Strasbourg is a city in eastern France that began as a small Celtic village and was later on transformed into a garrison town under the rule of the Romans. Back then it was called Argentoratum, but its name was changed to Strateburgum in the 5th century after it was captured by the Franks. Today the city serves as a major commercial, business and cultural center, but also a popular travel destination.
If you have come here on vacation then you will find that there is lots for you to do. The city has several great neighborhoods to discover as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Strasbourg Old Town. You should take advantage of the many cultural activities and tourist attractions during the day, but if you want to stay out at night then there is even more to explore! While out and about at night, keep your things safe in a suitcase locker in Strasbourg. Be footloose and fancy free, picking your bags up before heading back to your accommodation.
Explore the Streets of Petite France
You should definitely visit Petite France sometime during your stay in Strasbourg, either during the day or at night. This part of town follows an old-fashioned theme with cobblestone streets and houses with white walls and wooden beams, and in the nighttime, the area is lit by the old lampposts.
If you are looking for something calm and relaxing to do after dinner or a nice way to end a busy day of sightseeing then this is the perfect place to wind down. It can be a romantic spot for a stroll after dark when everyone is asleep and the town is quiet.
Admire the Strasbourg Cathedral
One of this city's wonders is the gorgeous Strasbourg Cathedral. Although it is amazing to see during the day, the experience is even more magical at night when the building is lit up in a way that brings even more attention to the impressive detailing and architecture. It is massive and back when it was constructed it was known as the world's tallest building.
The lights are placed on the exterior of the building along with candles, and even the stained glass window and the astronomical clock are illuminated at night. There are sometimes light shows put on in the summertime, so visit it whenever you can to see if anything is happening.
Walk Along the Ill River
Ill River is the name of the long body of water that runs through Strasbourg. Throughout the city, you will find bridges crossing over it and pathways that follow along the edge that are great for walking along, either during the daytime or at night.
During the walk, you can enjoy the water of the stream on one side and the calm city streets on the other. The trails will bring you under weeping willow trees and over bridges to get to the other side of the river, and since it is lit up with street lamps you can have a great time and feel safe, even in the dark.
Stop by the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
One of Strasbourg's many museums worth visiting is the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. It is actually one of the biggest and most impressive in all of France, so if you have time to take a look you definitely should.
There sure is a lot to see here, from sculptures and paintings to fine art and multimedia creations all dating between the 1870s to present day. The museum does close its doors at 6pm but once you are finished exploring the exhibits you can stroll around the area to admire the colorful glass building from outside.
Taste Some Alsace Wine
Strasbourg is home to some great wine cellars, especially in the Alsace region. If you are someone who enjoys wine then you should make time to visit the Alsace Wine Route, although it is suitable as a day trip since it is located outside of the city center.
If you want to try the wines while you are here then you can either go on a wine tour or visit a historic wine cellar, like the Cave Historique des Hospices, for some tastings. This is the perfect activity to try after a lovely dinner in one of the local restaurants.
Visit Place Kléber
Place Kléber is the biggest public square in the city and a great spot to go for sightseeing or cultural activities. It is found in the Grande Île and gives you a taste of what the rest of the city is like, as it is a unique combination of historic and modern.
The area is scenic and pleasant to explore at any time of day. With beautiful fountains and cute cafes and you can easily spend an evening just enjoying the area. If you want to do some shopping you should get here a bit early before the stores close for the night, and make time to visit the Alsatian Museum too, which is located close by.
Explore the Historical Museum
If you happen to have an interest in Strasbourg's history then this is the place to go. It is suitably located in the town's old slaughterhouse and can teach you about what life was like in the city between the middle ages and the 18th century. The displays are interesting and describe the way that Strasbourg has changed over the years both in an economic, social, political and geographical context.
Some of the objects and artifacts that you can see include maps, sculptures, old clothing, weapons and sketches. The best piece is a detailed relief of Strasbourg at a 1/600 scale which covers about 8 square meters and is detailed enough to see exactly how the city looked at the time in 1727.
Go on a River Boat Tour
If you have some extra money and want to do more on the Ill River than just walk, you can sign up for a lovely boat tour. It can be a nice way to see the buildings along the riverfront and a fun activity for an evening in Strasbourg. Most of the structures look even better after dark, and we recommend going for the sunset.
