Nearly six million people get engaged in the winter—followed by a manic wedding-planning process that includes a not-to-be-forgotten bachelorette party. Rounding up the bridal party for an out-of-town bachelorette fête is no easy task when coordinating different budgets, family and work commitments, and flight schedules. Thankfully, there are plenty of chill destinations in the U.S. offering direct flights, tons of bars in a walkable district, cool hotels, and yummy brunches. Whether you crave coastal South Carolina or the Southern California desert—or perhaps urban spots like Denver, Chicago, or Vegas—here’s where to go.—Kristine Hansen
There are all kinds of highs going on in the Mile High city. Forego a rental car and hop the new light-rail extension between downtown and DIA. Take My 420 Tours’ two-hour tutorial in rolling sushi and joints (remember, Colorado’s legal), offered Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, and extend that high with Twisted Sister Yoga’s Friday-night Ganja Yoga Class. The nearby Art, a Hotel opened two years ago, boasting a rooftop bar and eatery with a decadent weekend brunch (cue beignets and bottomless mimosas). Suss out Denver’s craft brews with Denver Microbrew Tour’s walking tour through LoDo (lower downtown Denver).
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Guide to Denver
Spread out by the pool at the three-year-old Sparrows Lodge, just two miles outside of downtown, with a restaurant carved into a barn and plenty of fire pits for roasting s’mores. Whether you like design or drinking, downtown Palm Springs has both, including boozy all-day breakfast (like lychee mimosas) and a bacon bar until 2 p.m. at Cheeky’s and Toucans Tiki Lounge for drag shows and fruity drinks. Kill a hangover with vintage furniture shopping at numerous downtown boutiques.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Guide to Palm Springs and the Desert Resorts
Tacos and tunes are the main draws in Austin. And don’t knock the chain hotels because inside the recently renovated Hilton Austin downtown is Austin Taco Project, with sweets like churros and strawberry tacos. One block away is bustling Sixth Street (tons of bars—the better ones are on East instead of West), or skip the tourists and college kids and head to the venues of Red River Street. When you’ve had enough of the city life, turn to this month’s opening of Mattie’s (with an ex-Le Bernardin chef), a restaurant inside a historic home. And go swimming in Austin’s many watering holes—don’t miss the people watching at Barton Springs.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Guide to Austin
King Street’s cobblestoned streets are cute, but foodies and cocktail snobs love to duck into the many restaurants and bars, from Callie’s wildly popular biscuits (Oprah loves ’em, too) to The Darling Oyster Bar, which opened last year (yes, there’s brunch—and hush puppies.). The Vendue’s rates are slightly more affordable than newcomer luxury hotels The Restoration and The Dewberry, and it’s only a year older. And don’t poke fun at those cheesy carriage rides: everything’s fun with the girls!
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Guide to Charleston
These days, all the cool bars and restaurants are popping up in River North—immediately north of the Loop and Gold Coast in downtown Chicago. ACME Hotel’s rates hover just under $200, with the three Bs all under one roof (bakery, bodega, and bar). Korean-fused tacos at the ’hood’s year-old Seoul Taco fuels you up for a bar crawl, including a spot at the new spy-themed Safe House. Take the gals on an Odyssey brunch boat cruise on the Chicago River (there’s an onboard DJ).
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Guide to Chicago
Yesterday’s trend was SoBe—now it’s downtown Miami, where boutique hotels like The Langford Hotel (has a cool pool) and ME Miami (the rooftop Pawn Broker is very glam) opened in the last two years. Dance all night at downtown clubs like Heart and The Hangar. At sun-up, tour the graffiti walls and murals of the Wynwood Art District, an artsy neighborhood with tons of edginess.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Guide to Miami
Forget about honky-tonk. Downtown Nashville’s gone haute with a new slew of bars, restaurants and boutique hotels. Avoid a rental car by checking into the new and hip SoBro Guest House, with its funky floral wallpaper and Airbnb vibe (self-check-in and full kitchens). Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge on Broadway Street, a few blocks away, is a must for its honky-tonk live music, but also check out new arrival Bastion in Houston Station for classic cocktails and punches of the day.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Guide to Nashville
One of Crescent City’s newest hotels—The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery—has an artsy-urban vibe with exposed-brick walls in the rooms. Right outside the hotel’s front door, in the equally hip Warehouse Arts neighborhood, are spots for sushi (such as at Rock ’n Sake Bar & Sushi) and charcuterie (like Cochon, with a Creole twist), and the French Quarter is a mile on foot, with its darling jazz clubs and brunch haunts (like SoBou’s boozy and burlesque brunch).
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Guide to New Orleans
WHERE: New Jersey
A short jaunt from many East Coast cities—New York City is just 2.5 hours away—Atlantic City is experiencing a renaissance with revamped hotels, new restaurants, and fun bars. Last fall, Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City embarked on a $30 million makeover of its Bayview Tower rooms, set to wrap up by June 1, and the buzz-worthy restaurant this spring will be Angeline by Michael Symon, inside Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. It’s set to open May 1. After dinner, throw back some tequila at the hotel’s Gypsy Bar, which hosts live bands on occasion.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Guide to Atlantic City
When it comes to cheap, non-stop flights, you just can’t beat Vegas. Last December’s opening of W Las Vegas adds another sexy spin to the Strip, with seven eateries, including Bazaar Meat by José Andrés. Drink, swim, and dance at Breathe Pool Ultra Lounge at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Check the schedule at the year-old T-Mobile Arena, ‘cause your travel plans might overlap with that of your favorite musician.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Guide to Vegas