We all know the drill: Boston isn’t exactly a nightlife town. “Early to bed, early to rise” is the mantra many have been reluctant to adopt, thanks to early last calls and even earlier last trains.
And yet, Uber & Lyft may have made our terrible traffic worse, but they’ve also made it a lot easier to party like the big kids. And it’s not that our city actually lacks for post-sunset shenanigans. Scratch the surface and you’ll find there are plenty of reasons to be out and about past your bedtime. From evening museum visits to late-night disco parties to 24-hour bakeries, a moonlit Boston actually has decent selling points. So if it’s a glimpse beyond the daytime curtain you seek, here is what to do after hours in Boston.
Looking for more information on Boston nightclubs? Check out our club guides below.
Don’t forget – we also have a free mobile app that you can download here. Use the app to see who’s spinning, sign up for guestlists, buy tickets, and book bottle service!
Boston Nightlife FAQ
What’s the nightlife like in Boston?
Compared to cities like NYC, Miami, or LA, it’s not great. But compared to somewhere like Washington DC or Philadelphia it can hold its own.
- There’s a bunch of ridiculous laws like no happy hours, no drink giveaways, weird drink limits (seriously), etc etc.
- Everything, literally everything, closes at 2am. Which means bars do last call at around 1.30am and then you’re back to drinking in your living room.
- Like any “big city”, drinks are expensive.
- For a city of <1m people there’s an awesome amount of variety. You can go from catching an afternoon game at Fenway Park, to dinner at any number of James Beard award winning restaurants, to raging at Illenium. All in the same day, while walking between every location.
- Related to that, there’s a somewhat serious cocktail scene here.
- It’s densely packed. Going “cross town” in Boston is usually at most a 20 minute ride so there’s less of a feeling of getting “stuck” in a neighborhood like happens in LA or Chicago.
- On average, the people are “smart”. This one is tough to quantify but due to the number of elite colleges and types of industry concentrated around the city most of the drinking crowd is at least passably intelligent.
- Sports. Sports. Sports….if you’re into that. Patriots, Celtics, Bruins, Revolution.
All in all, per usual Boston “isn’t New York” but it holds up against its real peer cities. And if you really want to get “weird” you certainly can.
What are the hottest clubs in Boston?
The current hottest clubs in Boston are: Memoire, Big Night Live, Bijou, Venu, Icon, Royale, and Hava.
What are the best music festivals in Boston?
There aren’t really any huge annual music festivals in the Boston area. That said, the best annual music festivals in or around Boston include: Boston Calling, Cambridge Dance Party, Green River Festival, Evolution of Hip Hop Festival, Freshgrass Festival, Together Boston, Salem Jazz and Soul Festival, Boston Jazz Fest, and Sad Summer Festival.
What part of Boston has the best nightlife?
Faneuil hall area downtown is great if you want to chug bud light and hang out with a bunch of 22 year olds from the Boston burbs that are in town for someone’s birthday. North end has more of a restaurant scene but definitely some cool bars too.
Downtown/financial has some pretty nice high end places. Might be a little quiet if you’re really looking for a club. Hawthorne. Oak room. Etc
Cambridge has some serious options. Middle sex if you want to get your euro on. And then lots of places to rub shoulders with ivy leaguers in Harvard square.
What are the best gay clubs/bars in Boston?
The best gay clubs and LGBTQ friendly bars include Club Cafe, Jaque’s Cabaret, DBar, The Eagle, Trophy Room, Machine, Midway Cafe, and Cathedral Station.
What time is last call in Boston?
“Last call” is 1:30 – the last drink must be served 30 minutes prior to last call (2 AM)
What time do clubs close in Boston?
Boston clubs and bars all close at 2 AM.
Is weed legal in Boston?
Yes recreational weed is legal in Boston for anyone 21+.
What are the best EDM clubs in Boston?
The best EDM clubs in Boston are Big Night Live, Memoire, Shrine (Foxwoods), and Royale.
What are the best hip hop clubs in Boston?
The best hip hop spots in Boston include Venu, Tunnel, Bijou, Empire,
What are the best after hours spots in Boston?
Boston isn’t really known as a city that’s open late. There’s a house party scene in Allson Brighton but you have to know someone to find out where the parties are.
Where can I go bar hopping in Boston?
We would recommend going to Faneuil Hall, Fenway Park, TD Garden, or Harvard Square for bar hopping.
Is Boston safe at night?
Boston is a safe city, but as with any major city, you should take the usual safety precautions. Stay in well-populated areas, travel with others, especially at night, and keep track of your belongings.
The tourist areas in Boston are generally safe, but some areas deserve mention. Don’t visit the Boston Common or the Public Garden late at night unless you are there for a large public event, such as a concert. Although long past its hey-day, you should avoid walking in Chinatown and parts of Downtown Crossing, Boston’s red light district, at night too. The North End, the Waterfront area, and the Theatre District are typically full of people and have lots of activity, but you should be cautious very late at night.
What are the best places for day drinking in Boston?
A couple great Boston day drinking spots include: The Landing, Trillium Beer Garden, Citrus & Salt, Rooftop at Revere, Lookout Rooftop Bar, Fool’s Errand, Cisco Seaport, Shore Leave, and Backbar.
Can you drink in public in Boston?
There is no tolerance in Massachusetts for public drinking, especially at special events. To reiterate, alcoholic drinks can only be consumed in a private residence or a place with a liquor license.
Are happy hours illegal in Boston?
Happy hours are all banned under Massachusetts law. Most of the state’s current legislation stems from past alcohol-related incidents. In 1984, then-governor Michael Dukakis signed a bill to outlaw happy hour discounts after a young woman was killed in a drunk driving accident.