Puerto Vallarta

Outdoorsy Vallarta switches gears after dark and rocks into the wee hours. When the beachgoers and sightseers have been showered and fed, Vallarta kicks up its heels and puts the baby to bed. Happy hour in martini lounges sets the stage for an evening that might include a show, live music, or just hobnobbing under the stars at a rooftop bar.

Many hotels have Mexican fiesta dinner shows, which can be lavish affairs with buffet dinners, folk dances, and even fireworks. Tour groups and individuals—mainly middle-age and older Americans and Canadians—make up the audience at the Saturday-night buffet dinner show at Playa Los Arcos and other hotels. Vaqueros (cowboys) do rope tricks and dancers perform Mexican regional or pseudo-Aztec dances. The late-late crowd gets down after midnight at dance clubs, some of which stay open until 6 am.

The scene mellows as you head north and south of Puerto Vallarta. In Punta Mita (aka Punta de Mita), Bucerías, Sayulita, and San Francisco (aka San Pancho), local restaurants provide live music; the owners usually scare up someone good once or twice a week in high season. Along the Costalegre, tranquility reigns. Most people head here for relaxation, and nightlife generally takes the form of stargazing, drink in hand. If you're visiting June through October (low season), attend live performances whenever offered, as they are few and far between.

Although there's definitely crossover, many Mexicans favor the upscale bars and clubs of the Hotel Zone and Marina Vallarta hotels, while foreigners tend to like the Mexican flavor of places downtown and on the south side (the Zona Romántica), where dress is decidedly more casual.

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  • 1. Act II Entertainment

    Zona Romántica | Cabaret

    A breath of fresh air in the nightlife scene of Puerto Vallarta, Act II is a multigenre theater, cabaret, and sophisticated bar all in one....Read More

  • 2. El patio de mi casa

    El Centro | Bars/Pubs

    The go-to place for the artistic community of PV, El patio de mia casa is advertised as a sandwich shop, pizza place, and vegetarian/vegan haven...Read More

  • 3. Los Muertos Brewing Company

    Zona Romántica | Bars/Pubs

    If you love a good beer, Los Muertos Brewing Company is for you. The first craft brewery in Puerto Vallarta offers a relaxed atmosphere and...Read More

  • 4. Roxy Rock House

    Zona Romántica | Live Music

    Puerto Vallarta's only rock house is a very energetic club that features live music every night at 11 pm. Roxy is an institution in this town...Read More

  • 5. Strana

    Zona Hotelera | Dance Clubs

    This stylish nightclub seems to be a bit small, but it features an enormous dance floor. The lights and sound systems are state-of-the-art,...Read More

  • 6. Andale

    Zona Romántica | Bars/Pubs

    Most nights, crowds spill out onto the sidewalk as party-hearty men and women shimmy out of the narrow saloon, drinks in hand, to the strains...Read More

  • 7. Apaches

    Zona Romántica | Bars/Pubs

    It's gay friendly, lesbian friendly, people friendly. Heck, owner Mariann and her partner, Endra, would probably welcome you and your pet...Read More

  • 8. Bar Bolero Vallarta

    Zona Romántica | Bars/Pubs

    Looking for a small bar with an authentic taste of Puerto Vallarta? Bolero is just what you need—a cozy little bar with a pool table and not...Read More

  • 9. BarraBar

    Zona Hotelera | Dance Clubs

    A nightclub where the oldies rule! It's the typical posh Mexican antro (nightclub) where nobody actually dances, but everybody seems to be...Read More

  • 10. Bebotero

    El Centro | Dance Clubs

    This upscale, second-story nightclub has live rock. Although it opens nightly after 7, music doesn't start until 10 or 11; closing time is 4...Read More

  • 11. Blanco y Negro

    Zona Hotelera | Dance Clubs

    Here's a wonderful place for a quiet drink. The intimate café-bar is comfortable yet rustic, with equipale (leather-and-wood) love seats and...Read More

  • 12. Blue Chairs

    Zona Romántica | Bars/Pubs

    In addition to its famous beach scene, Blue Chairs, at the south end of Los Muertos Beach, has the popular Blue Sunset Rooftop Bar, which...Read More

  • 13. Burro's Bar

    Zona Romántica | Bars/Pubs

    Right on the sand across from Parque Lázaro Cárdenas, this restaurant-bar has bargain brewskis and equally inexpensive fruity margaritas by...Read More

  • 14. Café San Angel

    Zona Romántica | Cafés

    It's moody and romantic, with tables along the sidewalk and comfortable couches and chairs inside, and is a favorite with locals and the gay...Read More

  • 15. Cervecería Unión

    El Centro | Bars/Pubs

    A favorite with the locals, this is a delightful place to have a quality beer and enjoy some of the best oysters in town. In fact, it's the...Read More

  • 16. El Faro

    Marina Vallarta | Bars/Pubs

    Here you can admire the bay and marina from atop a 110-foot lighthouse. It's mainly a baby-boomer crowd (think yachters) and open daily after...Read More

  • 17. El Solar

    El Centro | Bars/Pubs

    This oceanfront bar is just the way a beach bar is supposed to be—small, hip, and laid-back—making it a real pleasure to enjoy a beer while...Read More

  • 18. Frida

    Zona Romántica | Bars/Pubs

    We've heard this place described as "the gay Cheers of Mexico." It's a friendly neighborhood cantina where you'll meet middle-aged to older...Read More

  • 19. Garbo

    Zona Romántica | Bars/Pubs

    This isn't necessarily the kind of place where you'll strike up a conversation with the guy on the next barstool; rather, it's an upscale place...Read More

  • 20. J&B Dance Club

    Zona Hotelera | Dance Clubs

    People call it "Hota Bay" (it's how you pronounce the letters "j" and "b" in Spanish), and it's the best club in town for salsa. The crowd varies...Read More

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