Geneva : Nightlife and entertainment
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A Show in the City Hall (©_OTG)
Geneva’s nightlife is unlikely to set your pulse racing. As far as popular culture goes, the city suffers from a major image problem both abroad and inside Switzerland, and few bands or DJs come visiting. There are endless venues catering to visiting businesspeople and wealthy locals – formal dinner-dance, yawnworthy cabaret, and vast quantities of strip-shows and hostess bars – but aside from checking out the handful of alternative arts venues, it’s not easy to find what young Genevois get up to … often because they’ve vanished up the road to the cutting-edge clubs in and around Lausanne instead.

The flipside of that image problem is that you can find top-notch classical music and opera, with a world-famous orchestra dividing its time between Geneva and Lausanne, as well as major international performers. Dance and drama are also well accounted for. The Fêtes de Genève is the city’s premier annual arts festival, held in early August on the waterfront, with music of all kinds, theatre, funfairs and street entertainers.

What’s on listings are published weekly in Genève-Agenda, the free city guide available from the tourist office and hotels, but La Clef tends to have a better idea of where to go (Fr.5 quarterly). You can get tickets for most shows from either City-Disc at the station (022/900 18 50), or UBS Ticket Corner, 5 Rue de la Corraterie (022/376 62 65). Prices are not cheap: Fr.10–15 for ordinary live bands and clubs, Fr.25–30 for special events, Fr.15–60 for classical concerts, and Fr.24–200 for the opera.

Note that bars are open all night during March’s Motor Show weekend, August’s Fêtes de Genève, and L’Escalade in December.

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