One venue offers all those options under one roof. The Casa da Música, Av. da Boavista 604–610 (www.casadamusica.com, tel. 220 120 220) is an architectural landmark built by Dutchman Rem Koolhaas, a giant irregular rhombus in glass and white-concrete that seems to balance precariously over the surrounding avenues. Since opening in 2005, it's become a major cultural center. Its array of auditoria large and small, multimedia studios, bars and restaurants hosts a huge variety of events. In a typical week you can listen to an acclaimed Russian violinist play Baroque concertos, be serenaded by fado over dinner in the rooftop restaurant, catch a show by an upcoming local singer-songwriter, hear Hayden by the symphony orchestra, chill with a US jazz star or visiting Spanish guitar virtuoso, or strut your stuff on the dance floor to the rhythm of top international DJs.
Other venues include the Rivoli theater, Praça D. João I (www.teatromunicipaldoporto.pt, tel. 223 392 201), a legendary place in the Portuguese rock world, which hosts classical, jazz and pop concerts, as well as plays and dance. The Coliseu, Rua Passos Manuel, 137 (www.coliseu.pt, tel. 223 394 940) holds shows by big-names in Portuguese and international music like American rockers the Pixies, fado star Cuca Roseta and Russia's Classical Ballet performing "The Nutcracker." Porto's grandest theater is the Teatro Nacional São João, Praça da Batalha, (www.tnsj.pt, tel. 223 401 900). It has a dynamic repertoire of classic and modern plays, often with English subtitles, as well as regular opera performances.
Jazz fans should head for the Sala Porta Jazz, Avenida dos Aliados, 168, (https://portajazz.com) which holds regular sessions most weekend nights and also organizes open air shows on summer evenings in the Palácio de Cristal gardens; or the intimate Hot Five Jazz & Blues Club, Largo Actor Dias, 51 (http://hotfive.pt, tel. 934 328 583).
Unlike most other European countries, cinemas in Portugal mostly show movies in the original language, with subtitles in Portuguese, which makes things easier for English-speaking film fans. The big movie theaters are mostly in shopping malls outside the city center. Among the closest are the Cinemas Nos Alameda Shop e Spot, Rua dos Campeões Europeus, 28-198 and the Cinemas Nos GaiaShopping (both on http://cinemas.nos.pt, [tel] 16 996). A more intimate space that mixes Hollywood products with art house films is the Teatro Municipal Campo Alegre, Rua das Estrelas (http://medeiafilmes.com, tel. 226 063 000).
Porto's bar and club scene spreads out around the city. There are plenty of places to have a drink down by the riverside in Ribeira and Gaia or out by the beach in Foz, but the epicenter of nightlight is in the Baixa area around the parallel streets of Rua Galeria de Paris and Rua Cândido dos Reis. Among the most hopping places for a drink are The Gin House, Rua Cândido dos Reis, 70 (tel. 964 764 971, Sun–Thurs 7pm–2am; Fri–Sat 7pm–4am), Casa do Livro, Rua Galerias Paris, 85 (tel. 222 025 101, Sun–Thur 9pm–3am; Fri–Sat 9pm–4am) and Era uma vez em Paris, R. Galeria de Paris|, 106-108 (tel. 222 083 756, Mon–Wed 3pm–2am; Thurs-Sat 3pm–4pm).
When things start jumping, hot clubs include Plano B, Rua Cândido dos Reis, 30 (http://planobporto.net, tel. 222 012 500, Thurs–Sat 10pm–6am); the funky Café au Lait, Rua Galeria de Paris, 46 (tel. 222 052 016, Mon–Sat 2pm–4am); or the discotheque-in-a-tunnel Gare, Rua da Madeira, 182 (www.gareporto.com, tel. 222 026 030, Fri–Sat 11pm–6am).
Gay Porto's favorite hangouts include Café Lusitano, Rua de José Falcão 137 (www.cafelusitano.com, tel. 222 011 067, Wed–Thurs 9:30pm–2am, Fri–Sat 10–4am), which serves as a cocktail bar, restaurant and a dancehall that really heats up at weekends. Other gay nightspots include the industrial-chic Conceição 35, Rua da Conceição 35 (tel. 220 938 034, Sun–Wed 9pm–2am; Thurs–Sat 9pm–4am) which transforms from gin and tapas bar into dance club; and the party palace Zoom, Rua Passos Manuel, 40 (http://zoomporto.wixsite.com, tel. 918 353 282, Fri–Sat 12:30–6am).
If you happen to be in Porto in June, be aware that practically the whole city turns into a giant, wild night-spot on June 23 the Noite de São João, when tripeiros celebrate their patron Saint John. There will be street parties, bonfires, mass consumption of caldo verde (cabbage soup) and grilled sardines washed down with beer and red wine. A spectacular firework display will light up the Douro around midnight and the festivities from Ribeira to Foz will carry on into the wee small hours. Also in June, the Nos Primavera Sound festival annually brings some of the biggest names in rock and pop to Porto for three nights of open air music.
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.