Looking for the best party cities in Florida?
To be sure, over the years, there have been no shortage of articles that have been written about Florida’s endless party vibe, or its unprecedented 825 miles of beachfront. There’s also been countless attempts to rank those numerous beach locations in some manner or other from best to worse.
The problem with those comparisons is that 21st century Americans are a trend savvy and eclectic bunch to say the least. Very few of us value the same things when ranking from best to worst—well–anything. And this is particularly true when it comes to our personal entertainment.
So, to not only be different and dare we say, slightly more relevant than the average Conde Nast traveler article, we decided to focus more on the amazing Florida nightlife and party circuit than on the endless expanses of beach and where you can get the best waterside Mojito.
In this article, it was our goal not to focus on any one element as being indicative of a great party atmosphere, but instead we concentrated on the places that had the widely diverse and eclectic range of entertainment properties that we felt are most likely to appeal the widest and most diverse demographic of modern American partygoers.
Now, without further ado, we hope you’ll enjoy our take on the 11 best all around party cities the Sunshine State has to offer, as well as our explanation as to why.
11 Best Party Cities in Florida to Let Loose!
When it comes to speaking about diversity, there simply is no other place in Florida that appeals to such a broad spectrum of tastes than you’ll find in Miami.
With metropolitan Miami boasting some 6.3 million people according to the 2020 census, Miami often flies under the radar and being one of the largest and most culturally diverse cities in America, and nowhere is that more true than in Miami’s world-famous party scene.
Not unlike it’s more northern hotspot, Orlando’s Disney World, people flock from all over the world to experience the famous Miami Beach scene by day, and the ravenously scintillating party scene by night.
Because of those much-heralded miles of waterway, Miami is one of the few American party locals that allow partygoers to by car, by boat, by mass transit, or even by sea plane in some areas, making Miami’s nightlife hotspots some of the most accessible anywhere in the world.
In all of that atmosphere, no other place in Miami single-handedly exemplifies that party experience as Ocean Drive in South Beach does.
The blood-warming ambience of Ocean Drive is only partially conveyed in these shots of the strip around South Beach’s iconic Colony Hotel – a strip that, in our opinion, makes South Beach the premier location to experience the ultimate Florida party vibe, no matter what your personal taste might be.
Whatever your flavor, Ocean Drive in Miami’s South Beach has something for you. Whether your passion is the incredible salsa dancing at Mango’s Tropical Café, the all-night disco scene at Wall-Lounge and STORY, or the LGBTQ+ hotspots Like Twist, or the Palace, Miami has something for you, and it’s for that reason that we rank Miami as Florida’s number one must-see spot for unparalleled partying and nightlife.
One of the best places in Florida for a bachelorette party for sure.
2. Key West
There’s not really a lot to be said about Key West as a vacation spot that hasn’t already been said at least 327, 219 times, except, to say that there are undoubtedly several reasons why the Florida Keys, and in particular, Key West, enjoy iconic reputations as being some of the preeminent vacation hotspots in all the world.
One of the most pivotal of those reasons besides the legendary beaches, boating, snorkeling, and diving, is the incredible party scene that emerges once the sun sets over the Keys’ crystal-clear Caribbean waters.
That’s right, the nightlife on Florida’s most famous Key is second to none when it comes to inclusiveness, diversity, and overall emotion.
Whether you crave the more traditional settings offered by world-famous Ricks Bar and Sloppy Joe’s Bar, or the LGBTQ trappings of Aqua and the Bourbon Street bar, Duval Street is both the recreational hub of Key West by day, and the place where the action heats up once the sun goes down.
3. Daytona Beach
For decades, Daytona Beach has been most well-known and regarded as the ultimate American spring break destination, the mecca for the nationally famous bike week each March, and, of course, the home of NASCAR’s Daytona 500.
