It’s long overdue, and you know you deserve it. It’s time to escape from your day-to-day lives, reconnect with old friends over margaritas, and get pampered like the queens you know you are. It’s time for the Girlfriend Getaway Weekend!

Bachelorette party? Yes, you do deserve a big blowout with the ladies before you walk down the aisle! High school reunion coming up? Reconnect with the girls you were so inseparable with during your teenage years, and plan a special weekend. Can’t come up with an excuse? Doesn’t matter – get your best friends together and take the weekend anyway.

The next big decision is where to go: There are plenty of hotels, resorts and destinations that are perfect for a ladies’ weekend, and some of our favorite restaurants and bars bring just the perfect atmosphere for this special occasion.

Chicago, Illinois

Upstairs at The Gwen offers The Chicago Picasso, an ode to the city's iconic public art
Upstairs at The Gwen offers The Chicago Picasso, an ode to the city’s iconic public art

Shopping, theater, wonderful restaurants and strolls along the Lake Michigan coastline, and it’s all right here in the Midwest. Chicago has it all. In this city, going out for drinks requires more than just alcohol – it should be fun, and the art-inspired cocktail menu at Upstairs at The Gwen, provides the entertainment. Mixologist Freddie Sarkis created a cocktail menu that includes Classic & Renaissance, with unique twists on classic drinks; Minimalist & Contemporary, inspired by Chicago’s most famous art moments; and large-format Pop & Street cocktails.

The bar is upstairs from The Gwen, a Luxury Collection Hotel, which itself is an architectural delight with an art deco façade with bas relief sculptures.

One of the best parts of a ladies’ weekend is simply getting away from the same old restaurants you visit back home and trying something new and exciting. Over at the Conrad Chicago, you can get that excitement at the Baptiste & Bottle restaurant, where chef James Lintelmann’s B&B Burger brings a whole new definition to what a hamburger should be. Before you burger up though, have a look at B&B’s cocktail menu. Their Sazerac, made from rye, absinthe, and Peychaud’s bitters, is an experience not to be missed. Never tried absinthe? You know you’ve always wanted to. Now’s your chance.

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston is a perfect weekend destination, and before we even mention the city’s history, you have to head over to Saltie Girl. The name alone makes me want to visit, but this destination – one of Boston’s newest restaurants – offers the Saltie Girl Burger, with a three-beef blend, gruyere, avocado, fried lobster, house-cured pork belly and “angry sauce.” Good menu items in a fun atmosphere!

If you’re looking for a cool place to stay in Boston, the Hotel Commonwealth is probably one of the most comfortable places you’ll find, close to everything you want to do, and they go out of their way to add all those little extras that earned them the HotelsCombined Award of Recognition for the best big city hotel in Massachusetts this year! You may gain a few pounds because of Commonwealth’s three excellent dining choices, but hey, you’re on vacation, so have at it, and don’t worry about the calories!

Las Vegas, Nevada

It’s not just all old men with hats any more. Las Vegas is a prime destination for girl getaways, bachelorette parties, and just all-out, non-stop fun. What’s especially great about Vegas is that there are frequent specials at the hotels, luxurious rooms at moderate prices, and some of the best restaurants in the world. Speaking of great restaurants, while you’re there, try out rm seafood, inside The Shoppes at Mandalay Place, where chef Rick Moonen serves up is thoughtfully prepared seafood menu which reflects his commitment to sustainable seafood and the world’s oceans. I hear that Oprah’s favorite sandwich is chef Rick’s Catfish Sloppy Joe! But the fun part comes with dessert, where you can try out Rick’s Tasting Game. Guests are served sixteen different flavors of ice cream, and have to guess each flavor. It’s fun and a little challenging, since we’re not talking about strawberry, vanilla and chocolate here – flavors might include coconut curry, strawberry guava, or mango Thai chili. Next to the roulette table, Rick’s Tasting Game is my favorite game in Las Vegas.

Napa and Sonoma, California

There are two different approaches to wine tasting. The first is to line up several bottles of wine and taste them. The second – and most exciting – is to get the full experience, stroll through the vineyard and have a picnic, and have a chat with the people who make that wonderful liquid. I prefer the latter. Naturally, Napa and Sonoma counties in California offer plenty of opportunities to visit the nation’s finest wineries, and one thing I love most is that the tasting rooms tend to be small and friendly. It’s easy to strike up a conversation with your fellow tasters, and the folks doing the pouring usually have plenty of stories to tell.

Can’t decide which winery to visit? Try out the Napa Valley Wine Train, which combines the best of Napa’s wine tasting opportunities with the fun of train travel, and the great scenery of this quaint Northern California region. You’ll ride in restored vintage rail cars and you’ll of course be treated to a gourmet meal on board, wine the best wines Napa has to offer.

New Orleans, Louisiana

The Quisby's lobby bar is a fun place to chat, meet new people and enjoy a drink from the fully-stocked bar
The Quisby’s lobby bar is a fun place to chat, meet new people and enjoy a drink from the fully-stocked bar

A great city with non-stop fun and a bar on every corner, New Orleans makes for the perfect weekend getaway. If you’re on a tight budget, the Quisby is probably one of the most fascinating hostels in the country. The restored 80-year-old building has a somewhat rakish past, and was at one time a boarding house for ship captains and sailors. It’s right in the lower Garden District and right by the streetcar. It’s functional and not fancy, but it does have extra amenities you won’t find in other hostels, like en suite bathrooms, free breakfast, and free high-speed wifi.

You can’t miss the lobby bar at the Quisby. In New Orleans it really takes something spectacular to stand out, but the Quisby’s lobby bar just calls out to you.

For something a little more upscale, the historic Henry Howard Hotel (also a recipient of HotelsCombined’s Recognition of Excellence Award for 2017) was originally built in 1867, and it’s certainly a delight to behold. They take “southern hospitality” seriously there, and I especially love The Parlor, just inside the front entrance, which is a common area where you can sit with a drink, relax, chat, and listen to music. 


About the author:

Victoria Twyckenham is a freelance writer and editor covering the fashion industry, travel adventures, and food and wine. She is also a contributing editor at


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