As a professional bridesmaid, I went to more bachelorette parties in my 20s than I can count on my hands and toes. I’ve boogied to the beats of banjos in Nashville, licked barbecue sauce off my fingers in Austin, got up close and personal with male dancers in thongs in Las Vegas, and drank pitchers of sangria while lounging poolside in Miami.
Even though I’ve celebrated with brides-to-be in cities all over the country, there’s still nothing like a bachelorette party in the City That Never Sleeps. New York might seem like an overwhelming place to host one last fling before the ring, but it’s one of the best spots to bring together a squad of friends for a weekend of delicious food and one-of-a-kind activities that will impress all their senses.
If you’ve been summoned to plan the perfect NYC bachelorette party but don’t know where to start, I’ve got some ideas that will please even the pickiest brides.
Must-Dos for a Bridezilla
loosen up with beyoncé
While the bride is still a single lady, bring her to Banana Skirt Productions in midtown for a private dance class that teaches your crew the choreography from your favorite Beyoncé music video.
Get Your Wine Fix
Your stressed-out bride-to-be needs a bit of liquid relaxation. City Winery is a great spot to spend the afternoon or early evening, drinking unlimited rosé and Merlot, pretending you’re at a vineyard in the middle of the city, and watching live entertainment from some of the city’s top talent.
See a different kind of cabaret
When the pressure is on the bachelorette party planning committee to make the weekend feel like a truly outrageous time for all, you might want to head to a head-turning burlesque show at Company XIV for an experience unlike any other. And we mean it; there are not a lot of venues in the boroughs where you’ll find an opera singer belting out Cardi B while doing aerial stunts.
Must-Dos for a Beauty Bride
Get Personal at Birchbox
Chances are your makeup-obsessed bride has heard of Birchbox and has subscribed at some point in her life. For her bachelorette party, you can book a private session at its brick-and-mortar with a bona fide beauty consultant; there, you can all customize your own perfect box for the big day.
Take a BITE
Schedule an afternoon at Bite Lip Lab, where the squad can make lipsticks from more than 200 pigments, finishes, and scents. Everyone can walk away with her own signature shade to wear down the aisle.
Get Those Nails Did
End the weekend with a unique mani-pedi at Chillhouse, a chic spa that does on-trend nail art. Not only does it provide the group—especially the bride—with a little TLC and a new set of nails that’s completely Instagram-worthy, but the salon also offers lattes, wine, beer, and cocktails.
Must-Dos for an Out-of-Town Bride
Eat and Drink the Morning Away at Brunch
Kick-start the day with a boozy brunch at a hip spot that’s equipped to wine and dine bigger groups with food and drink specials. My favorites for bachelorette party brunches are PS450, Beauty and Essex, and Sotto 13.
Ride Around on a Sightseeing Bus
One of the best ways to see the city, especially for someone who hasn’t spent much time in Manhattan, is to zip around on a sightseeing bus that lets riders hop on and off to explore the most memorable landmarks and streets. You can stop for lunch in Chinatown and pause for a few pictures in the heart of Times Square.
Go On an NYC Scavenger Hunt
Since your bachelorette party trip will only give you a few days to see all that the city has to offer, one of the easiest ways to incorporate a tour of Manhattan from top to bottom is with a full-day scavenger hunt. When I did one of these for a bachelorette party, we were given a list of activities and spots to go to all over the city in a five-hour period, while also racing 12 other teams to the finish line. When it was over, I needed a nap, but I also had a full camera roll of funny pictures of the bride, saw most of the city, and was able to feel like a true New Yorker having to find her way around while being in a rush. Don’t want to plan the hunt yourself? Watson Adventures can create a custom one for you and your party.
Must-Dos for a Brooklyn-Vibe Bride
Bake a cake
Know the saying, “Have your cake and eat it, too?” At Milk Bar in Brooklyn, you and your friends can take a group cake-making class that lets you take home all of your beautiful and tasty creations.
Bowl and booze
No one in the bridal party will find themselves bored at Brooklyn Bowl. Not only can you roll strikes for an hour or two, you can also eat dinner (the food is catered by the always-excellent Blue Ribbon) and catch live music all night long.
Head to an Immersive Show
Brooklyn is known for its unique and edgy shows. The immersive Then She Fell definitely fits that bill. You’ll find yourself in a multisensory experience where every turn takes you into a lushly designed world, inspired by the life and writings of Lewis Carroll, author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
If the group still has energy, take advantage of the incredible nightlife in Bushwick, where you’ll find some of the coolest bars and clubs in the city. Our favorites: House of Yes, Honey’s, Jupiter Disco, Elsewhere, Dromedary Bar, and Rose Gold x Cape House.