fun things to do in Venice, Italy

Whether you know it as the City of Water, City of Masks, or City of Bridges, there’s one thing that can’t be debated: Venice is nothing short of extraordinary.

With centuries worth of fascinating history, hundreds of bridges and canals, world-class art museums, and a water-centric lifestyle unlike anywhere else in the world, the floating city deserves to sit high atop any traveler’s bucket list.

After all, what other city lets you cruise on a pirate ship, stroll through one of Europe’s greatest public plazas, or build your own festive mask?

And where else can you savor the sounds of opera and cabaret, or gaze at centuries-old paintings and the inventions of Renaissance-era geniuses?

It could only be the same sort of magical place where you can stroll (or sail!) through paths well worn by many renowned figures, and make some new stories of your own.

Plus, with some truly amazing restaurants and bars (and plenty of gelato, of course!), even your downtime in town will be amazing.

If you’re looking for things to do in Venice, you’ll truly be spoiled for choice.

Want to dive straight in? Browse our catalog now!

1 – Feel like a king at the Doge’s Palace

Doge's Palace, Venice

One of the main tourist attractions in Venice, the Doge’s Palace is an essential stop on any Venetian itinerary. Built originally in 1340, not only does this centuries-old palace portray a detailed history, but it also boasts some of the most exquisite art, architecture, and furniture (fit for a king) in the city.

Over the centuries, it continued to play a significant role in the city’s public life, refined and rebuilt continuously by various politicians.

By 1923, the municipal government had officially taken over the residence for use as a museum, and thanks to significant restorations, it remains a cultural gem to this day.

During those busy summer months, opt for a skip-the-line pass.

Read more about Doge’s Palace skip-the-line tickets.

2 – Float down the Grand Canal on a boat tour

Grand Canal boat tour in Venice

Venice’s grand canal, curving through the city in the reverse shape of an S, is arguably the most beautiful waterway in the world.

No matter which method you take — be that a water taxi (Vaporetto), motorboat, sunset cruise, gondola ride, dinner cruise, or hop-on-hop-off boat — make sure to add a Grand Canal tour to your Venetian bucket list.

As you cruise, you may see St. Mark’s bell tower, La Fenice Theater (see #3), and many of the city’s other architectural masterpieces.

If you’re around on the first Sunday of September, check out the traditional Regata Storica rowing event.

Read more about the best boat tours in Venice.

3 – Catch a show at La Fenice Theatre

La Fenice Theatre, Venice

A theatre as beautiful as the city in which it stands, La Fenice hosts the marvelous Venitian opera.

From opening day in 1792, it became a staple of city life, famed for hosting 19th-century operas by acclaimed creators like Verdi and Rossini.

But the show is only half the wonder; the architecture — a Baroque masterpiece brimming with gold decor — and the artwork are masterpieces in their own right.

To see it in all its might, opt for a guided tour (or, if you’re feeling fancy, a VIP private tour).

4 – Take in the lavish details of St. Mark’s Basilica

St. Mark's Basilica, Venice

Flanked by pigeons, gelaterias, snap-happy tourists, and street artists, St. Mark’s Basilica is arguably the architectural focal point of Venice.

And with a storied history that includes over a millennium of religious clashes, political figures, and stunning works of creativity, it’s also a well-loved part of the town!

While entrance to St. Mark’s Basilica is free (and definitely worthwhile), a skip-the-line ticket is a great investment during busier times.

Similarly, the adjacent St. Mark’s Bell Tower is a worthwhile attraction, offering sweeping views of the canaled city.

5 – People watch at Caffè Quadri in St. Mark’s Square

Caffè Quadri in St. Mark's Square, Venice

With a rich history dating back to its first opening in 1638, the ancient, exclusive Caffè Quadri, located amidst the main haunts in St Mark’s Square, is a famously elegant yet welcoming locale to sip an espresso or glass of wine or dine into a hearty meal.

And with your cup or dish, you can feel the power of the past surrounding you; this has been a hotspot for political and civic discussions since it opened.

And with distinguished former visitors such as Honore de Balzac and Lord Byron, you can be assured that you’re following a fine tradition!

If you’re looking to sit back and people-watch for an hour or two, there’s no better place.

6 – Take a romantic gondola ride

gondola ride in Venice

The most quintessentially Venetian activity imaginable, a ride down Venice’s charming waterways is one of the non-negotiable things to do in Venice.

With a local gondolier sharing tales, tips, and tidbits, there’s plenty of enjoyment to be had. Relax and enjoy the world passing by as you savor the beauty of the boat and the city itself.

For the romantics amongst us, consider the extra addition of a serenade session and onboard dinner.

And if you’re feeling amorously inspired, check out our list of romantic things to do in Venice for couples!

Learn more: Gondola Rides in Venice Price – How Much Does it Cost?, The 13 Best Gondola Rides in Venice

7 – Visit the islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello

island of Murano, Italy

While most tourists tend to stay on Venice’s main island(s), any savvy traveler knows that some of the area’s true gems lie outside of the tourist-trodden main squares.

Over in Murano, Burano, and Torcello — three distinctly beautiful islands in the larger Venitian lagoon — you’ll find glass-blowing factories (and the Museo del Vetro – Glass Museum), brightly-colored fishermen’s houses, and plenty of wonderful eateries and shops.

It’s especially exciting to see the artisans of Burano and Murano, who have been weaving lace patterns and blowing glass in much the same way for almost 1,000 years.

And on the way back, you’ll catch a glimpse of other nearby gems like the Lindo beach resort and the San Giorgio Maggiore, another popular local island.

