Things to do in Venice

Things to do in Venice
Things to do in Venice

The list of things to do in Venice is nearly endless. This is a city like no other—it’s an amazing, almost-otherworldly type of place where the vacationer has to realign his or her senses before truly taking in what the city has to offer. Attractions in Venice Italy all start from the canals that make this city the unique place it is. That said, activities in Venice aren’t limited to romantic gondola rides and canal-side walks; each area of the city is its own entity, and the nature of sights and tourist attractions change accordingly. Travelers looking to create a list of the top ten things to do in Venice should have no trouble finding plenty to fill their itinerary.

The Piazza San Marco

Venice’s town square is a marvelous mixture of cafes, restaurants, locals, tourists, and pigeons. The Piazza San Marco takes its name from the picturesque St. Mark’s Basilica, which dominates one end of the square. Free to enter, the cathedral is an impressive display of grandeur. The Correr Museum and the Museum of Archeology are also located on the square, as is the Doge’s Palace.

The Doge’s Palace

Palazzo Ducale Venice
Palazzo Ducale Venice

The Doge’s Palace is a marvelous Gothic edifice that faces St. Mark’s Square on one side and the Venetian Lagoon on the other. Once the official residence of the Doge of Venice, the palace is today a public museum. Walking around its visually stunning rooms, which feature marble at almost every turn, is one of the top attractions in Venice Italy. The famous Bridge of Sighs links the Doge’s Palace to a neighboring prison, and crossing the bridge is another one of the memorable activities in Venice.

The Jewish Quarter

Venice Jewish Quarter
Venice Jewish Quarter  Image: jay galvin (flickr)

Less visited by the tourist crowds, the Jewish Quarter offers the chance for relaxed exploration given its wide canals and off-the-beaten-path feel. Once a ghetto, it’s today a thriving community that still has a strong Jewish presence. Top attractions in Venice Italy found in the Jewish Quarter include the Campo Ghetto Nuovo and the Renato Meastro Library and Archives.

Gondola Ride

Venice Gondola Ride
Venice Gondola Ride

It might seem a little cliched, but taking a gondola ride through the winding alleys of the city is still one of the top activities in Venice, and things to do in Venice don’t come any more romantic than this. A word of warning, however: Gondola rides are expensive as a matter of course. Vacationers traveling on a budget might consider forgoing the traditional option and instead take the Vaporetti, which is Venice’s water-based public transport system. You’ll still see this marvelous city from its waters, though the feeling probably won’t be quite as exclusive.


Ponte Rialto Venice
Ponte Rialto Venice

The resplendent Rialto is Venice’s answer to the Ponte Vecchio in Florence—a medieval bridge that doubles as the primary site of historic shopping in the city. If you don’t want to battle the crowds, getting there early is advised.


It only comes around once a year, but Venice’s Carnavale is truly something to behold. Historically, this is a hedonistic and semi-anarchistic event, but today it’s more of an excuse to dress up in resplendent garb and hide your face behind a traditional Venetian mask. Beg, borrowing or stealing your want onto the guest list of a high-society ball or gala, which take place across the city during Carnavale, must be one of the top things to do in Venice Italy.

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