Many of our participants remark on how surprised they are about the 24/7 lifestyle of the U.S. It is not unusual to have access to food, entertainment, and transportation in the wee hours of the night! Typically, the 24/7 lifestyle is more prominent in cities, where it is more populated and there is a higher demand for services, than in the suburbs. If you reside outside of the city, you might not find too many establishments that are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but you might have more luck with finding places that are at least open late.
Taxis often operate 24/7 to accommodate riders who need a lift home after a long night out or to work at the break of dawn. Make sure to have a few taxi numbers handy just in case you need a ride at a late hour.
The four metro systems in the U.S. that run 24/7 are the NYC Subway, the Red and Blue lines of the Chicago L system, Philadelphia's PATCO System, and the Port Authority of NY & NJ (PATH) system. These systems run all-day, everyday, but are likely to have limited service during late nights and weekends. Be sure to check the schedules to see if your method of public transportation is running if you're planning on staying out late – you might need to take a taxi instead.
Most retail stores, depending on whether you live in the city or suburbs, and depending on the region where you reside, are open 24/7. Corner-store bodegas and convenience stores are commonly open 24/7. The Flagship Apple store on 767 5th avenue in NYC provides 24-hour customer support for Apple products and services 365 days a year and the L.L Bean Flagship store in Freeport, Maine offers a free cup of coffee to late-night shoppers. Many Wal-Mart locations are open 24 hours, which is perfect for picking up groceries, last-minute gifts, medications and household items. Check "America's Best 24-Hour Hot Spots" for a list of eateries and spas which include Wilshire Spa in Los Angeles, La Mexicana Bakery in Austin, and Pat's King of Steaks in Philadelphia.
Grocery stores in New York City such as Trade Fair in Astoria, New York are open all day and night. If you are in the Shasta Lake area in California, you can see here for a list of stores open 24/7. Some Ingles markets that are always open are located throughout the country and multiple WinCo Foods supermarkets are open 24 hours a day in states such as Arizona, California, Idaho Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
Large department stores all across the U.S. such as Macy's, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, and many others are most commonly open 24/7 during Christmas week for last-minute shoppers. Black Friday, the day right after Thanksgiving (which is observed on the fourth Thursday of November) is another shopping holiday for those who are looking for large discounts on Christmas gifts.
Bars / Restaurants
Diners, which are usually open 24/7, are eateries where you can choose a breakfast, lunch or dinner meal at any time of the day. Denny's, whose slogan is "America's diner is always open" has locations all across the U.S. You can even find 24-hour eateries in your area that can deliver at Eat 24.
See here for numerous places in NYC to eat cheaply and late. This list includes "The Donut Pub" (open 24 hours, featuring $1.10 donuts) and "El Idolo" (open 9:30pm – 5:30am, featuring <$2.50 tacos). For more information about eateries that might be open late in other cities across the U.S. be sure to visit our City Guide blogs and Regional Food Tour blogs. Diners are everywhere in NYC; you are likely to find at least one for every 10-block radius.
Popular bars, clubs, and lounges are usually open until 2am in most cities, and in some places up until 6am. Generally, this depends on where the establishment is located and whether there are competing businesses nearby.
And…how can we forget food trucks! They're great idle trucks filled with FOOD! Check out our Food Truck Blog for more info!
Assistance Right at Your Fingertips
If there is ever a medical or nonmedical emergency that requires immediate assistance, the number to call is 9-1-1. Within seconds, an operator will ask about your emergency and send the appropriate personnel to your location. The first to arrive is usually the Fire Department, which handles the most time-sensitive of emergencies. 9-1-1 can be dialed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (even from locked cell phones or phones that are not currently on a cell plan, which still usually permit emergency calls to be made).
As we currently are living in a high-tech era, we are now accustomed to having technology at our disposal at all times. We are constantly on our phones, tablets and laptops. Whether we want to shop online, need help with fixing our technological tools, or want to read the news from agencies across the globe, you can access the Internet at any time in the U.S. Most neighborhood establishments such as Starbucks or McDonalds offer free Wi-Fi, and many McDonalds restaurants are open 24/7.
Some supermarkets are open 24/7, though it is very rare. 7/11 stores are open 24/7 though the name first originated to reflect its hours to be 7am-11pm. Local mom-and-pop pharmacies might close early, but most chain stores such as Duane Reade, CVS, and Walgreens are open all night. Some might even have their respective pharmacies open late! Gas stations are also open all-day everyday to accommodate all drivers who might need some fuel.
If you are completely out of clothes to wear and haven't had the time throughout the week to wash them, some laundromats in your neighborhood might be open 24/7. Since weekends are the most common time that people have to wash their clothes, washing your clothes on a late night weekday at a 24/7 laundromat won't have you waiting for machines. Many even provide extra features such as free Wi-Fi and television viewing to keep you entertained while you wait for your clothes to dry. Be sure to have quarters handy.
Want to beat rush hour and not have to wait to use certain machines at the gym? Fitness centers around the U.S. are opening 24/7 to accommodate those in the neighborhood who work 9am-5pm. Currently, there are thousands of gyms across the U.S that are open 24/7, one of them being "24-hour Fitness" which has locations all over the country. If you have trouble locating a local 24-hour Fitness center, Snap Fitness 24/7 has over 1,400 locations worldwide. If you are from Australia, Canada, India, Mexico, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom, you might have a location in your hometown. There are over 1,000 locations in the U.S. in just about every state! Another franchise, Anytime Fitness, has approximately 1,900 clubs in North America and 360 across the globe. In addition to 24/7 access, this gym offers tanning, personal training, and useful online tools to customize your workout routine. There are also mom-and-pop 24/7 gyms with limited locations such as Perfect Fit 24-7 in Crestview, Florida, Total Body Place in Harrisonburg-Bridgewater, Virginia, and American Fitness Center in multiple Michigan cities. Be sure to check the operating hours of your local gym so you know where to go if you want to work out late. And of course, you always have the option of exercising outdoors, which is always open and free.
It might be easy to get caught up with the 24/7 American lifestyle. It's a great privilege to have all these services open and ready for business at any time of the day. But don't get ahead of yourself! Be sure to get at least the recommended 8 hours of sleep every night… or as many nights as you can! It will be difficult to stay up all night and start your internship/training program early the next morning, so try to reserve your nights out for Friday or Saturday nights. Sleep deprivation is common among Americans so be sure to have fun… and SLEEP!
InterExchange Career Training USA is a top J-1 Visa sponsor for university students and young professionals who have already secured internships or training programs with companies in the U.S. If you still need to find an internship or training program in the U.S., check out our resources and start the J-1 Visa sponsorship process early.
Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Ani is a fan of exploring new places through photography and the local cuisine. After earning her BFA in photography from NYU and gaining communications experience at International Planned Parenthood Federation, she joined InterExchange in 2012, and worked as the Marketing Producer until 2016.