Hanoi Opera House.

Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

Hanoi Opera House


This glorious neoclassical centrepiece of Hanoi's French Quarter is unmissable with its Gothic pillars and domes. The French-colonial 900-seat venue was built in 1911, and on 16 August 1945 the Viet Minh–run Citizens’ Committee announced that it had taken over the city from a balcony in this building. For some drama today, book ahead for a performance here, or take a 50-minute tour (at 2.30pm, 3.30pm or 4.30pm). Most weekends you’ll see Hanoi wedding couples getting photographed on the elegant front steps.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Hanoi attractions

1. National Museum of Vietnamese History


Built between 1925 and 1932, this architecturally impressive museum was formerly home to the École Française d’Extrême-Orient. Its architect, Ernest…

2. Vietnamese Women’s Museum

0.43 MILES

This excellent and highly informative museum showcases the roles of women in Vietnamese society and culture. Labelled in English and French, exhibits…

3. Thap Rua

0.44 MILES

Built in 1886, the ramshackle Thap Rua, on a tiny island in Hoan Kiem Lake, is topped with a red star on special occasions and is often used as an emblem…

4. Hoan Kiem Lake

0.49 MILES

Legend claims that, in the mid-15th century, heaven sent Emperor Le Loi a magical sword, which he used to drive the Chinese from Vietnam. After the…

5. Martyrs' Monument

0.54 MILES

This dramatic monument depicts a woman with a sword and one man holding a rifle and another a torch. It was erected as a memorial to those who died…

6. Ngoc Son Temple

0.57 MILES

Meaning 'Temple of the Jade Mountain', Hanoi's most visited temple sits on a small island in the northern part of Hoan Kiem Lake, connected to the…

7. St Joseph Cathedral

0.66 MILES

Hanoi's neo-Gothic St Joseph Cathedral was inaugurated in 1886, and has a soaring facade that faces a little plaza that's usually stuffed with selfie…

8. Hoa Lo Prison Museum

0.74 MILES

This thought-provoking site is all that remains of the former Hoa Lo Prison, ironically nicknamed the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ by US prisoners of war (POWs) during…