When some people think of the ultimate bachelor or bachelorette party, usually two words come to mind: “Vegas, baby!” And if gambling, strippers and the strip are your vibe, good on you. Go, get your party on and try not to wake up with a hangry tiger in your room.
If, however, you’re looking for ideas that include a little more than alcohol, gambling and significant memory loss, there are lots of other cities that make a great weekend escape.
Today we bring you 5 alternatives to Sin City that make for a hell of a last hurrah. From laidback to raucous, one of these places is bound to be a good fit for the intended bride or groom.
Let’s get rolling.
Chicago, Baby: The Other Late Night Scene
In case you’ve never been there, this Midwest town loves to par-tay! So if you’d rather skip Vegas but still love late night action, the Windy City will not disappoint. Here are few places to hit for a seriously fun night out on the town:
Tina Fey, Steve Carrell, Bill Murray and many other famous comedians got their start at The Second City; you will not want to miss an opportunity to see a show at this legendary improv club.
House music was pretty much invented at Smart Bar. Be prepared to dance/sweat the night away. Never hurts to burn a few calories before the big day.
Got game? Sip a craft beer while you’re trying to score on one of the city’s largest and best-maintained collections of games at The Logan Arcade.
The panoramic view from the 96th floor of the old John Hancock building can’t be beaten. Especially with a cocktail in hand.
Like to rock? For more than 25 years this legendary hang has had a knack for booking up and coming talent.
You are 100% guaranteed to have a good time at Lan’s in Old Town. This unsuspecting BYOB Chinese restaurant turns into a karaoke bar after dinner and it gets wild.
Napa Valley, Baby: Chill But Sophisticated
If your bachelor or bachelorette is a wine aficionado, it’s hard to beat the Napa Valley for a more mellow approach to a party weekend. Its combination of great food, great wine and stunning scenery will make for a relaxing and memorable weekend.
Yes, you can always uber or take a group tour to the area’s many wineries. But peddling your way through the Napa Valley will also give you a chance to enjoy its amazing beauty. Through kind of a wine haze, but still….
With companies like Calistoga Balloons, you can catch a bird’s eye view of some of California’s most magnificent scenery. And also take some really dope selfies.
Golfing is a bachelor party classic. If you want to squeeze in a few rounds between drinks, the Silverado Resort boasts two PGA championship golf courses.
Yet another way to enjoy the great outdoors in Napa is on horseback. Outfits like the Napa Valley Horse Company offer rustic tours of the vineyards.
Calistoga is a small town in the Napa Valley known for its natural hot springs and famous mud baths. What better way to unwind from all that pre-wedding stress?
Aspen, Baby: Get Wild in the Wild
Maybe your bride or groom likes to cut loose in the great outdoors. Sure, Aspen is known for skiing, but it’s also heaven for any kind of nature lover. Here are a few ideas on how to plan a party in the wild.
The area around Aspen is an absolute hiker’s paradise. Its hundreds of trails cover every level from beginner to hardcore mountain goat. One of the most iconic areas is Maroon Bells, a series of wine colored peaks that tower 14,000 feet over the Maroon Creek Valley.
Aspen is a serious cycling town. Whether you prefer street cycling or mountain biking, this is one place you’ll never run out of road. Or really gnarly dirt trails
From bare-bones camping to luxurious glamping, the area around Aspen offers tons of ways to replace five-star hotels with starry nights around the campfire.
Yes, Aspen is in the middle of the Rockies. But with its rivers, streams and lakes, there’s plenty to do for water lovers. Besides fishing and paddleboarding, you can take a wild ride down the Roaring Fork River which has up to Class V rapids. (Preparation for how to navigate the sometimes rough waters of marriage).
Tip: For white water adventures, always go with a guide!
Colorado is the gateway to the wild west. What better place to practice your shooting skills? The Shotgun Club in nearby Basalt offers clay target shooting to beginners and more seasoned marksman.
Better a shotgun party than a shotgun wedding.
Tulum, Mexico, Baby: Chill International Style
For the ultra-chill pre-wedding fiesta, Tulum has beautiful beaches and an international hipster set that is equally pleasant to gaze at if you can pitch in and rent a house/party pad, even better! Here are a few things to do with your besties before the big day.
Tulum is a paradise for yogis, and there are retreats offered year-round at many beach resorts. May even help calm those pre-wedding jitters.
Yes, floating belly up in the Caribbean is a great way to chillax before the wedding. But there are plenty of other ways to add a touch of adventure to your beach getaway. Like diving, fishing or even learning to kiteboard.
No party is complete without a little time on the dance floor. Even if it is made of sand, the ultra-hip club at Papaya Playa has a guest DJ every weekend. Nothing makes you feel freer than dancing the night away under the stars.
Tulum is a paradise for foodies as well as beach lovers and has gained a solid culinary reputation in the last several years. You’ll find everything from traditional Mexican to gourmet vegan.
For a taste of local gourmet cuisine, check out the popular Hartwood. Just be sure to make a reservation!
One of the most unique things about the Yucatan Peninsula is its cenotes - freshwater sinkholes where you can swim and even dive. Just like your wedding, it’s a big plunge you’ll never forget.
Austin, Baby: You Do You
A city in Texas whose slogan is “Keep Austin Weird.” If that doesn’t sound like an invitation to a great party, I don’t know what does. This southern city is known as “the capital of live music.” But it’s also famed for its eccentric residents, dive bars and art scene.
Here are a few things to do to make your pre-wedding bash a party to remember.
Yes, Austin is home to South By Southwest and Austin City Limits. But you don’t have to arrive at festival time to enjoy the music scene. Here are some of the best venues to check out.
Known as Dirty Sixth Street on the weekends, this collection of dive bars and music clubs will ensure the bride or groom has a proper send-off. Be sure to stop in at local favorites like Midnight Cowboy, Easy Tiger and Casino el Camino.
Local institution the Little Longhorn Saloon holds what must be the craziest game of bingo on the planet every Sunday. And it’s exactly what the name advertises. Chickens shitting on bingo squares. It’s way too weird to miss.
With its collection of creative brewers, Austin has turned into a craft beer hub with good reason. If there’s nothing you like better than grabbing a cold one, be sure to check out the taprooms at Blue Owl Brewing, Hops & Grain and Lazarus brewing, just to name a few.
For some reason, Austin is a city obsessed with brunch. Maybe because they get up late after all that live music? In any case, you haven’t done Austin unless you’ve done brunch, which may be just the thing after your own late night revel.
Hanks, Carpenter Hall and Lucky Robot are just a few places to put your midmorning feed bag on.
And They Both Lived.
Every couple is different. So why make every bachelor or bachelorette party the same? As you can see, there’s a whole other world beyond Vegas looking to welcome future brides and grooms for one last hurrah as singles.
So get out there, explore and have fun. And may you all live happily ever after. Or at least survive the sendoff party.
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