In fact, the location has been such a notorious coastal hotspot for so long, that many Generation Xers and Yers can brag that they were most likely conceived there during a few wild nights in one of the Atlantic Coasts hottest party spots throughout the 80s, 90s and early 2000s.
In the years since the turn of the century, while Daytona Beach has faced increasing competition from other Florida cities, (many of which are also on this list) vying for a piece of Daytona’s spring break pie, the coastal city is still one of the all-time best and most sought after party locations in Florida, if not the country, and nowhere in Daytona Beach is more action packed than the world famous strip of A1A, otherwise known as North Atlantic Avenue.
Dissecting the outer bank strip of Daytona Beach is iconic A1A, which also happens to be one of the premier route corridors of bike week every March. However, not only is A1A a scorching, sun bathed boulevard of bikes and bikinis, but when the sun goes down and the heat of the day begins to abate, this Atlantic coastal city’s nightlife heats up In a way that most other cities only wish they could accomplish.
Whether your boat gets floated by the traditional fare of places like Daytona’s Hard Rock Hotel, Razzle’s Night Club, Club 600, and Coyote Ugly, or your looking for more of the LGBTQ scene at The Terrace on Main Street, Daytona Beach still has something for you…oh yeah, and did we mention the bikinis?
Over the past 20 years or so, the third largest city in Florida, Tampa’s nightlife has really come into its own. Recently dubbed the “mini sin city,” Tampa now boasts more strip clubs per square mile than Las Vegas, as well as some of the premier resorts on Florida’s Gold Coast.
Like most recreational cities in Florida, the daytime beach activities are stellar in and around Tampa, which also happens to be one of the main Cruise line departure points in the south, particularly for Caribbean cruises, from the Port of Tampa.
We believe it is largely due to this magnitude of tourists passing through their streets all year round that made Tampa decide to invest in a tourist trap infrastructure to prevent these uncounted millions from simply passing through the city on their way to party someplace else. Nowhere is this truer than in incredible Ybor City.
Although Tampa’s party scene is clustered in a bit of a tight geographical area, the city doesn’t offer a single thoroughfare that holds most of its nightlife elements like the ‘strips’ we see in most of the other cities we highlight in this article, that is, until you get into Ybor City.
Nowhere in this list will you find a more transformative party city than Tampa.
During the day, Tampa is a bustling and efficient destination for history, cultural diversity, and tourist activities. However, once the curtain of night shrouds the city, a rebirth occurs as the city loses its quaint, old world veneer and metamorphosizes into an gritty and unrefined mecca of adult-themed entertainment.
Tampa as a whole offers a large selection of traditional night spots like Allusions, Club Play, and the Blue Lizard Beer Bar, while Ybor City boasts its own more well-known traditional hotspots like the Green Iguana and Coyote ugly.
If the LGBTQ+ Scene is more your speed, Tampa will accommodate you with places such as Southern Nights, City Side, and Bradley’s on 7th, while Ybor features The Castle, a gay bar with a lot of history and ambiance.
Meanwhile if the hip-hop vibe is more your scene, Tampa has more than a little for you too, featuring such pulsing hotspots as Club Skye, Club Plush, and Club Prana.
5. Panama City Beach
A short jaunt across Saint Andrews Bay from Panama City, is the less touted hamlet of Panama City Beach. In recent years, Panama City Beach has managed to usurp much of the spring break traffic from its Atlantic Coast rival, Daytona Beach, and is now known far and wide as “the Spring Break Capital of the World.”
PC managed to accomplish that feat because it has a near-perfect mixture of blend of powder-like white sand beaches, hosts a ton of live music events each year, and offers a tremendously wide range of relatively inexpensive things to do and see.
But nowhere is PCB more attractive to people seeking a good time than because of the City’s stellar party scene around Port Lagoon.
Traditional spots such as the Tiki Bar at the Sandpiper Beacon and Club La Vela dominate the conventional nightlife, while the trendy club Vibez lights up the hip-hop scene. For those looking for LGBTQ+ clubs, Club Splash, and the No Name Bar are renowned for their welcoming and upbeat auras.