8 – See the city on your own terms with some hop on hop off tours

hop on hop off bus tours in Venice

Adventure is all around this town, so why not hitch a ride on the ultimate flexible vehicle?

There’s something wonderful about the freedom of hop on hop off bus tours, where you can choose which stops to linger at and when to “hop on” your next route.

And because this is Venice, you’ll also have some aquatic options as well!

While you may need to watch your step more carefully, the boat versions are just as exciting, and they’re perfect for visiting all of the amazing stops around the canal!

9 – Sign up for a Mysteries of Venice tour

Mysteries of Venice tour

Venice might be famous for its waterways and canals, but behind its charming facade lies a dark history, one littered with mysteries and haunted tales.

To uncover all of the floating city’s most exciting, spooky stories, and to hear first-hand the legends about the Venice of old, join a walking tour that crosses through the lesser-seen streets — it’s a surefire hit for anyone brave enough!

Roam through the vast emptiness of San Marco Square, and learn haunting tales as you take in the eerie evening atmosphere.

Or wind through small alleys and up the spiraling Bovolo Staircase, searching for ghosts and exploring the legacy of scoundrels, specters, murderers, and more!

10 – Indulge in a beautiful Candlelight concert

candlelight concerts in Venice

As you’re taking in all of the musical delights this town has to offer, you can’t miss the elegant atmosphere of a candlelight concert!

The flickering flames provide a relaxing, romantic atmosphere, with a symphony producing stirring renditions of classic orchestral pieces, pop hits, and everything in between.

As you let the sounds wash over you, you’ll feel utterly transported!

11 – Race against the clock with a scavenger game

scavenger game in Venice

When strolling around town becomes a little repetitive, why not take the adventure up a notch with a competitive, fast-paced scavenger hunt?

As you venture to a handful of Venice’s most famous landmarks — including St Mark’s Square — you’ll explore not only the tourist-trodden areas but also gain a new perspective thanks to riddles and challenges that take place off the beaten track.

Root through clues that show off all the sides of the city, and dart from one place to the next as you enjoy the thrill of the hunt!

12 – Admire the Venetian Villas on a Brenta Riviera cruise

Venetian villa on a Brenta Riviera cruise

The perfect blend of romance, sightseeing, and relaxation, a cruise down Brenta Riviera toward Padua is one of the best things to do in Venice.

Besides the chance to admire more than 50 breathtaking villas that sit on the banks of the river, tours also include a hearty lunch at a local restaurant and entrance to three of the most celebrated villas.

Drink in the beautiful stables and charming coffeehouse of Museo Nazionale di Villa Pisani, the elegant gardens of Villa Widmann Rezzonico Foscari, or the stunning interior decor of Villa Valmarana.

These splendid residences aren’t just nice to look at; they also offer great insights into the long, fascinating history of Venice’s ruling class.

13 – Tantalise the tastebuds with a food tour!

food tour in Venice
Rialto Market

Foodies, rejoice! Home to some of Europe’s — scratch that, the world’s — most tantalizes dishes, Venice is heaven on Earth for gastronomy lovers.

While there’s never enough time to try every dish at every restaurant, a locally-led food tour — one that takes you to both crowd favorites and hidden gems — is the next best thing.

As you wander through places like the Rialto Market, gear up to sample some delicious Cicchetti and wash it down with a Spritz or two!

14 – Get a taste of the swashbuckling life on a galleon tour

Galleon dinner cruise in Venice

What’s that, there are other boats in Venice besides gondolas?

That’s right, and not only can you set sail on a marvelous, historic galleon ship, but you can also enjoy a candlelit gourmet dinner and soak in the breathtaking views.

On top of all of that, you’ll get a nice show in the form of the city unfurling around you as your guide points out landmarks.

Or, if you’re up for something a little more lively, why not check out the Carnival Party cruise?

It’s a great way to meet fellow social travelers!

15 – Sit front row at a classical music concert

classical music concert in Venice

A delight for the ears, tourists and locals alike can’t get enough of Venice’s music scene, where classical melodies echo down the canals.

Take your show to the next level with a ticket that includes a romantic three-course dinner; check out I Musici Veneziani (home of Antonio Vivaldi’s magnificent ‘Four Seasons’), or witness the powerful Baroque music at Interpreti Veneziani.

Savor the moment as history and art come together in an unforgettable fashion!

16 – Enjoy the dizzying panorama atop St. Mark’s Campanile

St. Mark's Square, Venice
St. Mark’s Square view from St Mark’s Campanile

One of the most popular things to do in Venice (read: avoid peak times, go early in the morning if possible to avoid the crowds), St Mark’s Campanile offers up sprawling, panoramic views of the rest of Venice.

The current structure was built in 1912, but it dates back in some form or another to the 900s, when it was designed as a defensive fortification.

In the modern era, its design – especially the stunning belltower – has inspired similar buildings across Europe and the United States.

At just shy of 100 meters tall, while it might not compare to most Western skyscrapers, it does hold the claim to fame of being the tallest structure in Venice.

17 – Get romantic with a Verona day trip

Verona, Italy

You may know it as the place where Romeo and Juliet had their ill-fated romance, but there’s so much more to Verona than that!

Whether you’re browsing through the fantastic shops of Piazza delle Erbe or grabbing a bite at the cafes, there’s plenty to enjoy in this lovely town.

And you can even stop by Juliet’s House, the place that inspired the iconic play!

18 – Explore nearby Lido Island with a bike tour

bike tour in Venice

Bike tours… in Venice?

Yep, you heard that right. Off of the main island, on the less-visited but equally impressive Lido Island, plenty of fun awaits with a bike tour.

