, for a glimpse at what the opera house offers, it has been known to put on productions of Giuseppe Verdi's Otello and Falstaff, as well as Vincenzo Bellini's Norma.
If you're visiting Genoa in the summer, the theatre is also home to the annual Genoa Opera Festival, which is a fun nighttime activity in and of itself.
San Lorenzo Cathedral
Open for visits inside until 7 pm, the San Lorenzo Cathedral, more commonly known as Genoa Cathedral, can fit easily into any Genoa itinerary at night. A short walk from the Piazza de Ferrari and the Teatro Carlo Felice, these sights work well combined into one evening trip around the historic City Centre.
The church itself is a lovely example of a medieval building that was built between the 12th and 14th centuries and is dedicated to San Lorenzo. It has been restored and changed in the years since it was built and now also has examples of Gothic and Romanesque architecture.
Musei de Strada Nuova
One of the main attractions in the Genoa City Centre is the museums of the Palazzo Bianco, Palazzo Tursi, and Palazzo Rosso. They are open until 6:30 pm, and if you are looking for something to do later at night in Genoa, you can simply wander down via Garibaldi, as the ornate palaces line this street. The impressive row of buildings is lit up and may look even grander at night. No matter what time of day, heading to the UNESCO World Heritage Site and the city's Palazzi dei Rolli is an absolute must when you visit Genoa.
Just because some of the more historic attractions, like museums and churches, are closed by about 7 pm doesn't mean that you have to call it a night. The City Center won't shut down, that's for sure. Start your Genoa tour at night with a meal at one of the many excellent restaurants scattered around the squares and narrow streets. Raviolhouse Genova and Trattoria Rosmarino are both wonderful places for pasta and other Italian favorites, and both are close to Piazza de Ferrari. Additionally, the Piazza delle Erbe is a spot full of restaurants to entice you.
Typically, Italians don't eat dinner until about 8 pm, so most restaurants you come across will be open. If you don't feel like sitting down for a proper meal, the City Center is full of the best street food in Genoa. Get something to go or eat as you wander the important streets that surround you.
Drink like a local
The afternoon or early evening drink on the Italian Riviera is a common sight. Called aperitivo, cocktails are often combined with a like snack to bridge the gap between lunch and dinner. The activity is so common that you won't have any trouble finding a bistro or bar that offers the aperitivo hour. Popular places in the Old Town include the Piazza de Ferrari, the streets around the San Lorenzo Cathedral, and the Piazza Lavagna, which is only a short walk from Via Garibaldi and the Palazzo Rosso and Piazza Bianco.
Another early evening activity that you can enjoy in Genoa after a quick (or leisurely) aperitivo, is Genoa's Maritime Museum. Close to the famous aquarium, the Maritime Museum is also situated in the Porto Antico area (Old Port) for obvious reasons.
Open until 7 pm on the weekends, the Maritime Museum is easily reached using public transport if you need it. When visiting, you need to check out the various reconstructed ships that seem larger when indoors. They also have a moored submarine and a collection of artifacts and exhibits telling the story of Genoa's link to the Ligurian Sea and how it built itself as an important port city.
Hit the Disco
Once you've had a few drinks and savored a traditional Italian meal, it's time to dance the night away in one of Genoa's many discos. The small area of the City Center is home to more than a dozen dance clubs, and in the summer you have even more options. The Porto Antico and Corso Italia, which is a seafront promenade, turn into outdoor party venues with DJ sets and lots of lights and fellow partiers. It gets so busy that you might think the entire city has turned up to dance!
If you time your trip right, you might even be able to try something quite unique. Once a year, in the Palazzo Ducale, also known as the Doge's Palace, the city hosts a silent disco. Grab your wireless headphones and let loose for a fun and somewhat exhausting night.
See a movie
A little outside the City Center, the Fiumara Shopping Center is home to a multi-screen large movie theater. This is a great activity for families, especially if you're tired from sightseeing all day. On the other side of the Porto Antico area and about 30 minutes by bus from Piazza de Ferrari, this place isn't too hard to get to. If you have rented a car for your stay, that will make it even easier.
While here, you can also do some souvenir or clothes shopping in the adjacent North American-style mall.
Live music performances
Genoa is a city proud of its nightlife, and this is demonstrated in the many opportunities for live music here. You can head to Count Basie Jazz Club or Louisiana Jazz Club for some relaxing entertainment. The Blue Angel Club does various live tribute shows and Crazy Bull Genoa offers live rock and other American music and food.
Many of the local restaurants and bars feature live music as part of their evening services. Sometimes, the best thing to do is wander around with your ears open and follow the sound of the music you like. This is possible anywhere in the Old Town, and chances are, the venue you land in will also have great food and amazing drinks to complete the experience.
Genoa is a wonderful tourist destination on the Italian Riviera both during the day and at night. Many of the world-class attractions are open into the evening and some look even better lit up. You can choose to spend all your evening time in bars and bistros with great food and drinks, or dance until you drop at one of the many clubs and discos scattered around the historic center. Live music from jazz to rock to opera is also at your disposal.
For a low-key night, you can simply wander the narrow streets of Old Town and stop in to see the Cathedral San Lorenzo, the Strada Nuova, and the impressive Piazza de Ferrari. A simple walk anywhere along the seafront is ideal for families or a romantic night out, and sometimes sitting back and watching a movie with some popcorn is all you need.
Regardless of how you plan your Genoa itinerary, there are plenty of things to keep you busy and entertained throughout the day and night. You'll just have to start checking them off as soon as you arrive!