The city of Porto in Portugal is beginning to become a popular vacation spot and more and more people are choosing to travel here every year. It is home to the famous port wine cellars and a bridge that was designed by the same person who made the Eiffel Tower, Gustave Eiffel, as well as a bookstore that allegedly inspired the design for the library in Harry Potter. Porto stands as the second largest city in Portugal but is easy to navigate and most of the top neighborhoods can be reached within a couple of hours by train from the city center. To learn more about how to get around Porto, read this guide.
Although Porto is a historic city make no mistake that it can be lively and has an energetic nightlife. Below we've listed the best Porto things to do after the sun goes down, so head out and have some fun at night! First, stop by a luggage storage facility in Porto to drop off anything that you don't want to drag around with you. Don't be weighed down on your quest for fun!
Walk Around the Crystal Palace Gardens
Porto is a green city with some beautiful parks that are open to the public. One of the most impressive greenspaces is the Palácio de Cristal, or the Crystal Palace Gardens. This area is clean and well maintained with several paths for you to explore.
The park has winding trails going around perfect flowerbeds and fountains making it the perfect spot for a romantic walk with your partner or just a fun activity with a few friends. We recommend coming here for a late evening stroll after a dinner date in one of the local restaurants.
Visit the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art
The Serralves Foundation in Porto has a whole array of attractions set up in Serralves Park. This is one of the favorite attractions for everyone who has visited Porto. There is a romantic museum displaying artworks and architecture as well as a beautiful greenspace that you can walk through after visiting the exhibits.
While you are here make sure to try out the amazing Treetop Walk which will take you on wooden pathways that run through the trees. The paths are safe and lit up making it a magical experience during the nighttime.
See the Porto Cathedral
Locally, this building is known as the Sé do Porto Catedral and is one of the best known and oldest landmarks still standing in Porto. It was built on the highest point of the city so once you make it here you can enjoy some views of the buildings lit up at night.
This church is not only beautiful but historic as well. In fact, one of the building's columns was used to hang criminals centuries ago! The inside of the chapel is also stunning and follows several styles, predominately the Baroque style. Incredible azulejo tiles line the walls and tell the story of Porto.
Stop by the Casa do Livro
The Casa do Livro translates to book house and there is no name that better suits this place. It is actually a local bar that used to be a functioning bookshop but has now been transformed into a sort of combination of the two.
The bar, which still has books lining its walls, has a truly charismatic atmosphere and personality that make it a top Porto attraction for anyone who gets to stop by. The good music and great drinks make it a favorite location for visitors and locals alike.
Visit the Luis I Bridge by Ribeira
Just across the Douro River is a town called Ribeira which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can explore this part of the city during the day but it is even better to stop by at night, especially on Mondays since that is when this neighborhood tends to come alive.
Ribeira has a charming character and atmosphere with historic buildings and on Monday nights many of the local bars offer promotions, so that is a popular time for people to stop by and grab a drink. To get here you can cross the Luis I Bridge, which is also a nice spot to walk across and see amazing views of Porto from across the River Douro.
Attend a Concert at Casa da Música
This concert hall was created after Porto was named as a European Capital of Culture. It is now where lots of concerts, programs and cultural events are held. There is also a restaurant, cafe and two bars on site so you can get yourself a bite to eat or a drink before the performance.
There is an impressive selection of shows put on here so you should check their schedule to see what is happening while you are in town. The Casa da Música is ready to entertain you with live music and performances all evening!
Climb the Clerigos Tower
Torre dos Clérigos, also known as Clerigos Tower, is one of the most iconic buildings in the city. Attached to the tower is Clerigos Church which was built centuries ago and offers free entry. The tower is made with over 200 steps and if you are up for it, you can buy a ticket to climb to the top.
Once you reach the top you will be rewarded with an incredible 360 degree view of the city below you. It is one of the city's highest points and the best place for taking photos and seeing the city from above. The best time to book is in the evening right before the sun sets, making it a great nighttime activity in Porto.
Go to Some Porto Bars
There are several things that make Porto the perfect place for partying, which include affordable and delicious food, great drinks, friendly locals, and an active nightlife. If you are looking for something to do at night you can have so much fun drinking at some of the local bars.
