Warm summer nights usually mean hot, wild, and nonstop evening fun under the moonlight. So don’t let your vacation bliss stop when the sun goes down because come dusk, there’s a whole different vibe to a whole bunch of fascinating urban jungles all across the country.
Let your hair down, dance your hearts out, and get into some major trouble at some of these iconic U.S. cities featuring all sorts of gin bars, jazz clubs, and spectacular after-hours entertainment. From the City of Lights to the City that Never Sleeps, hit up these bold and beautiful night owl hubs as soon as those buzzy bright lights come out. You sure won’t be alone! Here are the nine craziest U.S. cities with the best summer nightlife.
Best Summer Nightlife – Here’s Where to Find It!
1. New York, New York
It’s cool, crowded, cosmopolitan, and ever-evolving. It’s the Big City that never sleeps and is chock full of iconic landmarks, towering skyscrapers, and vibrant culture permeating each and every one of its array of distinctive neighborhoods and boroughs. And let’s just say that when it comes to nightlife options, nobody does it like the Big Apple.
Sip some cocktails at Pegu in SoHo or go crazy with an epic bar crawl through the East Village. Clubs over on the Southside will have you dancing until dawn, and because it truly is a town that never rests, you’ll have no trouble whatsoever finding any kind of nighttime pleasure just by wandering through a concrete jungle of roaring taxicabs, chaotic corners, bustling blocks, fast-paced pedestrians, marquee galleries, innovative cocktail bars, indie boutiques, trendy coffee shops—not to mention those gorgeous neon lights in Times Square—during all hours of the day. That’s right folks, 24/7/365, NYC has got you covered! So explore every flourishing enclave and create the ultimate urban adventure this summer by heading on out to Gotham City!
2. Nashville, Tennessee
Sure, it’s the capital of country music, as well as the city to race towards for the best live music in the country. But did you know that it’s also a hub of nighttime fun with the ghosts of greats such as Hank Williams and Johnny Cash mingling all day/night long with present-day faves like Taylor Swift and Keith Urban?
Pure fun and joy pour into the streets of this city until the wee morning hours, especially near Printer’s Alley, along Broadway, or in the 12South area, which are all filled with bars and restaurants featuring live music, karaoke, grownup fun, and so much more that’ll keep anyone entertained! What’s more is that the city loves its longneck bottles after 5 p.m. (it’s been named in the top ten for beer!), so stay out late, get friendly with the locals, and enjoy a nice mix of glitz, glam, and down-to-earth Southern hospitality, as well as a super energetic collegiate populace. Make sure to check out the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame, as well as the trendy boutiques and hipster bars in Hillsboro Village. Music City is the place to be.
3. Los Angeles, California
Featuring a night scene worthy of the stars, L to the A is the spot to go for clubbing, dancing, and partying it out all night long. From dodging paparazzi cameras to negotiating those chaotic freeways, the possibilities for a wild night in the City of Angels are endless. What’s more is that it boasts an irresistible A-list sense of style, a natural element of pure unpredictability, and even has some of the most diverse and unique sets of neighborhoods in the U.S.
Go crazy in La-La Land along with the glamour of chic Hollywood name brands, movie set backdrops, renowned art galleries, and architectural masterpieces. It really is the world's visual entertainment empire, and even features some of the most eclectic cuisine within its hundreds of highly acclaimed restaurants. Plus, with sun, sand, and surf just mere minutes away, it’s never been easier to cap off a wild night by taking in a gorgeous sunrise over at the nearby Malibu, Santa Monica, or Venice beaches. You won’t be sorry.
4. San Diego, California
Lovin’ good old Cali? Well, here’s another night owl fave right in the heart of the Golden State. With its consistently warm weather, seventy miles of magnificent coastline, mouthwatering cuisines, thriving nightlife venues—not to mention one of the country's favorite zoos—it’s never been easier to get wet and wild!
