Reykjavik Culture Night is a massive and inclusive event which takes place late each August in Iceland’s capital city. But as the party lasts all day and all night, there are plenty of people who wonder at the accuracy of the name Culture Night, or Menningarnott in Icelandic.
Tradition dictates that Culture Night should always be on a Saturday. If you’re planning to visit Iceland, you might be interested to know that it falls on the 22 August this year. Culture Night is officially a celebration of the anniversary of the City of Reykjavik and has evolved into a massive cultural event with more to do than can ever be done (excuse the irrelevant Lion King quote).
In recent years the Reykjavik Marathon has also taken place on the same day – meaning Culture Night gets an energetic early (unofficial) start and gives marathon runners from all over the world an array of exciting options for rewarding themselves post-race.
If your holiday in Iceland overlaps Reykjavik Culture Night, you’re in for a real treat: the streets are thronged with performers, there are dance and music shows and all the museums and galleries stay open late with their biggest and best exhibitions of the year.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that there is nair a restaurant, bar, café, shop, museum, gallery or “other” that doesn’t make some sort of effort for Culture Night.
The kids generally get to stay up late this day because Menningarnott officially climaxes with one of the longest and most impressive fireworks displays in Europe. But after the young families head home, the bars and clubs stay open and keep the party spirit going all night.
Culture Night always centres on a specific theme, giving the event a pleasant level of continuity. This year focuses on ‘The Houses in the Town’ with tours, performances, exhibitions and other events to show off the variety in the city’s housing and the houses’ life and soul.
August is the time when most people take their Iceland vacations and the month’s events really help: with the Merchants’ Weekend festivals, Gay Pride and Culture Night all add extra intrigue to the country’s stunning scenery, clean air and long, bright summer days.