One of the coolest bars in Huaraz  is Vagamundo Travelbar & Maps (Julián de Morales 753, tel. 043/50-9063, 5 p.m.–close daily high season, 8 p.m.–close daily low season, US$5), with all kinds of music.
Another popular backpacker spot is the legendary X-Treme Bar (Luzuriaga 1044, tel. 043/42-3150, 8 p.m.–late Mon.–Sat.), in its new site across Plaza Belén, with couches, dartboards, and great music as always, set up by Benquelo Morales, DJ and owner of the place.
The hot spot for dancing is the El Tambo (José de la Mar 776, tel. 043/42-3417, 8 p.m.–dawn Mon.–Sat., cover US$3), with top 40 pop, salsa, and techno spun by a DJ. It also has rooms for live music and mingling over cocktails.
Several other nightlife options are nearby, including the popular Makondos (José de la Mar 812, 9 p.m. onward daily, cover varies), which blasts disco and Latin pop until the wee hours of the morning.
For a mellow beer, try Los 13 Buhos (José de la Mar 812, 7 p.m.–close daily, US$3). This small bar is above Makondos and makes a good evening stop, featuring its coca-leaf homemade beer.
For an alternative evening, head to Cine-Café Huaraz Stayricon (Parque del Periodista, at the Restaurant Mi Chef Kristof, tel. 043/42-6765, www.huarazsatyricon.tripod.com , US$2). Kristof’s place has a comfy, loungy area in the back of his restaurant where international films are shown. All food is available. Showtimes change weekly, and most hotels have schedules.
Huaraz ’s biggest celebration is Semana Santa, the week before Easter, when Huaraz natives and their friends return home from Lima. There are important religious processions on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, along with a lot of partying and a carnival-like spirit (think water balloons).
During the Fiesta de Mayo (May 2–9), there are processions and dance festivals for Huaraz’s earthquake-controlling patron saint, El Señor de la Soledad (Our Lord of Solitude).