Where do you think you can have the ‘Best Night in the World?’ We’ve tried and tested every city (almost), and talked to expert locals to reveal a clear winner! It’s official, the Best Night Out In The Word is *drum roll please…* HAMBURG!
Yep, the small city of Hamburg, Germany is the place to be for party people! Our study took the local residents’ expertise to measure the quality of things to do, friendliness of locals, safety, ease of getting around, and cost, to discover which city can be crowned nightlife royalty!
Giving Hamburg a run for its money is the Danish capital Copenhagen, followed closely by nightlife powerhouse and home of notorious club Berghain, Berlin. In fact, European cities definitely put up a strong fight, ranking highly as some of the best nightlife cities in the world – so read on to discover exactly what makes these cities such a good night out!
1. Hamburg, Germany
So, why is Hamburg the best night out in the world? It’s based on the locals’ views as to what makes an awesome night out, and Hamburg has LOADS to offer! If it’s clubbing you’re after, head to dance music heavyweights such as HALO Club, for classic house music; Bahnhof Pauli, an underground train station club; Baalsaal, which boasts a huge sound system with insane house and techno music; or Fundbureau, an old cellar under a railway bridge. The Germans aren’t early birds, so don’t go out until at least midnight – Cinderellas miss all the fun!
If bars are more your thing, check out Molly Malone, the go-to Irish pub in St. Pauli, Hamburg’s party mile (and red light district); Kleines Phi, which has a cosy and friendly atmosphere and AMAZING Gin and Tonics; 3Freunde Bar for very good cocktails; or Albers-Eck – if you want to see one of the most Hamburgian bars in existence, this is it! Hamburg feels super safe which is a big part of what makes it one of the best nightlife cities in the world. Locals said “people from my city are welcoming to tourists” and “it’s easy to meet new people in my city on a night out,” so you don’t need to worry about getting around at night – ask your new friends! It’s also small so you can walk to many places, but the public transport is also top notch, with the metro, trains, and buses running frequently.
Cool hostels are in abundance in Hamburg – check out Superbude Hotel Hostel St Pauli – one of the most unique hostels in Germany! It’s in the hip neighbourhood of St Pauli with a yellow and fur interior. They hold gigs frequently, and even have a rockstar suite with a 6-person bed (oo-er) and a stage… ready to rock’n’roll?!
2. Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen came in a close second and matched Hamburg in the overall “quality of nightlife”. It’s super safe, but as expected the price lets it down – why oh why do you have to be so expensive Scandinavia?! However, we dug around and found some of the cheapest drinking spots in Denmark’s capital, such as the ever popular student bar Studenterhuset, and Vinhanen, where your wine comes out of steel tanks. For the hardcore clubbers among you, head to Culture Box – widely considered one of the best clubs in Europe – a night in Copenhagen isn’t quite complete without a visit here! The three-floored Rust is also popular with locals (who are super friendly, FYI – you’ll make new friends in no time!).
If you love jazz head to La Fontaine and Jazzhaus Montmarte, or if underground raving is your thing, the Meatpacking district has it all. The public transport in this small city is one of the most efficient in the world – making it super easy to hop from bar to club to bed (slash kebab shop – or herring if you’re feeling cultural). It also got top marks as the safest city centre in the study – which is always nice to know when you’ve had a few too many beers. For hostels, head to central Generator Copenhagen or Steel House Copenhagen for the ultimate base for your night out.
3. Berlin, Germany
Hopefully it comes as no surprise that Berlin is one of the best nightlife cities in the world – it definitely deserves its spot in the top three. It’s one of the cheapest nights out in the list – meaning more money for brunch the next day (that’s our logic anyway!) If you make it through the doors, don’t miss Berghain, Berlin’s crowning glory as one of the most famous clubs in the world, but beware – it is notoriously difficult to get in to! If you don’t manage this mean feat, there are loads of other clubs to spend your night in, such as Tresor and About Blank for some of the best dance music in Europe.
