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15 places to party sort of like a rock star
Drink, dance and get dirty: Bring on the world's best party destinations
Strobe lights, high heels, foam parties and tropical drinks accessorized with mini umbrellas ... if you’re on the hunt for hedonistic hot spots where you can leave conventions (and often your clothes) at the door, look no further.
Here are the top 15 international destinations for party animals looking to let loose and get wild.
1. Full Moon Party, Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand
Each month, when the moon is full, some 20,000 international fun-seekers find themselves at the crescent-shaped beach of Haad Rin for this infamous all-night party.
Hip travelers from around the world pound back buckets of cheap potent booze, watch fire-eaters, and dance to the beat of throbbing techno.
Hopping from bar to bar blasting a cacophony of electronica, you’re guaranteed to lose your shoes somewhere along the sandy white beaches and -- if you consume too much of the locally brewed Sangsom whiskey -- you might also lose your mind.
More information is available here.
2. Marquee, Las Vegas, United States
When in Sin City, check out the latest and coolest super club to hit the scene -- Marquee Nightclub, a humongous space with seven bars, a projection stage, LED DJ booth, massive outdoor pool and Colosseum-style banquette seating (Cosmopolitan Hotel, 3708 Las Vegas Boulevard South +1 877 551 7778).
If you’re still up for more partying come Sunday afternoon, head to the hip Hard Rock Hotel for Rehab. This raging legendary pool party has been described as "Spring Break on steroids." (4455 Paradise Road, +1 702 693 5000).
You can avoid queues and bouncer drama with Vegas VIP, a luxury travel agency specializing in VIP nightlife and party services. Bachelors may enjoy the “Hangover Package” or the “Charlie Sheen,” with limo transfers and exclusive access to strip clubs Spearmint Rhino, Crazy Horse III and Sapphire.
3. Baronneti, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
New Year’s Eve and Carnival are some of the craziest times to visit sultry Rio De Janeiro, but even on a typical day, the party transcends the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana.
Dance clubs, cafés, restaurants and bars play the latest disco, house, trance, pop, funk and hip-hop.
Baroneti, one of the best-known nightclubs in Ipanema, sports a stylish interior, a large dance floor and celebrity DJs (Rua Barão da Torre 354 Ipanema, +021 2522 1460, www.baronneti.com.br).
If you’re looking to club-hop, other hot spots include Sky Lounge in Lagoa; Melt in Leblon or large clubs like the Hard Rock Café in Barra. More beautiful people and frosted caipirinhas than you can handle.
4. Paradise Club, Mykonos, Greece
This Mediterranean island is a party playground for adults and one of the wildest of the Greek Islands.
By day, many head to Paradise Beach for nude sun-worshippers and frat boy parties. At night, check out the newly opened Paradise Club (+306 937259034, www.paradiseclubmykonos.com).
The biggest club on the island hosts three levels, an exclusive VIP area, and a swimming pool where you can party under the moon.
5. The Calgary Stampede, Canada
The Calgary Stampede, the world’s largest rodeo, draws an estimated 250,000 wannabe cowgirls and cowboys looking to drink beer, yell yee-haw and soak up the Wild West lifestyle.
Activities include bull riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling, tie-down roping and chuck wagon racing and shots of Jägermeister. Next year’s event (July 6-15, 2012) marks the Stampede’s 100th anniversary so giddyap! (+1 800 2610 1010)
6. Holi, India and in Hindu communities around the world
Holi is an annual two-day Hindu festival that takes place around the world every spring (next year's will be on March 8-9, 2012).
Much like the Thai new year celebration, Songkran, Holi is a huge public water fight, but with a dash of color. Revelers fling powder and water at each other, turning devotees and the odd cow into walking canvasses, splattered head to toe in bright pinks, reds and blues.
This religious event marks tradition, celebrates renewal and releases your inner Picasso.
7. Bay to Breakers, San Francisco, United States
A San Francisco tradition for nearly 100 years, Bay to Breakers is a 11-kilometer footrace and costume party held every third Sunday in May.
One of the world’s most colorful races, Bay to Breakers draws both serious athletes and goofy party types dressed in tutus, wigs, Elvis costumes or even nothing at all.
Some 70,000 people gather downtown for live music, outdoor food and an awesome, alcohol-fueled post-run street celebration.
8. La Tomatina, Buñol, Spain
Mom always said you shouldn’t play with your food … unless, that is, you’re at La Tomatina, a saucy tomato-throwing event that takes place the last Wednesday in August.
