Many travelers think of Germany as a straight-laced, orderly country where travel consists of perfectly preserved castles, medieval villages, and important historic sites. But they don’t often think of it as a place to let their hair down and head out to the clubs. And that’s a huge mistake!
After all, this is the same country that became the center of the world’s house and electronic music scene across various cities, and its capital is known for having one of the most vibrant, eclectic, and creative nightlife atmospheres in the world!
This country is a fantastic place to party, you just need to know where to look. Keep reading for our list of the best party cities in Germany.
We couldn’t start this list off with any other city. Berlin is an absolute mecca for anyone who wants to get loose on a dance floor or spend their nights bar-hopping while they watch wild performance art or listen to fantastic live music. In fact, Berlin is notorious for having one of the “craziest” nightlife scenes in all of Europe.
There’s something for everyone here, and it would take months before you saw all of the best parts of Berlin nightlife that the city has to offer. Take a look at some of the best districts for visitors who want to experience the capital after the sun sets:
- Warschauer Strasse: Located in what was formerly known as East Berlin, Warschauer Strasse is not just the techno center of Berlin – it’s the techno center of the country! Here you’ll find trendy bars, clubs, and discotheques, all set against the grungy industrial backdrop of the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district.
- Kreuzberg: For alternative bars, hipster venues, unique party space, late-night art and performance exhibitions, and any of your other counter-cultural needs, head to Kreuzberg.
- Mitte: Translating to “middle,” Mitte is very much the center of nighttime activity for tourists, because of its proximity to many major city attractions. Rosenthaler Platz and Alexanderplatz are worth checking out for their bars and underground music venues.
- Nollendorf Platz: Nollendorf Platz has long been the LGBTQ+ heart of the German capital, and it remains so to this day. Many of the venues along the Motzstrasse and Fuggerstrasse are owned and operated by members of the gay community.
The major commercial and financial center of Germany, it’s no surprise that Frankfurt has a nightlife to match. And despite what you might be thinking, it’s not full of swank wine bars with mind-blowingly expensive drinks, or exclusive cocktail lounges for traveling bankers and businessmen. In fact, compared to neighboring cities it is best known for its very active house and techno scene, as well as its large student presence (so you know people are partying!) and a solid group of live jazz venues to boot! If that wasn’t enough, Frankfurt is considered by many to be one of the birthplaces of trance music.
If you’re looking to get down and dirty in the Hessian capital, these are the best places to check out:
- Sachsenhausen: The traditional drinking center of the city, with plenty of affordable bars and taverns serving the famous and ubiquitously enjoyed local beverage apfelwein (a strong regional apple cider). A good place to mingle with locals and other tourists. Just west of here you’ll find Robert Johnson, one of the world’s most iconic techno clubs.
- Bockenheim: located in central Frankfurt, this is known as a student district, populated with cheap bars and plenty of late-night parties.
- Bahnhofsviertel: The so-called “red light district” of Frankfurt, with some of the city’s most popular bars, and only a short drive from Tanzhaus West, one of the city’s best underground clubs.
- Bornheim: A rather upmarket area of the city, where you’ll find luxury nightclubs and more expensive bars.
- Salzhaus: Cocktail bars abound in Salzhaus, making it the perfect spot for a fun date night or a night out with the girls (or guys!)
Believe it or not, the city of Hamburg is considered by many to have one of the most underrated nightlife scenes in all of Europe! This shouldn’t so surprising, as this Hanseatic city is the second-largest in Germany, and the largest port city, and has long been referred to as Germany’s “Gateway to the World.”
When people think of Hamburg nightlife they tend to think of the Reeperbahn, a single road packed with lively bars, clubs, theatres, and live music. The Reeperbahn is the heart of Hamburg after hours and a must if you are visiting the city. But it isn’t the only great spot for partying. Here are the top areas to check out in Hamburg if you’re looking for nightlife:
- Reeperbahn: the aforementioned party street is home to iconic live music venues like Grosse Freiheit 36 and Zwick St. Pauli, and fantastic cocktail bars such as Clouds (the highest bar in Hamburg), Glanz & Gloria, and 3Freunde Cocktailbar.
- Große Freiheit: A sidestreet from the Reeperbahn, Große Freiheit is packed full of colorful bars, burlesque clubs, and adult entertainment venues.
- Sternschanze: The Sternschanze is the alternative district not far from the Reeperbahn, perhaps best known for the infamous Rote Flora theatre. While you’re here check out the ever-changeable Kulturhaus 73, atmospheric Absinth Bar, and the moody Le Fonque which hosts live DJs every night.
- Altona: Though it is a more quiet residential area, Altona has its share of excellent lounge bars, theatres, and cinemas, if you’re looking for a more laidback night. It is also home to Altes Mädchen, a historic brewery with an excellent selection of craft beers.
