The 20 Best Cities for Nightlife Around the World
Sleep is not on the agenda.
Sometimes we like to tell you about the deep cuts, things like most underrated national parks or the coolest small cities in the country. But when it comes to nightlife, you probably want something a little more obvious—the let-your-hair-down, no-rest-for-the-wicked, dancing-on-the-ceiling, best of the very best. Whether you’re heading under the tracks for live music in Vienna or planning a karaoke-powered all-nighter in Seoul, here are the absolute places in the world for painting the town red.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is a certified all-day party town. Provided you’re there during the warmer summer months (November to March), the day drinking scene gets serious at beach clubs like Life Grand Cafe. Hungry? Combine day drinking, barbecue, and eating with your hands at Teez Lounge in the townships. There you can wash down your braai with beers and mix with an eclectic crowd of regulars, out-of-towners, and local politicians.
Don’t be swayed by the touristy V&A Waterfront, despite the familiar names. If you absolutely must have a drink in that area, opt for excellent craft cocktails at the Cape Grace Hotel. As the sun slips below the waves, your night can go in a lot of different directions. Start it, though, at one of the amazing area restaurants like Test Kitchen. From there, if you’re dressed in your finery, consider cocktails at Planet Bar at the historic Mount Nelson Hotel. If you’re looking for a night of boozing and a rowdy bar crawl, head to Long Street and see how many pints of Castle you can handle. Last but not least, there are always the clubs, and if it happens to be a Sunday, don’t miss the party at Caprice in Camps Bay. –Jared S. Baumeister
Typically, “nightlife” in Vienna conjures visions of orchestral instruments, opera glasses, and perhaps some chic white gloves. And they wouldn’t be off: The one-time playground of Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler, Shubert, and more has earned the nickname the “capital of classical music,” and a visit should indeed include indulging in the symphonic tunes echoing throughout the crevices of elaborate Baroque architecture.
But when the sun goes down, the city thrives in more modern ways. From above, rooftop bars like the Nordic-style Aurora Rooftop Bar, the cozy Mooons terrace, and the lush Chez Bernard at Hotel Motto pair time-traveling views with boozy tipples. On the ground, sleek clandestine drinkeries like Barfly’s, If Dogs Run Free, and The Sign offer plenty of reasons to sip the night away.
But should you want your nights a little rowdier, head to the outskirts of town. Specifically to the Gürtel, the thick ring-road separating the city’s inner districts from the suburbs. Once designated as the city's Red Light District, today you’ll find music venues, bars and restaurants like Chelsea, B72, rhiz, Gürtelbräu, Coco Bar, the Loft, and more under the elevated railroad tracks. Situated just a few steps from each other, in warmer months, crowds spill out into the streets, turning the area under the U-bahn arches into one big party. –Vanita Salisbury
Buenos Aires, Argentina
For a night out in Buenos Aires, you may want to start with a cup of coffee. Dinner is normally still going at 11, and many clubs don’t really pick up until 1 am. A proper night out in the Argentine city doesn’t end until the following morning. As a city with more than 15 million people, there will never be a shortage of things to do. But as a visitor, your best bets are also some of the city’s most popular spots. Palermo Soho is crawling with university students, travelers, and the city’s most adventurous. With dozens of clubs and bars in the neighborhood, you could spend from dusk til dawn and still not hit all of the top spots. Stop in to BrukBar for over the top cocktails, Bebop Bar and Thelonious Club for live jazz. There’s Niceto, a giant space that’s home to Club 69, touring musicians, and some of the biggest dance floors in the city, plus spots like Rose Bar and Kika. Towards the water, you’ll find CroBar, one of many disco clubs that stays open until 7 am. Buenos Aires also has a gay club scene renowned throughout Latin America, with spots like Feliza Cultura Arcoiris, Club 69, Amerika, and Plop.
