Special Report

The Best States for a Night Out

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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.)

Source: RyanJLane / E+ via Getty Images

51. Texas
> Total score: 48.59/100
> Cocktail avg price: $12.30
> Cab avg cost: $19.00 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $9.30
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 4
> Safety score: 34.78/100

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Source: dlewis33 / E+ via Getty Images

50. Arkansas
> Total score: 52.47/100
> Cocktail avg price: $10.00
> Cab avg cost: $15.60 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $8.20
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 2
> Safety score: 37.05/100

Source: Mindy_Nicole_Photography / iStock via Getty Images

49. California
> Total score: 54.32/100
> Cocktail avg price: $15.30
> Cab avg cost: $18.00 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $11.00
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 4
> Safety score: 52.99/100

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

48. Mississippi
> Total score: 54.56/100
> Cocktail avg price: $8.00
> Cab avg cost: $22.18 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $8.00
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 3
> Safety score: 34.46/100

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Source: peeterv / iStock via Getty Images

47. Missouri
> Total score: 54.64/100
> Cocktail avg price: $11.00
> Cab avg cost: $16.60 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $8.30
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 6
> Safety score: 41.48/100

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

46. Tennessee
> Total score: 55.40/100
> Cocktail avg price: $11.00
> Cab avg cost: $16.60 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $8.30
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 4
> Safety score: 42.60/100

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Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

45. New Jersey
> Total score: 55.45/100
> Cocktail avg price: $12.00
> Cab avg cost: $35.00 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $9.00
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 4
> Safety score: 57.25/100

Source: aimintang / E+ via Getty Images

44. Maryland
> Total score: 55.52/100
> Cocktail avg price: $12.00
> Cab avg cost: $21.96 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $8.30
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 4
> Safety score: 57.32/100

Source: S_Hoss / iStock via Getty Images

43. Florida
> Total score: 55.86/100
> Cocktail avg price: $12.60
> Cab avg cost: $17.00 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $9.30
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 7
> Safety score: 41.22/100

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Source: M A X I M / iStock via Getty Images

42. New York
> Total score: 55.87/100
> Cocktail avg price: $12.00
> Cab avg cost: $23.30 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $10.00
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 4
> Safety score: 55.74/100

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

41. Oklahoma
> Total score: 56.57/100
> Cocktail avg price: $12.00
> Cab avg cost: $19.97 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $7.50
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 8
> Safety score: 38.43/100

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Source: Craig McCausland / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

40. Colorado
> Total score: 56.82/100
> Cocktail avg price: $11.60
> Cab avg cost: $18.06 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $10.00
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 8
> Safety score: 46.33/100

Source: peeterv / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

39. Arizona
> Total score: 56.87/100
> Cocktail avg price: $12.60
> Cab avg cost: $17.30 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $9.30
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 5
> Safety score: 52.49/100

Source: George Dodd / iStock via Getty Images

38. Alabama
> Total score: 56.95/100
> Cocktail avg price: $9.00
> Cab avg cost: $19.60 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $7.60
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 3
> Safety score: 41.21/100

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Source: DelmasLehman / Getty Images

37. Pennsylvania
> Total score: 57.09/100
> Cocktail avg price: $11.00
> Cab avg cost: $19.00 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $8.30
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 7
> Safety score: 50.24/100

Source: Marilyn Nieves / iStock via Getty Images

36. Georgia
> Total score: 57.16/100
> Cocktail avg price: $12.50
> Cab avg cost: $14.04 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $7.60
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 3
> Safety score: 44.21/100

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Source: Eifel Kreutz / iStock via Getty Images

35. Kansas
> Total score: 57.17/100
> Cocktail avg price: $8.50
> Cab avg cost: $21.60 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $7.60
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 5
> Safety score: 44.67/100

Source: bookwyrmm / Getty Images

34. Virginia
> Total score: 57.69/100
> Cocktail avg price: $11.00
> Cab avg cost: $19.30 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $8.60
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 1
> Safety score: 55.98/100

