Geneva has a more diverse and varied nightlife than any other city in Switzerland. At least some of the activities are centered around place du Bourg-de-Four, a stagecoach stop during the 19th century, and today one of the spiritual centerpieces of Geneva's Old Town. In summer, outdoor cafes, each with an almost obligatory collection of flowering shrubs and plants, seem to thrive both in the Old Town and along the banks of the river and lake.
For a listing of nightlife and cultural activities, free copies of the bilingual monthly Genève Le Guide (www.le-guide.ch) are distributed at hotel desks and tourist information centers.
Most bars in Geneva close at 1:30 or 2am.
The Performing Arts
Geneva has always attracted the culturally sophisticated, including Byron, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Victor Hugo, Balzac, George Sand, and Franz Liszt. Ernst Ansermet founded Geneva's great Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, whose frequent concerts entertain music lovers at Victoria Hall. For opera there's the 1,500-seat Grand Théâtre, which welcomes Béjart, the Bolshoi, and other ballet companies, in addition to having a company of its own.
For a preview of events at the time of your visit, pick up a copy of the monthly "List of Events" issued by the tourist office.
The Gay & Lesbian Scene
Geneva's gay switchboard is Dialogai, 11-13, rue de la Navigation (tel. 022/906-40-40; www.dialogai.org). It provides multilingual information and advice to anyone who calls. On the basement level are a library, a cafe and bar, and meeting rooms for Wednesday-night dinners and Sunday-morning brunches. The organization publishes a free list of the gay bars in Geneva and French-speaking Switzerland, and is the best access to the male homosexual network of Geneva. It schedules discussion groups for gay youths and gay seniors, and it also offers support groups for people who are HIV positive.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.