The stale stereotype of X-rated party favors, matching sashes and male strippers is hardly the standard pre-wedding tradition these days. (Although if you’re into that, may we suggest this?) So if you’re looking to organize a bachelorette party that’s a little more customized, we’ve put together five itineraries guaranteed to impress not just the bride but the whole squad.
5 Non-Lame Ideas for an NYC Bachelorette Party
For The Culture Buff
This bride not only knows a Riopelle from a Pollock but can also speak to the influence the artists’ respective leading ladies—and fellow abstract expressionists—Joan Mitchell and Lee Krasner had on their work. Show her you know how to put the art in party (sorry) by treating her to a day at The Met.
Itinerary: Get up close and personal with O’Keeffes, De Koonings and Rembrandts during a private tour of the Met Fifth Avenue. Opting for a professional guide will ensure that even the not-so-art-savvy among your group will enjoy their visit, plus it’s a surefire way to hit all the highlights.
Next, visit the museum’s Cantor Rooftop Garden Bar for some bubbly and breathtaking views of Central Park. If the weather is not on your side, snag a table at the Great Hall Balcony Café &Bar on the second-floor mezzanine and enjoy a drink and live music.
Finally, splurge on a meal at the Met’s fine-dining restaurant, The Dining Room, which recently unveiled a new menu featuring plant-focused dishes from Michelin-starred chef John Fraser. Be sure to order the chanterelle polenta, which is served with an acorn squash fricassee and winter truffles. It’s a masterpiece that rivals the works on display.
Keep the party going: Cozy up at the sophisticated upscale piano bar Bemelmans in the nearby Carlyle Hotel. The bar is named for the famed illustrator and creator of the Madeline children’s books, Ludwig Bemelmans, whose murals adorn the walls.
Party favor: Skip the tiaras—they won’t hold up among the 17th-century Spanish crowns on display—and sport these T-shirts instead as a subtle homage to the ladies who trail-blazed the art world.
For The Foodie
This bride fancies herself a bona fide gastronome. She treats New York City as her personal dining room and is equally at home in a dive bar noshing on wings as she is at an exclusive chef’s counter. Delight her taste buds with a culinary-themed day in Red Hook.
Itinerary: Start your day with breakfast alfresco at chef Mary Ellen Amato’s ultra-charming restaurant, Rita. We love the flavor-packed overnight oats, which are made with coconut milk, mango jam and turmeric-lime-chili pumpkin seeds.
Next, head to Widow Jane Distillery, an artisanal whiskey distillery in the heart of Red Hook. It offers daily tasting tours where you’ll discover the complex notes (like molasses, black cherry and burnt oak) in some of its award-winning blends. To sweeten the experience, add a chocolate pairing to your tour: The distillery shares a space with sister company Cacao Prieto, which makes some of the finest organic chocolate in the world.
Cap off your day with a private dinner in the rustic garden at The Good Fork. Enjoy a three-course meal prepared by chef Sohui Kim. The Korea-born, Bronx-raised chef is famous for adding international flavors to her new American dishes. (Pro tip: Don’t sleep on the dumplings or the scallion pancake.)
Keep the party going: Burn off some of the day’s calories by hitting the dance floor at the legendary gay bar Excelsior. The two-story institution has live drag performances, great music and cheap drinks.
Party favor: We’ve got hot sauce in our bag! Arm the whole crew with hot sauce (like the locally grown concoctions from Brooklyn Grange) adorned with customized slogans like Keep it spicy or Fired up.
For The Self-care Crusader
This bride always makes time for herself (and fills her Instagram feed with proof). She’s no stranger to the latest wellness and beauty fads, and she strives for #cleaneating whenever possible. Make her feel special with a day dedicated to her well-being.
Itinerary: Venture out of state (barely) to the New Jersey waterfront spa SoJo Spa Club. The multistory facility features an assortment of hydrotherapy pools, steam rooms and saunas—plus a killer view of Manhattan (you’ll want a group photo in the infinity pool on the seventh floor). Make the most of your visit by booking a relaxing Volcanic Sand Bath for your group. The heavenly treatment involves being buried up to your neck in heated sand imported from Ibusuki, Japan.
