US Cities with the Biggest Raves & Best Rave Scene
Raves and EDM are getting more popular each year, and people are always looking for the biggest and best rave scenes in the United States. However, it can be difficult to find out where to go. Many searches may come up empty. Rest assured, the rave scene in the USA is still thriving, and it is getting larger each year.
So, what cities do have the biggest raves and the best rave scene? There are great cities all across the country that host festivals and rave scenes year-round. Read on to discover the US cities with the biggest raves, best rave scenes, and more.
US Cities with the Best Rave Scene
Raves began decades ago, but they are only recently becoming very popular. Many people want to discover places where they can attend a great rave. Since the rave community is growing each year, it is important to know where to find these events.
Across the country, many cities host raves and EDM festivals. However, which cities offer the best experience? It is a logical question to ask yourself when thinking about attending a rave. While the city you live in may have some good nightclubs and may offer a festival, it does not mean it will be the same in other cities.
The rave community is vibrant and growing, therefore the raves are getting bigger, too. A few decades ago, raves were purely underground affairs. Many of them were illegal, too. That has all changed. While there are still some underground raves, a lot of them have moved to the mainstream. Some of the best US cities with great rave scenes include:
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Miami, Florida
- Chicago, Illinois
- Los Angeles, California
- San Francisco, California
- Detroit, Michigan
- New York City, New York
With the exceptions of Illinois, Michigan, and New York, it is no surprise that most of the cities with the best rave scenes are warm year-round. This provides ample opportunity for outdoor events, which are becoming more commonplace than their indoor counterparts.
Las Vegas, Nevada
It should be no surprise that Las Vegas is probably the best city in the United States for electronic dance music. It has several aspects in its favor. People from all over the world travel to Las Vegas for the casinos and the nightlife. The city is home to many popular nightclubs. It is also home to several rave and EDM festivals and events.
Las Vegas has had its rave culture growing for quite some time. Now, in the 2020s, it is considered by many to be the center of EDM culture. The Vegas Strip offers many nightclubs. In fact, Vegas has almost a quarter of the best nightclubs in the country. It is popular for a reason.
Consider the following reasons why Las Vegas, Nevada has become the center for rave culture in the United States.
- Vibrant Nightlife. The nightlife in Las Vegas is world-famous. The city itself is filled with restaurants, bars, casinos, theaters, and clubs. The clubs that offer rave music have grown substantially in recent years, and it is no trouble at all to find one that suits your tastes.
- The Vegas Strip. The Vegas Strip is where most of the nightlife is. Of course, you can find a lot of good venues off-Strip, too.
- Warm Location. Nevada is a warm environment. This offers year-round raves that can take place outside.
Outdoor raves are becoming more fashionable recently. People do not like feeling claustrophobic in a warehouse or small club anymore. Outdoor raves and festivals offer the openness and freedom that many desire. Additionally, Las Vegas hosts the biggest EDM festival in the country each year known as the Electric Daisy Carnival.
Miami, Florida is another city that has some of the best raves in the country. This is due to its location, which is warm and by the beach. Miami has long been a hotspot for spring breakers, so many young people interested in rave culture end up in Miami.
Miami is also host to one of the biggest EDM festivals in the country. It is called the Ultra Music Festival, and it attracts thousands of people each year. Moreover, Miami, much like Las Vegas, has several factors in its favor for being one of the centers of rave culture in the United States.
- Beach City. Any time a big city is located near a beach, it is going to have a nightlife. Many people travel to Miami for the beaches and for the nightlife. There are many clubs located in Miami, and Miami is known as a party town for a reason.
- Warm weather. There is warm weather year-round in Miami, which is part of the reason it attracts so many college students during spring break and during the winter months.
- Growing scene. Rave culture has been present in Florida for a very long time. It is not new to the state, and it has been growing steadily. For this reason, the rave scene is vibrant.
It should not be surprising that Miami is one of the best places to catch a rave in the United States, so be sure to mark it on your list.
