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Photograph: Courtesy Avalon/Jason Fenmore

The best dance clubs in the U.S.

You've got it—now shake it! We applaud these amped-up, booty-shaking dance clubs in the U.S.

Edited by
Scott Snowden
&
Erika Mailman
Contributor
Erika Mailman
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Friends, whether you're on vacation or not, your best way to be social and have a blast is to go out dancing. It doesn’t matter what kind you find: techno-throb, country two-stepping, trap music, or even silent disco... whatever floats your rhythmic boat. It all means you end the night in a great mood with a grin plastered on your face and maybe a little healthy sweat making you glow. You might even end up with the digits of a new friend or two—and probably a few new songs to add to your favorite playlist.

RECOMMENDED: The best gay clubs in the U.S.

Best clubs in the U.S.

As seen on TV and heard in rap lyrics by everyone from Kanye West to Drake, LIV sets the standard for megaclubs worldwide. Nestled inside the lobby of the historic Fontainebleau hotel—itself a backdrop for major motion pictures including Scarface and Goldfinger—LIV is at once opulent and turnt beyond belief. Afrojack can be seen here alongside a regular program of huge DJs and rap stars. And the stars show up to worship.

'Inspired by the sexy curves of the female body'—oh my!—this super-flashy dance club with an 8,000-person capacity is the glitzy, over-the-top nighttime experience that Sin City visitors flock to. Vegas’ DJ business is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and cream-of-the-crop talent regularly rolls through this huge, gilded, chandelier-hung space, like Diplo and more. When things get too sweaty and crowded, head outside to hang in a breezy but pricy cabana.

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This twin club complex (The Echo plus the Echoplex) packs in an Eastside crowd for all flavors of indie rock, dub, reggae and electronica. Both are known for adventurous bookings that introduce the crowd to brand-new music. Over the years, big-name bands that have played here include Green Day, Nine Inch Nails, Incubus, Kendrick Lamar, Lorde, The Rolling Stones and more.

This place has it all. Located at The Standard High Line in the Meatpacking District, Le Bain & The Rooftop boasts some of the best views over downtown Manhattan, quality cocktails, vibrant music and even a Jacuzzi. Outside offers comfortable lounge furniture and artificial turf as you watch the sun set to the west over Hoboken, then as the temperature drops a little, you can move inside to a more traditional nightclub aesthetic with black tiled walls, black leather sofas and a disco ball hanging above that hot tub. 

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It’s certainly no secret that gay bars are often host to some of a city’s best dance parties, and The Saloon is no exception. Inclusive, low-key fun is the name of the game here: coming together on the dance floor is what this club is all about. From karaoke to drag queen nights to contests and charity events, the club’s calendar is always packed: look for Sunday evening’s steamy shower contest (with a decent cash prize); DJ performances and a day-long happy hour from noon to 7pm.

Launched by nightclub veterans who know exactly what music lovers want, Good Room offers a traditional bar scene but with a club vibe: all with deep inclusivity and lots of room to dance—and the sound system is beyond awesome. In 2022, the club won the “Best Small Club” award from DJ magazine.

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Completed in 1927, this cavernous theater remains L.A.'s preeminent super-club. Avalon’s nearly 100-year run is a feat in itself—how on earth does such a space maintain its staying power? A 24-hour operating license certainly helps. But so does a stronghold when it comes to booking global DJ phenoms, its sheer size and grandiosity, and a custom sound system that delivers one of the most delightfully chest-thumping experiences in L.A.

This beautiful nightclub has been around for four decades, showcasing the best of dance and music, including international cutting-edge DJs. A dozen music residents are in-house, along with a handful of guests, to up the ante and get the sick beats flowing.

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Offering four different experiences under the roof of the MGM Grand casino, this nightclub paired with a restaurant concept offers artisanal mixology and talent collaborations across many musical genres. This London-based Asian-fusion brand began in London’s West End and imports world-class DJs and artists for an exceptional night out.

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This nightclub open on weekends has live events and a distinctive dress code—as the website says, “Express yourself; keep it trendy and fashionable. Pretty much anything works as long as you are not wearing board shorts or flip-flops.” Book a VIP table near or opposite the DJ booth and enjoy the scene at this spot with an amazing sound system.

This historic dive bar formerly known as the Elbo Roomand originally built as a mortuaryhas been revived as the Valencia Room. According to the website, the establishment proudly declares that its "mission is to preserve the culture of this iconic bar and music venue indelible to the Mission District." It's a good bar with a cool, vibrant ambiance and great music, although it can get a bit crowded at times, which also means there's often a line outside to get in. Upstairs you'll find a spacious second floor that's used a bit more for lounging and live music. If you want to find the new digs for the Elbo Room, head to Oakland across the bay.

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Play offers dance nights with a roster of resident DJs and live entertainment with weekly special guests. The thrice-weekly, three times a night, Play Mates Drag Show is a standout performance. The drinks aren't expensive and the staff is polite and courteous, which can make a big difference on a big night out. Everyone is welcome here and the focus is on having the best night possible.

The French Quarter in New Orleans is positively bursting with incredible hotel bars, nightclubs and venues offering alternative entertainment, and we can personally attest to the fun karaoke experience at this low-key venue right in the heart of everything. The self-proclaimed world-famous Cat's Meow bar also plays quality dance music all night. Want to get a peek at the karaoke? Check out the livestream

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This mortuary-turned-club offers live shows and DJ nights in its distinctive performance area with a 40-foot-high arched ceiling from the original chapel. Enjoy San Francisco’s cool nights on the outdoor patio, or get food and drinks at the Curio Bar with its many clocks, Victorian dioramas, vintage lighting, and other elements that hark to the club’s original use.

 

This spacious multilevel nightclub has regular DJs and dance nights plus live concerts in the historic theater district downtown. Lavish and evocative of its former life as a 1918 opera house, the megaclub’s 33,000 square feet get you on your feet. The indoor LED wall is one of the largest in New England, and the sound system is geared to rock those long-ago opera divas right out of their Viking helmets!

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