City Guide

Top 10 US Cities Known for Its Nightlife

By Landing | Jun 13, 2024
Friends enjoying nightlife

From rooftop happy hours and low-key cocktail bars to all-night music venues that let you dance ’til dawn, there is no shortage of spots throughout the country to blow off some steam after a long day or week of work. However, some cities offer a particularly spectacular scene that’s worth checking out once the sun goes down, whether you’re looking for high-end happenings or laid-back lounges.

From parties in San Diego to dance floor discos in New York City, here are our picks for the top 10 best cities for nightlife in the U.S., including:

  1. Las Vegas
  2. New York City
  3. New Orleans
  4. Miami
  5. Key West
  6. Los Angeles
  7. San Diego
  8. San Francisco
  9. Atlantic City
  10. Chicago

Time to party!

Top Party Cities in the US You Should Visit

1. Las Vegas

Welcome to Never Sleep city Las Vegas, Nevada Sign with the heart of Las Vegas scene in the background. (all logo had been removed).

Las Vegas is a no-brainer when it comes to nightlife, considering the city receives massive numbers of couples, groups of friends, and bachelor and bachelorette parties each year. Many Las Vegas nightlife hotspots are centered on and around The Strip and are open 24 hours.

Head to Kamu Ultra Karaoke to sing your heart out, then grab drinks at The Chandelier, where you can sip craft cocktails and snap selfies with the shimmering strands of 2 million beaded crystals.

If you want to gamble, you’ll have your pick from world-renowned spots like Caesars Palace and the Bellagio. Vegas offers something for everyone, so even if you don’t want to gamble, you can head to MGM Grand Casino to play beer pong, billiards, and one of the largest games of Pac-Man in the world.

2. New York City

Girl drinking wine in New York City at sunset - rooftop bar

They say New York City never sleeps, and while some neighborhoods do, you’ll find late-night entertainment in nightlife districts all over Manhattan and Brooklyn. As one of the best nightlife cities in the world, New York does not limit those who live there to any one type of entertainment.

Catch a world-class show on Broadway in Times Square, a jazz performance at Small’s in the West Village, or you can just bum around from dive bars to dance floors in the East Village. Head over the East River to Brooklyn, where you’ll find loads of bars in Williamsburg, along with dance parties and late-night art shows in Bushwick.

The train runs all night in the Big Apple, but you can also easily grab one of New York’s bike-share bikes, CitiBike, hail a cab, or order a ride-share.

3. New Orleans

Pubs and bars with neon lights in the French Quarter, New Orleans USA

If New Orleans is known for one thing, it’s for good music—plus, phenomenal food. In this unique city, you don’t have to choose between crave-worthy cuisine and toe-tapping music, as many places in town shine at both.

Bourbon Street is the most famous destination for nightlife and nightclubs, with two top picks being Bourbon Heat dance club and the Cat’s Meow in the French Quarter, which hosts three-for-one happy hour until 8 p.m. and has two exterior balconies overlooking exciting Bourbon Street.

Vaso LLC is a fantastic late-night lounge where you’ll find classic Cajun and Creole eats served up alongside brass bands, DJs, and live jazz and blues music.

4. Miami

Ocean Drive scene at night lights, cars and people having fun, Miami beach. La noche de Ocean Drive en Miami Beach, Florida, Estados Unidos.

Whether you’re looking for glitzy nightclubs in South Beach and Miami Beach or wild parties at outdoor lounges and bars in Wynwood, you’re pretty much guaranteed to never be bored in Miami. E11EVEN, located inside a massive entertainment complex downtown, is a part-cabaret, part-nightclub venue that’s open 24/7 and puts on a great burlesque show.

Given the city’s large Cuban population and influence, you can’t leave town without a visit to the Little Havana neighborhood. Don Diablo is one of the most unique spots in the city and is definitely worth a visit. The interior of this speakeasy is inspired by the classic Quentin Tarantino vampire flick, “From Dusk Till Dawn,” and the real party often doesn’t even start until after midnight. Just a couple blocks down is Cubaocho Museum and Performing Arts Center, which hosts gallery nights and live salsa parties throughout the week.

Want to learn more about nightlife options in Miami? Check out our blog post, “A Local’s Guide to the Best Miami Nightlife.”

5. Key West

Rum and cola cocktail at the beach in the Florida Keys.

Well known for its spectacular sunsets, Key West is a great place to show up at a bar around dusk so you can take in the brilliant orange and magenta hues while sipping on a piña colada and dining on fresh lobster.

