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. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. 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

  • 11. 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

  • 12. La Noche

    Zona Romántica | Bars/Pubs

    This charming martini lounge has red walls and a huge, eye-catching chandelier. Gringo-owned, it attracts a crowd of gay 20- to 40-year-old...Read More

  • 13. Pie in the Sky Vallarta

    Zona Romántica | Cafés

    Come for the excellent coffee as well as the most scrumptious pies, cookies, and cakes. There's free Wi-Fi for those with their trusty laptops...Read More

  • 14. Playa Los Arcos

    Zona Romántica | Themed Entertainment

    This place has a theme dinner show three nights a week and live music every night. The most popular theme night is Saturday's Mexico Night,...Read More

  • 15. Sama Martini Bar

    Zona Romántica | Wine Bars

    A nice, sophisticated martini bar in the heart of the Zona Romántica, Sama is a cozy little place with a lovely terrace just by the sidewalk...Read More

  • 16. Steve's Bar

    Zona Romántica | Bars/Pubs

    With NASCAR on Sunday morning, NFL on Monday night, hockey, indispensable motocross, and welterweight fights, Steve's is a sports mecca. Five...Read More

  • 17. La Iguana

    Col. E. Zapata | Themed Entertainment

    Enjoy Vallarta's original dinner show Thursday nights at 7 pm. Large troupes of professional mariachis entertain, beautiful women dance in colorful...Read More

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