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Live Music, Theater & Opera

The performing arts are very much alive in the capital, and in summer there is likely to be street theater, especially in and around Old Town -- keep eyes and ears pealed. For cutting-edge productions look out for shows conceived by Draga Zivadinov, the native Ljubljaniker responsible for staging the world's first theatrical production in a weightless environment, somewhere far above Russia.

Theatergoers should make every effort to catch a show at the beautifully designed Slovene National Opera and Ballet Theater, Zupanciceva 1 (tel. 01/241-1700; www.opera.si); performances by its 117-year-old resident company are critically acclaimed (box office tel. 01/241-1764). You can also ask about plans for the new, modern opera house, to be built in the next few years.

During the famous Ljubljana Summer Festival (tel. 01/241-6000; www.ljubljanafestival.si), performances of all kinds -- film, theater, jazz, chamber music, opera, ballet, symphony concerts, theater, puppetry -- are held in venues around the city. Main venues are Ljubljana Castle, and the Krizanke Summer Theater, Trg Francoske Revolucije 1. Krizanke is also the venue for Druga Godba, literally "the Other Music," an alternative music festival held in late May; and in late June, it hosts the Ljubljana Jazz Festival.

Classical music fans should attend a performance of the Slovene Philharmonic, which enjoys a proud 307-year musical tradition; performances are held at the Philharmonic Hall, Kongresni trg (tel. 01/241-0800). Look out for straight theater and musicals at the Slovene National Theater, Narodno Gledalisce, Erjavceva 1 (tel. 01/252-1511), although the modern Cankarjev Dom, Trg Republike (tel. 241-7299; www.cd-cc.si), is now the main venue for stage productions.

You can catch live music spilling out from the terrace of one of the popular cafe-bars at Triple Bridge, nightly in summer; a fun crowd gathers to take in the free entertainment. If you'd like to get a taste of Slovenia's alternative music scene, find out what's happening in the Metelkova cultural precinct; start your investigation at any of the Tourist Information offices, or simply wander along Trubarjeva cesta and pop your head into any of the trendy-looking stores, or you can opt to inquire at the Celica Youth Hostel.

Bars & Clubs

You could spend days just cruising for your favorite place to drink; virtually all of these establishments are cafe-bar hangouts equally good for coffee, beer, wine, and cocktails. Some also serve ice cream in summer (Cacao, on the water's edge at Presernov Square, is a favorite). Many places also carry light meals, so you can forgo restaurants entirely if you're in a party mood.

Drinking along the Ljubljanica is the most popular activity in town, and Macek, Krojaska ulica 5 (tel. 01/425-3791), inexplicably obsessed with pussycats, has long been the favored people-watching haunt. Still, there are some sexy alternatives, like FĂ©tiche Bar, Stari trg 25 (tel. 040-700-370), which scores high points for its dramatic interior decor and dark, broody design, complete with provocative poster-size images of models most of the clientele aspires to be. Electronic vibes set a relaxed mood at Salon, Trubarjeva 23 (tel. 01/439-8760), a fun lounge bar with a distinctly shagadelic look -- padded walls, plush sofas, gold drapes, and dazzling mirror-ball effect behind the small bar; you'll need to dress for success. Each summer, the garden of the Writer's Society (behind the opera house) hosts Jazz Club Gajo, Beethovnova 8 (tel. 01/425-3206; www.jazzclubgajo.com), where you can sit under the trees, or sip your drink in a hammock.

The only real club in the center is Bachus, Kongresni trg 3 (tel. 01/241-8244; www.bachus-center.com), and it draws a mixed crowd to its late nights of DJ-fueled fun, making this arguably Ljubljana's hippest discothèque.

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.