In other parts of Palermo, you’ll find cool bars like Frank’s, a speakeasy that is full of vintage decor and low lighting, and Rey de Copas, a bar with decorations as artsy as the drinks are delicious. Elsewhere in the city, you can find a slew of high end and clubs near the water, like Terrazas del Este, Jet, Caix and Bayside Buenos Aires. Expect to spend a bit more money and jam packed on the weekends, filled with locals and visitors alike. For rooftop views, try Trade Sky Bar and hit up Presidente Bar to feel like you’ve taken a step back in time. Another hidden bar that you can’t miss is Floreria Atlántico, tucked away in a little flower shop. –Opheli Garcia Lawler
Forget the stereotypes of pot cafes, canals, and van Gogh—spending a weekend getting down in Amsterdam will see you cycling from a former gas plant (i.e. Gashouder) to De School—you guessed it, a former school transformed into a 24-hour venue fit with a yard, a gym, and a dance floor built into a former bike shed. The Netherlands boasts more music festivals per capita than anywhere as well as and the biggest dance music festival in the world in Amsterdam Dance Event. And appropriately, its capital city was the first in the world to have appointed a night mayor to oversee and protect late-night endeavors.
Amsterdam remains a hotbed for the world's biggest DJs, growing its own and drawing others with its passion for party perfection. If you can swing it, get to Amsterdam on April 27, when nearly 1 million revelers descend upon Amsterdam's streets, clubs, and festivals to celebrate their national holiday, King's Day, easily one of the greatest parties in the world. –Daniel Cole
New Orleans, Louisiana
There's a reason every bachelor and bachelorette party east of the Rockies holds its festivities in New Orleans. It's not a place that concerns itself much with limiting your good time, with bars open late, to-go cups so you never have to leave a drink behind, and streets packed with like-minded individuals. And the party spills well past the (in)famous French Quarter. Sure, that area's home to Pat O'Brien's (birthplace of the Hurricane), Frozen Irish Coffee hub Erin Rose, and historic Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, but the culture of good times and great music extends through the whole city.
If Bourbon Street feels like amateur hour, there's an entire secret nightlife scene in New Orleans, with everything from underground pinball arcades to jazz clubs where Kermit Ruffins regularly pops in for a set—New Orleans is famous for its annual Jazz Festival, after all, bringing a slightly more sophisticated party to the Big Easy. The city's also loaded with beer bars and cocktail bars. And if your idea of a quality party involves a hefty dose of gluttony, well, nobody needs to sell you on the show-stopping local restaurant scene. –Matt Meltzer
Tidy and buttoned-up by day, Singapore sheds that image like a wool sportscoat during its perpetually summery nights. We're partial to the cocktail scene—after all, Singapore was the no-brainer pick for the only international outpost of the swanky, storied New York City cocktail bar Employees Only. Need another option? Head to Jigger and Pony, whose spot-on classic cocktails are just as polished as the gleaming teak bar.
The high life takes on multiple meanings in Singapore, where there's no shortage of drinks to be had at dizzying heights, as long as you're down to drop a wad of cash. Nowhere shows off the city-state's skyline better than 1-Altitude, although the offerings at Marina Bay Sands are worthy of serious honorable mentions. Want to pad your tummy with a buffer before calling it a night? You're in the right place: Singapore's incredible food culture excels at late-night eats—call it "supper" if you've got a taste of Singlish on the tongue. –Hannah Bae
From a thriving queer scene to a long history of live music greatness, this Northern England cultural capital has you covered with quality party opportunities seven nights a week. Start the evening amid the shiny skyscrapers in posh Spinningfields, where Hawksmoor Manchester serves up unforgettable feasts alongside the absolute best martini in town (no joke). After you’re well sated, hit the Gay Village for thumping dance club action, endless drag shows, old-school piano bars, and cozy tea rooms or pop over to the Boho-chic Northern Quarter to peruse student-friendly haunts like arcade bar NQ64 and the ping pong-fueled Twenty Twenty Two, and sleek Cottonopolis.
While the era of 24 Hour Party People might sadly be a thing of the past—the legendary Haçienda, where the likes of New Order, Happy Mondays, Oasis, the Stone Roses, and the Chemical Brothers cut their teeth, shuttered in 1997—the essence of Madchester lives on via raucous indie venues like Gorilla, Joshua Brooks, Mint Lounge, and local icon the Deaf Institute. And if you’re looking for a chill pint in a quirky space, amble over to the Circus Tavern, a historic hole in the wall with football on the telly and the self-proclaimed smallest bartop in Europe. Because, why not? –Meredith Heil
Budapest’s nightlife is incredible not only because of the number of places you can go to party late into the night, but also because the bars and nightclubs have an unbeatable flair. The city’s ruins bars feel like traipsing through some sort of adult Disney World, but instead fairy godmothers and castles are out of this world art installations and multileveled bars built into ruins. Not only that, but most of these fantastic spaces are open until at least 6 am nearly every night of the week. The first can’t miss stop is Szimpla Kert, which is the original ruins bar of Budapest. It’s certainly a local haunt no longer, but is filled with themed rooms that will give you the experience of going through a dozen different bars in one night. Other ruins bars that promise a great night include Instant and Fogas Ház, Dürer Kert, Mazel Tov, and more.
