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Best Nightlife Scenes in the USA

U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

Whether you're looking for a lively party or a mellow dive bar, U.S. News can help you find stateside locales with vibrant nightlife scenes. We collected the opinions of thousands of users and sifted through expert reviews to guide you to the standout spots for a fun night out on the town. Cast your vote below to help us identify next year's best nightlife destinations.

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Las Vegas

#1 in Best Nightlife Scenes in the USA

Why go: Las Vegas has earned its reputation as America's playground for good reason. Some of the world's most riotous nightclubs reside in the city's gltizy casinos. Travelers looking for a less flashy alternative to the Strip should head to Fremont Street. Read More

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Miami Beach

#2 in Best Nightlife Scenes in the USA

Why go: Miami Beach's already flourishing night scene heats up after dark, and the chic South Beach neighborhood leads the pack. You'll find everything from plush lounges to deafening dance clubs. Just note: A night out can add up quickly when you count cover charges and cocktails. Read More

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New York City

#3 in Best Nightlife Scenes in the USA

Why go: No city has a wider variety of nightlife options than NYC. There are countless ways to spend an evening, from cocktail-sipping in a trendy SoHo lounge to participating in a never-ending bar crawl in the East Village or belting out karaoke with your friends. Read More

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New Orleans

#4 in Best Nightlife Scenes in the USA

Why go: New Orleans has its own distinct identity, and this is most readily apparent when nighttime rolls around. The French Quarter is infamous for its rowdiness, and partygoers here usually stay out until the wee hours. You won't want to skip the biggest party of the year: Mardi Gras. Read More

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Chicago

#5 in Best Nightlife Scenes in the USA

Why go: When the sun goes down, Chi-town hot spots crank up the nightlife with live music, dancing and theatrical performances. But while the Windy City boasts a fair number of swanky lounges and booming nightclubs, most locals prefer a more laid-back night out at a neighborhood bar. Read More

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Los Angeles

#6 in Best Nightlife Scenes in the USA

Why go: L.A. boasts some of the most exclusive see-and-be-seen spots in the country. The "scene" is fiercely competitive for patrons as well as bar owners. Venues open and close here at a speed that only the fast and fashionable can follow. Read More

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San Francisco

#7 in Best Nightlife Scenes in the USA

Why go: Every San Fran neighborhood has its own scene, so figure out which spots suit your preferences. For starters, you can't go wrong with a night out in the Mission District. And for those longing for the days of frat parties, you'll find the perfect bars near the Marina. Read More

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Austin

#8 in Best Nightlife Scenes in the USA

Why go: Austin's unofficial nickname is the "Live Music Capital of the World." And while it is true that music venues pepper the city, the more pertinent motto is "Keep Austin Weird." For a lively bar scene, head to Sixth Street. When UT is in session, expect a more exuberant crowd. Read More

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San Diego

#9 in Best Nightlife Scenes in the USA

Why go: Downtown SD's bustling Gaslamp Quarter is home to comedy clubs, busy bars, dance clubs and smaller concert venues. Plus, the sunny SoCal weather lends itself well to lively rooftop lounges. With such variety, you'll have no problem finding somewhere to enjoy a refreshing cocktail. Read More

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Key West

#10 in Best Nightlife Scenes in the USA

Why go: Key West knows how to rage. The party-centric set will want to head straight to Duval Street. Sometimes described as the "Bourbon Street of Florida," Duval overflows with rowdy bars and bumping clubs. Come during the island's hallmark festivals for a truly wild experience. Read More

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Atlantic City

#11 in Best Nightlife Scenes in the USA

Why go: Atlantic City is like a mini Las Vegas, complete with upscale hotels, flashy casinos and nighttime shows. Stroll along the boardwalk and pop into a bar or casino to drink, chat and gamble the night away. Read More

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Nashville

#12 in Best Nightlife Scenes in the USA

Why go: If you love country music, you came to the right city. Luckily, that's not Nashville's only specialty: More and more live music venues are popping up — and not all of them cater to country music fans. You may have to look a little harder, but you can find whatever suits your music taste.  Read More

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Boston

#13 in Best Nightlife Scenes in the USA

Why go: Though it's frequently named a top beer city, Boston has much more than brews. While it may not boast high-profile clubs, Beantown knows how to get rowdy, especially on downtown's Union Street. Head to Lansdowne Street after a Red Sox game, then you'll see why Boston is on this list. Read More

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Washington D.C.

#14 in Best Nightlife Scenes in the USA

Why go: There are plenty of nightlife options in D.C. Georgetown, Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan and the U Street Corridor all house excellent bars and restaurants. H Street in Northeast is also home to some of the most innovative bars, including the German-style Biergarten Haus. Read More

Washington D.C. View 44 photos
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