Expats Options for Entertainment in Lisbon
One thing that Lisbon does provide is an abundance of options for entertainment in Lisbon. The city is alive with cultural events, world-class restaurants, adrenaline-filled nightlife, and numerous sports events. The simple task of shopping, riding the funicular, walking the cobbled streets of different districts, and exploring the charming galleries and boutiques are inexpensive activities that provide hours of entertainment fun. If you are looking for more formal entertainment choices like ballet, opera, cinema, art exhibitions, and orchestral events, Lisbon has it all.
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Opera, ballet, and symphony orchestra
The National Opera House of Portugal – Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos was first opened in Lisbon in 1793. Today, it is still alive with opera and symphony music. This neoclassical-style theater is in the historic Chiado district of Lisbon. Even if you’re not an opera lover, it is well worth a visit to see the charm and elegance of this theater.
You can see the monthly schedule of performances here.
Every summer during the Festival ao Largo, you can enjoy free outdoor performances in the square in front of this theater.
Schedules have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic but hopefully will return to normal in 2022.
Teatro Nacional D. Maria II
This theater is one of Lisbon’s most prestigious. It was built in 1450 and was initially a palace for visiting noblemen and dignitaries to stay. In the 1840s, it was converted into a theater dedicated to Queen Mary II of Portugal. Performances of drama, poetry, dance can be seen here. For a schedule of performances, you can check here.
Teatro da Trindade/ Inatel
This theater is also in the historic Chiado district. It was built in the 19th century. Its schedule of drama productions can be seen here.
Teatro Tivoli BBVA
For dramatic plays, stand-up comedy, and the sensual sounds of Fado music, this theater has a varied and exciting schedule.
Evoking emotion and melancholy, Fado music is the heart and soul of Lisbon. An evening of Fado is an experience that should be on your calendar. Fado restaurants offer a full traditional meal alongside a three or four-hour Fado performance.
Clube de Fado is in the heart of Alfama. Here you can enjoy superbly cooked bacalhau while listening to some of Lisbon’s best Fado singers.
Cafe Luso is in the Bairro Alto district and oozes history and culture. You can enjoy Fado music throughout the night with a glass of Alvarinho wine or two.
Mesa de Frades is a beautiful old-world restaurant where you can enjoy traditional food and Fado music.
To learn more about Fado music, wander the cobbled alleys and laneways of the Mouraria district, the birthplace of Fado. See plaques on houses where famous Fado singers lived and died. You can feel Fado in the evening air.
There is no shortage of restaurant options in Lisbon. ‘Foodies’ will be able to indulge every culinary fantasy in Lisbon, from the traditional home-style kitchen to world-class Michelin Star restaurants.
Alma Henrique Sa Pessoa is a two-star Michelin restaurant in Lisbon with its signature cuisine. 5 Oceanos is by the banks of the river Tagus and offers fresh fish and seafood daily. Enjoy a delicious meal either out on the terrace overlooking the river or inside. A Severa is an atmospheric restaurant offering traditional Portuguese food as well as Fado music. You can see more recommended restaurants and cafes on the official Lisbon Tourism site.
Lisbon is alive with Fado clubs, jazz clubs, dance clubs, bars, and world-class restaurants. Check out the official Lisbon Tourism site for a list of nightclubs and bars. In Lisbon, things warm up at around 11 pm in the bars. The nightclubs usually open their doors around 2 am, and then you can dance the night away till sunrise.
Football, football, and football. The Portuguese love their football, and its national team, captained by the famous Cristiano Ronaldo, has been competitive on the world stage for many years. The top football league in Portugal is called the Primeira Liga. It is home to the three famous clubs, S.L. Benfica, Sporting CP, and FC Porto…known as the ‘Big 3’. If you can catch these teams playing, you will be in for a great match.
Other popular sports in Portugal are handball, tennis, roller hockey, motorsports, and cycling. There is no shortage of sporting events to keep you entertained. You can check here for the calendar of events.
Life in Lisbon is anything but boring. When it comes to entertainment options, the choices are endless. Sadly, during 2020/ 2021, the Covid-19 virus has affected most activities and events. We can only hope that the coming year, 2022, will have a return to the bustling and exhilarating days of a normal and healthy Lisbon.