Wedding season is in full swing and with it, bachelorette parties galore. The girls’ night out on steroids has gotten a reputation for strippers and lots of alcohol. After having attended a few on top of discussing ideas with friends, the time for janky strip clubs and rent-a-strippers is past. Instead, ladies are looking forward to weekend getaways, relaxing spa retreats and even good ol’ athletic fun. That’s not to say strippers and alcohol are completely out of the question. Do your thing but keep your options open and try one of these ideas as well. If nothing else, it’s an incredible time spent with the girls.
Host a Wine Dinner (or have a restaurant host one for you)
A close friend of mine got married last summer and instead of going crazy, she had her closest friends and family over for a nice dinner. Her idea of a great bachelorette party was spending time with her girls while enjoying good food and amazing wine (and let me tell you, her wine cellar is something to be reckoned with). If you have confidence in your sommelier skills, host a wine dinner yourself. If not, or you don’t want the responsibility of setting and cleaning up, find a spot in the city.
- CITY WINERY (1200 West Randolph Street): Take the girls for a tour, tasting or both at City Winery. Not only do they have a variety of wines on tap year-round, they also have a great dinner and brunch menu. City Winery is also a great spot for the bride who loves music. They always have a great band or performer lined up for weekend live entertainment
- NIA (803 West Randolph Street): This Mediterranean tapas place has a seven course tasting option perfect for a small to mid-size bachelorette party. They also have a private event space in case you’d rather not worry about bothering other patrons. Book in advance because this tapas place has become a favorite in the West Loop.
Go to a Game
Another close friend of mine has no interest in getting wasted for her bachelorette party. If she had her way, she’d go to a Chicago White Sox game and hit up a local spot for a burger afterwards. If you have a bride that’s a die hard sports fan, take her to a game. This idea depends on timing, affordability and ticket availability but for the most part, you can make it happen. The easiest teams to get tickets for would be the Chicago Cubs, White Sox and Bulls. The Blackhawks and Bears can get tricky and expensive but if you are all committed, I say go for it. Check out one of the spots below for a bite to eat before or after the game:
- Heading to a Bears game? Don’t go anywhere to grab a bite. Pregame instead. It’s part of the experience. Not only will you save money, you’ll have a blast and meet a ton of great people.
- Save a buck after a Blackhawks or Bulls game by grabbing classic “Cheezborgers” at Billy Goat Tavern (1535 West Madison). These babies are unbeatable and if you head here after the game, you’ll wait out traffic and crowds. If it’s a late game, Billygoat closes at 10pm so head over to Au Cheval (800 West Randolph) instead for another incredible burger. They’re open till 12am or 1am, depending on the night.
- Wrigleyville, home of the Chicago Cubs, is never short of places to eat or drink. There’s a space for whatever mood you’re in. The Cubby Bear (1059 West Addison Street) is a classic sports bar and favorite of Cub fans with traditional bar food for munching. Head towards East Lakeview for great brews and food at DryHop Brewers (3155 North Broadway Street), the best Pad Thai you’ll ever have at Joy’s Noodles (3257 North Broadway Street), or classic diner food and breakfast at Melrose Diner (3233 North Broadway Street).
- The White Sox aren't located in an ideal spot, especially for grabbing a bite to eat. You could head to a local joint somewhere in the area but I’d recommend heading a little north to University Village/Little Italy. Grab empanadas at Chilango Mexican Street Food (1437 West Taylor Street), burgers and milkshakes at Busy Burger (1120 West Taylor Street), or beef sandwiches at Al’s Beef (1079 West Taylor Street), a Chicago favorite.
Sometimes the best thing you can give a bride before her wedding day is a spa getaway. Chicago has many fantastic places to stay for a night or two and get pampered. This idea requires a bit more of a financial commitment so if that’s a concern for a few people, consider an afternoon of pampering instead. Check out a few of these hotels for your peaceful escape.
- dana Hotel & Spa (660 North State Street): a boutique hotel in Chicago’s Gold Coast, the dana is an all-in-one package. The perfect location, schedule a day of spa services then party it up on their rooftop lounge, Apogee.
- The Godfrey Chicago (127 West Huron): Experience luxury in River North at The Godfrey. Modern and unique in design, The Godfrey provides an unparalleled experience. Enjoy a variety of services from massages to facials and more.
- The Peninsula Chicago (108 East Superior Street): Known for having one of the best spas in Chicago, The Peninsula will cost you a few dollars but it’s well worth it. The Peninsula is a beautiful hotel and I recommend staying an entire weekend with the girls. If that's too much, an afternoon of spa treatments will leave you feeling rejuvenated in time for the wedding.
I don’t know who started the stripper thing for bachelorette parties but if you ask me, they’re overrated. I mean...unless you take a trip out to Vegas and experience that new Magic Mike show they have. No complaints for that one. But if you’re planning to stay in the area, there are plenty of fun, creative ideas for spending time with the girls to celebrate the bride-to-be. Why not have a night to remember instead of a morning you’d rather forget?