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Under 21 in America

Travel Forums North America Under 21 in America

1. Posted by smashleigh (Budding Member 12 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Hello everyone, bit of help summer i will travelling around the states for a few months, my age is fine, however my brother's fiance would now like to come with me, she will be just under 20 at the time of travelling (legal age is 18 at home). Neither of us are massive drinkers, but we would both like to have a bit of a nighlife while we are out there. I have read bits and bobs about bars and clubs that have a "18 to enter...21 to drink" policy??? This would be great if we could at least get her into the bar, and then just don't have a drink but enjoy the music and atmosphere etc. I think the main places we would like to experience the nightlife is NYC and LA......could anyone who has been/lives here suggest any bars that have this policy (if this policy does infact exist) please. Sadly I have read that Las Vegas is just a big no no if you're under 21 and that there is just no point in going, i'm gutted about this as I really wanted to experience vegas. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! thanks for your time!


2. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 2003 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Your best bet is to attend either a pro basketball game, college football game or a musical performance (either rock, country, or jazz) or a musical theatre production/play at a major pavilion, theatre, or concert site. All of these allow any age to attend, but then ask that you show an ID to verify that you are old enough to drink (and usually issue you an armband that cannot be easily removed or transferred to verify this to the bartender). This would allow the both of you to attend these events--and you to drink alcohol while she stays legal by drinking non-alcoholic beverages.


[ Edit: Edited on 17-Oct-2010, at 21:32 by Calcruzer ]

3. Posted by emilyemily (Budding Member 82 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Hey Ashleigh! I just wanted to say that I feel your pain in this situation..!! I live in LA and I'm turning 21 in just 10 days.. but with all my traveling, I've been able to enter bars all over the world EXCEPT in my own damn country! I'm so very sorry to have to deliver the bad news, but the drinking age is very strictly enforced here in the States and the only bars that *might* let you in if you're under 21 (even if you're "not drinking") are the super seedy dive bars that you definitely don't want to go to. I'm even NEARLY 21 and still, I am completely unable to get into most bars. Can't even tell you how many bullshit nights out with the friends where I've had to wait outside in the cold because all my friends are 21 and I'm not! You get carded straight away at most places. I've never heard of "18 to enter but 21 to drink"... doesn't really exist. Believe me, if that were true, I'd be out partying right now instead of at home! ;)

Your best bet if you're looking to party hard, especially in the LA area, are raves. You can usually find SOMETHING going on every weekend, they're 18+, and crazy good fun. A company that puts many of them on is Insomniac, you can check their website for events.

You can definitely find 18+ clubs here and there but, honestly, most of them are rubbish because this is usually where seedy old men come to slip drinks to 18-year-old girls. So bummed that our system is so crap, but good nightlife in the states is generally nonexistant for the under 21 set. However, especially in NYC, there are a number of coffee shops that have live music, poetry readings etc. from time to time, and they usually have a pretty good atmosphere. You can also try out restaurants that have bars attached.. usually you can get at least some of the lively bar vibes from these places.

I hope you get it sorted out! And... if all else fails, make friends with locals so you can go to some epic American parties! :D