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Night on the Town: 14 Tips for a Better Night Out

Night on the Town - How to Choose What to Do

Updated on: Feb 17, 2024

Looking to make plans for you and your friends this weekend? This is a common dilemma that stumps people every day. It’s always nice to find fun activities for a memorable night on the town.

What are you going out for? Is it to celebrate a recent accomplishment or just a casual reunion with your closest friends? Perhaps finally landed that date? These are important questions to keep in mind when deciding on what to do for the night.

The first step is to find out what local hot spots there are in your area. Then, narrow down your choices from there. Use this article as a tool to help you choose the places and activities you want to plan for this weekend.

Things To Consider Before Going Out

1. Budget

Of course, the first deciding factor is going to be how much this night out on the town will cost. If you plan on going to microbrewery restaurants or Irish bars, you may have to pay a little more. Alcohol is expensive and depending on where you go, the menu may not be cheap either. Look online and browse through the location ahead of time to estimate how much you may end up spending, and don’t forget the tip! You may even find that a jazz nightclub has free live entertainment which won’t cost you anything.

nightlife time


2. Patience

If you don’t like waiting in lines, then popular restaurants may be out of the question. Any business is going to be busier on the weekend, especially dining establishments. If you don’t mind waiting up to an hour for dinner, then find a great place to eat! Popular dance nightclubs or bars may have a line to get in, but those don’t require as long of a wait.

3. Style

If you and your friends are the types of people who like to dress up and make an impression, then dance clubs would be an excellent option. Some may even have a dress code. Get your groove on all night long and even into the early hours of the next day!

If you hate wearing anything but comfy jeans and a t-shirt, then take your gang out to some brewpubs instead. These establishments do not have a dress code of any sort; so feel free to be as comfortable as you please. Being over or underdressed is more important than you may think, as it can make you feel uncomfortable or out of place.

4. Mood

What do you and your friends feel like doing? Maybe it’s a Friday night and you all just came off of a stressful workweek. You can think about letting loose at a party-like setting or maybe just stay inside a comfy restaurant setting and enjoy some good food and drinks. Otherwise, it could’ve been a boring work week and you all are looking for more excitement. Perhaps look into an arcade, bowling alley, or mini-golf!

5. Purpose

If you just want to sit down and catch up with your loved ones, then choose bars over nightclubs. If you want to go out and meet new people, then do the opposite. Your venue of choice will depend on what your motive is for going out, as well as a combination of the other things listed above.

nightlife bar


6. Stay At Home

There are many ways to capture the essence of a typical fun night on the town within the comfort of your own home. Perhaps you can host a small movie night and prepare some food and snacks. You can also just play some of your favorite music and decide to jam out with your friends as if you were all out at a dance club. A karaoke night is just as easy to plan at home. Just hook up your device to the TV and set up some microphones for more immersion.

7. Transportation

How do you plan to get back home at the end of the night? Having a designated driver isn't always guaranteed. The alternative is that you could have an Uber or Lyft driver come and take everyone home at the end of the night, however it could be pricy if there are multiple locations and long distances to cover. Always have a plan.

Places To Spend Your Night On The Town

The weekend is coming up, and finally, we have something to look forward to. After months and months of closures to keep everyone safe, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs are beginning to open safely. After all of this staying home, you are definitely in need of a night out of the house.

Lucky for you, there are plenty of venue options that are sure to give you a good time with your friends, as well as the opportunity to meet people. Not sure where to spend your night on the town? Or are you afraid of not knowing the dos and don’ts of each location? Let this list be your guide to understanding what each type of venue is all about, and how to enjoy each one to the fullest.

8. Restaurants

Okay, you definitely have your go-to eateries. If you’re just looking for a bite to eat with the family or with the homies, then these are the places you should be looking for. These locations are focused on preparing and serving food and drinks to customers, making them the most family-friendly venues in this list. Restaurants come in many shapes and sizes, with a variety of themes and food offerings—casual dining restaurants, like Islands or Applebee’s, or maybe somewhere local and personal.

nightlife food


9. Microbreweries and Breweries

Microbreweries are breweries that produce a limited volume of beer, specifically 15,000 barrels or less per year. The small size of these breweries allows for carefully made “craft beer” flavors unique to each brewery. Most states prevent microbreweries from selling directly to consumers, so much of a company’s craft beer is sold off-site in bars or restaurants.

