Few cities in the world compare with Venice, Italy, when it comes to appearing on the classic travel destination bucket list. And few cities in the world can compare to the unique beauty of Venice, an ancient city that rises out over a lagoon and uses canals where other towns would use streets. Venice is a uniquely atmospheric place, and that's even more true at night than it is during the day. When the sun sets on the labyrinth of narrow medieval streets around St. Mark's Square and along the Grand Canal, Venice at night can start to feel almost otherworldly.
Thanks to a rich history, fascinating culture, and some great options for street food, Venice offers an unforgettable experience by day or by night. Whether you're looking to visit the iconic sights of La Serenissima or get off the beaten path and visit some lesser-known attractions, this beautiful city won't disappoint.
The best way to explore Venice at night is on foot. Leaving your bags behind with Bounce luggage storage in Venice or a fun night of exploring. With locations around the world, including in Venice, Bounce makes sure you never have to carry more than you need to.
Nighttime Gondola Ride
Venice abounds in tourist traps. In fact, by some people's reckoning, the whole city is one giant tourist trap. But there's no point denying yourself a classic Venetian experience just because some blog somewhere said it wasn't cool.
Gondolas and their singing pilots are part of Venetian history and one of the classic experiences to enjoy when you visit Venice. And exploring the canals of the city by water is even more unforgettable when done at night. Enjoying the beautiful lights of the city and the Venetian Lagoon provides an intimate experience for you and a partner that you won't soon forget.
Be warned that this incredible experience doesn't come cheap. You can save a little money by taking advantage of a shared gondola ride which may not have the same intimate atmosphere but offers a more affordable way to enjoy a classic Venice tradition.
This famous bar, frequented by the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Katherine Hepburn, Woody Allen, Noel Coward, and Orson Welles, is a landmark in the city. Opened in 1931 by a wealthy American, Harry's Bar has spawned several namesakes around the world, but this remains the original and in many people's opinion, the best. Centrally located close to St. Mark's Square, the bar is dripping with atmosphere and is a great place to relax and enjoy a drink. It was even declared a National Landmark by the Italian government in 2001, which is something not many bars can boast. They also have an impressive menu of unique cocktails and serve a menu of classic Venetian cuisine along with dishes from around the world, so you can have dinner here and really make an evening of it while you drink in the fascinating history.
Once the home of the most powerful man in Venice during the golden era of the city's maritime empire, the Doge's Palace is one of the most impressive historic buildings in the city. And when the city in question is Venice, that's really saying something. This isn't exactly a hidden gem; in fact, the Doge's Palace is almost impossible to miss. But the museum inside the palace will give you a fascinating insight into the rise and fall of the unique city, as well as the lifestyle of its rulers. Best of all, you can take an after-hours tour that lets you explore the palace after all the day-trippers have gone home. With fewer people in the corridors, you'll be able to more vividly experience the history of the place and soak up the atmosphere of this beautiful building. And if you're wondering where to stay in Venice, this central area can be a great choice if your budget allows it.
St. Mark's Basilica
Located right next to the Doge's Palace, the stunning Church of St. Mark's Basilica is the most visited attraction in the entire city, and it's no wonder why. This ornate building situated in the famous St. Mark's Square looks like an artifact from another world. Inside, the gorgeous Byzantine mosaics are a relic of Venice's maritime empire, and the spiritual heart of the city makes a fascinating place to explore by day or by night. However, St. Mark's Basilica can get quite crowded, which is why an after-hours tour is a great option to see the church at its best. You'll be able to avoid the crowds and get a better sense of the atmosphere of this stunning building, and the tour even takes you to areas of the church most visitors never get to see.
Go for a walk
Venice is one of those cities where one of the best things to do is simply wander. Navigating Venice can be a real challenge even with modern GPS, but sometimes, it's better just to let yourself get lost. And that's never more true than it is at night. The historic heart of Venice is relatively small and full of fascinating streets where you'll encounter new historical monuments, intimate cafés, welcoming bars, and great restaurants around just about every corner. Plus, many of Venice's millions of annual visitors explore during the day and head back to their hotels or cruise ships at night. In fact, Venice isn't known for raucous nightlife or nightclubs, so no matter how busy they get in the day, the charming streets can be surprisingly quiet once the sun sets.
Seeing iconic locations like the Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal and the Piazza San Marco without crowds of tourists in them is an unforgettable way to enjoy the city. Most of Venice is well lit at night, and it's a safe city to explore, so you don't need to worry. You'll also be able to capture some atmospheric photos of the empty streets, but no photo will do justice to the tranquil and immersive experience of being there.
