GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Geneva might be one of the most expensive cities in the world but that does not mean you have to break the bank or empty your pockets to have some fun this summer.
Here are some of my favorite, free events for this summer in Geneva, some beginning this week, others already underway. A separate post for kids activities this summer will follow:
- Free music in the park, (read our previous post describing the Central Park-ish atmosphere of this festival). The 2011 Musiques Colorées free concerts at the La Grange Park begin on 6 July. They take place every Wednesday and Friday until 19 August. The music selection for 2011 includes South African Hip-Hop, Latin Jazz from Brazil, Cuba’s Los Guasoneros (that recently performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival), Chanson from Mali, cool sounds from the Reunion Island, reggae from Jamaica and some electronic music from Switzerland. All concerts begin at 20:30. Bring your picnic, a blanket… and a candle or a flashlight. (Info)
- Free theater in the park. During the month of July the same stage that welcomes the free concerts -listed above- welcomes theatre performances. American and Russian classics and some cabaret await you daily at L’Orangerie. Don’t forget your picnic. (Info)
- Free dawn concerts at the Bains de Paquis. See the sun rise, have a cup’a joe and listen to the sounds of Jazz, classical, folk, or Latin music or see some African dancing. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 6:00 (yes, a.m.) until 4 September. (Info)
- Free outdoor movies by the Lake, (read our previous posts describing the atmosphere). The 2011 Cinétransat kicks off 7 July with Dirty Dancing and some other well known films following. This is like watching a re-run of a well-known film among friends, but under the stars. Bring your picnic. It ends 14 August. (Info)
- Free classical music concerts at lunch. Daily (except Sundays) at the Geneva’s Lutheran Church next to the Bourg-de-Four plaza in Old Town. Donations accepted. Moneys collected through donations go to a musical-therapy project for people with mental disabilities in Chile. (Info)
- Free: St.-Germain classical music concerts. At the Saint-Germain church in Old Town, every Sunday and Monday at 18:30. From 3 July to 5 September. (Info)
- Free urban mini-golf. Visit Bastions Park and enjoy the free putting! Until 30 September, daily from 11:00 to 19:00. (Info)
- Free: Saturday biking, Sundays by foot. Discover Geneva while keeping fit. The first weekend of the month until October. (Info)
- Free bike loans. Courtesy of Geneve Roule. Get a bike free for a day or rent one for longer. The program also serves as a professional reinsertion program for asylum seekers and unemployed people in Geneva. (Info)
- Free museums. Geneva offers free entry to visit the permanent collections of all its museums all year-round, and free entry to all of its temporary exhibits the first Sunday of the month. (Info)
- Almost-free, gym classes for those age 55 and over. Every Wednesday from 9:15-10:15 at the Mon Repos Park and Thursdays, same time, at the Eaux-Vives Park and at the Geisendorf Park. No pre-registration needed. Courses cost CHF5.- From 6 July-26 August. (Info)
- Free lawn-chairs and books. (Read our previous review). Free lawn chairs and books are offered at ten parks in Geneva this summer. The chaises longues and livres nomades are perfect for those who just want to go to the park and relax. It is also great if you want to drop off your already-read but still-in-good-condition books so others can enjoy (and English language books are always wanted). Schedules vary. Program ends on 28 August. (Info)
- Free: Chateau Bruyant Festival. From 3-24 July the Paquis host children activities, theatre, food and concerts. (Info)
- Free: Fetes de Geneve. The Geneva Festival takes over both quais of the Lake. Rides are expensive but there are always free concerts and other free activities including fireworks on 4 August (day when the Festival officially begins) and on 13 August, a day before the fetes end. The Geneva pre-fetes begin 27 July (27 July-3 August). The fetes end 14 August. (Info)
Free Festivals and other activities around Canton Geneva
- Free: Tour de Plage in Carouge. Includes a Jacks tournament (remember that game with the little jacks and the bouncy ball?), kids activities, massages, free lawn-chairs, magazines and parasols. Every Friday through Saturday from 14:00 to 19:00 and sometimes later. From 2 July to 28 August. (Info)
- Free: Movies by the Beach in Versoix. Two weekends of free outdoor movies and concerts by the Versoix beach. From 9-17 July. (Info)
- Free: Plein-les-Watts Festival, two days of Rock and Reggae at Plan-les-Ouates, carnival rides and more, 19-20 August. (Info)
Of course there are more free events out there such as the Lake Parade on 9 July, and other outdoor, paying, events including the OrangeCinema by the Lake.
Check our Events page for continuous updates.