Where to Find the Best Nightlife in Los Angeles, California

Enjoy downtown LA's buzzing nightlife at the Standard, one of the top party hotels in Los Angeles
Enjoy downtown LA's buzzing nightlife at the Standard, one of the top party hotels in Los Angeles | © Image Professionals / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Juliet Bennett Rylah
30 August 2021
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Los Angeles might not be known as the “city that never sleeps,” but this doesn’t mean its nightlife is lacking – music venues, nightclubs and cocktail bars are all peppered across the city. Stay for a while to experience scenes in neighborhoods including Hollywood, Santa Monica and Venice – each area offering Los Angeles party hotels where you can drink, eat, rave, sleep and repeat to your heart’s content.

Downtown LA

Architectural Landmark
People crowd outside Clifton's in the Broadway Theatre District of Downtown Los Angeles at night, lit up in pink neon
© Mark Stout / Alamy Stock Photo

In recent years, downtown Los Angeles has amped up its nightlife scene, with offerings such as the re-opened and renovated Clifton’s, the casual Slipper Clutch, beer bar Mikkeller and its neighbor Prank – not to mention myriad dining options. Downtown is well connected by the L.A. metro system, making it easy to get around without a car.

There are numerous boutique hotels to choose from, including the 14-room Tuck Hotel, and the Freehand Los Angeles, where you can get tea-based cocktails at Rudolph’s downstairs or drinks at their rooftop pool bar, Broken Shaker.

West Hollywood

Architectural Landmark
Scantily clad male table dancer entertains at the outdoor patio of the Abbey Bar in West Hollywood
© incamerastock / Alamy Stock Photo
West Hollywood draws the crowds during Pride and Halloween, but don’t just visit during big celebrations – spend your Saturday night hanging out in the LGBTQ-friendly area of Santa Monica Boulevard or catching a local up-and-coming band on the Sunset Strip.

Those who feel like splurging may enjoy a night at the luxurious West Hollywood EDITION, while Best Western Plus Sunset Plaza Hotel is a great affordable option.

Hollywood

Architectural Landmark
A blur of cars cross Hollywood Boulevard at dusk, with a souvenir store on the corner
© Hanna Tor / Alamy Stock Photo

Perhaps the most cliché tourist destination on the list, Hollywood has plenty of nightlife to enjoy – and it’s accessible via the L.A. metro. Hot spots include nightclubs Avalon and the Sayers Club, classic dive Frolic Room, or the 70s-themed Good Times at Davey Wayne’s.

Higher-end Los Angeles party hotel options include the W Hollywood and The Hollywood Roosevelt – their Tropicana pool bar is especially popular – while budget options include the Best Western, which holds the late-night diner 101 Coffee Shop.

Koreatown

Architectural Landmark
The marquee of the Wiltern live music venue in Los Angeles lit up at night
© Barry King / Alamy Stock Photo

The best part about staying in Koreatown is that when you’re done partying, there’s always great late-night food. Favorite nightlife spots include the craft beer bar Beer Belly, historic venue the Wiltern, casual karaoke haunt Brass Monkey, cocktail bar Lock & Key and the Prince lounge.

As for accommodation, splurge on the Line, which features two restaurants from chef Roy Choi: POT and the veggie-friendly Commissary.

Venice

Architectural Landmark
People cross the street at the intersection of Windward and Pacific Avenues at dusk with lit-up Venice sign hanging across road
© Moses Rode / Alamy Stock Photo

Staying in Venice means you can hang out at the beach by day and enjoy its nightlife after dusk – if you enjoy your nightlife in moderation, you can enjoy a beach-side jog in the morning. There’s plenty to eat and drink on Abbot Kinney, including the acclaimed Gjelina.

Elsewhere, find late-night breakfast food and cocktails at Nighthawk Breakfast Bar or gastropub Venice Ale House. If the budget permits, stay in luxury at Hotel Erwin or the Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey.

Long Beach

Architectural Landmark
View from across water of Shoreline Village and the RMS Queen Mary lit up at night, with colored lights reflecting on the water
© Debbie Eckert / Alamy Stock Photo

Though considerably far from central Los Angeles, Long Beach has a fun nightlife scene of its own. There are plenty of hotels near the water, inducing the retired ocean liner Queen Mary – which is technically on the water.

Nightlife includes the Federal Bar – which typically offers live music or burlesque – whiskey bar Blind Donkey, casual Stache Bar and Beachwood BBQ and Brewing, where the food and beer are equally impressive. You’ll also be close to one of the best aquariums in the state – the Aquarium of the Pacific.

Santa Monica

Architectural Landmark
Elevated view of Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica on a rainy night, with palm trees lining the pedestrian thoroughfare
© Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo
Settle some ’90s pop beef on the dance floor on Sunday nights at Basement Tavern, beneath the Victorian. If drinks and conversation sound like a better way to spend the evening, Santa Monica is primed for the music lover as well as the cocktail connoisseur. The Daily Pint boasts near-snobbery levels of scotch and whiskey, while Bar Chloe’s posh backdrop is equally swanky.

Prefer cold beers with your buds? The divey Barkowski’s, the compendium of beers at Library Alehouse and legendary Father’s Office will all have cold ones waiting. Hotels like Shore Hotel, Ocean View Hotel and Sea Blue Hotel will keep you close to the beach, bars and best parties in town.

Manhattan Beach

Architectural Landmark
The Manhattan Beach pier perched over the Pacific with the rainbow colors of sunset lighting up the sky
© lucky-photographer / Alamy Stock Photo
Surfing until sundown and partying until sunrise is the name of the game in Manhattan Beach, conveniently located just a stone’s throw from LAX. This laid-back area full of boutiques and cafes provides the perfect backdrop for a day spent soaking up the sun.

When the stars come out, head north to El Porto for wild parties at the Baja Sharkeez tiki bar or float down by the pier for a glitzy affair at Zinc – inside the glamorous Shade Hotel. There are plenty of hotels in the area, ranging from the affordable Best Western Plus Manhattan Beach Hotel to the beachfront Sea View Inn.

Hermosa Beach

Architectural Landmark
Large pedestrian area by the pier in Hermosa Beach, with bars lining the street on either side and string lights strewn across the palms
© Alberto Zanoni / Alamy Stock Photo
Of the three Beach Cities, Hermosa Beach exudes a stronger party vibe than Redondo and Manhattan Beaches. A magical evening and side-splitting night can be had at the Comedy & Magic Club. Karaoke at Hennessey’s Tavern on Mondays and weeknight jazz sessions at the Lighthouse Cafe – and live DJs on the weekends will keep the rest of the week’s schedule packed.

Beach House has a laid-back South Beach attitude for East Coast comfort, while Hotel Casa del Mar and Hotel Hermosa are more casual affairs.

Pacific Palisades

Architectural Landmark
Dusk at Will Rogers Beach with blur of cars on Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades
© robertharding / Alamy Stock Photo
Dance under the moonlight where the mountains meet the sea in Pacific Palisades. This affluent community north of Santa Monica has few hotels, but the Channel Road Inn’s genteel quarters let guests live like locals. Any moments spent at the bed and breakfast or the beach can be spent a few minutes south at Santa Monica’s best late-night spots like SHOREbar.

Now, we’re not condoning gate-crashing a party, but if there’s any way to get a name on the Bel-Air Bay Club’s guest list – it’s worth calling in the favor.

Nick Dauk contributed additional reporting to this article.

These recommendations were updated on August 30, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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