Eclectic Evenings In The 2nd City: Best Things To Do In Lyon at Night - Updated 2021

things to do in lyon at night

They don’t call Lyon “France’s second city”, for nothing. With giant public squares, restaurants, bars, fascinating monuments, and its own unique rhythm, Lyon has just enough flavor to compete alongside the city of lights itself, for unforgettable nighttime diversions. Read on to discover 10 of the best things to do in Lyon, at night.

1. Have a late-night picnic

Source: Photo by user Anthony used under CC BY 2.0

If you’re the kind of tourist who enjoys a deep appreciation for the way a city ebbs and flows, then you might want to consider grabbing a bottle of fine Beaujolais wine and some olive tapenade, before heading over to the banks of the river, to be swept away by the beauty and moonlit mystery of Lyon.

Or make it a moving picnic tour, stopping to enjoy scenic sites along the way and rewarding yourself with the fruits of your labor. Positively reimagined at night, the Place des Terreaux is a worthy resting place for any nighttime adventure.

Lyon by Night

Address: Lyon city center, near Palais de Justice, 69005 Lyon, France


2. Witness a festival of lights

La fontaine des Jacobins pendant la fête des lumières 2010 à Lyon (2ème arrondissement)
Source: Photo by user Jilibi used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Cultural festivals are cherished community assets that signify the unique nature of the Lyonnais way of life. The Festival of Lights stands out as one of the most magnificent, among them. An annual celebration spread out over three magical nights, it relies on the work of local artists who use light imaging to display bold, vibrant colors against buildings, parks, and outdoor public spaces all around town. The result is a triumphant jubilee of patriotism and brotherhood.

Fête des Lumières

Address: Various locations throughout the city

Website: Fête des Lumières

3. Experience Les Nuits de Fourvière

Petit Théâtre de Gestes Photo : © Paul Bourdrel - Photo & Video

Posted by Festival Les Nuits de Fourvière - Officiel on Tuesday, 5 July 2016

A multifaceted cultural gathering dedicated to the performing arts, Les Nuits de Fourvière is a famed summer festival that welcomes some 130,000 spectators, each year. The primary objective is to increase public engagement in the arts by showcasing both local and internationally-acclaimed talent. The spell-binding lineup includes circus acts, theatre performances, music, and dance shows to be witnessed throughout various venues, all across the city.

Experience Les Nuits de Fourvière

Address: Various locations throughout the city

Website: Experience Les Nuits de Fourvière (in French)

4. Laugh your derrière off

things to do in lyon at night | laugh your derrière off
Source: nathalie.d89 on Instagram

They say laughter is the best medicine, so if vacation is the primary reason for your visit to Lyon, then attending one of its hilarious comedy clubs could be just the help you need, to unwind. One of the better known, Complexe du Rire runs a tasty tapas bar in addition to offering live shows and improv classes for children and adults. Meanwhile, Les Tontons Flingueurs and its satellite cafes, are all great places to enjoy a bit of French comical theater.

Complexe du rire

Address: 7 rue des Capucins, 69001 Lyon, France

Website: Le Cafe Complexe (in French)

5. Live your life out loud

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Qui a-t-on co-programmé et invité avec MCDE sur les 3 scènes du NS Days Jeudi ? Réponse demain, vendredi 15 janvier, à 11h00. #nuitsso2016

A post shared by Nuits sonores Official account (@nuits_sonores) on Jan 14, 2016 at 10:20am PST

Live music shows are top picks for travelers and city-dwellers looking to enjoy a fun night out on the town. Special performances held as part of Les Nuits Sonores Festival, operate throughout Lyon’s trendiest bars and nightclubs, attracting enthusiasts from all corners of the city. Meanwhile, music lovers with more refined tastes are sure to find something interesting over at the Opera House, or the Auditorium de Lyon, which is home to the acclaimed National Orchestra.

Les Nuits Sonores Music Festival

Address: Various locations in Lyon

Website: Les Nuits Sonores

6. Dabble in the dramatic arts

Posted by Théâtre Comédie Odéon on Thursday, 9 June 2016

Like any great major city, Lyon has a healthy flare for drama–specifically when it comes to performance theatre. Luckily, special venues like the Comédie Odéon and the Célestins Theatre, provide a wide array of thespian entertainment options–from light-hearted musical comedies to international works and theatrical adaptations of classic fiction novels.

Comédie Odéon

Address: 6 Rue Grolee, 69002 Lyon, Francce

Website: Comédie Odéon

7. Keep up with your contemporaries

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bourrel used under CC BY-SA 3.0

If exploring new visual wonders is your sort of thing, then staying abreast of the latest ripples in Lyon’s local art scene should be easy enough. Peruse through modern-day exhibitions by millennial designers and jet-setters over at La Sucrière, a contemporary art venue nestled within the Confluence quarter.

Additionally, thoughtful galleries like La Galerie Reverbere and Clémouchka, display contemporary photography works and paintings for the bemusement of curious passerby. Many stay open well into the early evening hours.

La Sucrière

Address: 49 - 50 Quai Rambaud, 69002 Lyon, France

Website: La Sucrière

8. Check out a new film

Watching a blank screen
Source: Photo by user Kenneth Lu used under CC BY 2.0

With a long history and an even longer list of things to do, Lyon certainly has more than just one claim to fame. Offering one-of-a-kind bragging rights, the city’s connection to the film industry seems to be among its proudest talking points. After all, the famous Lyonnais brothers, Auguste and Louis Lumière, were transformed into subjects of worldwide critical acclaim after unveiling their iconic Cinematograph, now considered the first ever film camera of its time. Nowadays major film buffs and casual moviegoers celebrate their legacy by popping over to the Institut Lumière to see a nighttime screening of their choice.

Institut Lumière

Address: 25 rue du Premier Film, 69008 Lyon, France

Website: Institut Lumière

9. Sing to your heart's content

Microphone for Karaoke night
Source: pixabay

Elody’s Pub is one of the best-kept secrets when it comes to uncovering Lyon’s low-key nightlife. Here you can drive out the darkness by participating in some good-natured karaoke contests, with new friends and travel companions. Ten euros says there’s no better way to get in tune with the rhythm of the city, than by belting out French pop songs and other hit lyrics from the top of your lungs. The best part is you don’t have to worry about not speaking the language, because, isn’t that part of the beauty and fun, after all?

Elody's Pub

Address: 10 Quai de Bondy, 69005 Lyon, France

Website: Elody’s Pub

10. Bar-hopping

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Who says you can’t drink your way to happiness while vacationing in Lyon? To be fair, it’s a pretty big city, with a healthy reputation for fine wines and spirits. Make sure to kick off your evening in the right way with fragrant red, white, and blush selections over at the Daughter Wine Bar. While letting the night be your guide, you may find yourself descending upon the banks of the Saône for cocktails or a private boat party. Finally, cap the night off with an artfully prepared drink at Le Sucre’s rooftop bar.

Le Sucre

Address: 50 Quai Rambaud, 69002 Lyon France

Website: Le Sucre

Gotta love Lyon

Whether you prefer to spend your evening listening to the eclectic sounds of a romantic riverwalk, exploring the cultural arts, or imbibing with friends, Lyon has a little bit of something that everyone can enjoy. Now that you’re familiar with the 10 best things to do in Lyon at night, start planning your trip today, for a taste of all you’ve been missing.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Brittany is an avid travel enthusiast with a love for foreign languages and an insatiable curiosity about the world. A bit of a TV junkie, she replenishes lost brain cells by curling up with her...Read more

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