Source: peeterv / iStock via Getty Images

33. Louisiana
> Total score: 57.92/100
> Cocktail avg price: $10.00
> Cab avg cost: $14.20 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $8.30
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 9
> Safety score: 33.18/100

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Source: Joecho-16 / iStock via Getty Images

32. Idaho
> Total score: 58.16/100
> Cocktail avg price: $12.00
> Cab avg cost: $23.46 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $9.60
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 8
> Safety score: 48.59/100

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images

31. South Carolina
> Total score: 58.21/100
> Cocktail avg price: $10.00
> Cab avg cost: $17.90 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $8.16
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 5
> Safety score: 43.32/100

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Source: Pgiam / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

30. Ohio
> Total score: 58.32/100
> Cocktail avg price: $10.00
> Cab avg cost: $21.60 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $8.00
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 7
> Safety score: 48.35/100

Source: RomanKhomlyak / iStock via Getty Images

29. Washington
> Total score: 58.33/100
> Cocktail avg price: $13.30
> Cab avg cost: $26.60 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $9.30
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 7
> Safety score: 59.88/100

Source: BrianScantlebury / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

28. New Mexico
> Total score: 60.02/100
> Cocktail avg price: $9.50
> Cab avg cost: $25.73 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $7.50
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 4
> Safety score: 52.66/100

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Source: Shaun Taylor / iStock / Getty Images Plus

27. Delaware
> Total score: 60.24/100
> Cocktail avg price: $9.00
> Cab avg cost: $22.80 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $7.50
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 4
> Safety score: 52.50/100

Source: Jacob Boomsma / iStock via Getty Images

26. Alaska
> Total score: 60.42/100
> Cocktail avg price: $11.00
> Cab avg cost: $15.41 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $9.97
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 8
> Safety score: 50.98/100

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Source: Yobab / iStock via Getty Images

25. Hawaii
> Total score: 60.62/100
> Cocktail avg price: $13.00
> Cab avg cost: $18.35 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $10.00
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 7
> Safety score: 56.44/100

Source: Justin Young / Getty Images

24. Utah
> Total score: 60.93/100
> Cocktail avg price: $11.00
> Cab avg cost: $17.60 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $9.00
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 2
> Safety score: 62.54/100

Source: sudok1 / Getty Images

23. Connecticut
> Total score: 62.06/100
> Cocktail avg price: $10.30
> Cab avg cost: $15.46 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $9.00
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 3
> Safety score: 62.12/100

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Source: timnewman / iStock via Getty Images

22. Oregon
> Total score: 62.07/100
> Cocktail avg price: $10.30
> Cab avg cost: $25.22 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $8.66
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 9
> Safety score: 55.89/100

Source: MaximFesenko / iStock via Getty Images

21. Kentucky
> Total score: 62.49/100
> Cocktail avg price: $10.50
> Cab avg cost: $16.97 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $8.10
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 4
> Safety score: 51.32/100

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Source: Pgiam / E+ via Getty Images

20. Washington, D.C.
> Total score: 63.32/100
> Cocktail avg price: $15.00
> Cab avg cost: $18.00 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $9.00
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 19
> Safety score: 50.95/100

Source: Rawf8 / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

19. Illinois
> Total score: 63.42/100
> Cocktail avg price: $15.00
> Cab avg cost: $12.14 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $8.50
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 9
> Safety score: 51.17/100

Source: ZoobiePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

17. Michigan
> Total score: 63.49/100
> Cocktail avg price: $9.00
> Cab avg cost: $20.00 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $7.60
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 6
> Safety score: 55.52/100

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Source: TriggerPhoto / iStock via Getty Images

18. North Carolina
> Total score: 63.49/100
> Cocktail avg price: $10.60
> Cab avg cost: $13.60 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $8.00
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 5
> Safety score: 54.78/100

Source: Annie Bjerken / iStock via Getty Images

15. Montana
> Total score: 63.63/100
> Cocktail avg price: $10.30
> Cab avg cost: $18.10 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $8.30
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 16
> Safety score: 38.93/100

