TPG Staff Picks for the Best Party Cities on Earth
New Year's Eve is probably the most popular international party holiday. Celebrated all over the world, it's a time for popping Champagne bottles and staying up late. Of course, there are countless ways to ring in the new year. But for travelers who want to go all-out for the final hours of 2018, it helps to be in a city where everyone has the same wild time in mind.
There are a number of ways to determine the best party cities. Recently, Traveloka analyzed closing venue closing hours from TripAdvisor to determine which cities are really open all night long (their pick: Athens, where the average closing time is 2:56am).
But having restaurants and bars that stay open until 3am is just one quality among many that make a city great for late-night revelers. Other things to consider? The number of bars and clubs within walking distance, and the reliability of late night transportation (or ride-hailing apps). According to Lyft, for example, the most popular dropoffs on New Year's Eve of 2017 in the US were in Los Angeles, Brooklyn and San Francisco.
Of course, sometimes you just have to know where the party is at.
To help you find the best cities in the world for nightlife — whether you're looking for a place to celebrate the New Year or to let loose any old day of the week, any time of year — we asked around the TPG office to determine some of the greatest places on Earth for a party.
We can't argue with Traveloka that Greece has a fantastic nightlife scene — especially the beautiful party island of Mykonos.
"It's crowded, but nothing beats the drag queen show at Jackie'O Beach Club on Super Paradise Beach," said The Points Guy himself, Brian Kelly.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
"I think the best city for all-night partying is Buenos Aires, Argentina," said reviews editor Nick Ellis. "Start your night off at 10:30 or 11pm with empanadas, steak and red wine (of course). Then, head over to a trendy bar in Palermo Soho for a cocktail and to ring in the New Year before making your way to the main event: the boliche, or nightclub. Many clubs in the city don’t even get going until after 3am, so don’t rush. And, they stay open long enough for the bar to start serving coffee once the sun comes up. Salud!"
"When I was in college, I spent a month studying abroad in London," said travel editor Melanie Lieberman. "And that was the only time in my entire life I was ever at a club until 4am. Ever."
"I was with a small group of fellow students at Fabric, the famous 25,000-square-foot nightclub in London's Farringdon neighborhood. After what felt like just a few hours of dancing, we all started to get hungry and decided to go grab a late dinner. When we left the club, the sun was rising. It was 4am, and one of the only places open for food was McDonald's. (Thank goodness for the 99p Saver Menu.) I think what I'm trying to say is London has extraordinary clubs."
TPG himself, Brian Kelly, agreed that London has a fun nightclub scene. "When I'm in London, you might find me at the basement party at the Soho House on Dean Street, late-night dancing at XXL or at the Two Brewers for drag shows."
Key West, Florida
For video intern Clay Hribar, "The best place to ring in the New Year is the southernmost point of the continental United States: Key West."
"Enjoy sunset street performances on Mallory Square, cheap drinks in legendary bars and all the fun that comes from the casual island vibe along Duval Street. As the clock strikes midnight, be sure to watch as a conch shell — or a Drag Queen lounging in an oversized high-heeled shoe — stands in for the humdrum ball drop."
"I spent many years frolicking around Asia as a Redbull-guzzling, Australian youth, and one of my favorite spots that I kept coming back to was Bangkok," said Isabelle Raphael, TPG's creative director.
"I don't know if I would dare go there now, but at the time, Khao San Road was everything The Beach promised and more, from the buckets of Redbull and whiskey to the offerings of snake blood, girly shows, Singha beer and terrible hippy beads you will never wear."
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
According to news writer Katherine Fan, "New Year’s Eve in Vietnam is an unforgettable experience on any budget. Join hundreds of thousands of families, friends and strangers alike on Nguyen Hue Walking Street in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 to marvel at the colorful light displays."
"Alternatively, make a reservation at a private rooftop bar for the best view of the fireworks at midnight. Before the festivities begin, fortify yourself with caffeine for the long night ahead by visiting the Saigon Cafe Apartment (an entire building filled with dozens of tiny coffeeshops, each decorated with a different whimsical theme). Casual diners can toss back a delicious bowl of pho pretty much anywhere, while gourmet foodies may revel instead in cocktails and multi-course dining options at high-end hotels across the city."
"When I spent a summer in Berlin, I would come home at 7am after club-hopping," said senior credit cards editor, Sarah Silbert.
Berlin is also one of Brian Kelly's favorite cities for nightlife. "Berghain is arguably the wildest club in the world, with a mixed crowd and long lines to get in at all times of day and night."
In addition to Berlin, Silbert also loves Tokyo for a late-night fête. "I've had some of my favorite nights out in Tokyo. You can't beat a night full of Japanese food, sake, beer and 3am karaoke," she said.
"At first glance, you may think Ibiza is the Spanish land of partying. But Spain’s capital city could take the cake, especially during the winter months. Madrileños don’t even appear until 10 or 10:30pm, and post-dinner, there's sobremesa: good conversation and a good copa, or mixed drinks like gin and tonic or vodka with soda," said senior writer Lori Zaino. Of course, there might be no better time to party in Madrid than New Year's Eve.
"Expect to cheers with cava at midnight, and eat a dozen grapes as 12 bells chime for good luck in the New Year," Zaino said. "Clubs in neighborhoods like Sol, Chueca or Malasaña open around midnight, but won’t really get going until 2 or 3am. Of course, stay up long enough to have a tasty, sobering breakfast of chocolate and churros when the clubs close at 6am!"
New Orleans, Louisiana
"The best city for nightlife is NOLA, hands down," said Samantha Rosen, social media editor and bonafire New Orleans enthusiast. "But I'm not talking about Bourbon Street. Step away from the tourist traps and head to see live music on Frenchmen Street, at Tipitina's or any of the city's other music clubs. Did I mention a lot of them don't close until 4am?"
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Brazil is famous for its parties, including Carnaval and New Year's Eve. For one TPG staffer, however, the best party spot of all (especially to ring in the new year) is Armação dos Búzios, two and a half hours east of Rio.
"Búzios is a chic beach destination for Rio city dwellers, made famous by Brigitte Bardot in the 1960s,"Jill Holtsinger, vice president of data and analytics explained.
"Snug cobblestone streets house bars, restaurants and upscale shops that are all open until the wee hours. On New Year's Eve, some 30,000 Brazilian revelers clad in all white flood the beach for an all night party while high-end beachfront clubs like Privilege and Pacha hosting celebrities, VIPs and the world’s top DJs. All the partygoers remain on the beach to take in the first sunrise of the new year."