Venice is like Disney World for the international traveler. It provides a cultured alternative that is no less packed with a variety of experiences, foods, and sights. You won’t see Mickey Mouse, but you will meet a few characters along the way.

The problem with visiting Venice is that there actually might be too much to explore. The options for fun, food, and culture are just too many to fit into a single visit. How do you choose between all of them when crafting your itinerary?

Do not worry. We have got you covered. We selected the cream of the crop to create the list of 15 things to do in Venice that follows.

If you are planning a trip to the Floating City, start here.

15 Things to Do in Venice When You Visit

We could fill this entire list with food experiences. We could fill it entirely with sights to see. We did neither of those things.

Instead, we opted for an eclectic list that reflects the full range of experiences that are available to visitors to Venice. This list is extensive, and we have no doubt that you will find something on it that fits your taste.

Let’s dive right in, water pun very much intended.

1. Ride a Gondola Down the Grand Canal

You can’t escape this suggestion, so we are not even going to pretend to try. Of course, there is more to Paris than the Eiffel Tower, but it would be foolish not to see what the fuss is about! Such is the case when it comes to Venice and gondola rides.

You will pay a pretty penny for your ride, so make sure to set your expectations in the 90 Euro range (or around $100) and save for this aspect of your trip. Also, make sure you take your ride along the Grand Canal, the central waterway in the city and its de facto main street. If you are going for the mainstream attraction, you want to do it right.

2. Escape the Crowds in Cannaregio

Let’s say you have had enough of the tourist crowds. Venice has plenty of them, with a permanent population of just over 250,000 but 20 million tourists a year. This is when you need to escape to Cannaregio.

Cannaregio is the area of historic Venice where you will find the most locals. It has modern shopping but also a historic Jewish Ghetto, with an entrance marked by a tiny Hebrew sign above an alley.

Cannaregio has great dining options, and you will pay a fraction of the prices you pay at the famous establishments.

3. Eat Your Way Through a Food Tour

Since we already mentioned it, let’s talk about food. You will need guidance through more than just the geography of Venice. For your culinary explorations, we recommend hiring an expert.

There are plenty of options for food tours, depending on the amount of time you have to spare and your budget.

There is the Rialto Market Food and Wine Lunchtime Tour of Venice, with seven stops over four hours. There’s the Chichetti Dishes and Wine Bar with a Local Tour, with five stops in two and a half hours. And there is a budget option in the form of a two-and-a-half-hour Street Food Tour with a Local Guide.

4. Celebrate Venice Carnevale

You can visit Venice at any time, and it will be worth it. But there are a few events that are limited-time-only, and they are worth planning your trip around. Venice Carnevale is one of those events.

If Venice were not magical enough, Carnevale heightens the surreal feel of the city with two weeks of mask-filled reverie and revelry. Read more here about the festival’s history and how you can celebrate it in style.

5. Sample the Seafood

Building off of our previous culinary suggestions, you would be remiss if you went to Venice and did not have seafood. The place is full of and surrounded by water! Is there any better advertisement for the freshness of a city’s seafood?

When it comes to specific dishes to sample, we recommend the fritto misto. It is an assortment of scampi, calamari, whitebait, and other small fish, lightly breaded and fried. It is a perfect way to experience the delectability of all of Venice’s sea life.

6. Go Exploring in the Evenings

Some of these suggestions involve specific locations, landmarks, or dishes. Others, like this one, point to paradigms, attitudes you should adopt when exploring the city.

Venice is full of people at any time, but the days are especially hectic. As with any city that is especially romantic, Venice truly shines at night.

You can use this tip without spending a dime. Go for a stroll after your gigantic Italian dinner, and you will thanks us for the refreshment you get, physically and emotionally.

7. Take a Day Trip to Burano Island

You can take a 40-minute ride on the vaporetto, or waterbus, from Venice up to Burano Island for a short but colorful day trip. The island is filled with brightly painted homes. It also has a 13th-century church in the Chiesa di Santa Caterina.

8. Marvel at the Murano Glass Museum

Venice is not a single landlocked city like Lubbock. It is made up of more than 100 tiny islands. Burano is one of them, and so is Murano.

It is on the latter island that you will find a museum that pays history to the thousand-year-old tradition of glassmaking on Murano. The Murano Glass Museum contains chandeliers, beads, and mosaic glass that are breathtaking in person.

9. Book Shop from a Bathtub at Libreria Acqua Alta

Book lovers understand the threat water poses to their prized possessions. Venetians have found a solution to water damage. It is on full display at one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world, Libreria Acqua Alta.

This bookstore displays its wares in bathtubs and boats. One room contains a full-size gondola. There is not a more unique book shopping experience you can have.

10. Go Inside the Bridge of Sighs

You will see the Bridge of Sighs near the top of many Venetian sightseeing lists, and for good reason. It is one of the most famous bridges in a city full of them.

While the Bridge of Sighs is marvelous from the outside, the views of the city it gives are even more spectacular. It is worth sacrificing the recognizable Instagram post for a more intimate and compelling visual experience.

11. See Art at the Venice Biennale

Here is another event like Carnevale that only happens occasionally. And it is even rarer than Carnevale.

True to its name, the Venice Biennale takes place every two years. When it does, it packs the city with art all from everywhere in the world. The city already has legendary museums and art collections, and the Biennale only ups the artistic ante.

12. Catch a Flick at Cinema Multisala

“Multisala” means many rooms, and it is the structure of this movie theater that makes it so appealing.

There are three theaters here, one for more mainstream Italian films (complete with subtitles) and two for more independent fare. You can also attend talks by visiting filmmakers if you are a true cinephile.

13. Do the San Marco Sweep

There are some locations that you just can’t avoid when you go to Venice. Instead of listing them separately, we have clumped them together in what we are calling the “San Marco sweep.” It includes the Basilica di San Marco, the Piazza San Marco, and Doge’s Palace.

The church, the square, and the palace all cut stunning figures that are familiar because of their frequent appearances on television and film screens. You will find plenty of crowds at these places, but they live up to the hype.

14. Cross the Ponte di Rialto

The Ponte di Rialto is more than a bridge. It is an experience.

Built in 1588, the Ponte di Rialto used to be the only way to cross the Grand Canal. Now, it is home to a mammoth staircase, gorgeous sunset views, and many, many boutiques.

15. Shop, Shop, Shop!

We are not knocking the boutiques. In fact, shopping is a blast in Venice for just about everyone.

You can find classic leather shoes and handbags at many of the boutiques. The grocery shopping is unparalleled. And if you are looking for more obscure souvenirs, those masks from Carnevale are also widely available.

Come Sail Away

It is clear there is no shortage of things to do in Venice. Whatever your pleasure, the Floating City can accommodate.

Looking to eat? Venice will feed you.

Looking to shop? Venice offers the finest goods.

Looking to sightsee? Venice is a feast for the eyes.

We hope this guide has given you inspiration for planning your own trip to Venice. For even more fun, check out our other entertainment suggestions.

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