Once you find a place to step out of the foot traffic and “get lost,” a night in Venice, Italy can best be described as dreamlike. Each evening, Lisa and I found ourselves walking hand-in-hand through its famous narrow alleyways, blissfully buzzed from a bottle of red wine and deep in conversation. Staying off the beaten path, we were often alone to nothing more than the echoes of our footsteps and a backdrop of lapping water in the canals. It was beautiful, serene, and incredibly romantic.
But then we’d go party somewhere! We ain’t no chumps.
The 5 Places to Find the Party in Venice, Italy
If you’re young(-at-heart), single, or just need a break from all the lovey dovey stuff, here are the 4 main areas that kept us from going to bed before midnight in Venice, Italy.
If it’s not clear already, you should skip the vaporetto (water taxi), and walk instead. Not only is everything in Venice within walking distance, but the true fun is in the journey. Some of our most favorite moments involved stopping at random wine bars and staring up at majestically lit landmarks on the way to our destinations.
Venice Party #1: Campo Santa Margherita
Located to the southwest, Campo Santa Margherita is a spacious city square lined with lively but small bars and cafes. You can expect a younger, more eclectic crowd of students and travelers because of its proximity to the local universities.
The secret strategy: Bar-hop. Make friends. Go with the flow.
Throughout our visit we just chased the sound and light, walking to whichever place radiated the most energy.
Campo Santa Margherita Highlights
Margaret Duchamp: Talked over good wine in a quaint atmosphere.
Il Caffè Rosso: Drank a beer. (Really wanted a beer.)
Cafe Al Fontego: Beckoned by the sounds of people scream-singing “The Lion King song,” we were quick to make awesome new friends from the UK and US, and found one of the few dance floors.
Venice Jazz Club: A jazz club that’s out of the way to the south, but worth the visit.
Piccolo Mondo: Even further south, the only “disco club” in Venice. They often charge a cover.
Venice Party #2: Cannaregio District – Canalside
If you head to the northwest, to the Cannaregio District, you’ll find a series of wine bars and restaurants on the northern side of the main canal walkway (or fondamente). As our new Venetian friends confirmed, this is an area more often visited by locals, with a “hip” and vibrant yet relaxed atmosphere. Most venues are small with lots of canal-side seating where you can watch the boats go by.
Cannaregio District Highlights
Al Timon: A bar with music and seats available outside on a boat.
Mezzopieno: Excellent wine bar with extremely friendly and welcoming staff.
Osteria Bea Vita: We had my favorite dinner here. Cuttlefish Spaghetti (aka Squid Ink Pasta)
Venice Party #3: West Side of the Rialto Bridge
Coming from San Marco, if you weave your way past all the picture-taking tourists to the San Polo side of the Rialto Bridge, you will find a small haven of restaurants with an active nightlife.
Depending on where you’re staying in Venice, this a good place to check out because of its accessibility, or ideally a place you can start your night after visiting Piazza San Marco.
While I can’t say anything was incredibly memorable about the area itself, we enjoyed sitting down in the middle of Campo San Giacomo di Rialto with wine and dessert. This area was also a part of a wine tour we took around the city:
Had a darn good lunch at Osteria Sacro e Profano, located nearby. Wouldn’t have expected it, given how close it is to the high-traffic areas.
Also, be sure to come back to this area in the early-early morning, when the fishermen come in, to experience the fish market at full throttle!
Venice Party #4: Mestre (the mainland)
NOTE: Everything is more spread out in Mestre; pick a place over following these coordinates.
If you’re staying in a hostel (because they rock… post on its way) or simply trying to save money, you’re likely already staying in Mestre, Venice’s mainland. Otherwise, it’s going to be a trip.
While Venice itself has strict sound regulations, Mestre is where the bass thrives, with a variety of true bars and nightclubs where you can dance your butt off.
TAG Club: Smaller than we expected, but a complete dance club experience.
Molocinque: A restaurant + nightclub combo with good house music.
Al Vapore: A fun club with live jazz.
Venice Party #5: The Lido
The Lido isn’t a place where we got to venture nightlife-wise, but you should be aware of it, as it had been on our radar. It’s our understanding that The Lido — where you can find the closest beaches to Venice — is only worth a late-night visit on the weekends, when street entertainment comes to life and you find places like Aurora Beach Club blasting music.
Venice Nightlife – Quick FAQs
What’s nightlife like, in general?
Lisa: Scattered. A lot olike walking through an alley way and stumbling across your best friend’s party.
Michael: Laid back and fun. Yeah, a lot like being at a house party.
What should I drink?
Lisa: Uh… WINE! And… WINE!
Michael: Everything’s game. But you can’t visit Venice without having a Spritz at least once (more of a daytime drink, I guess).
When does everything end?
Lisa: Definitely after I went to bed!
Michael: Not too late. Your standard 2 a.m.-ish close time.
Lisa: It’s custom to be eating whenever you’re drinking in Italy. That’s why there are snacks available everywhere. Accept them! And definitely make sure you have a -working- umbrella!
Michael: Venice is famous for being a sinking city — it’s literally sinking further into the ocean with each year that passes. It’s normal for the water to rise and for the city to set platforms around the place for people to walk on. While this can be a scary sight as you’re tipsily walking back from the bars in the early morning, always remember that the rising water is NORMAL. It only “looks” like you’re doomed. Don’t start being mean to your significant other because you’re scared. *cough cough* 😉
Have something to add, or a quick question? Where’s your favorite place to hang at night? Let us know your thoughts. In the meantime, drink water and enjoy the party!ItalyNightlifePartyVenice ItalyVenice Nightlife