Besides the chance to escape the crowds, you’ll be greeted by amazing restaurants (and gelaterias, of course), quiet beaches, and notable landmarks such as the old Jewish cemetery.

And of course, you can enjoy the famously beautiful sights around town in-depth and at your own pace.

Rent your own bike or join a guided tour — whatever suits your style!

19 – Take a leisurely kayak trip through the canals

kayaking in Venice

While a kayak might not carry the same esteem (and stereotypical image) as a gondola, it’s a more practical, engaging, and affordable way to travel through the canal’s open-air style.

Grab a paddle and head out to enjoy an excursion through the water, where you get to do the steering – and the sightseeing!

With guided tours ranging from two to four hours, there’s plenty of time to soak in the skyline of Venice from afar and check out places like the Sant’Andrea fort and the lagoon islands of Sant’Erasmo and Vignole.

20 – Satisfy your sweet tooth with a chocolate tasting

chocolate tasting in Venice

Ideal for youngsters and anyone with an unrelenting sweet tooth, a chocolate-tasting experience is a surefire hit for the whole family.

A tastebud delight, tours include samples of Dragées, chocolate covers, pralines, truffles, chocolate beans, and a chocolate drink to wash it all down — yum!

And you’ll also get a good dose of culture with each nibble, as you learn about the illustrious pedigrees of each chocolatier.

With tastings lasting just 40 minutes, it’s an easy addition to any itinerary.

21 – Lose yourself in culture at the Giorgio Cini Foundation

Giorgio Cini Foundation, Venice

Gorgeous buildings, jaw-dropping works of art, and some lavish historical details?

You must be at the Giorgio Cini Foundation, a remarkable foundation that celebrates the humanities with wonder and whimsy.

Don’t miss the Vatican Chapels, a gorgeous series of churches lovingly designed by various architects, or the Borges Labyrinth, a twisty, hedge-filled maze based off of one of the iconic stories by the late author Jorge Luis Borges.

22 – Gain a new perspective on a helicopter ride

helicopter tour in Venice

Venice boasts more than 400 bridges, and there’s no better way to see them littering the area than from above, strapped into the seat of a private helicopter.

Choose from 10, 20, or 30-minute flights; make sure the camera batteries are charged, and simply sit back and enjoy the breathtaking view!

Along with great views of the city, your airborne view will offer a new perspective on nearby landmarks such as the glassmaking island of Burano, or the stunning Mose dam, which helps to battle the famous floods in the area.

23 – Explore the stories of a diaspora at the Jewish Museum

Jewish Museum, Venice

Founded in 1953 by the Jewish Community of Venice, this museum in the heart of the Venetian Ghetto might be small in stature, but its contents are as powerful and moving as anywhere.

With stories and artifacts dating back all the way to the middle ages, plus an eye-opening focus on WW2, it’s a must for travelers looking to learn more about Jewish history.

There are also some excellent displays covering the culture and religion of Judaism, both in Venice and in general.

From annual festivals to copies of the Torah (the primary Jewish religious text), these displays help to add more context to the history – and they’re pretty interesting in and of themselves!

24 – Check out the art at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection

Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice

A popular modern art museum straddling the bank of the Grand Canal, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection provides deep dives into European and American art of the 20th century — focusing on genres such as Cubism, Surrealism, and abstract expressionism, as well as showcasing statues.

You can even book a guided tour, which focuses on the highlights of this illustrious collection.

For art aficionados, it’s undoubtedly one of the best museums in Venice.

25 – Sample Prosecco after Prosecco on a wine-tasting tour

wine tasting in Venice
Venetian Cicchetti snacks and two glasses of white wine

No trip to Italy is complete without wine — it’s as simple as that.

The best and most hassle-free way to try all of the local favorites is on a guided wine tasting tour.

With an expert local leading the way, you’ll have the chance to try at least four quality Veneto wines (including Prosecco), paired, of course, with some traditional Venetian Cicchetti (appetizers).

And for an equally iconic food to pair with it, so be sure to book some cheese tastings as well!

See also: 20 Essential Wine Regions in Italy for Sommeliers and Amateurs Alike

26 – Admire the art at the Querini Stampalia Foundation

Querini Stampalia Foundation, Vênice

If you want to step directly into the art and culture of days gone by, then the Querini Stampalia Foundation is the perfect destination.

The centerpiece of the museum is undoubtedly the painting collection, which features over 400 works by such masters as Giambattista Tiepolo and Giovanni Bellini.

But it’s also well worth checking out the other artifacts on display, including antique furniture and elegant home decorations, all of which belonged to the illustrious Querini family.

27 – Spend some quality time in nature with a trip to the Dolomite Mountains

Dolomite mountains day trip

With 18 peaks spanning everything from icy glaciers to lush, green forests; the Dolomites are a welcomed change of pace from the hustle and bustle of Venice (especially during peak tourist season).

While you can rent a car (the journey’s about two hours, there and then back), the most cost-effective and hassle-free method is a pre-organized day trip!

Many of these tours also include stops in the charming village of Cortina. Nestled at the foot of the mountains (dig those Insta-worthy views!), the town is mostly known for its skiing; But no matter what time of year you visit, its picturesque streets, lively little shops, and lakeside paths make it a perfect rustic getaway.

You can also book some of the amazing hiking tours in the Dolomite Mountains, and let your guide introduce you to the full scope of their beauty!

28 – Test your chef skills with a cooking class

cooking class in Venice

After sampling all of the best dishes the city has to offer, how can we take our creations back home?

Easy — just learn the recipe!

