Oft-repeated metropolitan nicknames and catchphrases -- like New York is the “City That Never Sleeps” and “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” -- exist for good reason. However, putting aside trendy theater, musicals and gambling, three other cities stand out for pure energy, music and flow, creating unforgettable nightlife blissout sessions that really rocks it to the dawn. From old-school jazz and blues bars in the heart of New Orleans to the modern sheen and neon of Miami Beach to the unexpected island club scene off the coast of Spain in Ibiza, these nocturnal hotspots epitomize the search for unadulterated fun after the sun sets.
New Orleans, Louisiana
It’s not just during Mardis Gras that New Orleans brings the party. Historic Bourbon Street, right in the center of all the action in the French Quarter, runs for 13 blocks, from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue. Along the way are the dozens of bars, clubs and strip joints that have made the area infamous for late-night revelry to excess. These days, New Orleans’ spicy cuisine and the number of quality live music venues are equally a part of the equation. Count among them House of Blues Restaurant & Bar, Fritzel’s European Jazz Club, Preservation Hall and Maison Bourbon. When you’re a prominent club on Bourbon Street, it’s not hard to book top-notch acts, and the rotating lineup of world-class rock, blues and jazz performers at these venues pays testament to that throughout the year. Mardis Gras is just icing on the cake.
Miami Beach, Florida
Pastel-painted, Art Deco hotels and an array of international eateries provide the daytime backdrop to white sand, surf and beach bodies along Ocean Drive in South Beach. But when the sun goes down, the ultra-trendy south end of Miami Beach lights up with neon, when the area’s nocturnal pastime gets primed for party people ready to greet daylight on the dance floor. Club culture means a late start, with venues typically admitting patrons after 9 p.m. And that’s just for the warm up: Main acts, including the top electronic DJs in the world, often don’t spin their sets until 1 a.m. or later. In the meantime, grab your glow sticks and drink to prepare for the night ahead.
Idyllic daytime and beach time seque slowly into intense evenings of sensory enjoyment in Ibiza. One of the Balearic islands, part of a Spanish archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea, Ibiza became so famous for its summer dance-music festivals that famous U.S. and European dance clubs opened seasonal outposts here, and the top international DJs hold residencies on the island. When the beach bodies finally come back out late at night, emcees spin sets that often last until sunrise at famous clubs such as Privilege Ibiza, Amnesia and Ushuaïa Beach Club Ibiza. Packed onto the dance floor amidst the throng, you will feel the pulsing, thumping bass beats coursing through your body as your ears take in the audible portion of the electronic dance music spectrum.