Lisbon, Portugal is a beautiful and vibrant city. It has a laid back, ramshackle charm that is very unique. The locals are incredibly friendly and every where you go you will hear shouts of “obrigado” which means, “thank you.”
But Lisbon really comes alive after dark. Everybody is out walking and shopping, drinking, eating, and having fun. There are the more touristy things to do – go to a fado show or nightclub – or you could be more like the locals and just stroll. The people watching is fantastic.
When I visited Lisbon, I stayed in a cool Airbnb apartment just off the Largo do Carmo, a sweet little square with good restaurants, jacaranda trees, hot guys in uniform, and a ruined nunnery – all the makings of a great setting.
By day this area was full of tourists. But come dusk and it starts to mellow out and the locals come for a drink and to let their children play in the darkening square. I remember being amazed that parents would let such young children be out so late, but things didn’t really seem to kick off until after 9:00 PM. Children would all play together in one big group, skateboarders used the nunnery entrance to show off their skills, and the adults gathered to drink and talk.
Even though I was an outsider, there was a wonderful community feeling, one that just made me happy I was able to sit and observe.
I didn’t spend all my evenings in the Largo do Carmo. I joined in the wandering crowds going in and out of stores in the popular streets and just sat and watched different scenes of nightlife unfold. But passing an evening in the Largo do Carmo is one of the activities I remember most from my trip for its laidback, family-friendly ambiance and warm feeling of inclusion. If you are ever in Lisbon, I highly suggest you give it a try.