Led by professional Venetian chefs, these visitor-friendly (taught in English) cooking classes teach you how to make traditional Italian meals, with plenty of prosecco to go around; and only using only high-quality and local ingredients!

Some classes even include trips to the local markets, where you cna pick up all the perfect fixings for your feast!

29 – Find new routes around the waterways while stand-up paddleboarding

stand-up paddleboarding in Venice

Whether you’re a complete novice or a seasoned veteran, a couple hours’ gliding down the Venitian waterways on a stand-up paddleboard is a great activity for the whole family.

As the friendly, local guide takes you to all of the area’s hidden gems — including historic palaces and churches — they’ll also share unique travel tips and insights into Venice’s culture and history.

It’s a perfect summer activity!

30 – Grab a scoop (or three) at Gelatoteca Suso

gelato in Venice

Easily one of the most quintessential things to do in Venice, no trip is complete with at least one serve (per day?) of mouth-watering gelato.

While it’s honestly near-impossible to find a bad scoop anywhere in the city, the crowd favorite is always one of the most popular gelaterias.

With more than two-dozen Instagram-ready flavors piled high, infused with real aromatic fruits, Gelatoteca Suso offers up delights for all the senses.

31 – Explore the charming town of Padua

Padua tours from Venice

A scenic day trip with gobs of charm, Padua is the sort of place that invites lingering gazes… especially with a scenic cruise!

Sitting right along the Brenta Riviera it’s an ideal destination for a leisurely sailing excursion, but make sure to save time to stroll the beautiful streets as well!

Museums, churches, and the spacious Prato della Valle square all await you, offering a gorgeous slice of life to enjoy!

32 – Admire the sculptures at Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta

Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta, Venice

Another stunning Baroque church, this one in the Cannaregio district, Santa Maria Assunta dishes up incredible artwork and architecture, both inside and out.

Built in 1729, its striking features are a great example of Jesuit architecture, and its columns and various levels are particularly striking when viewed from a distance.

Inside, you can admire the stunning frescoes painted on the ceiling, as well as the small altars around the space that pay homage to various public figures.

Travelers particularly love the sculptures of the Archangels by Giuseppe Torretti in the altar area.

33 – Design your own souvenirs in a mask-making workshop

mask-making workshop in Venice

Why just buy a typical Venetian mask as a souvenir when you can make and decorate an authentic, one-of-a-kind paper maché version instead?

With a local expert showing you all the tricks of the trade, a mask-making workshop provides a unique insight into the Italian city’s culture and history.

Practice some traditional techniques with papier-mache (that’s right, it’s not just for grade school craft projects any more!), then dive into the rich legacy of the art, from its carnival connotations to its centuries of use at street festivals and elegant dances alike.v

Best of all, you can take it home with you!

Hot tip: The best city tours in Venice provide an unforgettable experience of the city’s annual events, like the spectacle of Carnevale.

34 – Celebrate a whole range of artistic endeavors at Giardini della Biennale

Giardini della Biennale, Venice

A vibrant hub of art and culture, Giardini della Biennale is the place to go when you want to lose yourself in a thousand different mediums… especially if they’re in conjunction with each other!

With different sections celebrating everything from music and art to film, dance, and architecture, this is the ideal space to explore the whole range of human expression.

You just might feel creatively inspired yourself!

35 – Snap a selfie in front of the Palazzo delle Prigioni

Palazzo delle Prigioni, Venice

Otherwise known as the Prisons’ Palace, this iconic structure dates back to the 16th century, with the claim to fame as coming from the same genius architect (Antonio Da Ponte) who designed the Rialto Bridge.

Originally, it was one of several jails built in the city, all connected to the palace by the famous Bridge of Sighs.

Its most famous resident was undoubtedly Casanova, the renowned writer and man about town.

But he wasn’t just known for being held captive there – he was also famous for escaping!

No longer a prison, these days it serves as a gathering spot for cultural events — check the calendar to see what’s on and grab tickets before they run out!

36 – Pilot the world’s most popular aircraft with the A320 flight simulator

flight simulator in Venice

Ever wondered what it’s like to pilot a commercial aircraft? Try it out for yourself with the Airbus A320 Flight Simulator in Venice. Sit in the captain’s seat and enjoy this truly immersive experience with full HD landscapes and 220° panoramic views.

Get to know the cockpit of the world’s most common aircraft and practice your taxis, take-offs, and landings without ever leaving the ground.

You can even pick the airports you’re departing from and arriving at, letting you choose your own aviation adventure each time!

37 – Spend the afternoon at the Correr Museum

Correr Museum, Museum

Located amongst the hustle and bustle in St. Mark’s Square, the Correr Museum is one of the best things to do in Venice for art and history lovers.

With rooms focusing on the neoclassical era, all the way up to more modern times, this museum is as diverse as it is high-quality.

A typical crowd favorite is the picture gallery, highlighted by the works of famous painter Lorenzo Veneziano.

38 – Eat and drink in style at Caffè Florian

Caffè Florian, Venice

Sometimes, it’s worth splurging on a meal while on vacation, especially when it’s at Caffe Florian!

Since it opened in 1720, this hip spot has been known for its coffees, delicious food, and upscale atmosphere.

And with a prime location in St. Mark’s Square, it’s the perfect place to watch the world go by, as white-jacketed waiters serve your meals and an orchestra plays in the background.

It’s one of the classiest things to do in Venice!

39 – Grab a book at the Marciana National Library

Marciana National Library, Venice

One for the bookworms, the Marciana National Library is considered one of the world’s oldest public libraries, dating back to the late 1500s.