For a more chilled night head to one of Berlin’s bars, such as Geist Im Glass, who also offer a gorgeous brunch menu to soothe the next day’s hangover; Clärchens Ballhaus, a two-storey ballroom; or Ä, a gloriously cheap nightspot. Berlin has so many hostels it’s hard to choose the best, but a great bet is Circus Hostel, with its own in-house microbrewery, a buzzing bar, and a train station right outside to explore the rest of Mitte, Berlin’s hip centre. Wombats City Hostel is also an ideal choice – it’s right in the centre of everything you’ll want to see in Berlin, with a rooftop bar when it’s sunny and a “Wombar” with happy hours galore.
4. Dublin, Ireland
The friendly city of Dublin has some of the best nightlife around which scores it 4th place, but its price can let it down for us thrifty travellers. But, as always, if you know where to look, you can find drinking spots in Dublin for a night out that won’t break the bank! A trip to Dublin is not complete without a visit to a classic Irish pub – start your night somewhere such as Auld Dubliner in Dublin’s popular Temple Bar area, or Sin É, a student loved bar with heaps of drinks offers.
To get the night going, head to The Button Factory, which showcases house and techno music with amazing international DJs; the infamous Copper Face Jacks for those who like cheese music; or The Grand Social, a circus-style bar that showcases live music. “People in my city are generally friendly” – Dublin won the number 1 spot for this statement, and it can’t be denied – the Irish are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet! Hostels in Dublin are super fun and welcoming – stay at Isaacs Hostel for some serious partying (and ‘cos there’s a free sauna – yes please!) or the central Generator Dublin.
5. Amsterdam, Netherlands
The list of the top 10 best nights out in the world was always going to include Dam – its nightlife is legendary. Amsterdam scored highly for its openness and safety, meaning you can have the best worry-free night out possible. The famous De School is a must visit if you’re big on the clubbing scene – the former school building is known for its wild parties as it has a 24-hour licence. AIR, Jimmy Woo, Escape and Sugarfactory are also clubs guaranteed to blow your socks off if you want to live it large in Amsterdam. If you prefer a bar to kick start your night, head to In de Wildeman for fantastic beers; Bar Lux, one of the city’s most popular pre-club bars; or Belushi’s at St Christopher’s Hostel – the start of many a pub crawl!
For hostels, you really can’t beat Amsterdam for its huge choice of places to start a night out. The Flying Pig (Downtown or Uptown) has happy hours, bars, pub crawls, and an all round amazing atmosphere. St Christopher’s Inn is also a fantastic choice to meet new travel buddies at the bar and kick start the evening.
6. San Francisco, US
The Golden Gate City may not instantly scream ‘best night out’ to you, but San Fran locals think it’s hard to beat for food, drink, and fun – there’s a reason it’s in the top 10! San Francisco offers every type of night out for every type of traveller – for a classic club night head to Public Works for local and international DJs, Mercer for a cosy and casual vibe, The End Up for hardcore ravers (their parties last all night – some start at 6am…) or Temple SF, a huge futuristic huge EDM club.
You’re absolutely spoilt for choice for bars – to get more bang for your buck, head to The Tempest, a super cheap dive bar. For a bit more affordable luxury try out famous tiki bar Smuggler’s Cove for awesome cocktails, or Wilson & Wilson, a speakeasy bar with a 1920s vibe. USA Hostels San Francisco consistently wins most popular hostel in San Fran, and is centrally located so is an ideal spot to start your night out.
7. Gothenburg, Sweden
Gothenburg is Stockholm’s not so well known little sister, but it has a LOT going for it. It scored highly for being open to strangers – so go forth and say skål! Gothenburg even topped our list of the world’s friendliest cities. Sweden isn’t known to appease those who like to keep their purse strings tight, but as always cheap nightlife can be found if you know where to look. Head to Pustervik – it’s just £2 entry with loads of different dance floors and ping pong on a Monday – winning!
