The Best American Downtowns After Dark

Going to a late night diner like Big Daddy's in NYC is why this city ranks among the best American downtowns after dark!

When the sun sets on America, the hard working people of this industrious nation play even harder.  Especially on a Friday or Saturday night, many cities across the United States come alive, as fancy lounges and dive bars alike fill up with workers looking to blow off steam.

Of course, some places are better than others, as certain centres become ghost towns at 6pm, while more vibrant metropolises buzz around the clock.  As a long-term slow traveler, you are looking for a place that will rock your socks off or fill your belly, whether it is 9 pm, midnight, or 5 am.

To aid you in selecting the right base in this diverse nation, we have prepared a brief synopsis of the best American downtowns after dark, so that you will have an ideal urban existence during your time in the United States.

Before we get started though, some American downtown cores do contain elements of risk. Armed criminals may engage in nefarious activities from time to time, making it important to think about your personal security before indulging in your first night out.

While it is likely that things will turn out fine, we strongly recommend downloading a security app to report criminal or suspicious activities to the police, and to allow close friends to track your whereabouts in rougher parts of town. This will grant you the peace of mind to enjoy everything that America’s cities have to offer!

New York City, NY

Of all places in the USA, the appropriately named “City That Never Sleeps” is a classic choice for the globally inclined urbanite. Bars serve here until 4 AM, while after hours clubs can be found by following bar staff after closing. Abundant diners and pizza joints serving extra-large NY style pizza slices will satiate those with simple tastes after a long night at the bars by NYU and Columbia, while those with more refined palates will gravitate towards places like Empanada Mama, which slings Colombian and Latin American standards until the sun rises.

Los Angeles, CA

While bars here officially close at the ungodly early hour of 2 AM, a thriving after-hour scene exists here.  Your slow travel strategy will pay off here, as it will allow you to befriend locals and make the connections necessary to get exclusive invites to parties that rage on until the sun peaks over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. From pop-up raves at usually abandoned industrial warehouses, to intimate gatherings in posh mansions in West Hollywood, these illegal but popular shindigs are growing in popularity.

When your stomach rumbles in L.A. seek out Kogi, the locally famous food truck.  Famed for its fusion of Korean cuisine with Mexican and American greasy spoon favourites, it will silence your gastric critic, and go a long way to staving off a hangover in the morning.

Chicago, IL  

This architecturally inspiring city also captures the heart of the party enthusiast, especially on the weekends, as regulations allow for certain bars to remain open as late as 5 AM. Shake your booty until 5 AM at Club 720, which offers 4 whole floors of fun, with styles ranging from salsa to hip hop and trance, depending on where you are.

Before heading back to your apartment to faceplant on your couch, have some breakfast first at the Deluxe Diner, a Chicago favourite among the dedicated party crowd.  With pancakes galore, burgers for those seeking savoury flavours, and ice cream fountains for the surreal companions in your crew, this eatery is a perfect way to cap off your night in the Windy City.

Party in the USA, your way

While America has some strides to make with regards to the 24 hour club culture present in other regions throughout the world, a night out in the USA has an unmistakable feel that must be experienced by any lover of nightlife.  From high society lounges where martinis cost $21 (hello New York!), to gritty dives where the neon Budweiser sign buzzes and flickers as $2 bottles get slung around by the overworked bartender, there is no place like it in the world. Now you can also get USA visa by applying online.