And with over a million works in the inventory, it’s the sort of place that rewards endless browsing.

Besides its vast collection and impressive architecture, Marciana also boasts one of the world’s most significant collections of classical texts.

Thanks to its location in St Mark’s Square, it’s a quick and easy addition to any afternoon wander through Venice’s main haunts.

40 – Take a field trip to the past at the National Archaeological Museum

National Archaeological Museum, Venice

Established way back in 1523, this museum, remarkably, boasts artifacts dating back even centuries earlier — all the way to the 1st century BC.

With a vast collection of Greek and Roman sculptures, as well as ceramics, ancient coins, and unique stones, among plenty more, there’s no shortage of fascinating relics on display.

Every room offers fresh surprises; an ancient Egyptian item here, a 400-year old legal document there.

And with an incredible mix of cultures on display, it’s the perfect place to explore the area’s oldest civilizations, from prehistory to the present day.

41 – Learn how to row a gondola

rowing tours in Venice

Is there anything more iconic than Venice’s gondolas? Get the ultimate city experience with a rowing lesson on the Grand Canal. Discover what it takes to make it as a professional gondolier and learn the secret local rowing style from the masters.

Then it’s time to head out and test your skills, with the vibrancy of the sunset all around you!

It’s great to take a boat ride on the lagoon but it’s better still to pilot it yourself!

42 – See real inventions at the Leonardo da Vinci Museum

Leonardo da Vinci Museum, Venice

As far as things to do in Venice go, it’s hard to overlook the Leonardo da Vinci Museum as one of the best.

This exciting, interactive collection showcases da Vinci’s life and masterpieces through a mix of interactive equipment, videos, educational labs, infographics, and plenty more — arguably none more exciting than the replica inventions (including the flying machine).

Themed around the four elements – water, air, earth, and fire -, this innovative gallery explores Da Vinci’s relationship to each realm, expressed equally through art and science.

After seeing his staggering level of productivity, you may be motivated to do some creating yourself!

43 – Climb the spiral staircase at the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo

Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo, Venice

Famous for its beautiful spiral staircase (known locally as the Scala Contarini) and picturesque archways, the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo (which has stood, impressively, for over 5 centuries) is one of the most iconic pieces of architecture in the city.

This magnificent structure, which was created by renowned local artist Giovanni Candi, was designed to fit the standards of the Renaissance era.

And of course, there are the steps themselves, swirling several stories up the turret of the building; look at them from a distance, and you’ll see why they’re named after the Italian word for “snail”!

Whether you plan to ascend its stairs or snap a selfie from the bottom, it’s a must-visit.

44 – Get romantic on a Casanova tour

Casanova tour in Venice

As one of the most renowned people to ever call this shimmering city home, a Casanova-themed tour — be it public or private — is an essential activity for anyone interested in history, literature, romance, or all of the above.

Besides his reputation as one of the most famous romantics (read: womanizers) in history, the Venetian was also a scam artist, alchemist, spy, and church cleric — and you’ll hear all about it on the unique tour.

Stroll in the literal footsteps of this infamous figure, from his former homes and preferred party areas to some of the renowned city landmarks that he used to frequent.

Along the way, you’ll get a nice dose of 18th-century stories, as well as a new perspective on the iconic city and its citizens.

45 – Step inside the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore

Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice

Designed originally in 1566, this iconic, white, art-filled church sits on its namesake island (so you know it’s important!).

A masterwork of Renaissance aesthetics, the church has been a hallmark of great design in the city for centuries – and even the star of a few literary texts!

Located within view of the Doge’s Palace, on the other side of the canal, San Giorgio Maggiore is open every day to the public.

While entry to the church is free, keep a few euros on hand if you plan of climbing up the bell tower.

46 – Absorb the cultural wonders of Florence

Florence tours from Venice

With its endless bounty of art and history, Florence makes for an unforgettable day trip – although you may be tempted to come back for more!

Best known as one of the seats of the Renaissance, this spectacular city is dazzling inside and out, packed with epic statues, dazzling paintings, and some of the most remarkable buildings in Tuscany.

Linger at each stop and enjoy the same enchanted atmosphere that nourished some of history’s greatest creative minds!

47 – Join an underground ghost tour (if you dare)

underground ghost tour in Venice

If you’re on the hunt for things to do in Venice that are a little out of the ordinary, look no further.

With a convoluted history of floods, plagues, war, and quarantine, the Venetian underground is no stranger to unique and oft-eerie stories.

For an engaging, fun way to learn about it all, sign up for a walking tour!

Perhaps it’s better to leave the kids at the hotel for this one — with a candlelit tour of an abandoned crypt, shivers will jolt the spine.

48 – Get cultured at the Ca’ Pesaro Museum

Ca' Pesaro Museum, Venice

Housing both the International Gallery of Modern Art and the Oriental Art Museum, Ca’ Pesaro should be high atop any art-lover’s Venice bucket list.

Besides Prince Enrico’s collection of Japanese Edo art, and a multitude of 19th and 20th-century paintings, sculptures, drawings, and photographs, thanks to its location facing the Grand Canal, Ca’ Pesaro also boasts spectacular waterside views.

Admire the marvelous works of Klee and Rodin, then peruse the latest works in the temporary galleries.

49 – Experience art and great views at the Ca’ Rezzonico Museum

Ca' Rezzonico Museum, Venice

Dedicated to 18th-century Venice and overlooking the sparkling Grand Canal, the Ca’ Rezzonico Museum is one of a number of museums showcasing classical interiors typical of Venice’s elite and esteemed — and, is commonly regarded as the best of the bunch.

