Travel is supposed to be relaxing, right? The golden rays of sunlight on a stretched (and impeccably toned) beach body, that’s what we all long for. But what happens after five hours of relaxation, after dinner and dessert? Here are 10 cities that have a tiring and inspiring answer to the question: what should we do tonight?
You don’t always have to cross the Atlantic to find the world’s best in nightlife – or even leave Canada! Montreal, one of Canada’s biggest and most internationally known cities, is also its undisputed hub for late-night action and entertainment. Montreal’s party scene is divided into unofficial districts, like the francophone or gay districts. The gay district, in particular, is known for keeping the lantern lit until sunrise. Le Loft is a must-see, with five floors, each catering to a different taste. From techno dance-party (at the top) to mellow jazz lounge (second floor), Le Loft has everything, and actively encourages guests to wander throughout the night. In fact, Montreal has several multi-level bars, and a thriving complex of dance clubs featuring headliners and local artists. Montreal’s laws are known for being liberal about sex and alcohol, and partiers are the beneficiaries. Montreal the latest-running city in Canada, no doubt; even after the 3AM last call, the city never truly shuts down.
New York, United States
New York is arguably the financial and cultural centre of the Western world. As you might expect then, it’s got its fair share of night-time activities. With almost nine million people within its borders, it has been forced into the role of jack-of-all-trades; you won’t find a more diverse city than New York, or a safer bet for just about any type of night-owl. Whether you’re looking for a hole in the wall in the famous East Village or a mega-sized Manhattan warehouse dance party, New York has it all. There is even sightseeing, with some of the world’s most famous clubs like Studio 54, attracting crowds from all over the world.
Many think of Bangkok’s night life as nothing more than a collection of somewhat questionable dives and a gently indulgent drunk-zone for young backpackers, but the city has far more to offer than that. Since it plays host to so many travellers from so many places, it has constructed for itself a top-notch nightlife experience. The downtown area features a series of beautiful rooftop hotel bars that are widely accepted as the city’s best views. From there, a surprisingly Western series of rock bars and dance clubs litter the area around downtown, with increasingly famous venues such as the Bed Supperclub and Q Bar slowly remaking Bangkok’s reputation. This is a city bent on rehabilitating its image, and it’s doing so – one party-goer at a time.
They call New York the city that never sleeps, but try finding a good dance club that’s open at 7:30 in the morning. Berlin has one, though, and in fact has many; the city is famous for its all-night celebrations, often ending on a bleary Sunday at 9AM or later. For those determined to party harder than their bodies can handle, Berlin has plenty of party-bars that double as Inns or hostels, and will rent beds for just a few hours of power-napping.
Despite being a small island off the coast of Spain, Ibiza regularly attracts some of the world’s best and most successful DJs. It’s considered a necessary stop on most rising DJ careers – as soon as they start performing internationally they go straight to Ibiza. Trance lovers will struggle to find anything better in the world. As with any Spanish island, though, it has its fair share of gorgeous beachfront property and makes good use of it. Late night beach parties are a tradition, with bonfires and an aggressively nomadic tradition of hopping between them. Don’t come to Ibiza unless you’re willing to meet new people, and to quickly see them at their most unhinged.
Las Vegas, United States
For many, Vegas is the world’s premiere party destination. With an industry built on gambling and bachelor parties, it’s not hard to see why. Mega-hotels like Mirage and the MGM Grand are, of course, 24-hour hotspots with everything from bars to buffets available at your convenience. Ghostbar and Rain nightclub are more conventional choices, and Vegas features one of America’s most thriving live music scenes. Even leaving aside perennial Vegas legends like Tom Jones, Vegas is a city where no night is without revelry.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro is famous for all sorts of things, from its beaches to its beautiful population, but probably the most important is Carnival – a name which translates to “farewell to the flesh.” It’s the name of the festival season in Brazil’s world city, and one of the wildest nightlife locations in the world. It’s not just the live samba music played raucously in the streets, or the cheap, inviting bars packed with friendly and excited fellow partiers. It’s the fact that, unlike any other city on this list, during Carnival Brazil does not restrict its partying to the dead of night. For one week of the Carnival festival, nobody save festival and hospitality workers are at their posts. Everyone else is partying.
Don’t let the name fool you – Iceland is full of hot-blooded people. Who else, in their capital and cultural centre of Reykjavik, could have come up with the concept of runtur, a never-ending bar crawl that sees participants moving en masse between as many as a dozen stops in a night. Don’t think the bar owners will be put out, however, as they are happy to provide quick, cheap drinks and food to the locust-like hunger of dancers and blissed-out party-goers. And when one group leaves, another arrives – feel free to hang at a particularly nice venue for multiple stops. Just remember to stay in the spirit of things, and move along eventually.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel Aviv, unofficial capital and modern cultural centre of Israel, is renowned for its large, laid back and uninhibited nightlife. Not only the young but the young at heart participate in one of the world’s most cosmopolitan party scenes. Cat and Dog Club and Penguin Bar both offer high-quality dance club experiences with performances by the best DJs. Later into the night, the city’s hedonist side comes out, and as bars close before sunset, other establishments (the sort without signs in the windows) begin to open up. Tel Aviv is also easily the most gay-friendly city in the area, with a large and active community.
Buenos Ares, Argentina
“Dinner time” in Buenos Ares might seem like an odd concept, considering that for some it can come as late as midnight. The Spanish tradition of eating late to party late has rubbed off on the Argentinians, at least in this city built on the tourism industry. “The Paris of the South” features many bars that don’t open until midnight, and clubs that stay closed until 2 in the morning! It also has a long and very real tradition of after-parties, private gatherings of friends and perhaps bar-made acquaintances at private local houses and apartments. In that way they can avoid the 4:30 A.M. end to alcohol sales, and continue the party well past dawn.