Best Places for a Bachelor or Bachelorette Bash
If movies like "The Hangover" or "Bridesmaids" have taught us anything, it's that pre-wedding festivities usually involve a combination of alcohol-induced debauchery and bonding with your wedding party. And while karaoke at your local watering hole may sound fun in theory, a weekend getaway extends the revelry (or relaxation) a little longer. Think of it this way: a lot happened while you were single — you need more than one night to pay homage to this closing chapter of your life.
But with plenty of variables to consider (like budget, location and level of rowdiness), planning a prenuptial getaway can feel like an overwhelming task. Don't fret: We're here to help you find the perfect party locale. As every future bride and groom has an individual style, each looks for something different from their soiree spot. For this reason, U.S. News Travel is spotlighting 10 destinations ideal for 10 unique personality types. Whether you're a night owl or an adventure-seeker, there's a place for you on this list.
[In Pictures: Best Places for a Bachelor or Bachelorette Bash]
Yes, a pre-wedding celebration in Sin City is cliché. But with its bounty of hotels, night clubs and casinos, Las Vegas boasts all the bells and whistles of an unforgettable bachelor or bachelorette party. Ease into one of America's playgrounds with a round of golf or pre-wedding pampering at the Venetian's Canyon Ranch SpaClub. When you're ready to hit the Strip, you'll have an inexhaustible array of options, so you'll have to be selective. For dancing, visit PURE Nightclub. With 36,000 square feet of space, high-profile celebs and a terrace that affords dazzling city views, PURE offers enough variety to satisfy the whole crew. And for gals looking to take a walk on the wild side, legendary revues like Thunder from Down Under bring "Magic Mike" fantasies to life. Meanwhile, bachelors looking to test Lady Luck can take over Caesars Palace's 8,500-square-foot Poker Room or make their way to the state-of-the art race and sports book area. Afterward, take your gang to the super swank Bellagio to enjoy high stakes games and a cinematic fountain show.
Nothing relieves prenuptial stress quite like a relaxing spa or golf weekend in Phoenix, Ariz. Whether you're getting pampered with a body treatment at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort or hitting the fairways at one of Phoenix's legendary courses, the Valley of the Sun provides a tranquil ambiance to bid your single life adieu. Set in the shadow of the Sonoran Desert, Troon North Golf Club boasts two 18-hole Tom Weiskopf-designed courses that snake past the ravines and foothills of Scottsdale's Pinnacle Park. To get a taste of where the PGA pros play, head to TPC Scottsdale, which flaunts two 18-hole championship courses and striking views of the McDowell Mountains. Prefer the ballpark to the greens? Consider planning your bachelor or bachelorette mayhem for March, when the Cactus League's spring training offers daily and nightly MLB preseason games throughout the Phoenix metro area's 10 ballparks.
While Napa Valley and Phoenix both afford picturesque backdrops for serene spa and golf getaways, Napa offers an obvious advantage: its vino. Enjoy California Wine Country's gorgeous scenery and top-notch vintages, and feel your pre-wedding stress fade away. Many of the region's top hotels, like Calistoga Ranch and Bardessono, offer free wine-tastings and yoga classes, but we suggest toasting to your impending nuptials at Frog's Leap Winery or O'Brien Estate Winery. And if all the wining and dining has you wishing you were a better chef for your soon-to-be-spouse, sign up for a cooking or wine class at the Culinary Institute of America and learn how to prepare a tasty meal for your better half. When you need a break from all the gastronomic delights and delectable grapes, gather your crew and head out on the River to Ridge Trail. Here, you can walk, bike or horseback-ride along this 2½-mile stretch, which extends from the banks of the Napa River to Skyline Wilderness Park.
While the excess of masks, music and mayhem in New Orleans may make it a first choice among night owls, a great celebration isn't all the city has to offer future brides and grooms. After all, The Big Easy's mish-mash of traditional and ethnic fare, ranging from Creole to French to low country southern cuisine, earned it a place on our roundup of the 10 Best Cities for Foodies. You and your bridal party can navigate the city, fork in hand, and forgo any pre-wedding diets for the sake of sampling NOLA's mouthwatering bites. For plates that are easy on your wallet but heavy on southern flavor, head to Boucherie. When it's time for some nighttime revelry, follow the crowds to the French Quarter. Bachelorettes looking to pick up a few moves before the big day can head to the New Orleans School of Burlesque, while bachelors can keep the good times rolling at Channing Tatum's Saints and Sinners bar. Tatum's bar, decked in audacious red and gold accents, offers a flashy throwback to the city's Storyville era. (Sorry ladies, Channing Tatum is unfortunately not included.)
[See: Best Honeymoon Destinations]
Often stacked against Sin City for its flourishing club scene, Montreal features upscale lodging options, top-notch casinos and chic clubs, without the steep prices of Vegas. A wide array of lively restaurants, bars and nightclubs fills the Rue Crescent area. For something a little more sophisticated, head to Casino de Montréal on the Île Notre-Dame or the Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill, where musicians share the stage nightly. Prefer to enjoy a pint of expertly crafted brew? Montreal doesn't disappoint there, either. The city's microbrewery culture is thriving; meaning the only problem you'll come across is deciding where to go. Brutopia, situated in downtown Montreal, serves beer brewed on-site in a festive pub. However you choose to spend your night, finish it off at La Banquise where more than 28 varieties of Montreal's signature dish, poutine (fries generously garnished with cheese and gravy), offers a great way to cap off your evening.
