Friday, June 2, 2023

THE 11 BEST CITIES FOR PARTYING

 

Last Updated: 3/23/23 | March 23rd, 2023

Some people travel to explore ancient historical sites, others to sample the culture or food or language of new and exciting destinations.

And, sometimes, people travel to party.

When it comes to budget backpacking, one of the most common ways travelers break the ice is over a drink. Or two. Or three. 

Whether it’s at bars, clubs, lounges, beach parties, or just in small groups sitting around talking while sipping a bottle of wine, alcohol — for better or worse — is often a staple of life on the road.

If you’re looking to embrace your wild side and party hard with other travelers, here’s my thoroughly researched list. I’ve been to over one hundred countries and have drunk heavily around the world, so I know a good party when I see one!

If you are looking to party when you travel, visit one of these places:

1. Bangkok, Thailand


Bangkok is a hub for budget travelers. It’s where the infamous Khao San Road is located. All travel roads lead in and out of this backpacker/tourist street, and it’s always filled with travelers taking after locals and drinking out of alcohol-filled buckets every night. Then, when official bars close, everyone heads out to the after-hours clubs until 5am.

Visiting Bangkok won’t do anything good for your liver, but the city is a must for backpackers and partiers. Besides Khao San Road, there’s Patpong, Thong Lor, Silom (Smalls, a speakeasy cocktail bar, is my favorite in this area), and the new cocktail scene in Chinatown. Bangkok truly has a party for everyone.

Just remember to stick to beer if you’re on a budget. Cocktails and wine are mostly imported with high taxes and therefore cost a lot more than the local beer.

Where to StayMad Monkey Hostel – A backpacker institution near Khao San Road, this hostel has a restaurant, pool, and tour desk with some of best prices in town.

For more hostel suggestions be sure to check out my list of best hostels in Bangkok. And, to find out exactly where in the city you should stay, here’s a post that breaks down the best neighborhoods in Bangkok.

2. Barcelona, Spain


Any city where people eat dinner at midnight is a city that will start and go late. Barcelona is a city for night owls. The clubs here don’t get busy until about 2am and stay packed until dawn. Here, tourists can enjoy the nice weather and rooftop gin bars, drink sangria until the sun rises, go on a pub crawl, get wasted at the famous Kabul hostel, and roam the medieval Barri Gothic looking for hole-in-the-wall pubs. The waterfront gets especially nuts on a weekend.
 

Where to StayKabul Party Hostel – This is one of my favorite hostels in Europe. It’s a full-on party place, where they organize nightly events and pub crawls. It’s super social and really easy to meet people here.

For more hostel suggestions, check out my complete list of the best hostels in Barcelona, and to figure out what area of the city you should stay in, check out this guide to the best neighborhoods in the city. 

3. Rome, Italy


Rome is a great city to party in. There are lots of bars, lots of clubs, and lots of beautiful people. If you’re traveling solo, the pub crawl tours are a great way to meet other travelers. While Romans themselves are a bit tame, the backpacker party scene here is crazy, with tons and tons of bar crawls littering the city. The Spanish Steps Bar Crawl (aka Rome’s Ultimate Party) gets especially wild. Come prepared for a hangover.

Where to StayAlessandro Palace Hostel and Bar – A party hostel that’s also one of the cheapest places to stay in the city, there’s not one but two bars here with cheap drinks (including one on the roof). It’s just 5 minutes from the Termini station too.

For more hostel suggestions, check out my list of the best hostels in Rome, and to learn more about the different areas of the city (such as the best ones for nightlife), here’s a post that breaks down the best neighborhoods in Rome.

4. Prague, Czechia


Cheap beer (and cheap flights) makes this city a major party destination for people around the world. While I didn’t encounter any of those notorious stag parties, the nightlife in this city will leave you in a haze wondering what you did last night and whose phone number is scribbled on your arm. Multiple-story clubs, strong cocktail bars, cheap beer halls — Prague has it all.

Where to StayMadHouse – This place really lives up to its name — it truly is a madhouse! The décor includes very cool murals, giving the hostel a very unique feel and the knowledgeable staff organizes events every night.

For more hostel suggestions, check out my complete list of the best hostels in Prague!


 
5. Miami, Florida


Miami is where you go for fun in the sun. People come to Miami to get wild, visit nightclubs, lounge on the beach, and drink the nights away. It’s not cheap, but it’s a great place for the clubbers out there. There’s lots of music, lots of great DJs, lots of dancing, lots of pretty people, and most importantly, lots of booze.

Check out E11even (where the party is 24/7), LIV Miami (the city’s most famous), or Basement (complete with an ice-skating rink and bowling lanes). There is usually a $30-60 USD cover to get in and most drinks are at least $15-20 USD so be prepared to splash out, though even on a backpacker budget, you’ll be able to find some fun. Maybe you’ll even run into a celebrity or two.