Another great choice is Bengans Record Store – it’s all neon signs and vinyl, perfect for a chilled night out. Alternatively, head to the street of Andra långgatan, an entire street downtown, with loads of cheap bars filled with a young student crowd – our favourites are StreetLife and Hops. To start your night out the best way, we love Spoton Hostel & Sportsbar – the clue’s in the name – it has its own awesome bar, or the central STF Göteborg City Hotel and Hostel is another safe bet.
8. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague was the top city for a night out under £30 – result! It’s the ultimate spot if you want to save those pennies and still have an awesome night on the tiles, and it’s SUPER easy to get around – all the best areas are relatively near each other as the centre is small. Head to The Cafe-Pub Atmosphere – not the most inspiring name, but this pub is super cheap (hello £1 beers!) and has an awesome vibe, and is a quick walk to 15th-century club Karlovy Lázně, on the bank of the Vltava River, to carry on your night.
Juve, a bar popular with students, is also an ideal choice for cheap food and drinks, or head to Dejavu for a buzzing atmosphere. Mosaic House Hostel is an absolute must if you want to have the best night out in Prague – it’s a music, design AND eco hostel all in one. It’s also got a music bar and lounge open until 3am – what could be better?!
9. Warsaw, Poland
What makes Warsaw come in at number 9, you ask? Poland’s capital has a LOT going for it – locals said it was friendly, convenient to get around and that magic word, AFFORDABLE – it came 2nd as the best night out for under £30! Which means all the more money to spend on useful things like transport (or beer!) As you walk around and admire the street art (Warsaw is famous for it), you’ll also be surrounded by great nightlife options. If money is on your mind (duh, traveller budget here) Plan B is a great choice – it’s got a student vibe and is in the heart of the city, with a slogan of ‘beer and vodka’ – sounds good enough to us.
Alternatively, Piw Paw is open 24/7, so you can literally drink the night away. Also check out Pijalnia Wódki i Piwa, a super popular bar due to its cheap prices, or for an alternative vibe, head to Klubokawiarnia. Oki Doki City Hostel is one of the best places you can stay for your night out in Warsaw, with pub crawls hosted frequently and a bar offering traditional Polish beer for £1.
10. New York, US
Want to know how The City That Never Sleeps fared in the nightlife rankings? Well, The Big Apple comes in at number 10 for its huge variety of food, drink, and fun, as well as getting around. Sadly, those New Yawkers didn’t rate their city so highly for friendliness or safety – but know where to look and you can find a cheap (and safe) night out in NYC. If you love beer, check out McSorley’s Old Ale House – dark or light is all they serve! But at just $5, it’s worth it – it’s one of the cheapest bars in the city.
Jimmy’s Corner also offers fantastically decent drinks prices, as does 169 Bar, a dive bar with a buzzy student vibe. Head to Café con Crema on a Saturday for a wild night without the price tag, or Cielo for big name DJs. The quality of New York hostels is definitely on the rise – Jazz on the Park Hostel is super central and has its own bar, or The Local NYC is fantastic for meeting fellow travellers, and often holds live concerts, comedy nights, and wine/beer tasting.
So, who knew – the best nightlife cities aren’t always found in the biggest capitals. Venture to the cities on this list and you might just discover your new favourite night out!
Think your city deserves a spot on this list? Let us know in the comments! 👇
About the Research
The ‘Best Night Out in the World’ rankings were based upon analysis of data from 4,100 interviews with world-city dwellers, living in 41 cities across 27 countries. Residents were asked to provide detailed information on activities, attitudes and experiences relating to nights out in their city, and typical local prices for a range of food, drinks, and leisure activities. Our index of ‘openness’ also incorporated two items derived from the World Values Survey. Data was collected in telephone interviews conducted by PCP during October 2017, and analysed by Nelson Research.