The Northern Marianas, also officially known as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or CNMI, is more commonly known for its lively festivals, fascinating heritage sites, and enchanting coral reefs that have caught the attention of the world’s best underwater photographers. There’s plenty to do and see here, making it a top destination for many tourists who want to catch some tropical sun.

After spending the day hitting the islands’ many attractions, however, you may be wondering what’s in store for tourists after the sun goes down. The good news is that there’s still plenty of fun to be had, especially if you’re in the more populous areas such as Garapan.

Below, we share a few practical tips on what to expect from the nightlife in the Northern Marianas so you can have a safe yet fun-filled night out.

1. Happy Hour Can Start as Early as 6:00 PM

Some of the best bars in CNMI are open for tourists to grab a martini or beer at reduced prices from as early as 6:00 PM. This is great news if you happen to wrap up your day tours early and don’t have anything planned out for the rest of the day — apart from hitting the bars, of course.

These discounts can last until two in the morning, so make sure you’re prepared to be out late, especially if you have something planned out for early the following day.

2. It’s More Laid-back Than the Nightlife in Big Cities

Tired of the deafening and all-too-crowded environment of New York City night clubs? The Northern Mariana Islands offers a refreshing change from all that — no bumping into people trying to get to the bathroom and no awkward nods and smiles pretending you heard what the bartender’s saying.

The first thing on your list doesn’t have to be knocking a drink either. There are plenty of places for you to savor local delicacies cooked the Chamorro way such as parrotfish, motsiyas, chicken kelaguen, and beef tinaktak before you party the night away.

3. The Locals Love Karaoke

Considering the location of the Northern Mariana Islands, it’s not so surprising to notice the heavy influence of Asian culture, including Japanese, Filipino, and Korean.

These are three culture groups that absolutely love their karaoke, so much so that you’re likely to hear people belt out to their favorite hits in the middle of the day.

You’ll witness the same in your visit to CNMI, which is quite encouraging if you want to practice singing in front of a non-critical and cheery audience.

4. Casinos Are More Suited for Aggressive Gamblers

The Northern Mariana Islands is also well-known for its gambling scene, but you’ll want to hold on to your poker chips more than usual because the locals can get quite competitive with their playing style. While not for the faint of heart, it’s definitely a riveting and heart-pumping experience.

5. Enjoy live entertainment while drinking

If you enjoy good music while sipping a cold one, you’ll find a decent selection of bars and night clubs with live entertainment from more seasoned performers (if you’re not so keen on the karaoke). What’s more, these locations still let you order your favorite dishes to pair with your choice of liquor.

6. Some Shops and Cafes Are Open Around the Clock

The main village of Garapan is lined with outlets, restaurants, and fast-food chains that you’ll recognize from larger cities in America, which are a great place to kill some time while waiting for the live entertainment to kick off.

If you’re just not in the mood for booze, who says you can’t enjoy the main island’s nightlife in a quieter way? While others are getting tipsy, you can just sip a warm cup of joe while listening to the distant live music playing in the background.

7. You Can Enjoy a Cold One while Stargazing

There’s a couple of resorts and beaches where you’re allowed to just sit under the night sky and stargaze for as long as you please.

While it’s a very different experience from what you would normally from the nightlife of iconic cities, it’s a fantastic way to forget about the typical work-day rush that might be waiting for you once your visit to the islands ends.

Follow the Usual Precautions and You’ll Have Yourself a Blast

Of course, as with any new place, you’ll want to keep your valuables close and have important addresses written down so you don’t end up lost on your nighttime frolicking. 

CNMI has plenty to offer for visitors who appreciate fewer crowds, exciting dishes, and affordable booze. While the daytime activities are sure to captivate your heart, you definitely don’t want to miss out on the islands’ night activities.