Between its peninsula and two islands, Macao’s land area only comprises about 12 square miles, but the tiny Special Administrative Region of China packs a big punch, especially when it comes to entertainment. Home to rich cultural museums and eye-popping architecture ranging from towering sci-fi-worthy skyscrapers to colorful colonial Portuguese preservations, there’s plenty to ogle by day. However, Macao presents an after-hours wonderland of sights and sounds, topped only by nearby Hong Kong in this area of the globe.
With the largest gaming industry in the world, raking in seven times more gambling revenue than Las Vegas and accounting for nearly 80 percent of national tax revenue, Macao’s over-the-top casinos offer premier destinations for everything from dining and dancing to taking in shows and, of course, placing bets. City of Dreams — a chic resort complex of five luxury hotels — includes the mind-bogglingly futuristic Morpheus, an epic gaming floor, and the Dancing Water Theater, home to the can’t-miss The House of Dancing Waterspectacle centered over and in the venue’s 3.7-million-gallon pool. For interactive entertainment, head across the street to The Venetian, where teamLab’s new SuperNature exhibition brings nearly 54,000 square feet of monumental digital art in a body-immersive presentation that, in some parts, actually responds to your presence, further enveloping you in the experience. For a unique perspective of the city and a serious adrenaline rush, scale Macau Tower and brave a sunset bungee jump from the world’s highest commercial sky jump. Seasonally, catch the annual Macao Light Festival with vibrant light installations throughout the city each fall and winter.
Back indoors, there’s no shortage of enviable bar ambience in Macao. For Champagne toasts with penthouse views, Sky 21 Bar is hard to top, but The Ritz-Carlton Bar & Lounge offers the most sophisticated sips from a traveling gin trolley with regular live music filling the decadent space. If you’re looking for more of a neighborhood vibe, leave the casinos behind and head to historic Taipa Village for a pint at the lively Old Taipa Tavern. Surprisingly, the club scene is less popular in Macao, but top options include Show House, D2 and Club Cubic. Don’t expect massive crowds, though, especially before midnight.
Macao’s only gay bar closed in 2018, but the entire SAR has a reasonably relaxed attitude toward the LGBTQ+ community, so visitors should feel welcomed throughout.
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