In its musical theaters and diverse nightlife, Hanoi’s cultural allure comes alive when the sun goes down. Productions showcasing traditional music and theater are a great way to delve into the spirit of Vietnam. With the multimillion-dollar restoration of the Opera House in the late 1990s, Hanoi's performing-arts scene reemerged. The imposing French-built arts palace hosts Vietnam's top traditional musicians and pop stars as well as the occasional Western performer. Elsewhere in the city, you can catch a performance of Vietnamese folk opera, traditional music, or enchanting water puppetry. If you want a peek at the results of years of Eastern European physical training, head to the circus at the northern edge of Lenin Park for Vietnam's version of the Cirque du Soleil.

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  • 1. Golden Bell Show


    This popular cultural show encompasses a wide variety of traditional Vietnamese folk and dance forms. Shows take place every Thursday evening at 8 pm and take audiences on a journey across the country from the steamy southern delta to the mountainous north with its minority tribe traditions. Expect colorful costumes and enthusiastic performers.

    72 Hang Bac St., Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Ha Noi, Vietnam
    098-830–7272-cell phone

    Arts/Entertainment Details

    Rate Includes: 150,000d
  • 2. Hanoi Opera House


    Hanoi Opera House, whose Vietnamese name translates into "House Sing Big," is worth a visit no matter what happens to be showing. This beautifully restored French building hosts regular classical music concerts, ballets, and Western and Vietnamese operas, plus a variety of singers. Check out the venue's website for details on upcoming shows, or purchase tickets at www.luneproduction.com

    1 Trang Tien St., Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Ha Noi, Vietnam
  • 3. Thang Long Water Puppet Theater

    Hoan Kiem District

    As one of Hanoi's top tourist attractions, this entertaining performance gives you insight into Vietnam's history and traditions through water puppetry storytelling, at least three musicians, and interlude commentaries. Somewhat humorous and endearing at times, puppets are guided through the water by puppeteers hidden behind a curtain. The hour-long show, which takes place several times a day, highlights the folklore and culture of this ancient civilization. Thang Long Water Puppet is aimed only at tourists, and so is not for the cynical and disenchanted traveler. For a more authentic and intimate experience, head to the National Puppetry Theatre or catch one of the shows at the Museum of Ethnology. Flashing cameras and video recorders can be extremely distracting.

    57B Dinh Tien Hoang, Hanoi, Ha Noi, Vietnam
    091-351--1063-cell phone

    Arts/Entertainment Details

    Rate Includes: From 100,000d
    View Tours and Activities
  • 4. Goethe Institut

    Ba Dinh District

    In addition to German language classes and opportunities abroad, Germany’s cultural institution often hosts photography and film exhibitions.

    56–60 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Hanoi, Ha Noi, Vietnam
    View Tours and Activities
  • 5. Hanoi Cheo Theater

    This tiny, simple drama house seats 50 people. Cheo operas and traditional music concerts are usually staged on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 pm, but call or stop by to confirm. Cheo is a form of satirical music theater from northern Vietnam. This theater will arrange special performances for groups of 10 or more.

    1 Giang Van Minh St., Hanoi, Ha Noi, Vietnam
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  • 6. L'Espace

    Hoan Kiem District | Film

    Operated by Institut Francais de Hanoi, L'Espace regularly screens world cinema as well as hosting an eclectic selection of cultural events.

    24 Trang Tien, Hanoi, Ha Noi, Vietnam
  • 7. National Cinema

    Ba Dinh District

    This refurbished cinema has 12 screens. Films are often cheaper than in the major theaters, and many film festivals are held here throughout the year. There’s also an arcade on the first floor.

    87 Lang Ha, Hanoi, Ha Noi, Vietnam
  • 8. National Puppetry Theater

    The National Puppet Theater holds water-puppet shows that are more in the vein of village performances, harking back to the days when water puppets were used as political commentary right under the noses of bad kings or provincial French rulers. Traveling water-puppet theaters traditionally relayed information from village to village. You may find that you are as much of the show as the puppets. Check the website for the performance schedule.

    361 Truong Chinh St., Hanoi, Ha Noi, Vietnam

    Arts/Entertainment Details

    Rate Includes: 80,000d
  • 9. Vietnam Opera and Ballet Theater

    Vietnam Opera and Ballet Theater is where Vietnam's up-and-coming opera singers and ballerinas train to learn the skills they will need to perform at the Hanoi Opera House and even with foreign troupes. Performances take place sporadically and online information is sparse so always call ahead.

    11 Ngo Nui Truc St., Hanoi, Ha Noi, Vietnam
  • 10. Youth Theater


    Youth Theater, a 650-seat facility, is one of the larger theaters in the city and focuses mainly on contemporary drama, although music and dance are sometimes performed. About a dozen foreign theater groups perform here annually.

    11 Ngo Thi Nham St., Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Ha Noi, Vietnam

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