Knowing where to go and what to do for a night out can be challenging when you’re traveling. At home, you and your friends probably have a regular rotation of bars, restaurants, and entertainment in your city that you don’t usually diverge from. After all, if something’s not broken, why try to fix it? That being said, a vacation is the perfect occasion for stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new. Here are a few suggestions for how to do just that at different types of venues you can often find at popular destinations around the world.
1. Dinner Theaters
Whether it’s to see a movie or a live performance, dinner theaters are always a nice treat while on vacation. They can sometimes be a little pricey, which is why they’re definitely best reserved for special occasions, but they tend to be worth it!
Some theaters are more traditional in that they feel like regular venues, just with food and drink readily available; others are a bit more immersive, like the Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament experience, which stages medieval jousts and duels for dining guests. This particular show has locations around the U.S., and some similarly over-the-top but delightful chains exist in other countries as well.
Most people probably don’t play at casinos on a regular basis and prefer to instead save this as a very occasional option. Others may be more used to finding casino games online, where live poker options, endless slot arcades, dedicated bingo sites, and more have created a fairly comprehensive environment.
However, a vacation can be the perfect time to indulge yourself in some in-person gaming, if it’s something that interests you. Casinos are more widely available in some parts of the world than others (notably, Europe and Southeast Asia, though these aren’t the only examples), which means it’s always worth seeing if this will be an option for a night out at your destination.
And keep in mind, physical casinos offer a lot more than gaming. You can often enjoy live performances, restaurants and bars, and sometimes even complimentary drinks if you do gamble (even if you’re keeping it cheap).
3. Dueling Piano Bars
Dueling piano bars are just a ton of fun. If you haven’t been to one, the concept is pretty simple: Two musicians perform together, each on a separate piano, often take requests from the audience, singing, trading off melodies, and cracking jokes. Most venues with dueling pianos offer dinner options and extensive cocktail menus, so you can easily spend your entire evening at one of these bars.
They tend to be pretty easily found in towns that do regular tourism business, whereas you may have a hard time finding one in your hometown.
This highly entertaining musical tradition has been around since the early 1930s as well, which means there can also be a sort of vague air of vintage entertainment about the experience.
4. Comedy Clubs
My last suggestion for something unique to do while on vacation is to visit a local comedy club. Unless you’re a stand-up performer or enthusiast, it’s likely that you don’t see acts too regularly, so this will be a nice treat. If you go somewhere small, the entry price is likely to be minimal (or non-existent), which naturally can make it even more appealing if you’re sticking to a tight travel budget.
Some bigger venues can cost a bit more, but may also be more likely to draw famous acts, if you’re hoping to see someone recognizable. That said, famous comedians will sometimes show up to perform at little-known venues as well, both for a change of pace and to test out new material – so you never know who you may end up seeing!
I hope that with these suggestions you’ll have an easier time figuring out how to spend your evenings the next time you’re traveling in an unfamiliar city. There’s always something to be said for simply exploring or taking locals’ recommendations as well, but the above tips should hold up at most popular destinations.