NYC didn't nab a spot on our Best Shopping Cities list for nothing. From upscale institutions like Saks Fifth Avenue to more affordable chains like Gap, the Big Apple provides the ideal outlet for bride-to-be retail therapy. Even if you can't afford to exercise your credit card at Bergdorf Goodman, bachelorettes can head to the seventh floor for afternoon tea and stunning views of Central Park at the BG Restaurant. But if a shop-till-you-drop weekend isn't in your budget, New York offers an endless supply of one-of-a-kind experiences you just can't find anywhere else. For a memorable night on the town, venture to Brooklyn's Galapagos Art Space for a Floating Kaberette and an acrobatic burlesque performed every Saturday night. Meanwhile, bachelors can delight in libations at the Biergarten at The Standard's High Line hotel in the city's Meatpacking District. Along with traditional German noshes, ping pong and pints of amber brew, the Biergarten offers Stammtisch tables directly hooked up to a beer tap. Craving more action in the city that never sleeps? Sports enthusiasts can't miss a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden or a trip to Yankee Stadium.
[See: Best Cities for Singles]
With its alabaster sands, secluded areas and spirited nightlife, Puerto Rico offers a tropical party locale, without the high Caribbean price tags. And because it's less than a three-hour flight from Miami, Puerto Rico is also more accessible than many of the Caribbean's top party destinations. Get a warm pre-wedding glow at Sun Bay on Vieques or embark on an adventurous hike through the El Yunque National Rainforest. Just make sure you save some energy for San Juan's riotous after-hours party scene. Club Brava takes after the glamorous, multi-level clubs sprinkled throughout Vegas, while Oceano flaunts a chic South Beach vibe in the Condado Beach area. And before you fly home, don't pass up the chance to visit Mosquito Bay, where more than 700,000 bioluminescent microscopic organisms create a brilliant glow that lights up the bay — providing a one-of-a-kind experience you and your friends won't forget quickly.
While Manhattan and Miami Beach may share a 24/7 party mentality, Miami Beach has a leg up on the Big Apple: namely, its beach. Bachelors and bachelorettes looking to imbibe in a riotous night scene should make their way to LIV, an 18,000-square-foot club filled with neon lights and A-list celebs. Reserve a VIP table if you want to skip the line, but be prepared to part with your cash, especially if you're a bachelor. (Lucky for bachelorettes, many Miami clubs give ladies a break on cover charges). If you would rather indulge in bottle service with a side of sea views, head to one of Miami Beach's stylish rooftop parties. Day or night, The Setai boasts a lively atmosphere filled with liberating cocktails and plenty of people-watching. And while Miami is notoriously expensive, a day relaxing at the beach doesn't have to be; head to South Beach for some fun in the sun. Thanks to the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau's "Miami Spa Month" every July and August, you can enjoy a variety of treatments at participating spas for $99 in the summertime.
Vail may not possess Sin City's risqué reputation, but it's far from boring. Instead of spending your last few days of freedom inside a window-less casino, glide down Vail Ski Resort's glistening slopes. The crisp mountain air may even yield the vow-writing inspiration you've been searching for. Apart from 5,289 skiable acres, Vail's ski retreat features famous powder hounds (including occasional appearances from Olympian Lindsey Vonn) and a lively après-ski scene. If you need to soothe sore muscles after a day on the slopes, indulge in a decadent spa treatment. The spa at The Arrabelle at Vail Square, A RockResort boasts mountain-themed treatments like the Alpine Glow, which uses fresh rosemary and a mineral sea salt scrub to flush out any impurities. Keep in mind: A pre-wedding ski trip to Vail isn't designed for bachelor or bachelorette bargain-hunters — keep reading for more budget-friendly stag and hen party ideas.
Cutting down wedding costs isn't always as easy as it seems, but limiting exorbitant bachelor and bachelorette party spending doesn't have to be a challenge. Austin offers a variety of free outdoor attractions, cheap dining establishments and rockin' tunes (it is the "Live Music Capital of the World"). Cheap eats can be found at any one of the city's roving food trucks or trailers, but "Top Chef Texas" fans can't miss Paul Qui's Asian-inspired bites at his four East Side King food trucks. After sampling the city's tasty fare, work off the extra calories at some of Austin's outdoor sites, like the 351-acre Zilker Park or the Lady Bird Lake hike and bike trail. And of course no trip to Austin is complete without enjoying some live music. There are more than 250 venues to choose from, but you and your crew can avoid racking up cover charges by hitting some of the city's free shows, such as the Blues on the Green summertime concert series in Zilker Park.
[In Pictures: Best Places for a Bachelor or Bachelorette Bash]
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