And with three floors of sculptures, paintings, and even antique furniture, it’s easy to see why!

The on-site audio guide is recommended, likewise the terrace and cafe for excellent Canal views!

50 – Check out the costumes at Palazzo Mocenigo

Palazzo Mocenigo, Venice
Fine waistcoats for aristocrats in Venice between 1700 and 1750

Housing a fine selection of rare textiles and costumes, often embellished with intricate lace patterns and embroidery, as well as a collection of valuable 18th-century artworks, the Palazzo Mocenigo is one of the more unique museums in the area.

Built for one of the city’s most prominent noble families, it has long been a haven of culture, from its lavish holdings to the gorgeous designs of the building itself.

Make sure to check out the new “Play with Arts & Culture” exhibition, a hands-on collaboration between the museum and Google.

51 – See some examples of military might at the Venetian Arsenal

Venetian Arsenal, Venice

In its glory days, this was the spot where ships and military supplies were grouped together, making it an industrial stronghold of the republic.

In fact, it was once the largest complex of its kind in Europe!

Before the Industrial Revolution, it was an unparalleled military structure, and some of its most impressive buildings are still standing today.

Take some time to stroll around and absorb the many powerful moments that played out here!

52 – Step inside the Basilica S.Maria Gloriosa dei Frari

Basilica S.Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice

Sitting at the heart of the San Polo district, this beautiful Gothic Venetian church has been standing since the 14th century.

Devoted to the Virgin Mary, this Franciscan gem isn’t just a spiritual place, but a stylish one.

While its facade of Basilica S.Maria Gloriosa dei Frari might be rather minimal, once you step inside you’ll be dazzled by the intricate, stunning architecture — with works by Titian, Bellini, and Vivarini hung upon the walls, this underrated landmark can compete with most of the city’s major museums.

53 – Discover the unique culture of the Cannaregio neighborhood

Cannaregio, Venice

The northernmost of Venice’s six historic districts (or, as the locals call them, “sestieri”), Cannaregio blends fascinating history — the location of the Jewish Ghetto, housing 500 Years of Jewish Life — with modern restaurants and plenty of typical Venetian charm.

While any Cannaregio walking tour is sure to educate and fascinate, those feeling peckish could combine it with a food-tasting tour.

Whether you’re sipping prosecco or feasting on pasta, you’ll get to enjoy excellent flavors that perfectly complement the city around you.

Don’t miss out on “cicchetti” – the small snacks that offer a perfect sampler of the rich cuisine.

54 – Indulge in a bit of authentic life around Dorsoduro

Dorsoduro, Venice

With art galleries and hidden gem attractions to boot, Dorsoduro is often considered the more beautiful of all of Venice’s districts — and that’s saying something!

Lined with stunning and historic architecture, quaint alleyways, plus restaurants, cafes, and bars, Dorsoduro is overflowing with things to do; best of all, away from the crowds of the town center.

Pass by picturesque churches and galleries, visit workshops where the classic gondolas are made, and admire the iconic lagoon from every angle.

55 – Take in the styles and stories of Grassi Palace

Grassi Palace, Venice

Built in the mid-1700s, this magnificent residence has equally impressive views – after all, it sits right on the canal!

And as one of the last major structures of the Venetian Republic era, it’s also a relic of transition – with some pretty spectacular treasures inside!

Don’t miss the Pinault Collection, which features some of the best contemporary artworks in the city, housed in a suitably palatial space.

56 – Turn the city into your personal Instagram stage with a photoshoot

photoshoot tours in Venice

As the shutter clicks and the smiles bloom, you’ll be gladder than ever that you chose to do a photoshoot!

This is the ideal way to capture some powerful memories of your vacation, with guides showing you the best angles and aspects to capture the city’s memorable backdrops.

Go on a memorable walking tour through the streets and pause to get the perfect shot, or focus on the romantic angle with a leisurely gondola ride.

57 – Walk across as many famous bridges as you can!

The Grand Canal and Rialto bridge, Venice

Over 400 bridges link Venice’s islands to one another, and while there are many, only a select few have been crowned iconic.

On walking tours, be sure to check out as many as you can of the following:

The Bridge of Sighs, adjacent to the Doge’s Palace (best viewed from the nearby Ponte della Paglia); The Rialto Bridge, the main pedestrian crossing over the Grand Canal; the elegant stone Scalzi Bridge, and the high-arched Academy Bridge.

Discover the best walking tours in Venice that will lead you to the heart of this captivating and historic city. Short on budget? Check out the free walking tours in Venice.

58 – Gaze in awe at the masterpieces of Scuola Grande di San Rocco

Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice

Famous for its pristine collection of Tintoretto paintings and its picturesque facade, the Scuola Grande di San Rocco carries more than five centuries of history within walls, long-serving as a confraternity.

Between their lavish art collection and their devotion to charitable works, this is one order that has really made an impact on the city!

Considering that this building that undergone hardly any renovations since its inception in the 1400s, stepping inside its walls is like a step back in time.

59 – Go shopping at T Fondaco dei Tedeschi

T Fondaco dei Tedeschi, Venice

A haven for shopaholics, this iconic building sits on the Grand Canal near the Rialto Bridge, making it an easy addition to any afternoon itinerary.

As you walk around the 7000 square meters of high-quality fashion, jewelry, cosmetics, food, wine, and more, you’ll see both Italian and international brands.

Once you’re all shopped out at T Fondaco dei Tedeschi, don’t forget to check out the rooftop terrace, where panoramic views of Venice await.

And as an added bonus, you can group your browsing with some larger city tours!