In addition to the ruins bars, you’ll find plenty of other ways to spend a night out in Budapest. There’s Boutiq Bar, which has made a number of best bars lists, that serves cocktails in a classy environment right near the Basilica. For a kitschier vibe, you can head to Rumpus Tiki Bar and for a truly underground experience Hotsy Totsy is where you should go. Comics Bar, DZZS Bar, and Black Swan Budapest are other reliable bets.
At the end of the night, head to Gozsdu Court, located right in the middle of the Jewish quarter, home to Budapest’s central party scene. The space is basically a giant outdoor food hall, with dozens of different vendors offering late night snacks and day time meals. –OGL
Admit it, everyone you know who has been to Barcelona has told you that you simply must go, and that they absolutely loved it. But remember to practice your midday napping before you make the leap across the pond—in Barcelona, you should not be going to dinner before 10 pm at the earliest, and the nightlife really doesn't get going until 2 am. Don't worry, you'll have plenty of time to sleep on the sand.
The towering W Hotel is right on the beach, and the bar scene there is perfect for Sunday cocktails stretching into the night. Once you shake your Monday hangover off in the surf and gorge yourself on tapas, check out the Monday night party at Apolo (if you can handle the student-heavy crowd). For single-stop restaurant, bar, and club options, meander down Tuset Street, stopping to check out Bling Bling and Sutton, or head for El Born, where you can soak up the indie vibes at Magic. Down by the beach, go to CDLC or get your Ibiza-lite fix at Opium next door. Can't stomach the youngins? Luz de Gas has your back. Make a wrong turn at some point? Doesn't matter. Just keep moving—everyone else here is. –JSB
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
From a Western perspective, the Middle East isn’t exactly known for its raucous party scene. But Dubai, with its proliferation of high-end resorts, stunning rooftop bars, buzzy dance clubs, breezy poolside hangs, chill hookah lounges, and—strange but true—laid-back Irish pubs, once again proves to be the exception to every rule.
Clink cocktail glasses with multinational crowds in upbeat cocktail bars all over the city, from local offshoots of the Latin-inflected Amazónico, tropical-fun Monkey Bar, and award-winning Salmon Guru to any one of the sleek new venues inside the freshly debuted Atlantis The Royal (yes, this is where Beyonce performed). Later, take in world-renowned DJ acts backed by epic skyline views at upscale discos like 1OAK, Barasti, Sky 2.0, Billionaire, BLU, and Armani/Prive inside the dazzling Burj Khalifa. And after all is said and done, you’ll probably want to take advantage of the city’s many late-night shawarma peddlers like Aroos Damascus, Al Bait Al Shami, and Al Mallah Dhiyafah. Live it up but just remember: They’re pretty strict about public intoxication around these parts, so keep your wits about you and never attempt to drink outside the confines of a properly licensed hotel, bar, or restaurant. –MH
After a full day in the sun, you may think that you are too zapped to spend even a moment in a club. But if you are looking to party in Miami, you’ll need to get some water and rally. There’s simply too much to do. Depending on where you’re staying, what you’re looking for, and how much money you’ve got the Miami neighborhood you’ll spend the wee hours of the night in will differ. Want a mix of bars, late night eats, and some dancing? You’ll want to head to Wynwood, where even the taco joint transforms into a club. On South Beach, you’ll encounter more gimmicks and crowds, but there are also a few places to spot celebrities and feel like a high roller like LIV and Story (be prepared to spend like a high roller, too). Some less-visible but no less fun spots include Basement, Do Not Sit on the Furniture, Kill Your Idol, and Treehouse Miami.
If you’re on TikTok you’ve probably heard about E11even, Mango’s, and Palace. And listen, popular places are popular for a reason. Just be prepared for crowds and plan ahead to make sure you can get in. In Brickell, TuCandela Bar and Blackbird Ordinary are great spots for dancing. For late night Karaoke, hit up Sweet Caroline.
