Some people prefer cultural breaks, exploring ancient cities, sampling the food, and soaking up a new culture. But if you’re anything like us, then letting your hair down, enjoying some great music, and checking out the nightlife in every new destination you visit is a crucial part of your travel itinerary.
Escaping the rat race for some winter sun is always a good idea. But you don’t have to go so far afield to make December a little less glum. Whether it’s Bali’s beach clubs or Budapest’s ruin bars you choose, the festive season is the perfect time for a fun-filled break, and these nightlife hotspots remain raging even when temperatures drop.
Who says winter has to be dull anyway? This guide runs through the best party destinations in December for beating the boredom and routine after summer comes to a close. There’s something here for everyone and at every corner of the globe, so let’s get into it.
Home to the infamous Khao San Road and some of the best street food in the world, Bangkok is a major party spot for backpackers and young professionals alike. The sprawling metropolis has long been a place to enjoy cheap alcohol and all-night clubbing. But Bangkok’s sophisticated party scene has emerged in recent years, with lavish sky bars adding to its plethora of late-night haunts.
The Khao San Road is a must-see for your party travel bucket list, but it by no means represents Bangkok’s thriving nightlife. Start at the ex-pat bars in Patpong and Thong Lor before checking out the craft cocktail scene brewing in Chinatown, and end the night at the after-hour clubs in the financial district. This city truly has something for everyone.
December is a great time to visit Bangkok, when the rainy season has started to come to a close and heat and humidity are at their lowest in the city. You can still expect tropical weather and highs in the low-90s, but fewer crowds than you’d find in the New Year.
Australians know how to drink, so it’s no surprise that Sydney’s party scene is always raging. The backpacker hotspot is teeming with travelers all year round. Still, it’s one of the best party destinations in December with mid-range temperatures and a cool sea breeze to relieve the sweaty heads of late-night clubbers.
Sydney’s young and energetic population also gets in on the action, and the city is a mixture of party hostels and trendy gay bars. The nightlife is vast and varying, but Oxford Street is the epicenter of Sydney partying. Check out the various life jazz music haunts to kickstart your night before enjoying cocktails at a late-night cafe and finishing the evening clubbing in Kings Cross.
The Islands of the Gods is one of the most popular vacation destinations globally. Bali is relatively small, but its diverse landscape, tropical weather, and welcoming locals make it as beautiful as it is adventure-filled. Still, one of the biggest pull factors to the island is the year-round party scene that appeals to all budgets.
One reason Bali’s nightlife is so magnetic is the notorious beach club scene, where a world of luxury becomes accessible to the masses when you throw in signature Southeast Asian pricing. Bali might not directly be on the backpacker trail, but its developed tourism lives harmoniously with surviving ancestral tradition and local culture, making it the perfect destination for first-world luxuries intermingled with budget travel.
Whether you’re after guest-listed parties to the sounds of dynamic DJs and views of the Indian Ocean or local beach Warungs for $1 Bintangs, and potent Araq cocktails, Bali has a bit of everything. December is the middle of the rainy season. Still, in the vibrant ex-pat neighborhoods of the south where the nightlife thrives, the weather remains largely pleasant, and average temperatures don’t tend to dip below the mid-80s. December also sees high season prices come crashing down, and you’ll find great happy hour discounts and free club events.
Any party destination list has to include Ibiza. The Spanish island is renowned for its nightlife, and Europe’s most prominent nightclubs have outposts in Ibiza Town and Sant Antoni. The White Isle has more than 20 superclubs, day clubs, beach clubs, and more, and it’s one of the world’s party capitals.
But Ibiza’s reputation has been diluted in recent years with such a high saturation of expensive parties. That’s why December is a great time to visit the island. After all the summer closing events, you’ll find more authentic nightlife, better deals, and fewer crowds on the island. The scorching days of July and August have come and gone, but Ibiza still offers an escape from December chills with pleasant average temperatures of 60 degrees Fahrenheit and very little rainfall.
A jewel in the Aegean, Ios has long been popular with party tourists. The small island is located halfway between Naxos and Santorini, and the hilly landscape sees cliffs tumbling down to the sea on most sides. Ios is Greece’s next best thing after Mykonos, but you’ll find lower prices and equally vivid nightlife along these picturesque alleys.
The best bars and clubs are concentrated in the main square of Ios Town, called Chora. A mix of modern dance clubs and techno dives come alive when the sun goes down. The Mylopotas Beach area is another excellent spot for day clubs, beach parties, and all-night events.
December in Ios promises cooler temperatures to the scorching summer and fewer crowds. With temperatures fluctuating around the low-60s, you’ll find lots of sunshine and comfortable evenings for dancing the night away.