6. Fort Lauderdale
Sandwiched between Miami’s action-packed, world-famous hotspots and the cooler, laid back vibe of more northern east coast vacation pots like Vero Beach, Fort Lauderdale, still manages to maintain a reputation as one of the best nightlife cities in the Sunshine State.
The Flagler Village section of town is home to the art and culture center, as well as some of the best bars and breweries in Fort Lauderdale. Meanwhile, the stretch of areas along the New River known as Riverwalk, is also a vibrant boulevard of Ft Lauderdale nightlife.
In Wilton Manors, which is a little berg just a hop, skip and jump from Fort Lauderdale, the LGBTQ+ scene is taken to a new level, with an extremely high concentration of queer folks and businesses as well as plenty of gay nightclubs and establishments
Topping the list of LGBTQ+ hotspots are Georgi’s Alibi, Scandals Saloon, and Hunter’s, while the more laid back and traditional folks can enjoy festive evenings filled with good vibes and good music at Club Euro and the Rose nightclub.
As it turns out, Universal Studios and Walt Disney World, the single most visited spot on all the earth, aren’t the only things Orlando has to offer in the area of entertainment. The city also boasts some of the best party places in the state.
Located smack dab in the center of the peninsula we know as Florida, Orlando is a working petri dish of eclectic tastes and personalities. From country music strongholds like Hanson’s Shoe Repair and Saddle Up, Orlando also offers a respectable smattering of electronic nightclubs such as Attic and rooftop Aero, as well as gay venues like Southern Nights, located in the downtown section, while The Beacham is, by all accounts, downtown Orlando’s wildest nightclub.
If you’re in the mood for a night of Latin beats, Orlando is the place to be! From reggaeton to other Latin genres, you can find something to dance to at one of the many clubs in the area. Get your groove on at The Social, a venue inside The Beacham that hosts semi-regular reggaeton nights. Or, get your Latin music fix at bars like Mojitos Ultra Lounge and Scorpion Night Club where you can find live performances from all sorts of Latin American genres. So whether you’re visiting or living near Orlando, there’s sure to be a Latin party waiting for you!
Which city in Florida has the best nightlife? The largest city in Florida in terms of both population and overall land area, is not only home to one of the largest and busiest seaports in America, but it also happens to be a pretty happenin’ nightspot.
Unlike many of the other cities on this list which feature ‘strips,’ communities, or districts where many of the best eating, drinking, and music entertainment venues are somewhat grouped or huddled together, Jacksonville’s unique and more sparsely laid out geography means that if you want to spend an evening going bar hopping, you’re most likely going to have to rack up some serious Uber miles (because of course you would not be drinking and driving right?).
While the locales we tell you about in this segment aren’t within walking distance of each other, several really aren’t all that far from one another either, they’re just more spread out than in a lot of the other party cities we’ve talked about, so we thought that bared mentioning.
For those of you into those energized hip-hop themed watering holes, Jacksonville has just what you’re looking for in a place called Eclipse.
More of an LGBTQ+ person? Not a problem in Jacksonville as the city plays host to such energetic spots as Incahoots, and The Bot Rack Saloon.
But, if you’re more of a traditional nightclub kinda person, it will likely be The Volstead, or the Myth Nightclub for you.
9. St Petersberg
Just across Tampa Bay, St. Pete can brag to high heaven about having an average of 361 sunny days a year – which is pretty insane when you consider most calendar years only have 365 – talk about working on your tan!
Be that as it may, all that sunshine must keep the residents of the area thoroughly invigorated since they decided to take advantage of all those rays and use them to build up a nighttime party infrastructure that is comparable in every way to the ones in many of the bigger and more noteworthy vacation spot cities we’ve mentioned in this list.