A tradition since 1945, an estimated 30,000 revellers descend on the tiny town of Buñol to join the world’s largest food fight.
This giant tomato-tossing fiesta is part of a week-long festival honoring their patron saint. Here are a few tips about participating in La Tomatina.
9. Burning Man, Black Rock City, United States
For one week, some 50,000 costume-clad visitors travel from all over the world to celebrate humanity, creativity, music, nudity, charity and chemically-induced happiness.
Burning Man is a playground for adults with mutant art cars, massive art installations, fire jugglers and spiritual awakenings -- all culminating in the burning of an effigy of a man.
This epic event runs on a full barter system and the only things you can buy are ice and coffee. It’s a sensory overload, a magical city, an exercise in desert survival -- and one helluva party.
10. Mardi Gras, New Orleans, United States
For the quintessential Mardi Gras experience of beads, boobs and booze, head to Bourbon Street in the heart of New Orleans' French Quarter.
There you’ll find masked partiers indulging in non-stop alcohol (which can be legally consumed in the street) and shenanigans before the threat of Lent kicks in.
This street fest celebrates southern decadence with dollar beers, stiff whisky and "hand grenades," a potent potion of rum, gin, vodka, grain alcohol, melon liquor and mint that’s guaranteed to give you a hangover.
11. Santacon, cities around the world
Pictures thousands of drunk happy Santas roaming the city streets of New York City, London, Berlin, Beijing and more, singing dirty Christmas jingles, spanking Rudolph, spreading cheer and Peppermint schapps.
This one-day event takes place mid-December and is a “non-denominational, non-commercial, non-political and nonsensical Santa Claus convention that occurs once a year for absolutely no reason,” according to the organizers.
Santacon is a fun and always feisty way to rock the ho-ho-holiday.
12. Sky Bar, South Beach, Miami, United States
Known for its luxurious beachfront boutique hotels, fancy restaurants and Spring Break party scene, South Beach along the "American Riviera" is the place to rock out.
Sky Bar at the Shore Club (901 Collins Avenue +1 305 695 3288, www.shoreclub.com) offers a gigantic outdoor living room for mingling.
It’s a tropically landscaped garden of bougainvillea combined with an eclectic mix of Moroccan-inspired furniture, pillows and fountains.
If you’re still up for more, check out Sanctuary Hotel's Roof Lounge. There's also Cameo, Mynt, Privé, Niki Beach and Mansion, the biggest club in South Beach (235 Washington Ave., +1 305 695 8411, www.mansionmiami.com).
A particularly good time to visit Miami is during the electronic Winter Music Conference. This event, in its 27th year, has been called the "Olympics for DJs," attracting electronic music artists from all over the world.
13. Pacha, Ibiza, Spain
Playfully nicknamed the "Gomorrah of the Mediterranean Sea," Ibiza is the European capital of party.
Especially popular with British tourists, this Spanish island boasts legendary clubs such as Pacha. Best known for its house music in the main room, this super-club also hosts five rooms blasting different genres.
Rock out in the Funky Room for a little soulful disco or head up to the rooftop terrace for a cocktail or some mid-party sushi (Avinguda del Vuit d'Agost, +34 971 313 600, www.pacha.com).
One of the birthplaces of the rave and the foam party, Ibiza is the place to go if you’re craving Ministry of Sound–style madness. For a list of upcoming events and world-class DJ appearances, check out Ibiza Spotlight.
14. Le Bar, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Trendy restaurants, hot bars, all-night dance clubs; the capital city of Argentina is well known for its red wine, fine steak and night-owl culture.
It’s very easy to find yourself still up way past sunrise. For an alternative to the dance club scene, head to Le Bar, a popular French martini lounge in the centre of the city, that comes complete with elaborate cocktails, a friendly crowd and huge outdoor rooftop lounge (Tucumán 422; +54 5219 0858, lebarbuenosaires.blogspot.com).
15. Nasa, Reykjavik, Iceland
Home to far-out rockers like Björk, Iceland’s capital city is also known for its big night scene with a small-town vibe.
For those who love to bar-hop, Reykjavik's signature "runtur" sees patrons cruise from bar to bar past 4 a.m. on the weekends sipping on Reyka, a locally distilled lava-rock filtered vodka.
While most of the action is concentrated on Laugavegur and Austurstræti, a classic clubbing choice is Nasa, one of the main venues for live music, ranging from jazz to hardcore rock.
Complete with strobe lights, Reykajavik’s biggest nightclub will play all your favorite party anthems. (Austurvöllur City Centre, 511 1313, www.english.nasa.is)