Top 10 Nightlife Cities

The globe’s hottest party spots cater to all tastes—glitzy, gritty, seductive, and strange.

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01: Dublin, Ireland

Dublin’s Temple Bar district comes alive at night.
Photograph by Holger Leue, Getty Images

Wedged between Trinity College and the old city, the Temple Bar area is a decadent neighbourhood of watering holes and nightclubs. The beer flows in torrents at the Brazen Head, reputedly Ireland’s oldest pub (established 1198) and a fixture in James Joyce’s opus Ulysses.


02: Belgrade, Serbia

One of Belgrade’s Splavovi, riverboat clubs.

No one would describe Belgrade as beautiful, but its rollicking nightlife is world-class. Splavovi—riverboat clubs—boom in the glorious warmth of summer. The dancing shoes come out again in the postindustrial venues of the Savamala district.


03: La Paz, Bolivia

Bolivian dancers in traditional costumes.

At 11,800 feet (3,597 meters), the Bolivian capital gets a tad chilly after sunset, when residents flock to cozy drinking holes to warm their cockles and trade secrets. Don’t be bashful: This sophisticated lady greets visitors with open arms.


04: São Paulo, Brazil

Beach party in Sao Paulo.

The choice is overwhelming in Brazil’s sensuous megacity and the traffic deadly, so spiffed-up paulistas grab a meal or drink, walk to the nearest joint, and shake it, baby, to samba, bossa nova, or (maybe) Brazilian thrash punk.


05: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Crowds in San Sebastián street.

Flirt like the devil in fashionable bars along San Sebastián Street, then twist to sweaty abandon in tropical clubs like Rumba—all with a piña colada in hand, of course.


06: Goa, India

Beach party in Goa
Beach party in Goa

Whether you’re seeking a secluded bolthole or all-night gyration, Goa’s beaches are right for your fantasy. Channel Goa’s hippie ’70s heyday at laid-back locales along the golden south shore. A city ban on all-night fests hasn’t stopped the fun.

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07: Ibiza, Spain

Ibiza, an island in the Mediterranean famous for it's parties
Ibiza, an island in the Mediterranean famous for it’s parties

If your dial is permanently set to party, Ibiza’s club circuit will keep you energised late into the Spanish night. Slide on dance floors covered in soapsuds or join pool revelers under a suspended DJ cabin. Then catch a Discobus to your next adventure.


08: Houston, Texas

Houston at night
Houston at night

Take a vat of oil money, add pressed jeans and a toothy Texas grin, and you’ve got some mighty fine entertainment after sunset. Club-hopping along Washington Avenue is buzzy, unpretentious fun. The city isn’t all Stetson-and-spur cowpoke—there’s excellent theatre and jazz for the artsy crowd, too.


09: Thessaloniki, Greece

An outdoor cafe in Thessaloniki.
An outdoor cafe in Thessaloniki.

Remember those playful old Grecian mosaics? The spirit’s alive and well in the Syngrou/Valaoritou and Ladadika districts, not to mention all those beaches. Thessaloniki has more cafés per capita than any other European city.


10: Baku, Azerbaijan

Baku, Azerbaijan, described as the Dubai of the Caucasus.
Baku, Azerbaijan, described as the Dubai of the Caucasus.

Waves of oil money crashed over rough-edged Baku, and what washed up became the coolest bar scene this side of the Caucasus. At the William Shakespeare, expats and Azeris might jump on the counter and get jiggy together; Konti Pub lets you tap beer from barrels above your table.


This feature originally appeared in National Geographic.

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