Where to StayViajero Miami – Located in South Beach, this hostel offers a host of amenities, including three swimming pools. The poolside bar is a great place to hang out and meet people and it’s also located just a block from the beach.

For more hostel suggestions, check out my complete list of the best hostels in Miami!

6. Sydney, Australia


Aussies know how to party and party well. The hostels in Sydney organize great hostel parties to meet other travelers but if that is not your thing, you can find your own crowd at any of the clubs and bars around King’s Cross, the backpacker area. This is where the beer is inexpensive and the backpackers (and locals) party late. For a less traveler-centric time, head to Manly, The Rocks, or the CBD (Central Business District) where there are more locals and fewer travelers (but more expensive drinks). Aussies love to party and are more than happy to welcome newcomers with a drink. You can also use the app The Happiest Hour to find the cheapest happy hours in the city. It’s an awesome resource for going out in Australia!

Where to StayMad Monkey Bayswater – There’s a party every night, a movie room, yoga classes, a rooftop BBQ, and delicious free breakfast at the Mad Monkey Restaurant each morning.

For more suggestions on where to stay, check out my complete list of the best hostels in Sydney as well as the best neighborhoods in Sydney. 

7. Ios, Greece


Any top party list has to include a place in Greece. Ios is party central (though Corfu does give it a good run for its money). During the summer, the Greek Isles heave with people — especially Ios, with travelers coming here to party all night so they can sleep on the beach all day. On Ios, travelers come with the goal of getting drunk, and…well, that’s about it. There are shot bars and bar crawls and bars that make you drink while playing weird games. For epic parties on the beach, head to Far Out Beach Club, which has swimming pools, DJs, beach bars, and more. Ios is where morals, sanity, and dignity are left on the ferry to be picked up when you get ready to leave. It’s one of the wildest places I’ve ever been.

8. Bali (Kuta), Indonesia


Bali is a great place to get down. After a long day in the sun, all backpackers want to do is relax and get silly on Kuta Beach, where there are crazy bars, giant cups of alcohol, and huge clubs that open until dawn. It’s a hotspot on the travel trail for a reason. The foam party is a blast (any foam party is) and, in Bali, you’ll spend your days hurting your skin in the sun and the nights hurting your liver with alcohol.

Where to StayClandestino – This hostel has a second-floor restaurant/bar that always seems to be bustling, as well as a pool complete with a swim-up bar. All the dorm beds come with lockers, lamps, electrical outlets to charge your phone, and curtains for privacy.

For more recommendations, check out this list of the best hostels in Bali. 

9. Florianópolis, Brazil


Also known as Floripa, this popular vacation destination in Brazil is known for its hot weather, hot bodies, and hot parties. In fact, everything is just hot here. In the summer, most of the nightlife is concentrated around the beaches, while in the winter, the fun moves to the town of Lagoa da Conceição. In the north of the island at Jurerê International Beach, P12, Cafe de la Musique, and Milk all throw wild parties.

If you’re here during February for Carnival, the streets fill with revelers dancing, having parades, and enjoying street food and copious drinks. (Just book your accommodation well in advance if you plan to come here during this time.)

Where to StayThe Search House Beachfront Hostel – Offers private beach access, a pool, surfboard rentals and connections for lessons, and an outdoor bar with a daily happy hour. The staff are very welcoming and there’s a hostel WhatsApp group to meet other travelers. 

10. Ko Phangan, Thailand



This island in Thailand is home to the monthly Full Moon Party, a giant beach rave which sees 20,000 people on average and goes until dawn. Each bar has its own sound system, and the beach is lined with people selling alcohol, fire dancers put on shows, and little booths selling glow-in-the-dark face paint. ’nuff said.

(But if I had to say more, I would also say that there are jungle parties, half-moon parties, people getting wild on the beach, going down slides, and playing tons of drinking games. It’s one of the biggest party places in the entire region.)

Where to StayBodega Hostel – A lively party hostel with tons of social activities going on. This is the quintessential backpacker party place, with pub crawls, beach volleyball, a swimming pool, a huge bar/lounge area, and events almost every night. 

11. Cancun


Cancun is famous for its nightlife. Most of the nightlife is concentrated around the Hotel Zone in an area aptly known as “party central.” Many of the world’s biggest DJs make regular appearances in the many clubs. During spring break, things get even more crowded and more expensive so be sure to book early if you’re visiting then. Coco Bongo, Señor Frog’s, and La Vaquita are among the most popular places to go.

Where to StayMayan Monkey Hostel – Located in the heart of the Hotel Zone, this is a bumping party hostel with themed nights, live music, and other social activities (like beer pong and jenga), a bar on-site, plunge pool, and great views over the ocean. 

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