Not all cities need to be warm year-round to have a vibrant rave scene in the United States. However, Chicago should be on your list of cities to look out for when it comes to raves.
Chicago has many music festivals, such as Lollapalooza, which include separate stages for electronic dance music. However, the rave scene goes beyond just the festivals one can attend. Consider some of these reasons why Chicago is a great hub for rave culture in the United States.
- Clubs. There are many clubs located in Chicago, including The Mid, which is one of the most popular destinations in the city for lovers of EDM. The Mid, for example, plays EDM with local DJs every night of the week.
- Production companies. Chicago is also home to companies that produce EDM and promote EDM, too. So, there is an active community located in Chicago that aims to grow the popularity of this culture even more.
- House music community. House music has a big place in Chicago, and the community located in this mid-western city is growing all the time.
Do not forget about the music festivals, either. As mentioned, they host many music festivals that have an eclectic selection of music genres. Each of the major music festivals that take place in Chicago makes sure to have time for EDM, so while it may not be your typical rave scene, it is still worth mentioning.
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles is a major center for live music in the United States, and this includes EDM. There are many clubs and a vibrant nightlife in Los Angeles. In fact, the very first Electric Daisy Carnival took place in LA before moving locations. This city has a long history with rave culture.
Southern California is home to many EDM music festivals, so it makes sense Los Angeles is part of that scene. If you want to go to a festival, there are many in the area, but if you want something smaller, you need look no further than the city itself.
- Nightclubs. Many nightclubs are situated in downtown Los Angeles, and they host a wide variety of EDM events throughout the year. Whether you want to visit a club like Avalon, which is one of the most famous of its kind, or you want something less mainstream, Los Angeles will have it.
- Underground rave scene. If you do not want to go to one of the main clubs in Los Angeles, there is still a vibrant underground rave scene in L.A. Many people still enjoy the feel of the underground scene, and it is not too hard to find.
- Music producers. Los Angeles is home to many music producers, major labels and production companies, making this city a hub for this genre of music.
- Local DJs. Because of the prevalence of the music industry in Los Angeles, you will find a lot of local talent. While you will still get to see big-name acts, there will be many up-and-coming DJs you can catch, which is great if you want something fresh and exciting.
San Francisco, California
San Francisco is known as an eccentric city, and this cultural identity extends to its rave scene. There are many reasons to love San Francisco as a destination if you want to experience rave culture.
- Production Companies. There are several production companies located in San Francisco, such as OM, and they have been cultivating the EDM scene for quite some time. Many artists come out of the San Francisco area, so you are sure to get a good mix.
- Underground Rave Scene. As with Los Angeles, if you prefer the underground rave scene, it is still alive and well in San Francisco.
- Big Clubs. Likewise, San Francisco is also home to many large clubs that host EDM events. One of the biggest and most famous is Temple. So, whether you are looking for that underground scene or you want to visit a major venue, San Francisco has you covered.
- Music Festivals. As mentioned before, Southern California is home to several music festivals dedicated to EDM, so if you are in San Francisco, you will never be that far away from some of the biggest raves in the country.
California is a great place to attend a rave because it has more than one city that has a great rave scene, and it is warm year-round, so whether you want to be inside or outside, there are plenty of options for you.
Detroit may not seem like an obvious choice when it comes to finding a vibrant rave scene in the United States, but you should consider it. Techno music has played a huge part in the city, and it has been present in Detroit for quite a while. It’s no surprise, then, that EDM has taken off, too.
Many EDM festivals take place in Michigan, including one of the biggest known as the Movement Festival. In the summer, there are many outdoor venues that host raves you can attend, and the city even has an underground scene, too.
- Nightclubs. There are some renowned nightclubs in Detroit, such as Bleu, that offer EDM events. The rave scene in Detroit can be found at places throughout the city.
- Local talent. Detroit is also home to many DJs specializing in rave music, so when you go to Detroit, you are likely to find a mixture of big-name talent and a lot of great local talent, too.
- All-night raves. If you have not gotten your fill at one of the nightclubs, there are underground raves in the city that can last all night.