If you want live salsa music, Ball & Chain in Little Havana is where to be, just make sure you check the schedule. Ultimately, whether you’re looking for a classy rooftop bar,drag brunch, lunch, and dinner, or the kind of night that has made this South Florida city the legend that it is, Miami has it all. –OGL
Grab your a bottle of ouzo and get ready to party, Athens-style! While most tourists simply connect in Athens on their way to the beautiful Greek Isles, the city's unparalleled history isn't the only draw. Start with a quiet dinner in the northern suburb of Kifisia, or perhaps try one of the more lively restaurants closer to the center, like Spondi or Milos. After dinner, head to Galaxy Bar on the top of the Hilton Hotel and offer a toast to the ancients as you imbibe accompanied by panoramic views of Athens and the Acropolis. After you've soaked up enough history by osmosis, head to Baba Au Rum to continue with some quality cocktails.
Once you've bled the bars dry, and the mere thought of austerity makes you want to throw cabbage, head to Kolonaki and keep the night going at Dybbuk or Rock n Roll. If you're a card-carrying member of the hipster sect, perhaps the bars dotting the Gazi neighborhood, so-named for the gas works in the area, will be more your speed. Finally, if you're returning to your yacht for the evening, the famous Island Club in Vouliagmeni will be waiting. Whatever your pleasure, take the time to explore Athens before you abscond to the various island paradises that dot the Aegean. –JSB
The local drinking age of 18 reads only one way: ridiculously messy. For many young partygoers, a crash-landing in Montreal is a glorious realm of firsts. Yet the more seasoned among us will attest that Montreal's also got plenty of space to avoid such bush-leaguers while raising a little hell in Canada's French-speaking quarters. Evenings can start off in a BYOW (bring your own wine) restaurant, and evolve towards watering holes and nightclubs that range from student-priced to hipstery to chic.
It ain't over until it's 4 am and you're waiting for a table at La Banquise, ready to wolf-pounce on some gooey poutine smothered in sausage. Sunday hangovers are cured at Tam-Tams, a weekly open-air festival with DJs, drum circles, LARPing (medieval jousting matches role-played), and musky billows of pot smoke. Drinking in public parks is actually legal in Montreal, so long as it's accompanied by a meal. Challenge accepted, non? –Barbara Woolsey
Las Vegas, Nevada
Though Miami might beg to differ when it comes to partying in the USA, no place can touch Vegas. The big clubs here—Hakkasan, XS, Marquee—succeed where others in America fail, combining the exclusivity and glamour of bottle service with the massive dance floors of a music festival. So you can party here whether you want to drop thousands surrounded by big spenders or boogey your ass off until whenever the afterparty starts.
And that's the thing about Vegas. New York says it's the city that never sleeps, but in point of fact, everyone there has a steep rent to pay, and must get up in the morning to make that happen. Vegas is the city that never stops partying. People land at McCarran and it's like they change into different people, that guy who always calls it a night at midnight is rolling back into the hotel room at 9 am asking, "When's the pool party?" Because in Vegas, the beautiful people move the party from inside to poolside as soon as the sun comes up.
The pool parties at places like Marquee and Encore are referred to as "day clubs," taking the debauchery that's typically limited to darkness and putting it all out in broad daylight. And while there are other cities in the world with great clubs, splashy bashes, and inhibition-free people, no destination combines it al—and then throws in 24-hour gambling, great food, giant events, decadent stage shows, marvelous celeb-spotting, and shady shenanigans quite like Vegas. –MM
The party scene in Ibiza is pretty much like that rave in The Matrix Reloaded, except that everyone's rich and/or famous and/or on designer drugs. Oh, and it's an island paradise. If you get tired of dancing your face off to one of the zillion-odd beach parties, you can always slip away to one of the island's myriad hidden coves for some rest and relaxation. Then get back to it, because you're here for the clubs. Pacha is the powerhouse, with the world-famous Flower Power discotheque. Space, famous for its theme parties, throws a bash that imitates the Feria de Abril in Seville, complete with flamencas serving up manzanilla and jamon.
