If you want full-out nightlife in Merced, you're probably going to end up at a house party. There aren't many clubs in the town itself; there are one or two clubs that recently opened, but they’re not very popular. For those 21 years and older, there is one bar, the Partisan, that has live music and happy hour. If you aren't 21, you can find things to do on campus because the housing administration and RAs strive to put on programs for underage students—specifically residents—such as movie nights, game nights, late-night breakfasts, etc., as well as arts and crafts projects. Off campus, there are a couple of movie theaters students can go to, as well as a playhouse and mall. Merced is more of a nature-like town, so people can also enjoy occasional concerts at the many parks available here.
Fraternities and sororities throw some parties, but they get shut down early on during the night. Ultimately, students enjoy weekend nights by hanging out with friends either at the events on campus or in the den (which has gaming systems and a pool table), or by going out into town to the movies, mall, and/or restaurants. Some also resort to low-key parties.