Abstract: Given geography’s neglect of illuminated and dark space, this paper explores the various qualities of darkness that have contributed to the experience of the city. In recent history, darkness has been conceptualised negatively, for instance, with the ‘dark side’ and the ‘forces of darkness’ conceived as the opposite of that which enlightens and illuminates. Perhaps such metaphors testify to earlier urban conditions in which perils of all sorts lurked in the nocturnal city and doors were closed when darkness fell. Yet modern illumination has transformed nocturnal urban experience, producing cityscapes of regulation, hierarchical selectiveness, consumption, fantasy and imagination. However, this article suggests that the more positive qualities of darkness have been overlooked: the potential for conviviality and intimacy to be fostered in the dark, the aesthetics and atmospherics of darkness and shadow, the possibilities for apprehending the world through other senses and the dismissal of the star-saturated sky.