While some trips are for relaxation, at other times, you might be looking for nightlife and thrills. Thankfully there are plenty of cities with thriving downtowns that don’t require a passport to get to. Whether you are looking for a fresh margarita and Tex-Mex or a pornstar martini in a high rise, there’s a spot for you. Here are five cities to help you plan your next trip.
1. New York City
This extremely walkable city has a seemingly endless number of cocktail lounges and clubs and a history of famous drink inventions at locations like the Waldorf Astoria. Not all cities offer the opportunity to have a drink where it was originally concocted. If you want a laid-back vibe, you can head to Brooklyn and hop between beer gardens.
If you want a more classic experience, head to Union Square to experience Old Town Bar, established in 1892. The Big Apple is a traditional tourist destination for a reason.
This Texas hotspot offers a down-to-earth entertainment scene and is famous for its live music. You can hit up one of their food truck parks for a late-night bite after catching a band at a classic venue like the Continental Club. The town motto is “Keep Austin Weird,” so you are sure to meet plenty of interesting people while you’re out and about. Don’t forget to hit up a Tex-Mex joint and grab some jalapeño margaritas while you’re there.
Austin may have a lot of live music, but Nashville, TN is Music City. Nashville is quickly becoming the bachelorette capital of the country, as its nightlife on Broadway is packed every night with tourists seeing world-class musicians.
Famous for its multi-level honky tonks, Nashville still has a few classic venues left, like Robert’s and Layla’s. Newer bars offer dance floors on some floors and live bands on others. If you want to get away from the main crowd, try the bars on Division Street instead. Or, try a pedal tavern for a unique outdoor experience.
4. New Orleans
Staying in the south, this Louisiana city is famous for Bourbon Street and its Mardi Gras festivities. If you don’t mind partying among spectators, seeing the floats in February is a thrilling experience. Otherwise, visit during a quieter time of year and get some beignets at Cafe du Monde when you are recovering from your night out.
This is a perfect destination for those who love history and exploring the mysterious side of life. Ghost tours, mystics, and voodoo shops are available all over town. Taking a stroll through a cemetery might sound terrifying to some, but if you can handle it, there are some fascinating graves like the one that belongs to the queen of voodoo, Marie Laveau.
5. Los Angeles
If your idea of a good night out includes celebrity sightings, head to West Hollywood, and you just might have some. For a classy evening, try the Bar Marmont at the famous Chateau Marmont hotel. Or, if you love rock and roll, hit up the sunset strip and see bands at a renowned club like the Roxy. Downtown has plenty of clubs if you love to dance, or head to the east side of town for craft cocktails and a more artistic environment.
There are many cities in the US with great bar scenes, but you can likely visit any of the five above and have a great time. Be sure to consider when you’ll be visiting as Austin can get hot in the summer, and New York can be cold in the winter. However, if you don’t mind the cold, New York has some iconic holiday destinations that create a magical ambiance.