However, in states that allow microbreweries to sell to consumers (notably California, Texas, and New York), microbreweries are often attached to restaurants or open a “brewpub”: a bar that specializes in craft beer. Most brewpubs feature a casual atmosphere and offer anything from small snacks to full-course meals. Because of their wide selection of food and drink offerings, brewpubs are great places to dine and enjoy your favorite local craft.

10. Comedy Club

Often overlooked by the average night on the town, comedy clubs are an excellent place for entertainment and drinks. Having a night on the town at a comedy club can easily be your next location for a date or for your friends to meet up for hours. There is a ticket price to get into the show, but once you are inside you will be entertained for hours truly a night on the town.

11. LGBTQ+ Clubs

As the name suggests, these bars are predominantly catered to an LGBTQ+ clientele. Some may be exclusively for the community, but a variety of people are welcome into these establishments to have a good time. An LGBTQ+ bar aims to create a fun, inclusive, and safe environment where people can have fun and express themselves. Please be mindful to respect the owners and other patrons as you would any bar. Depending on the bar, some host events or performances related to the LGBTQ+ communities. Whether or not you’re a member of the community, please be mindful to respect others and show support!

nightlife rainbow


12. Bars

As you probably know, bars are venues designed to serve alcohol, often present in cities. Unlike pubs, bars feature a broad range of liquor and cocktail offerings, along with a limited selection of traditional beer and wine. You usually can’t get food at a bar, so don’t come hungry. Bars often have a busy ambiance, often with low lighting, loud music, and dance floors.

Like restaurants, bars come in all shapes and sizes: sports bars, dance bars, karaoke bars, and LGBTQ+ bars, to name a few. Bar-hopping, or the practice of visiting multiple bars in a night, is very common in big cities, especially for bars with a younger clientele. Bars can be super fun, but be sure to be safe and responsible! It’s always best to go in a group, and you’ll feel more secure if you’re surrounded by familiar faces and drinking responsibly.

13. Night Clubs

Also called dance clubs or just “clubs,” these places are large venues for dancing, entertainment, and socialization that operate late into the evening or early the next morning. Though clubs sell alcohol, these venues differ from bars, taverns, or pubs by having a dance floor, loud dance music, DJ booth, bottle service, and possibly laser lights. You usually have to pay to get into a club, as well - security at the door won’t just let you walk in.

Some prestigious nightclubs may exclusively let people in based on age, gender, or whether or not they’re on a guest list. Most also have a strict dress code - no jeans in the club. Despite their seeming exclusivity, clubs are extraordinarily fun places to go with friends during a night on the town.

nightlife disco

14. Jazz Clubs

Though the name may suggest otherwise, jazz clubs aren’t always “clubs” in the nightclub sense: they include any restaurant, bar, or nightclub that features live performances of jazz music. Sometimes, these venues are attached to other venues (like in the basement of a restaurant), but more often, they exist as their own establishment. These venues tend to attract both music enthusiasts and casual listeners alike. Frequently, the best jazz clubs are located near music schools in metropolitan areas like southern California, New York, and, of course, New Orleans.


Sometimes just wanting to reunite and catch up with your friends negates the pressure of having to plan for the perfect venue or activity. On the other hand, it’s always nice to match the vibe of the night with the atmosphere of a more exciting venue with thrilling activities with a night on the town.

Regardless of what you decide to do, make sure that you’re all staying safe. It can be easy to get carried away and lose your sense of self. Drink responsibly and remember to have fun!

Now that you know what you’re doing, stay safe and have fun out there. The night is waiting.

Written by Kimberly Vona; Contributors: Cal Fiala and Royce Legaspi

Cal Fiala

Cornell College

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