Venice is home to several exceptional museums. One of the best is the Peggy Guggenheim Collection at Palazzo Venier dei Leoni. This museum of modern art is situated along the Grand Canal a little outside the heart of the city, but it's well worth making the short boat ride to get there. Peggy Guggenheim was an important figure in 20th-century art, and her collection includes priceless work by Miro, Magritte, Jackson Pollock, and Pablo Picasso. Like many of Venice's top attractions, this museum gets busy during the day, but when night falls, it's a different story. The museum often hosts viewing evenings and after-hours tours, so make sure to check the website for upcoming events before your trip to Venice. That way, you can explore one of the greatest art collections in all of Italy without navigating tourist crowds.
See a show at Teatro la Fenice
Venice is a city of music, and its showpiece theater, Teatro la Fenice, is a palace of performing arts where the opulent surroundings are almost as much of an attraction as the incredible music. Designed in 1790, Teatro la Fenice became one of the top theaters in all of Europe, hosting premiers of work by Italian maestros Gioachino Rossini and Giuseppe Verdi, among others. The stunning theater has been lovingly re-created after a couple of devastating fires through the centuries, giving it its name La Fenice, the Phoenix. And La Fenice is still going strong, hosting operas, dance productions, live orchestra performances, and other cultural events throughout the packed season. You can explore the theater during the day with a guided tour, but it's far more entertaining to see it as it was meant to be seen – by witnessing the spectacle of a performance in this impressive space.
Try your luck at Venice Casino
If you're a fan of classic casino games like French roulette, you won't need any convincing to visit Venice Casino. And given how much a trip to Venice can cost, you'll be forgiven for being tempted to try and win some money back to offset your costs. But even if you're not a big fan of casinos, you might be tempted to visit this one since it's such an important part of the city's history. Located in Vendramin Calergi Palace, this is the oldest casino in the world, dating back to 1638. The interior itself is practically a work of art, mixing the well-preserved opulence of an ancient palace with more modern décor. The casino is also home to the Wagner Museum, which celebrates the life and work of one of the world's greatest composers, who spent time here while in Venice. That makes it a great destination for history buffs, music lovers, and fans of great food who can enjoy the on-site restaurant. With all that going on, the many games are almost just a sideshow.
Take a Tour
There are few travel experiences that can compare to walking around Venice and taking it all in for yourself, especially at night. But if you want to learn more about the city and get a deeper understanding of its history, culture, and lifestyle, a local guide can prove to be invaluable. In a city as dedicated to tourism as Venice is, you'll find virtually limitless options for the kind of tour you want to take. And often, a night tour can offer a better experience than you'll get during the busy daytime.
Take a small group tour that will allow you to experience the best in Venetian cuisine with a Venice food tour. Alternatively, you could hear tales of paranormal activity on a spooky ghost tour. Or, you could learn more about the history of the city with a historical tour of Venice at night. Whichever you choose, you'll learn more about the city and get a deeper appreciation of what makes it so special.
Venice Jazz Club
If you're a fan of music, Venice Jazz Club is a fantastic activity to do in Venice at night. Located in Dorsoduro away from the crowded heart of the city, this is a hidden gem that not many tourists get to visit. The roster of talented musicians is always changing, but whenever you visit, you'll get to hear some great jazz in an intimate atmosphere, and can enjoy drinks and dinner too.
Skyline Rooftop Bar
Venice is a uniquely beautiful city, and you'll gain a new appreciation of it in this eighth-floor rooftop bar. Located in the Hilton Hotel, the Skyline Rooftop Bar offers an impressive view over the city and its network of streets and canals. Taking in the spectacular view over well-crafted classic cocktails or some good food is easily one of the best things to do in Venice at night and offers a different perspective on the city while you enjoy the elegant surroundings.
One of the most beautiful and historic cafés in Venice, Caffe Florian isn't cheap. And thanks to its beauty and its location right in St. Mark's Square, this café, operating since 1720, is often overflowing with visitors to Venice. However, your chances of getting a table and being able to enjoy the atmosphere are higher at night. Plus, the café often offers live music in the evenings, making it a fantastic place to relax and soak up the atmosphere.
Venice is known for its history and its beauty, but as the tourist crowds you'll encounter in the city demonstrate, it is in many ways a victim of its own considerable appeal. However, exploring Venice at night offers a way to escape the worst of the crowds and see a different side to this enchanting city. By dropping off your unneeded bags at a Bounce luggage storage, you'll be free to explore Venice at night and enjoy everything it has to offer.