Most of the boat tours will take you past several iconic areas of Strasbourg including La Petite France, Tanner's Quarter, the Vauban Dam, Grande Île and Neustadt. Depending on what river cruise you decide to go on, you might be treated to wine and cheese tastings as well as an audio guide explaining the history of Strasbourg.
Sightsee at the Palais Rohan
Grab some street food and decide where to go next. The Palais Rohan is gorgeous both inside and out and actually serves as a museum in Strasbourg. By looking at the exterior you will see an elegant structure following a baroque architectural design dating back to the 1720s. The building looks beautiful during the day and truly impressive at night.
If you can make it before closing time you should buy a ticket to see what is inside. The palace is home to not one but two separate museums; the Musée des Beaux-Arts on the top level, an impressive display of decorative arts as well as silverware and ceramics on the ground floor, and the Archaeological Museum in the basement.
Take a Walk in Parc de L'Orangerie
This city is home to several lush greenspaces and one of the best is the Parc de L'Orangerie found across the river from the Court of Human Rights. Here you will find a mansion that once served as an orangerie, and at the time there were 140 orange trees on the land. Today there are only three of them left, but if you stop by the greenhouses you can still see them.
Other than seeing the orange trees, the park has several other attractions that make it worth a visit. In the center, you will find a boating lake, pathways covered by trees that you can walk along, and even a mini zoo and stork reintroduction center. Come here to just take a quiet evening stroll or bring some food to make your own picnic.
Discover a Local Beer Hall
If you are more of a beer person than a wine person then there is no need to worry, Strasbourg also has some great draft beer. You can try some of the beer and learn about the process used to make them by visiting a local brewery or trying the Académie de la Bière.
You will find this beer hall in the Petite France area where it is housed in an old jeans factory. As for the draft beer, there are many for you to try as well as over 100 bottled beers coming from around the Alsace region.
See the European Parliament in Person
Did you know that Strasbourg is home to the European Parliament? It is actually one of the only three cities around the globe that has an international institution but is not a capital city. You can admire the building from the outside or even visit the inside for a guided tour, for free. Just remember that you will have to book your visit in advance.
Aside from a huge debating chamber with over 750 seats, the building has three "streets" as well as a philodendron forest and winter garden. The outside is modern and all made of glass in a cylindrical shape.
Take a Nighttime Walking Tour
Strasbourg is a beautiful city that is home to European institutions, half timbered houses and historic buildings. Just from walking around the city, you will notice how special it is, but if you want to see it from a different perspective and learn more about it then you can sign up for a walking tour, or even make your own.
Your Strasbourg itinerary should include some of the gorgeous old churches like the church of Saint-Pierre le Jeune, the church of Saint-Thomas, the Cathedral Notre Dame de Strasbourg and Saint Paul's church. Place Gutenberg and old houses like Maison Kammerzell are worth stopping by as well, depending on what neighborhood you decide to walk around.
Visit a Busy Bar or Fun Nightclub
Strasbourg has a fairly active nightlife, so if you like to party you can just head to a nearby bar or club to find your crowd. They are not hard to find and you will most likely stumble across one by just walking along a pedestrian street or other popular locations.
It can be nice to relax in a local bar or get crazy in a nightclub, and Strasbourg has both. Many of them are open late so you can meet up with some friends or make new ones while you enjoy live music and drinks. Be sure to plan a brunch for the next day!
Catch a Show at a Theater
What better way to spend an evening than to relax and watch talented entertainers perform on a stage? Luckily for you, Strasbourg has several theaters and performance venues for you to choose from and they are all great options.
You can grab tickets to see plays, watch concerts or opera performances and even comedies. If you are interested in seeing a show you should make your way to the Théâtre Alsacien de Strasbourg or the Théâtre de la Choucrouterie.
Planning your Next Trip to Strasbourg, France
While you are visiting Strasbourg you will have lots to do and you should try to visit as many of the city's main attractions as possible. After grabbing dinner at one of the traditional Alsatian restaurants you can head out into the city streets for some fresh air and sightseeing, or climb to the highest point to catch a panoramic view of the streets below you.
If you are planning to spend lots of time outside we recommend visiting in the summer but there are some great activities, like the beautiful Christmas markets, that happen during the wintertime as well. Most of the best hotels are located not too far away from a bus or even Strasbourg Station so you can get around easily and take advantage of the tourist attractions all day and night when you visit Strasbourg.