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Where to Go Salsa Dancing By Me: How to Find Salsa Dancing Events Near Where You Live

Updated on July 21, 2017
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Anya Brodech is a professional salsa, Latin, swing, and ballroom dance teacher in Oakland, CA.

Where to Find a Salsa Dance Community/Scene Near You

The secret to finding a salsa community is to look for an area that has a lot of educated and/or open-minded people (that would be interested in going out salsa dancing and other cultured activities), ethnically/culturally diverse (a significant Latino/Hispanic population is a good indicator, but not a guarantee), and lots of restaurants/bars/nightclubs (to host salsa nights/dance events). Find areas that overlap these demographics and you will in Salsa Central. Usually large metropolitan areas hold amazing, if not decent salsa communities.

Sparsely populated, isolated/rural, and/or low-income areas generally don't hold a serious dance community mainly due to a lack of interest and/or resources since learning how to salsa dance can be somewhat expensive and requires at least one or two local dance studios to teach it in order to generate enough interest to start a salsa scene/community. You might find a few salsa places, but the dancing isn't expected to be very high-level or intense, and will be more on the social "just for fun" side with a lot of beginner/inexperienced dancers.

Going abroad to Puerto Rico or other countries, I can't really say because I haven't explored this area myself personally. The advice I provide is based on my experiences in the continental US.

Top 5 US Cities to Dance Salsa

In alphabetical order, here are the list of the top US cities to dance salsa:

  • Chicago
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami/South Florida
  • New York City
  • San Francisco

San Francisco hosts a fantastic salsa festival every year that brings in a lot of great dancers for social dancing and group classes with amazing teachers!
San Francisco hosts a fantastic salsa festival every year that brings in a lot of great dancers for social dancing and group classes with amazing teachers! | Source

Which US Cities that Have Salsa Dancing

Most major US cities have some kind of salsa dancing scene available; it may not the "best," but at least it's something! If you're looking to get a salsa fix, you can always try traveling out of town to salsa congresses and other dance events in other cities.

I recommend that you search online using one of the links I have provided below to find salsa dancing near your current location. The websites offer you the option to search by state, city and/or zip code, both in the US and Canada (as well as abroad if you're interested).

Most major US cities have some kind of salsa dance scene, you just have to look for it!
Most major US cities have some kind of salsa dance scene, you just have to look for it!

Websites with Salsa Dancing Locations in US, Canada and/or Abroad

General Websites to Find Salsa Dancing Anywhere by Location:

  • Find Social Salsa Dancing Events and Classes in US, Canada and Internationally:
  • Places to Go Ballroom and/or Latin Dancing in US, Canada and Internationally:

Salsa Dancing by Individual US City (not a complete list):

  • Salsa Dancing in Austin, TX:
  • Salsa Dancing in Chicago, IL (my own list):
  • Chicago Summer Dance Events (my own list):
  • Salsa Dancing in Cleavland, OH:
  • Salsa Dancing in Phoenix, AZ:
  • Salsa Dancing in San Diego, CA:
  • Where to Go for Social Salsa Dancing and Classes in the San Francisco Bay Area:

You can also search on Facebook for salsa events going on in your city or call local dance studios to find out if they have any recommendations on where you can go salsa dancing!

Miami salsa congress
Miami salsa congress
Miami salsa congress
Miami salsa congress

Salsa Congress and Latin Dance Event Locations

Salsa congresses are held frequently, with at least one every month in a major US or International city. Check out these links for a list of salsa congresses going on now!

  • Salsa, Bachata, Kizomba, and Zouk Congresses:
  • Salsa and Latin Dance Festivals Worldwide:
  • 2015 World Salsa Congress Locations:

There are also salsa/latin dance cruises and vacations/trips available. I recommend searching online or asking your local dance studio if they have any upcoming trips!

What Time Salsa Dancers Usually Go Out

Usually, the genuine salsa crowd shows up early at 8 or 9 pm, depending on the place and if it is a weekday or weekend. Usually the 8-9 o'clock standard is true for weekdays, with everything being in full swing by 10pm. Then on weekends it's usually 10-11pm, with a big crowd coming in at 10:30 and things getting hot and heavy around 11:30. Depending on the area that you live and the particular venue, the crowd might not start showing up until after 10pm, or it might die down and be over by 11pm. Try checking online, asking friends/teachers who dance salsa, or contacting the venue directly the night of and asking what time everybody shows up.

Knowing what time most people get there can help you plan your evening accordingly so you don't sit around waiting bored waiting for everyone to show up, or arrive too late and find that you only catch the last half hour of dancing.

What time you get there can also determine how much you pay, some places offer a free or discounted cover rate if you show up by a particular time and might charge you extra for showing up later.

What Types of Dances/Songs Are Played at Salsa Night Clubs

I've been to dozens, scratch that, a couple of hundred, salsa nights by now. If there is a live band playing, they will play salsa every song. I don't know why, but apparently it's hard, inconvenient, impractical or otherwise undesirable to play anything else except for salsa if you are a salsa band. That's just the way it is. So be prepared for a whole set of salsa songs! Very rarely will a live salsa band play a cha-cha, cumbia or merengue; so far that's happened like twice.

If there is a DJ providing the music, you will most likely get a blend of Latin dances. Most of the songs will be salsa, and the rest will be bachata, merengue, cumbia, and occasionally cha-cha. You should also learn how to dance bachata and merengue if you already know salsa, so this way you won't be sitting out bored while those songs are playing.

You will definitely get a good helping of bachata songs, and some merengue songs for variety. Cha-cha depends on how many advanced/skilled dancers there are in the crowd and if there is more of a ballroom vibe to the place, since it's a little more "formal" than salsa, bacahta or merengue.

If you're in a dance event where there are a lot of Mexicans and/or a Mexican DJ, you will probably get at least a few cumbia songs (like 3-4 over the course of the evening, sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the crowd). Cumbia is very popular in Mexico, so a lot of people who grew up in Mexico know how to dance it (Cumbia is also danced in Colombia, but it's a different style).

Don't expect Tango or Rumba to come on outside of a dance studio setting and/or dance event hosted by ballroom dance studio owners/teachers, since most casual salsa dancers won't know those dances.

Ending Notes

I hope that this article has been helpful and that you were able to use some of the links to find information that you need about salsa dancing in your area. If you have any suggestions or other websites/resources that you think might be helpful, please let me know by leaving comments down below! Thank you for reading and good luck in your search!

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© 2015 Anya Brodech


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