Special Report

The Best States for a Night Out

If you’re looking for a great night out, some states are more affordable and offer more opportunities to imbibe and to party than others. And based on survey results, you might be surprised where those states are.

To compile a list of the best states for a night out, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a report by Nasty Gal, an American retailer specializing in fashion for young women. They considered the average costs of a cocktail, a bottle of mid-range wine purchased retail (presumably pertinent if your night out includes sipping vino on a park bench), a dress from a retail store (Nasty Girl uses the Briticism “high street store”), a five-mile cab ride, and a fast-food dinner such as a McDonald’s Big Mac meal, as well as the number of bars and clubs per 1,000 residents and the number of them rated five stars. Each factor was included in a weighted scoring system to arrive at a total score.

You might think the best states for a night out would be places like California, New York, and Florida, but according to Nasty Gal, that is not the case. If you want to party in a safe space and not run up a big bill, the Midwest, non-coastal Western, and New England states are where you want to be.

Wisconsin grades out as the best state for a night out because the average price for cocktails, $7.30, is the lowest of any state. The Badger State also has the highest number of bars and clubs per 100,000 population at 19. (Here’s a complete list of the states with the most bars per person.) 

Wyoming is in second place because of affordability factors. A bottle of wine in the Equality State will set you back $9.66, a fast-food meal is just $5.90, and a dress may be had for $26.11 – the lowest prices in any state.

Vermont was the third-best state for a night out based on its list-topping safety score. The three safest states for a night out are in New England – Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire. In addition, if you’ve imbibed too much and opt for a cab, the cost of a five-mile ride in Vermont is $10.39, the lowest of any state.

Click here to see all the best states for a night out
Click here to read our detailed methodology

California and Texas, the nation’s two most populous states, are at or near the bottom of the list. Despite its glamor and glitz, California has one of the lowest ratios of bars and clubs per capita – and an average cocktail costs a list-leading $15.30.  

Texas ranks at the bottom of the list because of the high costs for dresses and low safety score. Four Southern states – Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Arkansas – ranked the lowest for safety on the list. (You’ll be better off in one of America’s least dangerous states.)

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