60 – Feel on top of the world (literally) with the best rooftop bars

best rooftop bars in Venice
Credit to Skyline Bar

After a glorious day of exploring, celebrate the scenery at one of the city’s rooftop bars!

Swirl a mixed drink and enjoy some live music at the Skyline Rooftop Bar, which offers spectacular canal and city views.

Or knock back a few at Blind Spot, where the scenery is matched by the elegant decor and creative concoctions.

La Terrazza Bar offers both outdoor and indoor sections to kick back and sip some good drinks, while Sagra Rooftop Restaurant combines aquatically-influenced interiors with exterior water views – straight over the lagoon!

And at 28.5 Rooftop, you can raise a nice glass of champagne and enjoy the same views and lively surroundings that have been a hit for 110 years!

61 – Grab a book at the charming Libreria Acqua Alta

Libreria Acqua Alta, Venice

As the most famous bookshop in Venice, Libreria Acqua Alta is a must-see, not just for bookworms, but for everyone!

Besides its collection of novels, the store is unique in the sense that it’s often subject to flooding, meaning that you very well could be wading through inches of water while you look for your next Stephen King novel!

The charming bookstore also features a staircase made of old books and a resident sleeping kitty.

62 – Keep time in style at St. Mark’s Clocktower

St Mark's Clocktower, Venice

Known locally as the Torre dell’Orologio, a photo in front of St Mark’s Clocktower is a quick addition to any stroll through St Mark’s Square or Doge’s Palace.

Besides telling the time (in case you forget your watch on the gondola), the Renaissance clocktower also displays the winged lion of Venice and the current sign of the zodiac.

As you explore the inside of the tower, you can get an up-close glimpse at all of the timepiece’s intricate workings.

Your visit will take you past every part of its mechanics, from gears and cogs to those famous bells, all working in perfect harmony throughout the day.

It’s truly a remarkable clock.

63 – Try out a traditional dinner with a local

dinner with a local experience in Venice

Eating is practically a pastime here, so why not do it the local way… the really local way?

With these friendly themed dinners, you can enjoy traditional meals and customs, and also get the chance to mingle with some real Venetians!

Settle in for a carnival dinner, where you’ll get to try all of the dishes associated with the festive season – and some bubbly, of course!

Or tuck into course after course of a traditional sailor’s supper, with dish after dish of fresh seafood accompanied by great stories from centuries of nautical legacies!

64 – Get artsy at the Gallerie dell’Accademia

Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

With a brilliant collection of pre-19th-century artwork including pieces by Bellini, Titian, and Mantegna, the Gallerie dell’Accademia has long been a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike — particularly on those rainy days.

Stroll through the galleries and take in the broad spectrum of works, including sculptures, paintings, and hundreds of other items.

They even offer occasional exhibitions by more modern artists, as well as fascinating curated retrospectives on the masters most prominently on display.

While you can walk around and just browse, the 6€ extra for the audioguide is highly recommended.

65 – See ancient ships at the Venice Naval Historical Museum

Venice Naval Historical Museum

Nested in the Castello district near the Venetian Arsenal, the Venice Naval Historical Museum tells the story of the longstanding maritime traditions of the city and beyond.

With four floors dotted with interesting maritime objects, model ships, uniforms and equipment, and a separate section dedicated to actual ships, it’s easy to spend a couple of hours enjoying the displays.

From vehicles of war to celebratory vessels, you’ll get the whole breadth and depth of seafaring life laid out before you!

66 – Stroll past the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, Venice

As one of the best-known buildings in Venice, with a dome that’s visible from all over the city, the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute is nothing short of iconic.

And it got its start in a truly powerful way; it was built as a religious offering by politicians, who hoped that a tribute to God would stave off the Black Plague wave that was running rampant through the city.

Along with the stunning dome, its magnificent designs have inspired other buildings all over town.

Thanks to its white stones, 125 detailed statues, and brilliant exterior, it’s an architectural masterpiece, and a location well worth a visit.

67 – Treat yourself to an unforgettable meal at the Grand Canal Restaurant

Grand Canal Restaurant, Venice

Considered one of Venice’s most esteemed eateries, the Grand Canal Restaurant is by no means budget-friendly, but its seafood, pizzas, and desserts are delicious, and its setting is arguably even more spectacular, making it worth every penny.

And as the name suggests, it’s also got some great views of some of the prettiest parts of town, and spectacular people-watching by the canal.

When the weather’s on your side, be sure to grab a table on the terrace — the canal views won’t disappoint!

68 – Season your food with some festivities at a cabaret dinner show

Avanspettacolo cabaret show
credit to Avanspettacolo

An unforgettable dinner full of laughs, dance, magic, contortionists, and a little bit of adult-rated flair, the cabaret show is always a great option for visitors.

But the performance is only half the show! Besides great entertainment, you’ll also receive a mouth-watering, multi-course meal; a glass (or three) of Italian wine, and plenty of coffee and desserts.

There’s even a New Year’s Eve option if you want to really celebrate the holiday in style!

69 – Enjoy the immersive Traveling Opera performance

Traveling Opera, Venice
credit to Musica a Palazzo

Rotating through different locations — but nearly always inside one of Venice’s fascinating palaces — the traveling opera is a unique entertainment experience; unlike most performances, here, the cast immerses themselves within the crowd.

As the actors move around and the story unfolds, the unique 360-degree presentation literally surrounds you, giving the sense that you are just one more player in this wild world.

Simply choose your favorite opera: La Traviata, The Barber of Seville, or Rigoletto — then sit back, sip your wine, and enjoy the show!

