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With movies like “Ocean’s 11” and “The Hangover” serving as reminders of how much can be done just in 24 hours, Las Vegas might just be the ultimate place for a guys’ only trip. From casino gambling and high-end nightclubs to world-class golf courses and sporting events, the Gambling Capital of the World pretty much has it all. During the daytime, among the best places to be are at resort hotel pool parties, such as The Beach at Mandalay Bay, Hard Rock Hotel, Caesars Palace and The Pool at the Wynn. At night, there are simply too many nightclubs to list but a few of the best are the Marquee at the Cosmopolitan, Tao Nightclub at the Venetian, XS at the Wynn and Pure at Caesars Palace. Las Vegas is also home to several world championship boxing and UFC events, in addition to hosting some of the biggest names in the entertainment world, like The Black Crows, Carlos Santana, Brad Paisley and Motley Crue.
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For world-class sporting and music events and celebrity spotting at some of the country’s hottest nightclubs, Los Angeles is the place to be. The list of places to go for guys is endless, but for A-list celebrity hangouts, the best bars to check out are Avalon Hollywood, Skybar at Mondrian Hotel, Bootsy Bellows and Teddy’s inside the Roosevelt Hotel. Other good choices include the Troubadour, Club Nokia, Whiskey a Go Go, Chateau Marmont and Lure Hollywood. While there is no professional football team in LA, there is collegiate football at USC and UCLA. The Los Angeles Lakers play at the Staples Center next to LA Live, as do the Los Angeles Kings and the music industry’s biggest names. Other important music venues are the Greek Theatre, Hollywood Bowl and Gibson Theater at Universal CityWalk. By day, guys should check out the beach scene, particularly at Venice Beach and Santa Monica, a ballgame at Dodger Stadium or the touristy Chinese Theatre and Hollywood Walk of Fame.
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The warm waters, sandy beaches and a hot nightclub scene make South Beach Miami a top draw for a guys’ only road trip. The nightclubs Dream and Story are popular hangouts favored by the two-time NBA world champion Miami Heat and other celebrities like Drake, Rihanna, Bradley Cooper, Sofia Vergara and Leonardo DiCaprio. Other top bars and nightclubs in South Beach are LIV, Mango’s and the Clevelander. During the day, a road trip down the Florida Keys is well worth the drive, particularly to Key West, where guys can go deep sea fishing for sailfish, tuna, barracuda and more, or snorkel the Florida Reef, the third largest in the world. For golfers, the State of Florida has more golf courses than any other state in the country, with Palmetto, Miami Beach Golf Club and Biltmore among the top choices in Miami.
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Another ultimate guys’ only trip is to New Orleans during Mardi Gras season. For more than two weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday, the city hosts over 50 lavish parades filled with colorful floats and krewes tossing beads and other party favors to the large crowds lining the parade route. The big event is of course Mardi Gras, where thousands of revelers cram into Bourbon Street and its outlying streets to hoist a hurricane, a red rooster or some other popular drink. Even if a guys’ only trip to New Orleans can’t be planned during this wildly festive season, Bourbon Street is always filled with people in bars like Pat O’Briens, Napoleon House, House of Blues and One Eyed Jacks. In addition to Mardi Gras and jazz, New Orleans is noted for having some of the world’s best food, from delicious beignets from Café du Monde, jambalaya from Coop’s Place and po-boys from Mahony’s to five-star restaurants like Commander’s Palace, Antoine’s, Broussard’s and Galatoires. A guys’ trip can also include a visit to the Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints or jazz festivals like the massive New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
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New York City
The Big Apple definitely makes the list, but once in the city, it might a good idea to leave the car at the hotel. While first-time visitors want to visit the most famous places in the city, like the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Carnegie Hall, Empire State Building, Times Square, Wall Street or the new World Trade Center during the day, there are also endless choices for food, entertainment and nightlife. Guys can visit some of the world’s top sporting venues like Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium and Arthur Ashe Stadium or dine at popular eateries like Carnegie Deli and Katz Deli, have pizza at Lombardi’s in Little Italy or dine in three-star Michelin restaurants such as Daniel, Per Se or Masa. In a city that has it all, there are too many great nightclubs to list, but a few are LAVO Nightclub, Webster Hall, Avenue or even the famous clubs in the Lower Eastside such as the Village Vanguard, Blue Note, Triona’s sports bar and the original Coyote Ugly. Broadway musicals might not necessarily be high on the list but there are plenty of hotspots near Times Square like Roseland Ballroom, Copacabana and Hard Rock Café New York. Top choices for high-end bars in the city include King Cole at the St. Regis, Café Carlyle, 1 Oak and The World Bar.
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Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com.