Los Angeles is a club mecca. There are countless clubs of various sizes located across LA, catering to different crowds. I have been fortunate to visit many of these clubs over the years and have watched them evolve. I wanted to let you know about the good and bad sides of my top 5 clubs in LA this year, so here they are:

#5. Create Nightclub

Without a doubt, Create in Hollywood has a great Vegas-like production consisting of LED panels, lights, lasers, confetti, CO2 cannons, and some of the biggest names in dance music. Everyone from Tiesto to Hardwell has graced the stage here. It made my list simply because of the talent and the production.

However, every time I go here I vow to never return. My last experience confirmed my dislike for the venue. I wish I could like Create more, but the dance floor is just too small. If you travel with a party group – it is difficult to get your entire crew on the floor during peak times. If you even get space on the floor, you have to be standing inside the ropes – or you will be asked to find another spot. Sometimes when it’s so packed – you can’t move anywhere and it’s quite the buzz kill. Security is very strict as to where you stand, and they will make you move somewhere else. Create Nightclub is very bottle service friendly. The outside patio is nice (thought somewhat dilapidated now that it’s been open a few years) and I wish it had a live stream of the music inside so you could see what is happening.  Formerly the Vanguard space, this club needs more dance floor and less bottle service for my liking. They also impose a strict minimum when using credit cards — so be warned.

Create: 6021 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90028 (save $$ on tickets with the promo code EDMMANIAC)

#4. The Abbey West Hollywood

You may be thinking, The Abbey isn’t a club. Well, it kinda is. First, the West Hollywood landmark attracts legendary DJ’s (both while they’re playing and while their just out for a drink) and has an impressive roster of resident DJ’s. It has a pretty big dance floor, male AND female gogo dancers, strong drinks at decent prices and it’s a lot of fun. You won’t feel out of place at this predominately gay venue, as its very mixed and straight friendly.  You can dance the night away here and get lost in the music, just like at the other clubs I’ve mentioned. Plus, the Abbey has a TON of bathrooms. The best part – no cover unless there are special events taking place, and there’s tons of the latest in EDM always playing.

The Abbey: 692 North Robertson Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069

#3. Sound Nightclub

Sound is sexy, intimate and caters to those who are there for the music. It’s one of Hollywood’s smaller clubs – but it brings in some of the biggest acts in dance music. Tickets here sell out quickly, as capacity is very small. The sound system here is sensational. You will find yourself coming back here just for that reason alone. Sound never fails to deliver. The talent is top notch, bartenders are friendly and the crowd vibe is like no other. If you want a true Hollywood club experience with great music – check this place out. Everyone from Armin van Buuren to Carl Cox has taken the stage at Sound.

Sound: 1642 N Las Palmas Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

#2. Avalon Hollywood

This club can get pretty crazy. I’ve seen fights on the dance floor, patrons passing out, security being shady and other things you would expect at a venue in Hollywood. The club completed their remodel last year and it made a huge difference. There are more tables for table service, an additional bar in the lobby and now more bathrooms. The back alley serves as Avalon’s s moking area for people to use and to get a break from the hot dance floor. There are also other rooms other than the main dance floor for guests to roam. This used to be my favorite place to play – until Exchange LA upped it’s game. Back to the crowd: you can expect to be bumped into all night long due to all of the inebriated club-goers on the dance floor. You will see what I mean – or if you have been there – you know what I’m talking about. I wish the club had cheaper drinks and ticket prices. But it is nice to have a place to sit and rest in the upper balcony – without paying more money. Another pro – is Avalon stays open late, sometimes past 7am, which makes it the obvious home for Markus Schulz’s famous open to close sets.

Avalon Hollywood: 1735 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028 (save $$ on tickets with the promo code EDMMANIAC)

#1. Exchange LA

This is my favorite club in Los Angeles. Last year’s remodel to the venue made a huge difference in the environment. Giant LED screens and panels, additional lighting and a lot of lasers are now used every weekend and is a feast for the senses. The venue recently implemented festival-style CO2 cannons to the sides and corners of the dance floor and have some crazy 3D mapping against the venue’s historic walls. Endless confetti will rain down on you while lasers beam overhead, and the dance floor is one of the larger ones for LA clubs. If you’d like to splurge a bit, Exchange LA boasts a VIP balcony that overlooks the dance floor, and is the best seat in the house if you’re partying with a group of friends. It does get crowded at all parts of the venue, so if you are there to see your favorite DJ and want to get a good view, you will have to grab a spot early.

The crowd is a fun, energetic and very mixed. Exchange LA has mastered their attention to their guests with friendly promoters and bottle service hosts. You can find just about any type of person there, which is why tons of people love going back. Security, bartenders and staff are generally friendly here, which infinitely makes the experience a lot better than other clubs. Exchange LA is home to Insomniac Event’s famous “Awakening Fridays” for the Trance fans, and their famous “Inception Saturdays” catered specifically for the Deep House and Techno connoisseurs. Exchange LA is even at times open on Thursdays for “Bassrush Thursdays.”

Last but not least, the talent. Exchange LA books some of the biggest names in dance music from around the world. If you’re into artists like Ferry Corsten, Nicole Madouber,  Green Velvet, Richie Hawtin — welcome home.

A few cons about the club – it can take a while to get inside on busy nights. The line will snake down the street and alongside the venue (remember what I said about getting there early?) Their “smoking patio” is pretty lackluster as it’s just a tiny space behind the building in an alley, often filled with the neighborhood’s transient characters. The bathrooms on the lobby level are kept clean, but they get really busy at times. If you’re looking for a ridiculously fun night out, be sure to check out Exchange LA in the near future.

Exchange: 618 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90014 (save $$ on tickets with the promo code EDMMANIAC)

Overall, it was an action-packed year for these nightclubs in Los Angeles, and we look forward to an even better year in 2016.