You should head to a local wine bar, nightclub or bistro, or visit several of them in the same night. Some are within walking distance from one another making bar hopping a real possibility. Try the different beers, wines and cocktails that the citizens of Porto love. A good place to start is at the popular Royal Cocktail Club.
Take Wine Tasting Tours in Porto
Of course, it would be a mistake to visit Porto without trying some of the port wines from Douro Valley or the Portuguese green wine called Vinho Verde. It won't take you long to find a local wine cellar that is willing to give you a tour and some even offer it for free if you want to save money.
You can learn a lot about the process of how the popular port wine is made, and you might even get to try samples too. Stopping by one of the wine bars with one or two friends after a day of sightseeing is the perfect way to spend a night in Porto.
Go Inside the Church of St Francis
If you find yourself near the Bolsa Palace then you won't be far from the Church of São Francisco. This spiritual building is one of Porto's oldest and dates back sometime between the 13th and 14th centuries. It follows a Gothic architectural style and is an impressive sight to see in person.
If you get the chance to step inside you will be even more amazed. The interior is detailed and follows a Baroque style which is incredible and ornate. The building looks even larger at night making it a magical experience once the sun goes down. If you feel brave enough you can take a trip into the museum and catacombs located beneath the church!
Step Inside the São Bento Train Station
If you were intrigued by the azulejo tiles at the Porto Cathedral mentioned above, then you will definitely want to make a stop by the São Bento Station. This place also has an impressive display of the stone tiles and they depict different tales of the battles and general life of the people in Porto.
If you are using public transportation to get around then chances are that you will be dropped off here at some point in your, vacation either during the day or at night. If you aren't using the train this place is still a highly recommended spot to visit.
Take a Guided Food Tour
There are several food-themed walking tours that you can take in Porto and each one will help introduce you to the different meals and best restaurants in the city. This is the perfect nighttime activity for any food connoisseur that wants to try the staple foods of Porto that can't be found in the grocery stores back home.
While you are on the tour you will be introduced to some of the traditional dishes, like the Pastéis de Nata or the popular Francesinha. The latter is made of bread, different meats like fresh sausage, fried egg, and a tasty beer sauce on top. If you would rather stop by one restaurant, Cafe Santiago is a great place to try this local dish and they also offer brunch if you want to visit the next morning for some fresh fruit and an omelet. Getting familiar with the different foods can give you a taste of what local life is like in Porto!
See Street Art in Vila Nova de Gaia
Vila Nova de Gaia is a part of the city found across the river. This area is unique since many of the buildings are decorated with impressive street art, making it a great spot to take an urban hike both during the day or at night.
It is also where most of the wine houses and cellars are located, making it an optimal spot for port tasting. We recommend taking a day trip here and ending your night in a bar to drink port wine. Rua das Flores in Ribeira is also a good spot to see street art if you ever find yourself in that part of town.
Go Shopping at Rua de Santa Catarina
This street is one of the best shopping areas in town and somewhere that is worth stopping by at any time of day or night. There are small shops and independent businesses scattered around the city streets, but if you want to get everything all in one place then this is where you should go.
Here you will find the Via Catarina Shopping Mall that has stores selling basically anything that you can think of. Come here to shop for popular brand names or just do some window shopping and grab a bite to eat at the food court for dinner.
Make Your Own Free Walking Tours at Night
This part of Northern Portugal is very interesting and beautiful, and one of the best things that you can do is just explore the city centre on your own. With stunning art galleries, intriguing museums, bars selling craft beer and pristine beaches, there are more than enough fun things to keep you busy all day and night.
You can easily plan your own free walking tour around different neighborhoods in the city. Downtown Porto can be a good spot to start since it is close to most of the Porto hotels and has lots going on. Some of your stops should include the Praça de Gomes Teixeira fountain and the Pérgola da Foz. If you are interested in sports make a stop by the FC Porto museum to learn about the city's own football team. You should end your tour at one of the beach bars where you can meet new friends!
Spending a Night in Porto
Porto is full of fun activities for you to enjoy both during the day and night. One of the best things about this city is the cuisine, so make sure to take part in one of the good food and wine tours so you can try the city's top dishes like Francesinha and Pastel de Nata. Visitors who want to just relax by the beach can head to Costa Nova or Matosinhos Beach where you can suntan in the sand or wade in the water. As for sightseeing, some of the top attractions include the Praça de Gomes Teixeira fountain and other ancient buildings like the Porto Cathedral.