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Nights here are alive with the youthful enthusiasm of Heidelberg's students. Early evenings often start in the bars along Hauptstrasse; then late nights get rolling in the clubs around Marktplatz.

The Performing Arts

The main performance stage is Theater der Stadt, Theaterstrasse 4 (tel. 06221/5820000; www.theaterheidelberg.de; bus: 31 or 32), where nightly entertainment includes plays, opera, and dance productions. From mid-June to mid-August, the Schlossfest-Spiele festival brings opera, classical music, jazz, and theater to venues around the area, including Heidelberg Castle. Contact Heidelberg Ticket Service, Theaterstrasse 4 (tel. 06221/5820000), for tickets.

Historic Student Drinking Clubs

Heidelberg’s most famous and revered student tavern, Zum Roten Ochsen (Red Ox Inn), Hauptstrasse 217 (tel. 06221/20977; www.roterochsen.de; bus: 33), opened in 1703. For six generations, the Spengel family has welcomed everybody from Bismarck to Mark Twain. It seems that every student who has attended the university has left his or her mark (or initials) on the walls, and every tourist in town eventually finds his or her way here, too. Meals go from 9€ to 17€. The tavern is open from April to October Monday to Saturday 11:30am to 2pm and 5pm to midnight, November to March Monday to Saturday 5pm to midnight.

Next door is Zum Sepp’l, Hauptstrasse 213 (tel. 06221/23085; www.zum-seppl.de; bus: 11 or 33), open since 1634, the second most famous drinking club in Heidelberg and another perennial crowd pleaser. It’s filled with photographs and carved initials of former students, along with memorabilia that ranges from old Berlin street signs to Alabama license plates. Meals cost 8€ to 18€. It’s open Monday to Friday noon to 11pm, and Saturday and Sunday 11:30am to 3:30pm and 5pm to midnight.

Dorfschänke, Lutherstrasse 14 (tel. 06221/419041; www.dorfschnke-hd.com; tram: 5 or 23, bus: 31), doesn’t have the same pedigree as these two old taverns, having just opened in 1908, but it’s been packed ever since and accompanies its beer selections witih some serious food, including Flammkuchen, a square pizza with onions and cheese—a bit like tarte flambée, minus the lardons. It’s open daily, 5pm to midnight. Meals cost 8€ to 18€.

Bars & Cafes

When you tire of beer and want a more spirited drink, wander over to Sonderbar, Unterestrasse 13 (tel. 06221/25200; bus: 31 or 32), which stocks more than 150 brands of whiskey, 10 kinds of vodka, and sundry other potions, besides its 11 types of beer. It's open daily 2pm to 2am (Fri-Sat until 3am).

Catch up on the latest news and trends at Café Journal, Hauptstrasse 162 (tel. 06221/161712; bus: 31 or 32), where drinkers linger over beer while scanning newspapers and magazines from all over Europe and the United States. The cafe is open daily 8am to midnight. Hard Rock Cafe, Hauptstrasse 142 (tel. 06221/22819; www.hard-rockcafe.de; bus: 31 or 32), has a branch here, open 10am to 1am.

Live Music & Clubs

Once-sleepy Heidelberg now has a thriving music scene. A welcome addition on the scene for salsa lovers is Havana Cocktailbar-Restaurant, Neckarstaden 24 (tel. 06221/3894330; www.havana-heidelberg.de), adding some Latino zest to this university town. Tapas and mojitos, along with some 100 cocktails, brighten the evening, as does the live piano music. The trendy Print Media Lounge, Kurfürstenanlage 60 (tel. 06221/653949; www.printmedialounge.de), has opened across from the rail station. Serving full meals, it's mainly known for its music and exotic cocktails. There's soul, funk, and jazz on Sundays; DJs play on Friday and Saturday night.

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.