There is nothing -- NOTHING -- to do in my adoptive city on weekends, despite this being a town with probably 20,000 students and plenty of 20 and 30-somethings. The alcohol laws are so bizarre that they make it impossible for any respectable form of bar or nightclub to exist. Needless to say, then, going out to dance is out of the question. It's no surprise this city scored pitifully on a recent list of the best places to be young. It's safe, and the weather is great, but god, is it drab. These things obviously do not conflict on a causal level; only in the US does "safe" correlate with "boring." There are plenty of ethnically homogenous, safe European cities with good weather where people have lots to do for fun.
What most people here do to unwind over the weekend is "get in touch with nature" -- to load up their car to go hiking, rockclimbing, skiing, and so on. I've never understood this perverse fascination with the unnatural that masquerades as "getting back to the simple life." These activities are what Black comedians would likely call Crazy White People Sports. I'm sure there are clubs for rockclimbers, mountain hikers, and bungee-jumpers, and I doubt you'd find a single Black member. For that matter, I doubt you'd find many southern Europeans either.
One reason is simply that these are dangerous activities -- therefore, not natural, unless there's some expected survival or reproductive payoff, like getting into a fight to protect your wife or hunting ferocious animals to win prestige and have something to eat. The other reason is that these activities are incredibly solitary, allowing only a minute here or there to socialize or otherwise interact as a team. Contrast these with getting together with a group for dinner, having a drink, going out to dance, and maybe socializing some more afterward. Now that's natural fun. What culture, whether primitive or modern, does not follow some form of this pattern for cutting loose?
About the only congregating I've noticed so far consists of the ubiquitous skateboard dudes practicing their tricks in certain hot spots, although always with no girls around. What a waste. The people are nice enough, and certainly seem willing to have fun -- there's just nothing to do. It almost makes me wish I was "back East," although there the nightlife is OK but lots of the people are jerks and bitches. Barcelona had the best nightlife and also nice people, but American schools are better.
Damn it, why can't we just decide what part of the world is going to have it all, and just move everything there? (If you answer New York, watch me laugh.) It wouldn't matter where, aside from climate considerations, but just as long as it didn't force you to choose between work and fun. If the European schools get their act together, Paris would be a top contender -- they've already done the really hard work of building a solid civilization and trying to perfect the art of leisure. The academic world can be transplanted across the globe within a single generation (just look at the WWII-era emigres to the US), so that's not going to be the hard part. It really should be based more on which cities are culturally and socially superior. Any other nominations?