THE WORLD AT NIGHT: 24-HOUR CITIES AT A GLANCE

London, England: You need to be organised to deal with the difficult fallow period between 3.30am, when bars shut, and 5.30am, when the pubs attached to the meat markets open. But there are plenty of illegal drinking clubs for those in the know. London has many late-night sports centres: snooker halls, ten-pin bowling, and even a racquet club in Southhall. Early morning markets are useful, as are the many ethnic shops, from the bagel bakeries to all-night restaurants in Chinatown. Most parks are closed, but St James's stays open, and is a pleasant place to stand and gaze at the stars. Cemeteries are unofficial cruising areas; the odd big movie may be repeated all night; 'theatre' is confined mainly to sex shows; or you might book a sleepover at the Science Museum in South Ken.

MADRID, SPAIN: The Madrilenos' schedule is very different from the average Northern European's, but not as late-night as it was duringthe celebrated Movida period, the swinging times which followed Franco's death in the 1970s. Most people eat at around 10pm, but restaurants stop serving around midnight. There are later-night restaurants, for example the Vips chain, but unlike its sister chain in Mexico City it shuts at three: after that, food comes from the 24-hour shops. Nightlife happens outdoors in the summertime, and Madrid is one of few cities where you will often find yourself in a traffic-jam at 3am. You can start clubbing on Friday evening and run right through to Sunday night: but the Metro shuts at around 1am and night-buses are restricted to a few lines.

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO: Has become dangerous, with 80 per cent of crime attributed to the undercover police. People's fear of being hijacked casts a shadow over street life. None the less, the city is so vast and energetic that there's still adventure to be had. The only truly 24-hour services are the Vips fast-food restaurants, selling good-quality Mexican food, and taco stands called taquerias. Recently the bar scene has taken off, reflecting the obsession with rave culture - but the bars close at two. Discos offer free entrance to women and complimentary drinks, but watch out - locals worry about ice-cubes laced with ether. Another option is dancing salsa at the Salons de Balle, which close at four. Seedier versions, exlusively for men, are the Fricheras where men pay women to dance with them.

LAGOS, NIGERIA: A big, cosmopolitan city based around money and nightlife in all its guises, often compared to New York. Shopping malls shut at 10pm, but almost anything you might want is available throughout the night from hotel boutiques and roadside stalls - there's even a street dedicated to 24-hour tailors. Late-night karaoke is popular at the moment, as are round-the-clock squash, tennis, swimming and libraries; the Shrine, run by Fela Kuti, Nigeria's national musical hero, offers theatrical shows, music and dancers. A few bars have cinema screens, but the pirate-video market cancels out the need for cinemas. For the religiously inclined, particularly the evangelists, churchgoing is on offer round the clock - and witchdoctors are available at most times, if that's your preference.

Nigerians get itchy feet. If they stay in one place, there's a general emphasis on cramming as much as possible into one night and few people wait for the weekend.

PARIS, FRANCE: Parisians' lives are organised around late-night dining and drinking, with lots of 24-hour restaurants where you can drink and talk in the company of Bohemian Paris. Live-music venues closing at around 5am are on the increase, as are late-night kebab shops, supermarkets and grocers. The number of nightclubs and after-hours bars are restricted by draconian licensing laws; although there are 24-hour video-vending machines, late-night cinemas are thin on the ground. A typically Parisian night-time activity is to walk, or indeed rollerblade, along the Seine: the monuments flanking the river appeal to the national sense of romance and pride. The Metro closes at 1.30am, but there are 24-hour buses.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

    £22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

    Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

    Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

    Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

    Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

    £70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions