Best girls weekend getaway ideas in America
Offering loads of Southern charm and plenty of warm hospitality, this historic city dotted with renowned squares and tranquil parks is our top pick for a weekend with the girls. One of the oldest cities in Georgia, Savannah is chockablock with antebellum mansions like the Owens-Thomas house, which you can ogle on group tours. Stroll beautiful Forsyth Park, check out Broughton Street’s chic boutiques and shop for crafts at City Market. Don’t forget to dine on the area’s killer local seafood at spots like Sorry Charlie’s and Chive Sea Bar.
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Jeff Gunn
Recently devastated by pernicious wildfires, wine-loving Sonoma County is pulling out all the stops to attract tourists back to its sloping hills dotted with grapevines, running special hotel rates and hosting loads of special events. Home to more than 400 wineries, there’s no shortage of tastings to be had in Sonoma. Make sure to visit the eleven state parks where you can hike seaside cliffs or thread between redwoods. Wrap up your day indulging in renowned farm-to-table cuisine at Water Street Bistro, Central Market, the Girl & the Fig and more.
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Peter Clark
For lovers of food, drink and good times aplenty, the Big Easy is the ideal destination. This laid-back southern charmer attracts the ladies with trendy boutiques on Magazine Street and antiques shopping on Royal Street; mansion-hopping in the leafy Garden District; and, come nightfall, some of the nation’s most delicious soul food and craft cocktails. Check out Creole classics such as Commander’s Palace, Jacques-Imo’s and Broussard’s; sip Sazeracs at the Old Absinthe House or Arnaud’s French 75; and catch blazing live music nightly at the bars dotting Frenchmen Street.
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Ladies looking to suntan by day and party into the night should head to Miami, which beckons with pristine beaches and a solid commitment to nightlife. Package deals are often offered at area hotels such as the Sagamore in South Beach. Take said hotel’s Art Package, for example, which includes admission to the Perez Art Museum and guided tours of local art led by the property’s resident art advisor. After lazing on the beach by day, hit up some of the country’s hottest clubs to dance your nights away: Bâoli and LIV at the Fontainebleau are two of the city’s most coveted destinations.
Sin City isn’t for everyone but the best way to do it is surely with a group of your best gal pals: apart from the gambling its casinos are known for, Vegas offers plenty of entertainment options like glitzy pool clubs, luxury spas and world-class shopping (check out the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, for starters). Every first Friday of the month, the downtown Arts District holds its Art Party, which celebrates local artists and food vendors and is free to attend. For a glamorous flute of champagne, head to the three-story Chandelier bar at the Cosmopolitan; and if gambling’s your thing, there is clearly no shortage of enticing destinations for you to choose from.
There’s something about the stately charm of southern cities that makes them irresistible— lovely, leafy Charleston is no exception. Home to historic landmarks like Fort Sumter, excellent shopping at Charleston City Market and a flourishing food scene helmed by top-tier eateries such as Husk and Charleston Grill, the city offers a little bit of everything. Antiquing? Check out King Street for unique finds. Need a little sun and sand? Hop in the car and head to nearby Hilton Head or Myrtle Beach.
Nicknamed Music City, this tunes-loving town makes for a great choice for fans of live country, blues and soul music. The historic Grand Ole Opry is a must-visit, as is Broadway, the “Honky Tonk Highway,” home to classic dives like Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and Robert’s Western World. For eats, smokin’-hot Nashville hot chicken is a must; we like the bird fried up at Hattie B’s. And leave some room in your suitcase, because the vintage shopping in East Nashville (think weathered leather cowboy boots) is bar none.
The hipster capital of the Pacific Northwest is a fun destination for just about anyone who loves good food, excellent beer and pristine wilderness. Ladies who like to trek should explore Forest Park in Northwest Portland; it boasts 5,200 acres of woods with trails for hiking, biking and birdwatching. After burning off all those calories, seek out the city’s excellent street cart fare at spots such as Nong’s Khao Man Gai or sit down to enjoy an upscale meal at Catalonian Can Font or Peruvian La Leña. No matter what you eat, be sure to end with a delicious doughnut from Blue Star Donuts and wash it down with plenty of microbrews from local spots such as Royale Brewing and Stormbreaker Brewing.
There are few American cities as easygoing as San Diego and it doesn’t hurt that the southern California town is compact, easy to navigate and adjacent to the beach. One accomodation option is La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla, a pastel-pink dream and erstwhile Old Hollywood hangout founded in the 1920s that affords sparkling ocean views. During the day, head to the waterfront to swim, snorkel or learn to surf; the all-female operator Surf Diva is an excellent choice for lessons. At night, the Gaslamp Quarter offers a wealth of yummy restaurant options, most with heat lamp-warmed patios.
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The City that Never Sleeps offers something for everyone, making it a good choice for a group of women with diverse interests. The food-obsessed can find literally anything to eat, from the cheapest Chinatown noodles to the priciest foie gras. The drink-obsessed can seek out perfectly balanced cocktails at the Dead Rabbit or PDT, or slum it with a G&T at a dive bar. We like to spend our time in NYC gallery-hopping in Chelsea, ogling Picassos and Monets on Museum Mile, strolling Central Park and taking in views from the High Line. If you’re in town during the summer, you can even get in some beach or surf time at the Rockaways in Queens.
Oh, you think you fancy? Then gather up your gals and head to this posh town on the Rhode Island coast, where you can gawk at over-the-top Gilded Age mansions, dine on pristine local seafood and frolic on the seashore. Four of the city’s most famous mansions—The Breakers, The Elms, Marble House and Rosecliff—offer self-guided audio tours; or, go deep with a docent at Chateau-sur-Mer, Chepstow, Hunter House, Isaac Bell House and Kingscote. When you’re not drooling over real estate, salivate over briny bivalves at Midtown Oyster Bar or The Mooring, and make sure to stroll the 3.5-mile Cliff Walk, which affords stunning views of those aforementioned mansions as well as the coast and ocean below.
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Aspen is generally thought of as a winter wonderland and, while it’s certainly a great choice for a ladies’ ski weekend, there’s plenty to do here year-round. Nature lovers will want to visit Maroon Bells, two beautiful adjacent peaks in the Elk Mountains, for great hikes affording stunning views; or, ascend on horseback. Hearty apres-ski fare is the name of the game at restaurants in town; check out the menu at Piñons, which includes duck- and buffalo-based dishes that will make your tasting buds spin with gusto.
Friendly, funky Asheville is known for its welcoming spirit and high quality of life characterized by easy access to nature, inventive restaurants and excellent live music venues. Beautiful nearby hikes include Black Balsam Knob, Craggy Pinnacle and Looking Glass Rock, or opt to pedal to Richmond Hill Park for some fun mountain biking. Once you’ve worked up a thirst, sip high-quality microbrews at local breweries Green Man and Wicked Weed. Asheville’s thriving music scene is one of the city’s biggest draws: Scope it out at venues like Asheville Music Hall and The Orange Peel.
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Ken Lane
Nestled among the rolling topography of Texas Hill Country, charming Fredericksburg is located a scenic 90-minute drive from either San Antonio or Austin. One of the country’s most-visited wine regions outside of California and Long Island, it’s a sure bet for your vino-loving girlfriends. Round them up and head here for tours of beautiful vineyards including Grape Creek, and be prepared to taste plenty of varietals. In town, strap on your cowboy boots and pound the floor at historic dance halls such as Albert Ice House.
Wilmington’s tranquil beaches are the perfect destination for sunbathing, swimming, or—if you want to splash out, so to speak—renting a private yacht for your best gal pal. Check out local companies such as Wilmington Yacht Charters and Weekender Yacht Charters for package deals including overnight stays and catering. More of a landlubber? Head downtown to stroll the riverfront boardwalk, gawk at the antebellum Bellamy Mansion or scarf seafood at spots such as Fish Bites (don’t miss the bacon-wrapped, beer batter-fried shrimp bombs) and Cape Fear (try the unusual, pineapple-laced French martini).