70 – Dine and soak in the sunset views at incredible restaurants

Restaurant Terrazza Danieli, Venice

With countless award-winning restaurants and a near endless list of tantalizing dishes available at every corner, choosing any one spot to eat isn’t always straightforward.

However, if you’re in need of a single recommendation — one where rooftop sunset views are nothing short of serene — then head to Restaurant Terrazza Danieli.

The Water and Earth Tasting Menu is a great option if you’d love to sample everything on offer, while the luxurious Bar Dandolo presents as the perfect place for a nightcap (or the pristine setting for a romantic date).

And if this experience has got you hooked on al fresco dining, you’re in luck; there are several other spots in town that offer the same experience.

Grab an exquisite fruit cocktail at Terrazza Panoramica at Ca’ Sagredo Hotel, or check out La Palanca for seafood, ravioli, and perfect views of the canal.

Try Ristorante Omnibus for marvelous pasta and pizzas, or indulge in salads, desserts, and more at Bar Al Vecio Calice, a lively spot right in the middle of town.

In these spectacular spots, the tastes and the views go hand in hand!

71 – Let loose on a Venetian-style pub crawl!

Venetian-style pub crawl

Let’s hit pause on the history, food, and romance for a minute — it’s time to let your hair down!

A bar crawl like no other, in Venice you’ll dress up in traditional outfits and you skip across the city; sampling spritz, wine, and more.

For solo travelers or those looking to meet people, a few glasses of Prosecco is always the perfect icebreakers!

From carnival-themed epics to celebrations of local watering holes, these crawls will help you turn the city into a never-ending party!

How to get to Venice?

Your trip to this magical city will be made much easier with an airport transfer, and there are some excellent options available for Marco Polo Airport.

And if you really want to get European and take the train, there are also transfers to and from Mestre Station, the city’s main hub.

This watery paradise is naturally a pretty popular stop for cruises; and if you want to make sure that you still get to enjoy a dose of the city, check out some shore excursions!

You’ll get transported to and from the port with ease, and have plenty of time to explore the city’s highlights… it’s the best of everything!

Where to stay in Venice?

With its cozy size and classy trappings, Ca’di Dio-Small Luxury Hotel is the perfect home away from home, with a lovely garden and bar to relax in between trips to nearby spots like Doge’s Palace.

And at Baglioni Hotel Luna, you can take the glamor to the next level, cruising up to the property by gondola!

At Carnival Palace – Venice Collection, you can enjoy contemporary settings and a fabulous locale, with all of the treasures of the Jewish Ghetto just outside the door.

Or unwind at Monaco & Grand Canal, with the thriving hub of Saint Mark’s Square right outside the door.

And at Hotel Ca’ Formenta, you can soak up the classic Venetian vibes, from the color schemes to the lagoon views and on-site wharf – perfect for a classy cruise!

Visiting Venice on a budget?

Free walking tours offer great excursions through the city’s renowned streets, history, and culture… at no charge at all! But be sure to bring some cash to tip your guide for a job well done.

There are also some great combo passes to help you see more while spending less. Book the ACTV Transport Pass for use on all different forms of transit, from buses to boats.

And for culture nerds, there’s the Venice Museum Pass or the Venice City Pass.

Where to go next?

Venice has enough treasures for a lifetime, but it’s well worth checking out the other best places to visit in Italy. After all, this is one of the most sought-after destinations in the world, with centuries of art, history, and culture (and the amazing food, of course!) to entice travelers.

Whether you’re gaping at the ruins of Rome or relaxing by the sea, this charming nation has plenty to offer. And within a few hours of Venice, there are plenty of world-class destinations.

Stop by and try all of the things to do in Trieste, in northeastern Italy, and visit the large Piazza Unità d’Italia, explore the Miramare Castle overlooking the sea, and enjoy the world-famous Illy coffee. Trieste’s architecture, seaside cafes, and multicultural charm create an unforgettable Italian experience.

Check out elegant architecture and a thriving car culture as you sample the things to do in Bologna, or alternate between museums and nightlife among the many other things to do in Milan. Indulge in the things to do in Turin, like the famous gianduiotto or bicerin while exploring the local cafes and chocolatiers.

Sailing, shopping, and sightseeing are among the most popular things to do in Lake Como or bask in classical art and gorgeous streets as you soak up the spectacular things to do in Florence.

With its romantic atmosphere and creative culture, there are always lots of great things to do in Verona! And if you want to see the city and some nearby attractions in an efficient way, book some multi-day tours, and get adventurous!

Looking to travel further than Italy? Head East and explore Slovenia’s biggest city with all of the exciting things to do in Ljubljana.

Final thoughts

It’s magical. It’s mysterious. It’s romantic and intriguing. And with such an elegant reputation, it follows that there are tons of classy things to do in Venice.

But take some time to explore, and you’ll fall even more in love with its art, food scene, and fascinating past.

So get out on the canals and see what this amazing place has to offer!

Evan Bryce Riddle is a versatile and ambitious content producer whose passion for globetrotting runs deep. When he’s not crafting travel content, Evan is the Content Executive at Australia’s leading digital marketing agency, managing end-to-end video production and written content to build brands to 7 and 8 figures. Evan has also spearheaded content for world-leading digital media channels (TheRichest, TheTravel), written multiple published books, photographed weddings, and hosts the coveted MegaMinds podcast – a handful of highlights from his 10+ year content and marketing career. Where does the love for travel come from? Born in Melbourne, Australia but having grown up in Hollywood, Evan fell in love with international jetsetting from a young age. Fast forward to today and he’s visited 30+ countries, highlighted by a 4-year stint in vibrant Montreal.