This list was first published in the National Geographic book The World’s Best Cities.
#1 Dublin, Ireland
Wedged between Trinity College and the old city, the Temple Bar area is a decadent neighborhood of watering holes and nightclubs. The beer flows in torrents at the Brazen Head, reputedly Ireland’s oldest pub (established 1198) and a fixture in James Joyce’s opus Ulysses
#2 Belgrade, Serbia
No one would describe Belgrade as beauitful, but its rollicking nightlife is world-class. Splavovi—riverboat clubs—boom in the glorious warmth of summer. The dancing shoes come out again in the postindustrial venues of the Savamala district.
#3 La Paz, Bolivia
At 11,800 feet (3,597 meters), the Bolivian capital gets a tad chilly after sunset, when residents flock to cozy drinking holes to warm their cockles and trade secrets. Don’t be bashful: This sophisticated lady greets visitors with open arms.
#4 São Paulo, Brazil
The choice is overwhelming in Brazil’s sensuous megacity and the traffic deadly, so spiffed-up paulistas grab a meal or drink, walk to the nearest joint, and shake it, baby, to samba, bossa nova, or (maybe) Brazilian thrash punk.
#5 San Juan, Puerto Rico
Flirt like the devil in fashionable bars along San Sebastián Street, then twist to sweaty abandon in tropical clubs like Rumba—all with a piña colada in hand, of course.
#6 Goa, India
Whether you’re seeking a secluded bolthole or all-night gyration, Goa‘s beaches are right for your fantasy. Channel Goa’s hippie ’70s heyday at laid-back locales along the golden south shore. A city ban on all-night fests hasn’t stopped the fun.
#7 Ibiza, Spain
If your dial is permanently set to party, Ibiza‘s club circuit will keep you energized late into the Spanish night. Slide on dance floors covered in soapsuds or join pool revelers under a suspended DJ cabin. Then catch a Discobus to your next adventure.
#8 Houston, Texas
Take a vat of oil money, add pressed jeans and a toothy Texas grin, and you’ve got some mighty fine entertainment after sunset. Club-hopping along Washington Avenue is buzzy, unpretentious fun. The city isn’t all Stetson-and-spur cowpoke—there’s excellent theater and jazz for the artsy crowd, too.
#9 Thessaloniki, Greece
Remember those playful old Grecian mosaics? The spirit’s alive and well in the Syngrou/Valaoritou and Ladadika districts, not to mention all those beaches.Thessaloniki has more cafés per capita than any other European city.
#10 Baku, Azerbaijan
Waves of oil money crashed over rough-edged Baku, and what washed up became the coolest bar scene this side of the Caucasus. At the William Shakespeare, expats and Azeris might jump on the counter and get jiggy together; Konti Pub lets you tap beer from barrels above your table.