The Top 10 U.S. Cities With the Best Nightlife
These places really come alive at night, and have plenty of bars, clubs, and activities for your partying needs.
Sometimes, a great adventure needs a great party scene. Whether you're booking travel for an epic birthday celebration, bachelorette or bachelor party, or just want to check out somewhere new where you can let loose and dance the night away, there are certain cities throughout the U.S. that are guaranteed to offer up a good time.
When it comes to nightlife, you may think of bars and clubs, but these cities prove there are more options available for night owls. Some have day parties that stretch around the clock, others are meant to be roamed in order for you to stumble upon your next fun adventure.
These top 10 cities have some of the best nightlife and will have you and your party entourage covered no matter what type of vibe you're looking for. Keep reading to see every hot spot, and next, don't miss the 10 Best Cities in the U.S. for Outdoor Adventures.
Las Vegas, Nevada
No one should be surprised that Las Vegas is on this list. The place where secrets live in infamy ("What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas") subsists on a good time. With over 32 million visitors and $11 million in gambling revenue made in 2021, Vegas is still dominating in party-heavy tourism.
There's a reason this Entertainment Capital of the World is known for its party scene. According to Money, Las Vegas has the second most bars per capita in the world. Losing the ultimate spot to Prague, Vegas has nearly 42 bars or clubs listed per 100,000 people. That means that Sin City really is the party place–in the United States, anyway.
If you know anything about the Midwest, it should be this: it's too cold for a large part of the year to do many outdoor activities… so everyone parties hard inside. And Chicago? The Windy City? It knows how to party. Not only does Chicago have a substantial art and culture scene that contributes to its nightlife, but this city has an equally eclectic nightlife.
You can hang out in a bar that used to be frequented by Al Capone, or spend some time at Nobody's Darling or another one of the many speakeasies around the city. Chicago's prohibition history has served it well in the century since… plus, it makes a mean Old Fashioned.
Los Angeles, California
Tinseltown is where nightlife dreams are made, literally, on the big screen. Suffice it to say that L.A. can live up to the silver screen hype.
Whether packed clubs with the hottest DJs or more nostalgic comedy clubs are your vibe, Los Angeles has both in spades. There is always something new cropping up in the city too for those frequent visitors. Maybe you'll even encounter someone on the cusp of fame? Who knows.
Miami Beach, Florida
Spend the daytime checking out the early trappings of the Art Deco movement and then dance the night away elsewhere in the city. Maybe you'll discover for yourself why Miami Beach has earned the nickname, "The Magic City."
After all, there are 75 bars and clubs listed for the city on Tripadvisor. For a place with less than 90,000 residents, that's not a small number. Between Miami and Miami Beach, there are countless ways to get your nightlife thrills.
New York City, New York
Vegas may be the city that never stops partying, but New York will forever be the City That Never Sleeps. The Big Apple's reputation is certainly not on the same page as Vegas, though its nightlife shouldn't be overlooked: Over 600 bars and clubs are listed for the city without accounting for all the boroughs.
Like Chicago and LA, NYC's diversity means tons of nightlife options too. Dive bar budgets to bottle service blowouts all happen here—the only catch is you have to know what you're looking for.
Elsewhere in the country, Broadway means something entirely different than in New York. In Nashville, this is where you'll find the party scene.
From downhome honky tonks to juke joints, live music spaces, and other nightlife spots, Nashville comes to life at night. Also lovingly known as Honky Tonk Highway, Broadway in Nashville means party-time when the sun goes down.
New Orleans, Louisiana
NOLA is known for a few things, not the least of which is its party scene. Bourbon Street is always wild no matter the time of day (or night), but there are also plenty of hotspots throughout the city that have something to offer visitors.
If you can find your way out of the French Quarter and want to get to know New Orleans, try Ms. Mae's, which has neighborhood bar vibes (and prices), yet folks in the area actually frequent it.
When it comes to a music scene, other musical cities should keep an eye on Austin. With over 250 live music spaces, Austin is keeping the nightlife scene bopping long into the wee hours of the morning.
If you're looking for the place in the city to find a good time, head over to Sixth Street. That's where Austin really comes to life.
It's true, there is more to find in Seattle beyond Starbucks and The Public Market. Over 175 bars and clubs would like to attest that the Emerald City of the PNW has a prominent nightlife. Thrillist even has some ways you can embrace the weird in yourself and Seattle while you're here.
Plus, Seattle is often less crowded than some other major metropolitan areas around the country, so you can get your nightlife fix without sacrificing personal space. That's always a bonus.
San Francisco, California
San Fran being listed last does not indicate anything about its partying capacity. On Money's list of top bar cities per capita in the world, SF is number 5. With 27 bars or clubs per capita, San Fransisco is not just home to family-friendly Friday night Full House moments—they are here to party down with the best of them!
Thrillist says San Fran has some of the country's best bars in addition to myriad dance clubs and other unique places to get your party on. So, go dancing or grab a drink at Bawdy Storytelling and enjoy!