Top-tier parties will run you a cool 100€, but they have names you'll want to drop. David Guetta's Future Rave parties, helmed by one of the most celebrated DJs in the world, is set to take over high-tech Hï Ibiza in summer 2023. Elsewhere, the hush-hush VIP parties at Lío, a restaurant with a cabaret that turns into a disco, are definitely on the pricier end of the spectrum. No matter—you can make your own scene on the cheap by hurling yourself off the rocks at Punta Galera, a gorgeous cove for cliff-diving, or kicking back at Ses Salines, a never-ending white sand beach. –Josh Bergen
Thailand's gargantuan capital is famous for nocturnal throw-downs and demolishing boozy buckets on Khaosan Road on the cheap. But there's a reason nearly everyone who visits Thailand comes away with some kind of raging party story. In Bangkok, there's no shortage of spots to go looking for trouble—and if you don't go looking, it often seems to find you anyway.
Even the most innocuous evening can turn legendary in a second. You might be sipping cocktails at a speakeasy or rooftop bar, and suddenly you're linked up with a group of expats, getting whisked away to an event with free-flowing Champers plus Thai socialites, celebs, and generally lots of gorgeous people. Before you know it, it's 5 am and you're in a tuk-tuk going to Wong's, a dive bar that’s pretty much the only place to go after everything else has closed (be prepared to wash your hands in a bathroom sink that's literally just a hose in the wall). Either that, or you've probably already ended up at someone's private afterparty—and seeing as anything can happen in Bangkok, a penthouse wouldn't even be out of the question. –BW
Here you'll find everything for all types: kink parties, techno parties, jazz parties, house parties, underground adventures, and hip-hop showdowns. You can leave the house on a Thursday afternoon and not come back until Monday morning, having danced and dirtied your clubbing footwear, and drowned yourself in the local energy drink, Club-Mate. Who has time for sleep in this constant, enduring, unending sprawl? The city's infamous techno nightspot Berghain is so renowned worldwide, it even spawned the now-infamous New York Times article, "In Berlin, You Never Have to Stop," about an Australian band who arrived in what they saw as an artists' paradise and eventually sank into the rabbit hole of decadent dirtbaggery.
The city's post-Cold War legacy was set in motion once the Wall came down. Suddenly free to leave, East Berliners did—in droves. Behind them stood an abundance of urban housing at bargain prices, ripe for a generation of creative, liberal-minded residents to fill the void. Decades later, prices have largely caught up, but it's cheaper than Ibiza, and has more DJs and artists playing throughout the city's clubs than any other European hotspot. It may be the planet's finest incarnation, at present, of actual sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. –DC
Seoul, South Korea
Good cheer runs through Seoul like soju swimming in your bloodstream. You're doing it right if that soju got into your system through a "love shot," a delightfully cheesy semi-hug reflective of Seoulites' unabashed affection for humankind: You face someone (hopefully one of the city's many beautiful people), hook opposite elbows, and throw back the all-too-swiggable liquor in your cup.
A night out in Seoul is a deliriously joyful whirlwind anytime of the year. Round one might unfold among the smoke and sizzle of a Downtown Korean BBQ joint, where the air is filled with the aromas of succulent bulgogi and pork belly, the clinks of beer mugs, and neighboring tables' happy shouts of "yogiyo!"—over here!—because everyone wants more! more! more! of this goodness.
Ready for round two? Good, 'cause the Seoul party train always runs local. Head to a private Korean noraebang, where there is absolutely no shame in erupting in liberated goofiness when you and your friends don neon wigs and belt out tunes to the beat of light-up tambourines. Maybe you're in the mood to hit the club for round three. Expect good company: Hongdae's youthful, indie crowd will dance with the gleeful abandon of Peanuts characters. Or maybe you're more Gangnam style (had to): The area's polished, futuristic temples of sound attract only the insanely stylish. No matter the neighborhood, there's nonstop energy all night long, with people inexplicably high on life (drugs are highly, highly illegal in South Korea, but you definitely won't need them here) and not even a hint of the aggro-shoving that plagues dance floors elsewhere.
Feeling rough the morning after? Hope is as close as the corner convenience store, which will no doubt stock an array of hangover remedies in mini-cans and brown glass bottles—or maybe grab a hangover-fighting popsicle. They're yet another sign of how partying has worked its way into daily South Korean life. Follow with a detox afternoon soaking and scrubbing at one of Seoul's super-cheap jjimjilbang spas until you feel like new. No wonder the party never stops in Seoul. –HB