Considering that Oktoberfest, the world’s biggest beer festival is held here every year, you’ll be forgiven for thinking that Munich’s nightlife is largely comprised of beer halls. And while Bavarians do love their beer, there’s much more to the city’s part scene than that.
In fact, every other month of the year the city nightlife is largely known for its trendy, upscale bars and clubs. As a result, revelry in Munich is also a little more expensive than other German party cities like Berlin and Hamburg, but it’s a great spot for those who like their fun a little upmarket and sophisticated. Here are some of the best spots to check out during a stay in the Bavarian capital:
- Zephyr Bar: With its exotic and everchanging drink menu, this elegant gin bar is a well-loved establishment in the city center – make sure you go early to grab a seat!
- Zum Wolf: Zum Wolf is a trendy, red-lit speakeasy that has long been a central hub for Munich’s thriving LGBTQ+ community.
- Harry Klein: One of the most popular clubs in Munich, Harry Klein is a vibey, minimalist with two floors and excellent lineups including local and international DJs.
- MMA: Built in an old abandoned warehouse (in typical German party tradition), this industrial space is used both as a nightclub and a venue for art exhibitions and events.
Cologne is known for its effortless charm and centuries’ worth of priceless history, from its museums, galleries, archaeological sites, and historic buildings. But when the sun sets, it’s very much a modern metropolis full of plenty of things to do and see. It even has the highest number of pubs in the country, per capita!
Here is our pick for some of the best bars, pubs, and nightclubs that you absolutely must visit during your next trip to Cologne:
- Seibert’s: If you’re in the city you can’t miss Seibert’s! This comfy, ambient bar is the definition of atmosphere, and even made the list of the “10 most influential bars in Europe”.
- Spirits Bar: A high-quality bar popular with travelers and locals alike, you’re sure to enjoy any drink you try, whether it’s a signature experimental cocktail or a local craft beer.
- 1460: One of the most unique hideaways you can find almost anywhere, 1460 is a gorgeous and atmospheric cocktail lounge hidden under the arches of the Klein St Martin chapel, a 500-year old institution of the city.
- Engel & Weiss: Translating to “Angels & White,” you won’t be surprised by the frills and snow-white decor of this next establishment. A mix between cocktail bar and nightclub, you can easily spend the night dancing and schmoozing here.
Known by many as a trendy alternative to booming Berlin just two hours drive away, Leipzig has fast become one of Germany’s most liveable cities. So naturally, as more students and young professionals have flocked to the city, the local nightlife has grown with it. If you’re traveling in Leipzig and want to make the most of your night, we recommend stopping by at some of these excellent establishments:
- Distillery: Opened not long after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Distillery is one of the oldest house and techno clubs in the country. It still holds fast to its stellar reputation and regularly features some of Germany’s best DJs and techno acts.
- Auerbachs Keller: Nestled in the heart of Leipzig’s old town, Auerbachs Keller is one of the city’s oldest wine bars (built in the 1500s!) and is a must-see attraction for any history lover, or indeed anyone who just wants to enjoy a drink.
- La Boum: Art lovers are sure to fall in love with this unique bar, both for its excellent drinks menu and the abstract art that covers its walls.
- Täubchenthal: Located in a former trading estate hall, this enormous club is one of Leipzig’s hottest venues. It’s a great place to catch both local and international acts, or just to enjoy a boogie with your friends on the weekend.
Which German city is best for nightlife?
Berlin is widely considered to be the best place for nightlife, and the city prides itself on its immense range of activities, attractions, and top-notch venues for people who want to party. It offers something for everyone – whether you’re looking for high-brow theater or exhilarating burlesque shows, if you want to enjoy mellow jazz at a swank cocktail lounger, raucous rock music, or world-class DJs.
Does Germany have a vibrant nightlife?
There are plenty of vibrant nightlife opportunities to be found in Germany, it just depends on where you’re staying. Some smaller cities are far quieter and have quite a restrained nightlife. But all in all, the major German cities have a great reputation for partying and late-night entertainment, with some of the best clubs and music venues in Europe if not the world.
Where do German people go to party?
Like all countries across the world, most of Germany’s cities have their own central districts that are known for having popular clubs, bars, and other entertainment venues. In Germany, people tend to party in bars and nightclubs, though beer halls and traditional German taverns are also popular amongst locals. Music festivals are also commonly attended by the younger German population.
What are the most popular party destinations in Germany?
Aside from Berlin, which has the largest population and the most famously vibrant nightlife in the country, cities like Frankfurt and Hamburg are also known for their impressive range of clubs, bars, and other late-night venues. These three are widely considered to be the best party cities in Germany.