Where in the World Are the 16 Top Party Cities?

Travel News — By David Chalk on May 3, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Earlier this year, Huffington Post came up with a photo essay and survey to determine the world’s top party cities, drawing on similar lists from Lonely Planet and Forbes.  There’s no consensus world’s best party city as 16 cities made at least one of the three lists, an elite six made two lists, but no city made all three lists.  Here’s a breakdown of the contenders by region:


Berlin ranked #5 of 5 on the Huffington Post list and also made the Forbes unranked list.  Huffington calls Berlin, “an eternally cool city that is full of artists and home to perhaps the best music scene in Europe,” while Forbes stresses the challenge of finding the city’s elusive hidden clubs.

London, makes the Forbes list because it “still stands out as a dashing city known for its posh clubs and edgy music scene.”

Belgrade, Serbia is the world’s best party city according to the Lonely Planet rankings.  With civil war and genocide thankfully in the past, LP awards Belgrade the top spot because of its

exuberant population and its legacy as an intellectual hangout, … varied nightlife, ranging from eclectic watering holes for those in the know, to the busy restaurants and bars of the Skadarlija district and the summer clubs in barges on the Sava and Danube Rivers.

Thassaloniki, Greece ranks 5th on the Lonely Planet list because it

boasts great nightlife during those long months when more famous Greek destinations are deep in hibernation, from arty cafes to Latin bars to discos pumping out house music to salacious bouzoukia (clubs featuring twangy, Eastern-flavored Greek folk-pop)

Reykjavik, Iceland made the Forbes list because of its music and bars:

Reykjavik pays homage to the auditory-inclined with prized nightclubs like NASA, an auditorium-like space with nightlong live music acts. Bar lovers with stamina enjoy participating in the frequent Icelandic rúntur, a night-long, marathon-style pub crawl.


New York earns a #4 ranking from Huffington Post and also makes the Forbes list. Forbes justifies the inclusion of the city that never sleeps because The Big Apple has “a 24-hour subway system, a staggering array of palatial and bantam nightclubs, late-night restaurants and elegant bars, [and] is teeming with countless forms of nocturnal bliss.”

Montreal placed second in both the Huffington and Lonely Planet rankings. Some of the things that earned Montreal top two consideration include

  • joie de vivre
  • bilingual ambience
  • good local beer
  • an irrepressible student population
  • a light-hearted, Bohemian air
  • cool jazz clubs
  • packed discos
  • late bars
  • Casino gambling
  • a lower drinking age than the U.S


Rio de Janiero ranks 3rd on the Huffington list and is also recognized by Forbes.  From “decadent carnivals and sinfully gorgeous locals” to “five-star restaurants, swank clubs and hip bars,” Rio is one of the most festive cities in South America and the world.

Buenos Aires is the world’s top party city according to the Huffington Post, and the third best according to Lonely Planet.  Some of the Argentine capital’s party credentials include:

  • unique mix of European and South American cultures
  • native passion for dance
  • swinging jazz clubs
  • all-night dancing by the waterfront
  • Irish pubs
  • house parties.

La Paz, Bolivia is ranked #6 by Lonely Planet — along with the warning “that liquor goes to the head quickly in the Bolivian capital, well over 3000 meters [or 10,000 feet] above sea level.”  Mix in slick nightclubs, friendly natives, world-class bars, swank cafes and restaurants, and traditional music, and La Paz has all the necessary ingredients of a top party city.


Bangkok is one of the Forbes top party cities thanks to a recent transformation:

once reputed for go-go bars and not much else, … night-owl-friendly Bangkok has since cleaned up its act–or at least added to it–thanks to a dynamic convergence of expatriate party promoters and international DJs. Breakbeat junkies flock to the dance floors of 808 Bangkok while music lovers with an appetite relax inside the minimalist interiors of Bed Supperclub, a hyper-stylish venue with a sleek restaurant and art gallery.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates takes the #4 spot on the Lonely Planet list, along with the titles of “the Middle East’s most decadent desert getaway” and “the world capital of conspicuous consumption.”

Baku, Azebaijan comes in at #8 in the Lonely Planet rankings because of the influx of oil and gas money since the 1990’s:

The cash injection from energy projects, enhanced by the presence of thousands of international oil workers and wealthy consultants, has turned Baku into an oasis of excess in an otherwise fairly traditional Muslim country.

Tel Aviv, Israel placed 10th on the Lonely Planet list and was also recognized by Forbes.  Tel Aviv party hype includes:

  • “a hedonistic, multi-cultural Mediterranean metropolis”
  • “the city that never stops”
  • “a steamy nocturnal playground not for the faint of heart”
  • Tel Aviv bartenders are notoriously generous pourers


Cape Town places 7th in the Lonely Planet rankings, mainly on the strength of its suave cocktail bars and South Africa’s world-renowned vintners.


Auckland, New Zealand comes in at #9 according to Lonely Planet.  Auckland party credentials include:

  • tons of cafes, bars and dinner clubs that cater to a hip young clientele
  • smart bars on the glittering waterfront for smart bars
  • happening clubs (some that stay open 24 hours)
  • plenty of live shows

[Image: the Adventure School]

Tags: Berlin, Buenos Aires, London, Montreal, New York, rio, world's top party cities

    1 Comment

  • Victoria Gutierrez says:

    Where’s Barcelona on this list? A city that eats dinner at 10pm, parties til 6am, and wakes up at 1pm has GOT to be a crazy party city.

    At least, its the only place I’ve been where a bar full of spanish-speakers sings every word to Grease at 4am.


Get Trackback URL