Once mainly under the radar on the European travel route, Budapest is now a thriving tourist hotspot and a highlight of Eastern European backpacking. Bisected by the mighty River Danube, Budapest is full of 13th-century architecture, culture, and history. But it’s also the world’s spa capital, and the mesmerizing Ruin Bars are a must-visit for any avid partyer.
Gozdu Passage is an introduction to Budapest’s vast canvas of nightlife. The tunnel is full of lively bars and bustling restaurants, and you could easily spend hours exploring the passage. Later into the night, you have the option of hitting up a boat party on the Danube, following a backpacker hostel pub crawl or attending an infamous “Spa-rty” in one of the ancient bathhouses.
Temperatures drop in Hungary in December to below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and you can even expect light snowfall. But this makes it a magical time to visit the steaming hot bathhouses or peruse the galleries of festive ruin bars lit up by fairy lights.
Close to the Czech border, Krakow is a spectacular medieval city, famed for its well-preserved architecture and Jewish quarter. A stone’s throw from Auschwitz Burkineau, Krakow is a gateway to Poland’s turbulent history. But the charming student atmosphere makes for some unmissable nightlife.
Poland has always long been on the radar for stag nights and hen dos with its cheap alcohol and accessibility for Europeans. But it’s risen in appeal for backpackers in recent years and the city is now scattered with energetic party hostels and trendy underground night clubs, with a bit of something for everyone.
December is the coldest month in Krakow, but don’t let this hold you back. The nightlife is a year-round pull factor and the student population keeps the party going. The Krakow Christmas celebrations are also worth the trip. Start your evening in the old town square, perusing the markets and enjoying some mulled cider or wine, before hitting the cavernous cellar bars. All strategically close to the center, you won’t need to worry about spending too much time outside!
Set in the shadow of ancient Mayan ruins, this formerly sleepy fishing town has transformed into a tourist hotspot with a raging nightlife in tow. Tulum benefits from the best of all worlds, with incredible archaeological sites, stunning natural beauty, azure Caribbean seas and a party scene to rival Cabo San Lucas, and December is a perfect time to visit.
Tulum is bustling and lively, but the nightlife is less saturated than the nearby Spring Breakers’ paradises of Cabo and Cancun. Whether you want to watch the sun go down from a beach club day bed, or enjoy local mariachi music with craft cocktails, or perhaps dance the night away to jungle beats on the beach, Tulum has it all.
Hurricane season has just come to an end in December and you’ll enjoy post-storm breezes, reasonable hotel prices and warm, sunny days averaging in the low-80s.
Las Vegas, US
No guide to global party destinations would be complete without mentioning Las Vegas. The iconic city in the middle of the Nevada desert is a playground for adults, with world-class entertainment and casinos aplenty.
The Las Vegas Strip is a street that never sleeps. Take a spin on the world’s largest observation wheel, ride a Venetian Gondola through the indoor river channels and marvel at the Fountains of Bellagio, before you party the night away in nightclubs and casinos where time stands still.
April to November is the most popular time to visit Las Vegas, but heading to City of Sins in December is perfect for snapping up a deal. Vegas is never empty and the nightlife is a year-round phenomenon, but in the fall shoulder season the crowds dissipate and prices drop, with moderate weather offering relief from the scorching desert summers.
What city has the best nightlife in December?
When it comes to clubbing, long-time hotspots like London, Miami, Sydney, and Las Vegas have topped the list for decades. With some of the best nightlife in the world, these magnetic destinations are unique and alluring, and both tourists and young professionals soak up the evening entertainment every night of the week. But the last few years have seen underdogs climb the ranks when it comes to city partying. With trendy and affordable nightlife scenes, Budapest, Krakow, New Orleans, and Stockholm are welcome alternatives to the expensive former champions in metropolitan nights out.
Where is the best party holiday destination?
With delightfully warm weather, sultry beaches and laidback holiday atmospheres, Spain, Greece, Thailand, and Mexico are among the best party holiday destinations. Ibiza is the reigning party capital of the world, but the equally alluring Greek islands are unique in their own right with dynamic and popular nightlife scenes.
From Bangkok to Koh Phangan, Thailand offers some of the cheapest nights out and iconic party destinations, while Mexico is no longer just a favorite of Spring Breakers, with a luxury beach club scene for all to enjoy.
Which European city has the best nightlife?
Europe is a great place to party, full of culture and cheap deals. The Eastern block used to be associated with destination stag dos, but the energetic nightlife now appeals to all crowds. Krakow, Berlin, Belgrade, Prague, Warsaw and Budapest are among the best cities for nightlife in Europe, overtaking the overpriced English capital with their dynamic bars and party hostels. But Barcelona, Rome and Amsterdam remain firm favorites, with renowned clubbing scenes and iconic sites to see.