Two top picks in Key West are the Sunset Pier, which overlooks the stunning harbor, and the waterfront Galleon Tiki Bar, which has an excellent happy hour. More inland, you’ll find Sloppy Joe’s, which is by far the most famous bar on the keys. You’ll never know what kind of music they’ll be playing—rock, hip-hop, punk, blues, or country—but you’ll be sure to find a lively crowd dancing and singing along.

6. Los Angeles

Beautiful sunset of Los Angeles downtown skyline and palm trees in foreground

From iconic outdoor venues and classic art deco theaters to low-key lounges and classy concert halls, Los Angeles offers live music, after-hours entertainment, and must-visit nightlife spots for every type of reveler.

In West Hollywood, head to Troubadour for live music and The Roxy Theatre or The Viper Room for dancing. Looking for dive bars? Hit up Golden Gopher or Ye Rustic Inn. Don’t sleep on Koreatown, either, a lively neighborhood with great spots like the casual karaoke joint, Cafe Brass Monkey. Also head over to Lock & Key, a plush, speakeasy-style bar where first-time visitors are greeted with a wall of door knobs and must guess the real door knob in order to enter.

While the LGBTQ+ crowd is by no means restricted to certain establishments, those looking for gay bars would do well at Hamburger Mary’s or The Abbey in West Hollywood.

7. San Diego

View of Harbor Drive and skyscrapers at night, in San Diego, California.

Given the city is home to a large university and military base, San Diego has an increasingly up-and-coming nightlife scene that is especially well-suited to 20- and 30-somethings. Tiki bars and menus are particularly popular in the city, and a few great places to get your tiki on include The Nolen, which is known for its strong and spicy drinks, and Kindred, a vegan restaurant that hosts a pop-up tiki takeover every Thursday.

If you’re looking for a particularly fun experience, we recommend hitting up The Grass Skirt, a Polynesian-style speakeasy where the entire restaurant is treated to the sound of a tropical rainstorm whenever someone orders one of their punch bowls.

8. San Francisco

Wonderful night cityscape of illuminated San Francisco in California USA. Panoramic long exposure photo. Horizontal.

For a truly San Francisco experience, head to the historic landmark bar Vesuvio Cafe, where free-spirited Beat poets gathered in the 1950s and are still remembered in drinks today like the Bohemian Coffee and The Jack Kerouac.

Grab a drink and settle in for a fabulous night of people-watching, or if bar hopping is more your style, head to Valencia Street in the dynamic Mission District or Haight Street, the center of the city’s alternative scene.

Castro Street is the epicenter of the city’s LGBTQ+ culture, while Fillmore Street is the city’s original jazz and blues district and home to John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom Room.

Also, consider that nightlife doesn’t necessarily have to involve a nightclub or a bar. Other unique nightlife options in the City of Sourdough include a spooky tour of the Alcatraz prison at night, a sightseeing bus tour, or a Broadway show in the Theater District.

9. Atlantic City

steel pier with reflection at night,Atlantic city,new jersey,usa.

Second only to Las Vegas in terms of world-famous casino culture, Atlantic City bursts at the seams with opportunities for slots, craps, blackjack, and whatever else may float your gambling boat. Speaking of boats, this waterfront city also offers sunset boat tours and themed booze cruises that make for a great alternative (or complement!) to the fun and games at gambling hotspots like the Borgata, Caesars, Tropicana, Golden Nugget, and Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

For live music and loads of fun without the gambling, head to Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville or Dougherty’s Steakhouse and Raw Bar. Cielo Wine Bar offers wine tastings on Wednesday nights, while the Screening Room offers a unique, interactive crime-solving event.

10. Chicago

Chicago riverside

The coasts can’t claim all the credit when it comes to nightlife in the U.S. The Midwest has more than its fair share of nightlife-related destinations, with Chicago being the biggest, best, and brightest of the bunch. Neighborhoods like Logan Square, Wicker Park, and Wrigleyville are full of boisterous bars, comedy clubs, and independent theaters where you can start your night off with a show and follow it up with a late-night pub crawl.

The Windy City is world-famous for its sketch comedy, so laugh-lovers would do well catching a show at The Second City, the birthplace of improvisational comedy.

Find the party city of your dreams with Landing

If you’re looking to move somewhere new to try out danceable destinations all over the country, Landing offers digital nomads fully furnished apartments in over 375 cities throughout the U.S., along with flexible lease terms that make it easy to sample the city’s nightlife scene, then move on when you’re itching to go somewhere else

Landing’s network of fully furnished apartments are the perfect home base (or bases!) while you make your way through the best nightclubs in the U.S.

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