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Source: RiverNorthPhotography / Getty Images

16. Massachusetts
> Total score: 63.63/100
> Cocktail avg price: $13.33
> Cab avg cost: $15.46 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $8.33
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 5
> Safety score: 61.83/100

Source: Aneese / iStock via Getty Images

14. West Virginia
> Total score: 65.49/100
> Cocktail avg price: $11.00
> Cab avg cost: $11.32 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $7.00
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 4
> Safety score: 44.74/100

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

13. Indiana
> Total score: 65.77/100
> Cocktail avg price: $10.00
> Cab avg cost: $16.50 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $7.60
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 5
> Safety score: 57.06/100

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Source: Kirkikis / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

12. Maine
> Total score: 66.00/100
> Cocktail avg price: $12.00
> Cab avg cost: $18.95 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $9.50
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 7
> Safety score: 66.24/100

Source: mountinez / Getty Images

11. New Hampshire
> Total score: 66.01/100
> Cocktail avg price: $12.00
> Cab avg cost: $18.90 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $9.30
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 5
> Safety score: 65.35/100

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Source: edb3_16 / Getty Images

10. Rhode Island
> Total score: 66.54/100
> Cocktail avg price: $11.00
> Cab avg cost: $16.00 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $8.00
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 7
> Safety score: 60.19/100

Source: Odell Ford / Getty Images

9. Nebraska
> Total score: 67.67/100
> Cocktail avg price: $8.50
> Cab avg cost: $15.50 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $7.60
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 11
> Safety score: 48.62/100

Source: peeterv / iStock via Getty Images

8. South Dakota
> Total score: 67.75/100
> Cocktail avg price: $10.00
> Cab avg cost: $17.80 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $9.00
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 16
> Safety score: 45.29/100

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Source: Aneese / Getty Images

7. Minnesota
> Total score: 68.97/100
> Cocktail avg price: $14.00
> Cab avg cost: $16.79 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $8.15
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 9
> Safety score: 64.02/100

Source: Rawf8 / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

6. Nevada
> Total score: 70.21/100
> Cocktail avg price: $11.50
> Cab avg cost: $18.86 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $8.66
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 19
> Safety score: 50.40/100

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Source: axnjax / iStock via Getty Images

5. Iowa
> Total score: 72.00/100
> Cocktail avg price: $8.00
> Cab avg cost: $16.00 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $7.66
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 12
> Safety score: 55.16/100

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images

4. North Dakota
> Total score: 72.97/100
> Cocktail avg price: $8.41
> Cab avg cost: $18.80 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $7.50
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 16
> Safety score: 45.87/100

Source: halbergman / iStock via Getty Images

3. Vermont
> Total score: 75.55/100
> Cocktail avg price: $11.00
> Cab avg cost: $10.39 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $8.75
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 9
> Safety score: 69.49/100

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2. Wyoming
> Total score: 75.74/100
> Cocktail avg price: $12.00
> Cab avg cost: $17.02 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $5.90
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 11
> Safety score: 52.43/100

Source: peeterv / iStock via Getty Images

1. Wisconsin
> Total score: 78.26/100
> Cocktail avg price: $7.30
> Cab avg cost: $23.00 per 5 miles
> Fast food meal avg price: $8.00
> Bars and clubs per 100,000 residents: 19
> Safety score: 54.67/100

Methodology

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, a dress from a retail 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. 

Cocktail, wine, dress, cab ride, and fast-food meal costs were sourced from Numbeo and Expatisan. To get an average cost for each state, data for the three most populated cities was collected and averaged out. (In instances where the data was limited, further analysis was carried out using websites from local bars and clubs.) The number of bars and clubs and of those with a five-star rating was sourced from TripAdvisor; we converted the number per 1,000 residents to the number per 100,000 residents, our standard per capita measure. Safety rating for each state was sourced from World Population Review. Each factor was then pulled into a weighted scoring system, whereby each factor was evenly weighted at 0.1, aside from safety data which was weighted at 0.3. 

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