There are plenty of things to do after dinner in Athens, and whether you’re after a taste of modern or traditional culture, we’ve lined up some of the best activities. After a day of exploring the city, the temperatures drop and the streets come alive with local life.

    Athens is a cultural capital of the world, and at night this is all on display. You’ll find traditional Greek performances everywhere, from esteemed stages in opulent theatres to lively traditional tunes played in local squares. Outdoor cinemas are an institution in Athens, and you can learn local dances or sit back and enjoy the show.


    Open-air cinemas

    Watch movies outdoors in the Athenian style

    Open-air cinemas are a treasured pastime in Athens, and you’ll find them scattered throughout the city in the summer months. Most show 2 screenings per night, roughly around 9 pm and 11 pm, and of course you’ll find a snack bar for refreshments.

    There are so many choices of open-air cinemas, it’s worth checking which suits you. There's the Aigli Zappeiou, the oldest Athenian open-air cinema, having shown blockbusters since 1903. Film buffs might want to check out Cinema Dexameni, which normally shows award-winning films from Greek and international festivals. There are some worth visiting just for the setting too, with cinemas like the rooftop Cine Paris or Cine Thission having the Acropolis as the backdrop.


    Areopagus Hill viewpoint

    Admire the Parthenon from the best angle

    Areopagus Hill viewpoint is one of the best views you’ll get of the Parthenon after dark. Although the temple site itself is closed at night, you can still admire the sights from the Areopagus Hill viewpoint at the west end of the complex.

    The site is steeped in history, not only for the Acropolis, but also as the site where St. Paul gave his sermon when it was known as “Mars Rock”. It’s a worthy trip for everyone though, as the panoramic views from the top are incredible, especially when the city lights up at night. Make sure you wear decent footwear because it can be slippery climbing up.


    Athens’ rooftop bars

    See Athens lit up at night

    Athens’ rooftop bars are a great way to spend the night, and you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to finding the best views. Athens doesn’t have many tall buildings, which gives the rooftop bars a vibe where you’re still among the hustle, albeit with a wide, commanding view.

    The most popular rooftops have views of the Acropolis, which looks amazing at night above a sea of twinkling lights. A for Athens stood out for us, with views of Monastiraki Square presenting a people-watching spot in the foreground. You shouldn’t miss the Piraeus either, a quieter district where you can watch the ships come and go. Check out Don Kihotis bar or ΝΕΣΤ Rooftop, if this takes your fancy.


    Odeon of Herodes Atticus

    Watch a show in an ancient Greek theatre

    Odeon of Herodes Atticus is an ancient theatre on the Acropolis site, on the southwest of the hill leading up to the Parthenon. If you’ve visited the Parthenon during the day, you’re bound to have admired it from above, but if you’re lucky enough to catch a show in the theatre, you should take your chance.

    The Herodeon, as it’s known by locals, has numerous performance festivals throughout the summer months. Giants like Frank Sinatra and Pavarotti have played in the past, and there are regular opera and orchestral performances. If you want to experience ancient Greek theatre you should check the programme too, with traditional plays performed in their home setting.

    Location: Dionysiou Areopagitou, Athens 105 55, Greece

    Phone: +30 21 0324 1807


    Learn the Syrtaki dance

    Dance with tradition like the locals

    Learning the Syrtaki dance is one of the best things you can do after dinner in Athens. It’s a dance that was made for the 1964 Greek film Zorba the Greek. It’s great fun to learn. Anyone can learn it too, even if you’re rhythmically challenged like some of us.

    The Syrtaki dance is a sort of line dance, where you either stand together in a long line or circle of people, arms resting on each other’s shoulders. Traditional string instruments start the music off slow, getting faster throughout the song while you dance in unison. It’s a great one to learn early on in your trip as well, because you’re bound to hear it in local taverns, where you can join in dancing with the locals.


    Watch live Rebetiko

    Listen to live Greek urban music

    Watching live rebetiko should be on your list of things to do in Athens if you want to get a real taste of local life. Rebetiko is an umbrella term for a few urban genres that developed in Greece in the early-mid 1900s, but you’ll know it by the traditional string instruments dotted around the Athenian tavernas.

    Rebetiko is so popular in Greece, you really will hear live bands playing from restaurants and tavernas as you walk around Athens. Lots of the bands will play into the small hours, so follow the sounds to a bar you like. It’s great if you can ask a local the meaning behind the songs too for a real window onto local life.


    Bar hopping in Syntagma Square

    Explore Athens’ chic bar scene

    Bar hopping in Syntagma Square is a must-do for partygoers in Athens, with a range of different styles of bar to choose from. The square is home to the Athenian parliament and is considered by most to be the epicentre of Athens, so you're always bound to find a buzz, especially at night.

    Start your night with a cocktail in GB Roof Garden and Bar with views of the Parthenon before heading down to the bars lining the square. There are speakeasy-themed bars that look like plain apartments from the outside, international-themed bars like the Sinatra bar, and of course, plenty of traditional Greek places with live rebetiko.



    Rooftop terraces, speakeasies and trendy bars

    Partying in Monastiraki is one of the best ways to let your hair down at night in Athens. It’s a district just north of the Acropolis, named after a square of the same name. A bustling flea market throughout the day, at night it really comes alive with revellers enjoying the clubs and trendy bars.

    There are rooftop bars like 360° Cocktail Bar if you want to start your night off enjoying the night-time vistas of Athens, before getting back down to the endless choices at ground level. You’ll find bars dedicated to rum, American-styled speakeasies, and even Alexander’s bar, named after Alexander the Great.


    MoMix Molecular Mixology

    Witness a cocktail show in central Athens

    MoMix Molecular Mixology is a bar concept in Kerameikos that serves some of the tastiest, most mind-blowing cocktails you’ve ever seen. Molecular mixology is a skilled art that uses different ingredients, tools and vessels to bring a show, as well as an amazing drink, to your table.

    The bar has a chic, modern feel and is open from breakfast right through to the small hours. The staff know how to work the flair, and they’re more than happy to explain how all the colours and magic works. There’s a courtyard outside where you can enjoy views of the Parthenon, and the best part is everything is reasonably priced.

    Location: Voutadon 36, Athens 118 54, Greece

    Open: Sunday–Friday from 10 am to 3 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm

    Phone: +30 697 435 0179


    Blast Athens nightclub

    Party the night away in a super club

    Blast Athens nightclub is the place to go in Athens if you want to party after dinner. Located centrally, close to the Kerameikos subway station, it’s one of the biggest parties in Athens, and certainly one of the best.

    Blast has a range of different DJs each weekend, playing everything from the latest house and EDM tunes to modern hip-hop. Tickets sell fast and it’s a great place to meet like-minded people. You can even book a pretty affordable VIP experience, where you reserve your own bottles of drink, too. Call ahead to make a booking if you want to guarantee the best seats on the first floor.

    Location: Evmolpidon 11, Athens 118 54, Greece

    Open: Wednesday–Saturday from 11.30 pm to 6.30 am, Sunday and Tuesday from 11 pm to 6.30 am (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +30 698 827 2205

    John Frodsham | Contributing Writer

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