Lonely Planet’s ultimate party cities
Cape Town, South Africa
With the 2010 World Cup bringing a global audience to South Africa, the partying will only get harder as travellers converge on a city already well known for nightlife. Luxuriate on some of the world's best beaches by day and kick back under the moonlight at suave cocktail bars by night. Two hours east, in the Indian Ocean, lies the elegant beach village of Mossel Bay, with more great beaches and chic flair. Visitors must try some of the wines crafted by South Africa's world-renowned vintners, either at a Cape Town bar or at one of several wineries nearby.
Since the 1990s, when it started taking off as a hub for Caspian Sea oil and gas, Baku has been transformed. It is left its former existence as communist backwater to become a buzzing hive of Western capitalism - all without forsaking the indigenous delights of its Turkic traditions. And this newfound economic stimulation has not failed to influence urban nightlife. The cash injection from energy projects, enhanced by the presence of thousands of international oil workers and wealthy consultants, has turned Baku into an oasis of excess in an otherwise fairly traditional Muslim country. You will find the best bars, clubs and restaurants around Fountain Square.
Auckland, New Zealand
Myriad cafes, bars and dinner clubs cater to a hip young clientele. Try the glittering waterfront for smart bars, and hit the happening clubs (some stay open 24 hours). There are plenty of live shows on offer too, from folk in Devonport to louder sounds at Mt Eden. If you do not get drunk, you can always walk off the Sky Tower - the southern hemisphere's tallest structure - a 328m cable-controlled drop in which jumpers reach a speed of 85kmh.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Like elsewhere in the greater Mediterranean, Israel's capital of fun gets going late. The endless bars, pubs and cocktail venues start to fill up by midnight, from which point the nightclubs get revved up with dancing till dawn. Nowadays an international crowd joins native Israelis for a mixed bag of funk, pop, house and techno (in addition to live shows small and large) at the city's dozens of entertainment hotspots. Tel Aviv has a relaxed, hedonistic air and prides itself on being gay-friendly and outgoing.