The spa offers a free shuttle to and from midtown (a 40-minute drive). While you wait for the return shuttle, duck across the street to pick up some Instagrammable antioxidants from Royce’Chocolates and Matcha Love.
The shuttle will drop you off on 42nd and Ninth Avenue. For dinner, walk a few blocks north to Blue Dog, which boasts a carefully crafted menu of seasonal food made with organic and locally sourced ingredients.
Keep the party going: Head to nearby P.S. Kitchen, a delightful plant-based restaurant and bar with nutrient-dense cocktails made from elixirs like Fair Quinoa Vodka and Almond Baileys.
Party favor: Say farewell to gaudy veils and hello to gauzy Korean sheet masks. Smooth one over your face before hitting SoJo’s steam room for even deeper serum penetration.
For The Wine Lover
This bride is a proud oenophile (she even knows how to pronounce it). Give her something to toast by spoiling her with an overnight trip to Long Island’s North Fork to tour some of the area’s finest vineyards.
Itinerary: Fuel up on coffee and baked goods at North Fork Roasting Company, which is run by two women who are self-proclaimed coffee junkies. (Its complex house-roasted brews are reason enough to go east, tbh.)
From there, take your time touring some of the more than 60 vineyards on Long Island. Definitely don’t miss Croteaux, the only vineyard in America exclusively dedicated to producing rosé. Post up at one of the umbrella-covered tables in the quaint courtyard or cool off inside the historic barn. Also be sure to pop some bottles and nosh on fresh cheese at Sparkling Pointe, but save your appetite for Jamesport Vineyards, a father-son collaboration that began in 1986, making it one of the North Fork’s oldest vineyards, and more important, one that serves a mean wood-fired pizza.
(Note: A handful of vineyards have banned bachelorette parties because of the typical debauchery—and we don’t blame them. Check with each vineyard to learn about its large party policies, and be respectful of the property and other patrons.)
Rest your heads at the adorable American Beech, a recently revamped 19th-century stable house. It has 11 bright and airy suites, including three two-bedroom apartments, all impeccably decorated with a tropical motif.
Keep the party going: No need to leave the hotel: The inn has two great spots for you to choose from. Unwind by the fireplace in the lounge or mingle with locals at the popular Mediterranean-style outdoor hangout, the Tree Bar.
Party favor: Penis straws? No, thank you. We’ll drink our vino from a customized wine tumbler.
For The Spiritual Sister
This bride is no stranger to sound baths or sage cleanses, and she has her astrologer on speed dial. Enlighten her with two nights of soul-searching activities at an off-the-grid bohemian villa upstate.
Itinerary: Check into Foxfire Mountain House’s enchanting new sister property, La Colina, on Friday evening. The perfectly appointed Spanish Revival building fits up to 16 people and is located only 90 minutes from midtown. You’ll have command of the entire estate, so you can cook meals in the luxe kitchen (or hire a caterer). And since you won’t want to leave your lovely digs, we suggest bringing the magic to you.
Tap into your inner wisdom with a Wear Your Mantra workshop conducted by Vanessa Lianne and Wholehearted Coaching in your cobblestone courtyard. The team will guide you through a visualization exercise that will culminate in the creation of a personal mantra, which will be engraved on a silver signet ring and shipped to you at a later date. Before you leave on Sunday, hire a local yoga teacher to lead a morning stretch by the pool.
Keep the party going: Gather together under the night sky for the ultimate spiritual throwback: summoning Ouija. You can buy a board on Amazon or splurge for a handcrafted one.
Party favor: Skip the streamers and balloons (they’ll only detract from the home’s minimalist decor) and instead load an overnight tote with handcrafted, sustainable goodies like bath salt vials, crystals and goddess body art from the female-run Brooklyn boutique Lovewild Design.