Stay up all night with a six-pack or a bottle of wine by the seashore after taking a nice leisurely stroll at La Jolla or Coronado Beach. Then ditch those lip-flops for some way more trendy attire as you check out the variety of vivacious nightlife options all across town, especially near the historical Gaslamp Quarter. S to the D truly is “America's Finest City,” and since it’s also uber close to the U.S.-Mexico border, you’ll easily get the chance to sprinkle in some hot Mexican spice into that summer vacation as well.
5. Austin, Texas
What do you get when you combine a huge university town with a renowned live music scene? Well, you get this Texas state capital—a rich blend of college kids, hopping bars, and up-and-coming musicians all along downtown's 6th Street or on SoCo (South Congress). Known as the "Live Music Capital of the World," it scored the number four slot for wild weekends, yet still manages to maintain that quirky, laid-back atmosphere that made it so popular in the first place. It’s definitely something you likely won't find in any other Texan town, and along with some truly wacky characters, as well as an incredibly buzzy 24/7 night scene, there’s something here for every kind of night owl out there. No kidding.
6. New Orleans, Louisiana
It’s known to get more than rowdy during big events like the Mardi Gras-- but even if you go at any other time of the day or the year, you’ll likely have just as much fun in the Big Easy—and for a lot less as well!
NOLA’s got one of the best bar scenes in the entire world, many of which stay open way late into the night. The same goes for the music scene, especially along Bourbon Street which is famous for its always over-the-top partying. Plus, when you’re finally ready to sleep it off, there’s a bunch of cool boutique hotels all across town, like the Dauphine Orleans Hotel. So get ready to meet some fascinating people, see some awesome European-style architecture, chow down on some mouth-watering Creole cuisine, and revel in an all-around mystic vibe until the wee hours of every morning. Let’s get rowdy tonight!
7. Providence, Rhode Island
Who says you need a big state to throw a huge party?! This little Rhode Island town proves that spectacular nightlife can also be found in the smallest of places. With a more than diverse population (including tons of crazy college students!), a superb live music scene, terrific community performance art, and some of the cheapest prices for anything bar related, it’s a place based off of life’s simple pleasures. Rock it out and have some good old fun at this highly overlooked nightlife fave. Be sure to check out Fête—trust us, it’s a more than awesome joint.
8. Chicago, Illinois
When the sun goes down, the hot spots of Chi-town crank up all things nightlife with everything from live music, dancing, and stellar theatrical performances, to laid back bars, swanky lounges, and booming nightclubs all open until the the sun comes up. What’s more is that the Windy City is the spot to chow down at—no matter what time of day (or night) it is—especially since it’s got some of the world’s most famous deep dish pizza and Char-dogs (i.e. Wiener Circle).
Aside from endless feasting though, the city also tops the list for wild weekend getaways, especially at Wrigleyville, Wicker Park, and Boystown, which are all known to throw super lively parties. Be sure to check out The Irish Oak or Goose Island. Music venues such as Hideout and Double Door are equally as fantastic. Chicago is calling.
9. Las Vegas, Nevada
Last but certainly not least, Sin City itself. It’s been ranked number one for lights, noise, and wild weekends-- the ultimate spot to get your party on when the sun comes up at day clubs like Marquee and Bare, and then dance through the night with all your newest friends after winning it big at one of those always-open Blackjack tables. The infamous Strip is the home of fierce and crazy nonstop commotion. It also happens to be “America's Playground,” the “Entertainment Capital of the World,” and you’re more than likely to easily find a 24-hour party anywhere, especially at the Fremont Street Experience.
In this brightly lit desert town, inhibitions are not at all welcome. Every night is an excuse for pleasure and fun-- so while you may or may not not want to go as far as to re-enact "The Hangover," you certainly won’t want to leave without getting a bit of "Viva Las Vegas." The best thing about it is that “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”-- so there’s nothing to ever worry about!
This article was written by Pamela Chan.