8 Free and interesting things to do in Venice at night
1. Go to Piazza San Marco after the crowds have gone
2. Go walking
3. Walk along the Zattere Promenade
If you don't feel like getting lost in the back streets of Venice at night, you could just walk along the waterfront instead. Head down to the Zattere waterfront promenade and join in the Italian tradition of early evening wandering. You don't need to spend any money to come here, but you will probably be tempted by the surrounding gelato shops and the cicchetti that is on offer in the surrounding bars. Here you can see the Grand Canal and you can watch the world go by as you walk along the waterfront. You can look out to Giudecca Island, and the impressive San Giorgio Maggiore church that towers over the canals. This is a relaxing way to wrap up your day of exploring and find somewhere to have dinner.
4. See Santa Maria della Salute at night
The church itself is open until 5:30pm if you want to see the interior, but if you come at night you can experience the exterior of this stunning church all lit up. The exterior is covered with 125 statues, and the magnificent façade is a stark contrast to the rather sombre interior. While you are visiting here, you can also walk along to Punta della Dogana, the pointed walkway where you can stand between the Grand Canal and the Giudecca Canal and watch the water traffic go by on both sides, as well as looking back across to San Marco.
5. Watch the sunset over the Grand Canal from the Accademia Bridge
There is nothing more romantic than watching the sunset in one of the most romantic cities on earth. There are many wonderful places to watch the sunset in Venice, including going up San Giorgio Maggiore tower, going out to the island of Murano, and walking along Giudecca Island, but if you want to go somewhere for free then you could find a spot on the Accademia Bridge. This picturesque wooden bridge is just as famous as the Rialto Bridge, but the crowds will generally disperse later in the day. Come here to watch the sunset with an incredible view of the Grand Canal, or come here later in the evening when there are less people and simply watch the evening water traffic passing by.
6. Visit Venice churches in the evening
Places like San Giorgio Maggiore have incredible works of art on display that you can explore for free, although you would have to pay around €3 to go up the tower. Another church that is open a bit later is the church of San Zaccaria. This is a 13th century Gothic church close to saint Mark's square, and holds many beautiful works of art. The church itself is free, but if you pay a small fee you can go into the crypts which are permanently flooded and provide an eerie and beautiful reflection of the underground crypts.
7. Browse in the Libreria Acqua Alta
If you are looking for something a little offbeat to do at night in Venice, you could go and browse the selection of books at the Libreria Acqua Alta. This is a unique bookstore that has stacks of books piled up in bathtubs. Venice experiences seasonal flooding (known as Acqua Alta), and to deal with this the store has piled all of their wares in to waterproof containers- there is even a pile of books in a gondola. This is a part of life for Venetians and people visiting in the off-season, so this is a quaint little store that shows what real life for people living here is like. You can visit this book store any time of day, but it is open until about 8pm at night and would offer something a little different than watching gondolas and wandering through backstreets.
8. Find a free concert to go to
These are unfortunately not every widely advertised, but many bars and cafes have flyers for free concerts and music events. Venice was home to some of the Italian greats such as Vivaldi, and you will see many people advertising concerts and shows, but there are plenty of wonderful music options that you will not have to pay for. As well as looking at flyers in cafes and bàcari, you can look on the Music In Venice website for any upcoming events.
The city also puts on an event called the Venice Suona Festival, where there are free city-wide music events in the squares. You can also hear musicians and street performers playing if you head back to Piazza San Marco at night, which will provide a magical back drop while you are wandering through Venice's backstreets at night.
If you want to spend time in Venice, in the evening, but without spending, you can walk and get lost in the streets, in fact at night the city changes face: when the horde of tourists withdraws, Venice becomes quiet and silent, almost unrecognizable.
San Marco in particular, when it empties, the evening becomes even more suggestive. It is easy to meet places with free admission where they often organize concertos, especially jazz.
One of these places is Osteria da Filo, near Campo San Giacomo. In the foundation of Mercy, Monday night at Paradise Lost there is always live music and sometimes even Billiards. To find these events it is useful to visit the Facebook pages of the various rooms.
There are also some cultural associations such as the Morion (in the Castello Sestiere) and the About (San Giacomo), which organize musical events. Especially during the summer, numerous festivals are held during the holidays, where we can attend free concerts, dance, eat and drink together. The main ones are: the San Francesco della Vigna Festival, the San Giacomo Festival and the San Pietro di Casteo Festival.