Detroit is one the best spots in the midwest, along with Chicago, to discover a great rave scene. Moreover, many of the best EDM festivals take place in Michigan.
New York City, New York
New York City is a massive hub for great raves in the United States. It is a major city with many options to choose from when it comes to EDM. Consider all that is packed into this city.
- Major clubs. New York City is home to many major nightclubs. Since they are very big, they offer lineups that are packed with rich talent. Moreover, the lineups you will find in many places in New York are top-tier.
- Big-name DJs. Since New York City offers many major nightclubs, the city offers many big-name DJs. When you attend a legit rave in New York City, you do not have to worry about the quality of the event.
- Underground scene. New York City also has a vibrant underground scene that is not hard to find. If you want to avoid the big clubs but still want to see the local talent and experience some of the greatest raves, New York is the place.
- Party Events. The city also offers many major party events, such as Dark Disko, so whatever you are interested in, you will be able to find.
- Warehouse raves. The underground scene in New York still has warehouses you can attend a rave at, so be sure to find one when you are in the city.
- Festivals. New York is also home to many top-tier EDM festivals. Every year, these festivals attract thousands of people from around the country for some of the biggest raves you can attend.
Remember, the rave scene in New York City has been around longer than most others. As a result, the city has a rich display of options for you to choose from.
The Best Rave Scene: The Biggest Festivals
Sometimes the local rave scene is not enough. While it can be a lot of fun to experience local raves and EDM events in small nightclubs, one of the best ways to experience rave culture is to attend a festival.
Festivals can be any size, but certain festivals are massive. The bigger the festival, the more energy you will experience. Moreover, many people from all over the country visit these festivals. You can meet people of the community from all over, and this will enhance your rave experience.
But what are the biggest festivals in the United States that you visit? Consider the following festivals when looking for one to attend.
- Electric Daisy Carnival (Las Vegas)
- Beyond Wonderland (San Bernardino, California)
- Ultra Music Festival (Miami)
- Miami Music Week (Miami)
- Electric Zoo (New York City)
- Mutek San Francisco (San Francisco)
- Exodus Festival (Las Vegas)
- Imagine Music Festival (Atlanta)
These festivals are some of the biggest around. No matter where in the country you live, or if you are just visiting, you will find an EDM festival that will be fun. Moreover, in 2021, these festivals are returning, so the energy will be higher than ever.
Electric Daisy Carnival
The Electric Daisy Carnival started in Los Angeles over twenty years ago. Of course, back then, it was just a warehouse rave. Today, it has evolved into the biggest EDM festival in North America, and it attracts thousands of people each summer in Las Vegas.
The festival itself takes place in the Las Vegas Speedway. The entire speedway transforms into a giant dance party, and it is filled wall-to-wall with people.
It takes place from sunset to sunrise, which adds to the allure of the event. It is a themed event. It takes on characteristics of a massive carnival, so while you are there you will see multi-colored lights, ferris wheels, costumes, giant LED flowers, and more.
The Electric Daisy Carnival is considered one of the most extravagant, and the headliners at this festival never fail to disappoint. You will see some of the biggest names in the genre, and you will experience some of the best energy any EDM festival has to offer.
The Electric Daisy Carnival is an EDM festival that every raver needs to attend at least once. The carnival atmosphere adds to its popularity. There is a reason why people continue to come back to this festival each year and why it has lasted and evolved the way it has.
Beyond Wonderland is another massive EDM festival, and this one is also themed much like the Electric Daisy Carnival. However, whereas the Electric Daisy Carnival is carnival-themed, beyond wonderland is fantasy-themed. Many extravagant costumes are seen when you go.
As the name implies, it is modeled after Alice in Wonderland, and it includes dancers, large animatronic figures, and costumes. People who attend Beyond Wonderland usually wear outfits and costumes resembling characters from different fantasy stories, especially Alice in Wonderland.
Beyond Wonderland also includes many lasers and lighting effects that truly bring the experience to a new level. Beyond Wonderland takes place in San Bernardino, California, so it is in a great area for EDM festivals.
