Fresh Beer Junction
Tạ Hiện Str.
This junction in the centre of the Old Quarter is the absolute classic night time activity in Hanoi. You really haven’t seen the city until you have spent a few hours soaking up the atmosphere and maybe sinking a few beers at the most famous Beer Hoi (Fresh Beer) spot in Hanoi.
Several shophouses have plastic stools spilling out onto the streets, with beers and street vendors serving steamed peanuts, beef jerky and other exotic snacks. The beer is quite weak compared to European standards, but for an all round experience it is quite something. Open throughout the day and late into the night, the ever-bustling beer haven is located at the corner of Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen streets in the Hanoi Old Quarter, where you can see hundreds of people sitting on plastic stools with a pint of bia hoi in hand.
Water Puppet Theatre in Hanoi
Water Puppet Theatre in Hanoi.
The Water Puppet Theatre is a must-visit if you're travelling in Hanoi for the first time, featuring live music and sketches of the local lifestyle. This ancient art form of water puppetry has a long association but the original – and widely regarded as the best – theatre in town is the Thang Long Puppet Theatre in the Hoan Kiem District.
Puppets dance and slide gracefully over the water, depicting stories of ancient myths and folklore which are easy to grasp for foreign guests. Held nightly from 3p.m onwards, booking your tickets in advance is highly recommended, especially on weekends.
Vietnam Central Circus
Vietnam Central Circus.
The Vietnam Central Circus is ideal for a day of family-friendly fun, where travellers can enjoy, live performances and simple fairground games within a large park in the south of the city. Featuring clowns, acrobats and animal performances, the Central Circus in Hanoi follows a fairly predictable schedule, but it can be a lot of fun. Located next to Thien Quang Lake, it is a 10 minute taxi ride from Hanoi Old Quarter.
Hanoi Opera House
Hanoi Opera House.
Located in the centre of the French Quarter of Hanoi, it is worth going to appreciate the Hanoi Opera House at night, even if there is no performance scheduled. The stunning Hanoi Opera House is one of the most spectacular examples of colonial architecture in Vietnam, and spending a night of culture at a live opera or musical performance lives long in the memory. Shows aren’t on constantly but be sure to check with the concierge at your hotel to see if any performances are scheduled during your stay.
Enjoy music in Swing Cafe and Lounge
Swing Cafe and Lounge.
Swing cafe and lounge, in the heart of Hanoi, is a fancy retro-style cafe by day and a popular live music venue by night. Swing Cafe and Lounge, right by Hanoi's Hoan Kiem Lake, is another retro-inspired cafe and bar in the capital.
You can visit in the day for a coffee and a bite or by night for live music across a range of musical styles popular with Hanoi's new rich. Unlike some of its more bohemian Hanoi cafe counterparts, Swing is very much an upmarket venue.
The cabaret-style show alternates between performances from some big names in the local music scene, to lesser known cover acts. The set list is a mix of old-time Vietnamese favourites, more recent Viet-pop songs, as well as iconic western pop tunes.
An interesting venue for a look at how Vietnam's new class of wealthy like to play. On a good night, you might also get a taste of some of the engaging melodic twists of Vietnam's pre-1975 musical catalogue. Worth passing by for a look.