One day you and your mates will be sitting there having a few drinks when someone will proclaim, beer in hand, that it’s time to have a group trip somewhere. Along with the countries, cities and tourist attractions you will all plan on seeing, there will be at least one city you will visit just to get loose. Everyone knows about the usual cities like Berlin, New York and Las Vegas so here are a few of the others I’ve visited that have pretty epic nightlife.
The USA has its fair share of big cities but none of them even come close to the 24/7 carnival that New Orleans becomes at different times during the year. The most well-known of these is Mardi Gras which kicks off in the week leading up to Ash Wednesday every year. At other times during the year like Spring Break and the week leading up to St Patricks Day the same thing happens, just with a different theme. Basically the people of New Orleans will use any excuse to get loose.
There are a lot of hotels and hostels in town but they book out a long way in advance and can get ridiculously expensive so it’s a good idea to plan ahead. Luckily most of the hostels are built to handle the party and have great outdoor areas/bars for chilling in with your buddies until it’s time to grab a street car into the centre. Be prepared though because after dark the hot spots of Bourbon Street and Frenchman St become debaucherous and you don’t want to be the most sober person there. The traffic is closed off, the bars spill into the streets and out of nowhere a band can start playing in the middle of a street to start a new party of their own.
The most important thing to remember visiting New Orleans is to be ready for anything to happen. People running naked through the streets is the least strange thing you’re likely to see. Keep an open mind and be ready to join in the fun.
Buenos Aires, Paris of the South, the capital of Argentina is a sprawling metropolis of over 14 million people. On a trip through South America it’s a must see destination and it is famous for its European architecture, great food, insane football fans, beautiful people and lastly it has some of the best night life I have ever witnessed.
The reputation of Buenos Aires is famous throughout the backpackers of South America. Long before you arrive in the city it’s likely that you will be told by a lot of people that you need to set aside extra time there to really enjoy yourself. Me and my friends went there expecting to stay for around a week but a month later we only just managed to get ourselves out. There are a few party hostels in the city but by far the best place to stay are the two Milhouse hostels located a few blocks apart in the Monserrat area of the inner city. When I say they are party hostels, it’s not lightly. Both hostels have in house bars, a dance floor, dj’s every night until 2am and organise a kick on club after those dj’s finish. Luckily if you’re worried about having to listen to the same music every night those kick on clubs in Palermo have music ranging from reggeaton to a trance/house mega club rivaling Europe.
One big difference between Argentina and other countries is that the night culture is very similar to Spain. Dinner doesn’t usually happen until after 9pm and the clubs don’t even start to get full until around 3am so be prepared for your nights out to finish around 7am. Coffee and sleep in’s until 1pm will become the norm.
My personal favourite of all the best cities to party is Budapest. There is a saying that once you get to Budapest you will never leave or you will just keep coming back, it’s a trap.
Just by chance while traveling through Europe last year I stumbled into Budapest right at the start of the massive Sziget Festival in the middle of August. If there is ever a perfect time to visit the city and party it’s when the Sziget Festival is on. Being one of the biggest music and cultural festivals in Europe during the week of the festival over 500 000 people congregate on the island of Obudai-sziget in the middle of the Danube. It’s possible to camp at the festival or stay at one of the party hostels in the city to get the best of both worlds.
I chose to stay in the party hostels purely because their reputation precedes them. The three sister hostels; Retox, Grandio and Carpe Noctem Vitae are famous across the backpacker world for being truly insane. Like the Buenos Aires hostels there are organised events every night of the week and during the Sziget Festival transport and events are all organised around being there. Some of the events like a boat party on the Danube and a party starting with 400 jager bombs (5 per person) will give the most seasoned revellers a challenge.
The hostels aside, the nightlife in Budapest is really unique. Parts of the eastern city were left to fall into disrepair until recently when some entrepreneurs realised that the falling-apart buildings could be turned into ruin bars. Walking into one of these ruin bars for the first time is pretty fucking sweet. The walls, roof and any exposed surfaces are usually covered in graffiti or artwork. Adding to this is the fact that the rotted out walls, caved in roof and grittiness of a building that has been abandoned for 20 years are all still there. The bars all have different music so with a bit of looking around you will find something for whatever mood you are in.
So, that’s that. Of course there are so many more good cities to go and have a girls or lads weekend away. New Orleans, Buenos Aires and Budapest just have that something extra that seems to hook everyone as they are going past. Just make sure you are well rested before you get to them.