It takes place outside and at night, and its fairy tale theme is popular among those who come back each year. This is one of the biggest EDM festivals around, so if you want a high-energy rave atmosphere, this is one you should not miss.
Ultra Music Festival
Another one of the most popular and biggest raves you get to attend, the Ultra Music Festival in Miami is always on people’s bucket lists. This specific music festival is centered around EDM and all the subgenres of EDM. It attracts upward of 170,000 people, and it takes place outside at Bayfront Park.
This festival is near the water, and it takes place both during the day and at night. The atmosphere is high energy. It also takes place during Miami Music Week, so it is a part of something larger in the area.
Many big-name DJs from all over the country perform at the Ultra Music Festival. Once the sun sets, the atmosphere gets more club-like as there are light shows and pyrotechnics. The Ultra Music Festival is considered one of the best in the country, and it is easy to see why.
Miami Music Week
Miami Music is unique among music festivals for EDM because it does not take place at a single venue. Miami Music Week, which also includes the Ultra Music Festival, takes place across the entire city of Miami.
Consider some of the features of Miami Music Week, you will see why it is a popular rave.
- Number of Venues. There are just shy of one hundred venues across the entire city, so no matter where you are in the week you know you will be close.
- Number of EDM Fans. Since this festival is so large, it attracts a lot of people from the EDM community, over 200,000 people attend each year.
- Number of Artists. Some festivals have a few artists perform and others have a lot. The Miami Music Week falls into the second category as it boasts over 1,700 artists.
If you do not like being confined to a single venue, then the Miami Music Week is for you. As the name implies, it takes place over an entire week, and you can dance to EDM at pools, decks, canopies, on the beach, and many other places all across Miami.
Located in Manhattan, this music festival is considered one of the best on the East Coast. It takes place in late summer and in Randall’s Island Park. Each year, it brings together thousands of EDM lovers, and it takes over New York City for a rave that should not be missed.
It features a lot of big-name artists that come back each year, and the festival lasts deep into the night. You will experience pyrotechnics and light shows that are sure to elevate the music.
Yet, despite its size, it can still feel like a close, special event because of where it is located, so when you attend you are sure to have a great experience.
Mutek San Francisco
Mutek San Francisco is another unique festival for EDM lovers because it strays away from the mainstream. While most of the biggest raves you can attend are going to focus on very flashy, mainstream dance music, Mutek is different.
What will you find at Mutek San Francisco? You are going to find a lot of underground artists who are experimenting with EDM. You are going to find artists you have never heard of but will never forget.
This is part of the charm of Mutek San Francisco. It still has a great energy to it, like other raves, but the music is going to push the boundaries of what you are used to. It is a good one to add to your list if you want to try something new.
Imagine Music Festival
Imagine Festival is another major EDM festival on the East Coast, this time in Atlanta, Georgia. Like some other festivals, this one also takes place inside a Speedway, which offers ample space for over 30,000 fans to come and dance to some of the best EDM artists the genre has to offer.
The Imagine Music Festival lasts for four days, and it shares certain characteristics with other festivals, such as the light shows, pyrotechnics, dancers, balloons, ferris wheels, and more.
This festival, another one of the biggest in the country, happens in September and is the perfect time of the year to enjoy the atmosphere it provides.
The Exodus Festival takes place in Las Vegas, and it is one of the most popular EDM festivals in the country. However, it is not like many other festivals you may attend.
The Exodus Festival does not have a single venue. Instead, it takes place at a handful of the top clubs in the city. Moreover, it does not have a single date on which it is held. Instead, it is spread out over four weekends through the entire summer.
While they may not have as many artists as some of the other festivals you can attend, they do have some of the best artists working. If you want to experience a festival that is unique and powerful, the Exodus Festival is the one for you.
You can dance in the clubs and in the pools nearby. The best part of this festival is that it is not over in one weekend. Instead, you just get ready to experience it again as the summer progresses toward Labor Day.