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Best Nightlife Cities in the U.S.
You don't have to travel far in America to find a destination that has great nightlife. The United States' vibrant cities offer everything from dive bars to swanky hotel lounges to trendy dance clubs. But some locales cater to night owls better than others. Considering the number of entertainment options, plus factors like accessibility and uniqueness, U.S. News determined the best nightlife cities across America. Cast your vote below to help determine next year's list.
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Las Vegas has earned its reputation as America's adult playground for good reason. Some of the country's most well-known nightclubs reside in the city's glitzy hotels and casinos. And DJs from around the world come to Sin City to treat visitors to bumping beats all night long. The majority of hotels along the Las Vegas Strip boast nightclubs and entertainment venues where travelers can order sparkler-enhanced bottles of liquor or take in a concert or acrobatic show. If you need a break from the Strip, Fremont Street can be just as much of a thrill.
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The party scene in this Florida beach destination heats up after dark. The chic South Beach is famous for its deafening dance clubs, posh hotel lounges and extravagant clientele. You'll find everything you need along Ocean Drive. If you're looking for a more refined evening, hit up one of Miami Beach's rooftop bars. Just note: A night out here can add up quickly when you count cover charges and pricey cocktails.
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New Orleans is a destination with its own distinct identity – one that knows how to party. The French Quarter is infamous for its rowdiness (especially every February or March during Mardi Gras), and a night out here can easily last until the wee hours. If you're seeking a more authentic New Orleans experience, head to the jazz clubs that line Frenchmen Street to watch local musicians jam.
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No city in the United States has a wider variety of nightlife options than New York. From trendy cocktail lounges in SoHo and rooftop bars in midtown Manhattan to pub crawls in the East Village and beer gardens in Brooklyn, there are countless ways to enjoy a night out in the Big Apple. The city also offers everything from concerts to Broadway musicals for visitors to enjoy. Plus, many of the bars and clubs in the City That Never Sleeps stay open until 4 a.m., meaning you can keep the party going nearly all night long.
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LA boasts some of the most stylish see-and-be-seen spots in the U.S. Hit up Hollywood for an unforgettable night out, cruise the swanky rooftop spots and speakeasies in West Hollywood or Beverly Hills, or for something more low-key, do as the locals do and seek out finely crafted cocktails in Silver Lake or Santa Monica. If you want to go dancing, head downtown to find clubs playing everything from EDM to Latin music to pop.
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Every San Fran neighborhood has its own scene, so it's easy to find spots that suit your preferences. Downtown is where you'll find the biggest parties, and the Mission District is where you'll find all the hipsters (and their cool bars). For something more refined, head to the restaurants located along the Embarcadero. San Francisco is also home to some of the best gay bars and clubs in the country, whether you're interested in a drag show, a piano bar or something else entirely.
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Travel to Chicago to take in live music and theatrical performances. Though the Windy City boasts a fair number of rooftop lounges, swanky hotel bars and booming clubs, most locals prefer a more laid-back night out at a neighborhood bar over a crowded party. In the warmer months, check out the beer gardens and patio bars and soak up some sunshine. And when the weather cools, pick a cozy venue with a fireplace.
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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. Visitors will find everything from cocktail lounges to cowboy bars to speakeasies along and just off this main thoroughfare. When The University of Texas at Austin is in session, expect a more exuberant crowd.
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San Diego might not be the first destination that comes to mind when considering nightlife scenes, but the city has a surprising number of bars, nightclubs and event venues that appeal to a variety of travelers. The Gaslamp Quarter features spots with live music, flamenco dancing and even burlesque shows. Plus, the city offers excellent weather year-round, so patrons can enjoy the pleasant temps at numerous rooftop bars while admiring views of the bay.
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Home to several breweries, including Harpoon, Trillium and Samuel Adams, Boston is popular with beer lovers. However, that's not all this city has to offer. Visitors can pop into wine bars and historic taverns in the North End (Boston's Little Italy) and downtown, then head to a comedy club for a night of laughs or the Citizens Bank Opera House for a musical performance. For an excellent view of the city, drinks, a bite to eat and an evening of jazz, visit Top of the Hub on the 52nd floor of the Prudential Tower.
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