While there are plenty of places with annual traditions for night-long partying — think Carnival in Rio, or Mardi Gras in New Orleans — there are other cities where all-hours entertainment is the nightly norm. Read up on these cities from around the world where sleep is overrated, and start planning your next wired and wide-eyed adventure.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Kicking off our list is the Argentinean capital and one of the largest cities in South America. As on much of the continent, you'll rarely see dinner served before 10 p.m., and that's just the beginning of a night of food, drinks, music, and more. Lucky for you, you can get some help from the caffeine in mate, the country's most popular drink. You'll see it everywhere, so don't be afraid to join in the communal ritual that accompanies the drinking of this tea-like beverage, made from hot water infused with yerba mate leaves.
In such a thriving, cosmopolitan city, you'll have no trouble finding whatever sort of nightlife you seek. Want thumping music and a packed dance floor? You have a host of world-class clubs to explore. In the mood for some of the country's iconic tango? Whether you want to learn yourself or just watch some pros, there are dance halls — called milongas — all over the city.
If you only want to spend a night with friends, sitting and sipping, you'll find no shortage of bars and restaurants in every neighborhood open until the wee hours of the morning. While you're there, be sure to try some of Argentina's most famous wines, particularly malbec, which is primarily produced in the Mendoza region on the western side of the country.
Given that Latin America was originally colonized by Spain, it makes sense that the European country shares — and sometimes surpasses — the late-night habits of its New World cousins. The port city of Málaga, on Spain's southern Costa del Sol, is one such example. Despite its small size relative to some of the country's bigger names such as Madrid and Barcelona, the city offers no shortage of abundant nightlife.
Opt for the Spanish tradition of tapas at your (late night) dinner, before heading out to one of the many bars and clubs in the center of the city, near the water. While you can find whatever craft cocktail or beer suits your fancy, you'd be remiss not to try some of the local Andalusian wines, most notably their sherry and a range of sweet whites.
Whether by day or in the twinkling starlight, be sure to explore the city's historic architecture in places like the pedestrian Plaza de la Constitución, or the nearby Plaza de la Merced. A few blocks away, you'll also find the Museo Picasso, housed in a former palace. The museum contains a collection of works by Pablo Picasso, who was born in Málaga, and it's a great place to spend an afternoon before resting up for a night on the town.
On the Mediterranean coast of Lebanon lies the port city of Beirut. While a number of Middle Eastern cities come to mind when talking about lavish, over-the-top partying — think Dubai and Abu Dhabi, among others — none can compete with the Lebanese capital for a truly 24-hour experience. With a more liberal attitude toward alcohol and nightlife than much of the rest of the region, you'll stumble upon plenty of places to dine, drink, dance, and dally the night away.
Perhaps the most iconic club in the city is B 018, an underground bunker that hosts parties. End your night there, and you'll get to watch sunrise from under the retractable roof. If you want something a little more low-key, hop between the city's other various clubs, bars, and live music venues, especially in the up-and-coming Mar Mikhael neighborhood.
As Lebanon is so small, it's easy to explore the rest of the country while using the capital as your home base. While you'll find fascinating cultural and historical sites all over Lebanon, remember that other parts of the nation tend to be more conservative, so you'll likely want to return to Beirut for all your nightly excursions.
As we mentioned, dinner is served late in Latin America, which means your nightly activities are pushed back well past sunset. Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay, is no exception. With approximately 1.3 million people, it's much smaller than Buenos Aires, but it has no trouble keeping up with its larger neighbor at any hour: a typical bedtime after a night out is around four or five a.m.
Montevideo's location just across the bay from Argentina means you can find almost as much tango here as in the dance's homeland. If you've already gotten your fill of the Latin flavor, however, you'll find plenty of other music options, from rock to house to jazz. For more formal entertainment, the Teatro Solis hosts internationally renowned performers at the city's most historic venue, located in the heart of the "Old City" off the Plaza Independencia.
Be sure to take advantage of the local afternoon siesta in order to keep going strong all night. Save a couple daylight hours, though, for Uruguay's largest art collection, housed in the Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales. With works from various prominent Uruguayans, the museum offers a look at the nation's most creative minds, and is situated in the midst of the natural beauty of the Parque Rodó.
Named the "most 24-hour city" in a 2011 study by the BBC, the capital of Egypt is often called Umm ad-Dunya — Arabic for the "Mother of the World" — and, like most mothers, it doesn't get nearly enough sleep. Equal to the sound of calls to prayer from ancient minarets is the nonstop noise of traffic and music pulsing from nightclubs until dawn.
Whether you want modern music and cocktails or a more regional experience such as belly dancing, Cairo has you covered. You aren't limited to entertainment, though; the city's Khan Al-Khalili, a famous bazaar, offers everything from spices to rugs to clothing, souvenirs, and more, and many stalls are open well into the night, allowing you to get your shopping done whenever the mood strikes.
Take advantage of the city's location for a river cruise along the Nile, which can take you to places like Giza to see the Great Pyramids and the inscrutable Sphinx. In the heart of Cairo itself, don't sleep away the opportunity to walk through Tahrir Square, home to government buildings and the historically significant seat of revolution in the country.