Perhaps the most iconic and diverse of St. Petersberg’s nightspots is Griboedov, which opened in 1996. Griboedov isn’t a bar or a club so much as it is a consortium of many themed bars and clubs all put together under one giant roof.
If by chance the goth scene is your thing, St Petersberg also claims VNVNC which was designed to look like a goth church.
More of a hip-hop guy or gal? Not a problem in St. Pete has you covered with the 260 First Club.
Are you looking for a vibrant LGBTQ+ scene? Look no further than St. Pete! Home to one of the largest pride parades in Florida, this city is all about celebrating the LGBTQ+ community. Head to the Grand Central District and historic Kenwood, known as the ‘gayborhoods’, where you’ll find plenty of spots to hang out with friends. The Garage on Central and Lucky Star Lounge are two of the top karaoke bars in the area. So, whether you’re in the mood to mingle or just want to show off your singing skills, St. Pete has something for everyone!
You also always have the option in St. Pete to try some locally brewed beer and live music at The Ale and the Witch, twirl away to your heart’s content on the dance floor to the DJ at The Bends, or get crazy with craft cocktails at The Mandarin Hide.
What’s more, if you’re into other aspects of nightlife than just the thumping clubs, St, Pete Beach offers miles of white sandy beach, much of which is also accessible at night, paving the way for some really stellar beach parties!
The self-proclaimed “golf capital of the world,” Naples not only has the largest ratio of holes per capita in the State of Florida, but the second highest ratio in the entire United States.
Most people only know Naples as a golf mecca and as a haven for retirees from all over the country, however, the truth is that while the sleepy little city center only holds a population of just under 20,000 people, the greater Naples metropolitan area (all the people who list Naples as their US Postal Service address) actually comes in about 333,000 according to the 2020 Census.
It’s because of that diverse population that Naples actually has a thriving city nightlife despite being the home of so many retirees, many of whom aren’t big on the nightly club scene.
No, the nightlife in Naples may not suit the hardcore, guitar smashing club set, but life in Collier County is far from boring. In fact, if you enjoy live music, well-crafted cocktails, or the ambiance and premium spirits typically offered in a sexy cigar bar, Naples might just be the perfect place for you to unwind at night.
Perhaps the pinnacle of such places is the wonderfully mellow flow of The London Club, or even the slightly more up-tempo Cavo Lounge.
For the hip-hop crowd – yes, Naples has something for that tase too, offering the Dimension Nightclub. Meanwhile, those that are looking to acclimate with the LGBTQ+ vibe, Naples doesn’t offer a huge selection, but it does have the Bambusa Bar & Grill, currently the only gay bar in Naples at the time of this writing.
11. Siesta Key
Nestled in an upscale nook of Sarasota County, Siesta Key is perhaps one of Florida’s best-known secrets despite having Siesta Beach named #1 in the U.S. and #11 in the world in the 2020 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice™ awards.
Perhaps one reason Siesta Key remains so ‘off the beaten path’ of vacation and tourist hotspots within the myriad of Florida beach towns is the fact that the entire town consists of an area that is only 3.5 square miles, and 1.1 square miles of that being water.
Be that as it may, where this quaint little beach town might be short on real estate, it more than makes up for it in atmosphere and congeniality.
As you can imagine with any barrier island beach town like Siesta Key is, the local watering holes are both abundant and closely condensed. All within about a mile and a half of very walkable and well-lit roads and paths, Siesta Key provides its visitors with a strikingly large array of choices for such a miniscule geographic area.
First, for you country fans, Siesta Key offers The White Buffalo Saloon. If the LGBTQ+ community is what you’re looking for, you’ll have to look no farther than The Purple Rhino Lodge.
Looking for some hip-hop vibes? The Beach Club at Siesta Key has just what you’re looking for. But, if it’s a more traditionally tropical type of atmosphere you seek, this is where Siesta Key really shines offering locations such as Gilligan’s Island Bar & Grill, The Gator Club, Rebellion, and the Joyland Live Music Venue.