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The Biggest Party Hubs in the U.S.

Summer just started, so it’s time to take advantage of those precious vacation days and head out on a fun adventure. If you are not one to go on a retreat and practice yoga all day long, and if you’d rather dance all night than fall asleep on the couch with Netflix asking you if you’re still watching, then look no further because we found the best cities that you should visit this summer if you want to party and have an awesome time.

At Wanderu, we want to make sure that you have an unforgettable summer vacation, so we scoured all major cities in the U.S. to find the biggest party hubs in the country. Using information provided by the openly accessible Yelp API, we counted the party establishments in each major city to determine the top destinations for party animals. We compared the total number of bars, dance clubs, beer gardens, country halls, jazz & blues venues, karaoke bars, music venues, piano bars and pool halls – basically, every place where you can have a drink, listen to music and enjoy an awesome time with your friends – to figure out which cities offer the highest variety when it comes to places where you can party like there’s no tomorrow.

The race for the top spot was tough and, as expected, it came down to the age-old question of what city is better, New York or Los Angeles. While LA came out as the top destination for dance lovers, karaoke enthusiasts, live music fans and pool shooters, NYC’s almost-double number of bars gave it a significant boost, making it the top party hub in the United States.

While New Yorkers enjoy the biggest variety of places to let loose, it is Californians and Texans who seem to be the biggest party animals. With four and three cities in the top 20 respectively, California and Texas appear to be the biggest party states in the country. In addition, Texas’ entries in the chart also round up the top 3 destinations with the highest number of country dance halls – an outcome that Texans will surely embrace.

One of the biggest surprises here is Miami’s absence from the top 10. Despite being globally famous as one of the go-to places for partying, Miami failed to deliver as much variety in the number of party establishments as its forerunners. In fact, its party hub status fell short even to the smaller and less tourist-frequented fellow Floridian town of Tampa that came in at #8.

Rounding up the top 20 is Boston, MA. Even though it is at the bottom of the chart now, Beantown is quickly turning into the San Francisco of the East Coast with numerous startups setting up shop in the area (and we’re proud to be one of them) and big corporations unveiling plans to move their headquarters to the city (hello, GE!). Therefore, it is only a matter of time before more and more new party establishments start showing up around town to provide Bostonians with a sufficient amount of party joints where they can shake off the stress of the long work day.

Note: The “Bars” category includes the following types of establishments: beer bars, champagne bars, dive bars, drive-thru bars, gay bars, hookah bars, Irish pubs, lounges, pubs, sports bars, whiskey bars, and wine bars.

A Little Something for Everyone

We know some of you have very specific preferences when it comes to partying, so we decided to dig a little deeper and uncover the biggest party destinations if you are looking for a particular crowd or environment.

The race for the biggest party hubs for LGBT people yielded another close call between New York and Los Angeles. With just six more gay bars, NYC came out on top thanks to its established gay-friendly neighborhoods such as Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen, as well as additional LGBT hubs popping up around Brooklyn and lower Manhattan.

In addition to the world-famous town of West Hollywood (a.k.a. the mecca of gay life in Southern California) and the increasingly popular Silver Lake neighborhood, more and more LA districts are attracting the LGBT community, led by Downtown LA that has been undergoing quite the resurgence over the past year with a number of gay bars setting up shop as part of the district’s renovation process.

Chicago’s famous Boystown district was instrumental in earning the city a spot in the top 3 of the chart while San Francisco, widely known as the LGBT capital of America, came in at number 4 based on the total number of gay bars it has to offer. A notable mention goes to Baltimore, MD that did not enter the overall top 20 but emerged as one of the top party destinations for LGBT people. Good job, Baltimore!

Once again, New York leads the chart by a significant advantage, followed by Los Angeles and Chicago, rounding up the same top 3 as the top party destinations for LGBT people as seen in the chart above.

With 356 sports bars to choose from, Tampa, FL came in at #4, beating other cities famous for their large numbers of devoted sports fans such as Dallas, Phoenix and Denver.

When it comes to amateur renditions of Lady Gaga’s global hit “Bad Romance” or badly synchronized group performances of Madonna’s ageless classic “Like a Prayer,” one thing is certain – Californians absolutely love it! Not only does LA top the chart as the biggest party hub for Karaoke enthusiasts, but the Golden State has a total of four cities lining up the top 10.

In Texas, Beyonce’s hometown of Houston yields 63 locations that are perfect for amateur singers who’d rather perform covers of Queen Bey’s hits than compete with her for the global spotlight. The Pacific Northwest is also proving itself as a go-to place for Karaoke lovers with Seattle and Portland boasting a combined total of 118 karaoke locations.

New York may be the biggest party hub in the U.S. but when it comes to dancing, it is highly outranked by Los Angeles, which boasts almost 50 more dance clubs than the Big Apple.

One notable appearance on this chart is Miami. Rounding up the top 5, it successfully defends its reputation as the go-to place in the Sunshine State if you are looking to dance the night away.

It may come as a surprise to some, but if you’re looking for a rich variety of dance joints, you should consider heading over to the nation’s capital. With 78 dance clubs, Washington, DC shows that even America’s legislators like to take some time off and unwind to the sound of current pop and dance hits.

It’s a Party in the USA!

Getting to all the hottest party cities in America is easy when you have services like Wanderu helping you find the best travel deals. If you travel by bus or train, you can save tons of money and spend your entire summer party hopping without putting a dent in your wallet. Whether you are going from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, Seattle to Portland, Houston to Austin, or Tampa to Miami, there’s always a good deal waiting for you, so be smart when you plan your trips and make sure you save enough to have the time of your life!

How We Did It

To determine what the biggest party hubs in the U.S. are, we began by looking up the biggest cities in each of the top 100 markets in the country. After that, using the openly available Yelp API, we counted the currently operating establishments in each city that fell under the following categories: bars, dance clubs, beer gardens, country dance halls, jazz & blues venues, karaoke bars, music venues, piano bars, and pool halls. For the biggest party destinations for LGBT people and sports fans, we counted the currently operating establishments under the “gay bars” and “sports bars” subcategories respectively.

In the next step, we created rankings for each of the categories we looked at based on the total number of establishments and used each city’s ranking in each category as a corresponding number of points. Finally, we combined the points that each city received in each separate category and the city with the lowest combined number of points (in this case New York, NY) was deemed the biggest party hub, followed by the city with the second lowest total number of points, etc.

These are the top party cities in the U.S. Whether you are planning your birthday, a bachelor or bachelorette party, or just want to spend the night bar hopping and you’re tired of going to the same old places in your hometown, you now have 20 various party destinations all over the country to choose from. So, gather your squad, pick out a nice outfit, book your tickets and take off on an all summer long party adventure. You know you want to!

You are welcome to use the information and graphics on this page, crediting Wanderu. If you do so, please link back to this page, so that party people around the country can check out all the available results and find out how we came up with them.

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About the author
Staffo Dobrev

Staffo Dobrev

Having lived in some of the greatest cities in the world, Staffo has always had a soft spot for travel and adventures. Instead of hitting the usual tourist attractions, though, Staffo prefers to make friends with local people and check out fun places and activities that are not in the travel books.

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