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A New York City Bachelorette Weekend Guide

A New York City Bachelorette Weekend Guide

Where to Stay

Places We Love: The Gramercy Park Hotel is the height of New York luxury. Each room is unique, the design a mix of bold modern colors and fabulous antique furnishings. The location is also ideal, halfway between classic uptown tourist destinations and trendy downtown shopping and restaurants. Bonus: Your room reservation includes exclusive access to Gramercy Park, the only private park in New York. Only residents of the buildings surrounding the park have keys to enter. Residents and you, that is.

A very cool midtown hotel option is the Dream Hotel, a super-modern urban escape. We especially love their indoor/outdoor terrace bar. We also love The Standard and The Maritime Hotel—both hotels have spectacular views and are surrounded by stellar dining options. The Westin Grand Central is a good “budget” option (budget being a relative term in New York hotels).

My Warning To You: The lowest priced hotels are found in Times Square or around Penn Station, but be warned that these areas do not have a lot of character. This is commercial New York at its worst: cheap souvenir shops, TGIFridays and Red Lobster, and sidewalk hawkers trying to sell you tickets for a bus tour. Before booking in these locations, just know you’ll need to hop a cab or on the subway for authentic New York dining and entertainment.

Get Your Shop On

Soho Boutiques: Browse a mixture of boutiques and mega-stores in Soho. A stop into TopShop’s American flagship store is a must, and Bloomingdale’s Off the Rack is a little more manageable than the flagship uptown (though that’s worth a stop too). But Soho is known for its smaller designer boutiques and offbeat specialty stores. We love Alice and Olivia, & Other Stories and American Two Shot. Housingworks Bookstore is a cozy place to browse (I’ve found signed first editions tucked into the shelves) and the MOMA Design Store carries unique home goods and affordable art prints. Brunch at Balthazar is a total treat, though reservations are a must at this popular spot.

Fifth Avenue Spree: Shopping on Fifth Avenue can often entail more browsing than buying, but it’s still a great classic New York experience (and there are affordable purchases to be made). Stop into Tiffany’s and let her try on a few wedding bands while you oogle all the sparklies. Cartier is also pretty fabulous. Bendel’s is a great candy box of a department store that is well worth a trip. Lunch at the 8th floor cafe at Saks Fifth Avenue can be nice (the views are great) and Le Train Bleu at Bloomingdale’s is also pretty cool—it looks like a 19th century French dining car. And since you’re experiencing New York like a local, don’t be afraid to take advantage of personal shoppers or shopping concierges where you can check your coats and leave your bags while you browse.

Check Out a Museum

Sexy Time: Welcome to the Museum of Sex. Yep, you read that right. New York City is home to the one and only Museum of Sex, possibly the most perfect museum ever devised for a bachelorette. You might find items from their permanent collection of sex paraphanelia from over the years on display—including everything from early pornography to the latest sex toys from around the globe—or rotating exhibits, like a bouncy castle of breasts (I am not making this stuff up!).

Classical Art with a Twist: Experience the Metropolitan Museum of Art with fresh eyes on a tour with Museum Hack, a group that tailors tours to a young, modern audience. Our favorite for a bachelorette is their “Butts of the Met” tour, an exploration of the many rear ends on view in the Met’s collection. Make sure to take the elevator up to the roof deck, which hosts a sculpture exhibit in warm months. The view of Central Park and the surrounding skyscrapers is not to be missed, plus you can enjoy it with a cocktail in hand.

Visit a Park

River Views and Beer: The High Line is a park/promenade built on an old elevated train line bordering the Hudson River. Take in views of lower Manhattan and the river while strolling through beautifully designed gardens past public art pieces. There are benches for people watching and lots of food vendors along the way so you can grab an ice cream while you stroll. Hop off at 14th Street and head to The Standard Biergarten for authentic German beer, pretzels and ping-pong.

A New York City Bachelorette Weekend GuideRowboats and Tea Time: Rent rowboats in Central Park. Central Park is vast and beautiful and has so much to explore. Since your time is limited, focus on the southern end of the park, which includes the iconic lake where you can rent rowboats. Stroll down the tree-lined Mall, past the Bandshell to the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain. You may catch an opera singer taking advantage of the acoustics in Bethesda arcade or a bluegrass band performing near the bandshell. Conservatory Water, the Alice in Wonderland statue, and Belvedere castle are nearby as well. Skip lunch at the Boathouse—it’s overpriced and the food is not that good. Instead, head slightly outside the park for afternoon tea at Sarabeth’s on Park Avenue South or Alice’s Tea Cup on 64th St.

Take in the view (by leaving Manhattan)

Venture to Brooklyn: Head to Brooklyn Bridge Park for breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline and the city’s bridges (from the south up just remember BMW, or Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Washington Bridge). The walk along the river will take you through beautifully landscaped parks and past a few yummy food stalls (we love Luke’s Lobster in particular), as well as an antique carousel. The park is also host to outdoor movie nights, free kayaking, a pop-up swimming pool and other events in the summer, so check their website for details.

City Escape: Catch the ferry to Govenor’s Island. Open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, Govenor’s Island is New York’s summer playground. The ferry ride from lower Manhattan will offer great views of both the city and the Statue of Liberty and once you’re there, you’ll find a pop-up beach, public art exhibits, bike rentals and more. The island also hosts a series of festivals throughout the summer, including the Jazz Age Lawn Party.

See a Show

Broadway for Less: For affordable Broadway tickets, check out Today Tix, an app that sells Broadway tickets at considerably discounted prices. The classic answer for low-cost Broadway tickets used to be the TKTS booths at South Street Seaport or Times Square, which sell day-of half-price tickets. But waiting in line at these booths will take precious time out of your getaway weekend. The prices on the Today Tix app are just as good, if not better, minus all that time standing around.

Comedy + Concerts: If Broadway’s not her thing, try a stand-up comedy show or a concert. Comedy shows are affordable and great for parties. The most renowned comedy club in New York is Upright Citizen’s Brigade, which hosts two to three nightly shows. If you’re here in the summer, make sure to look out for the many free outdoor concerts held around the city, most notably in Central Park. You can also check out who is playing at Bowery Ballroom or Webster Hall, two downtown venues that reliably bring in great bands.

Wine and Dine

I had so much to tell you about New York dining that I wrote two full separate posts on it! You can find my guides to NYC Dining, including dinner, desserts, late-night eats and more, here and here.

A New York City Bachelorette Weekend Guide: Where to Stay, What to See and Do

A New York City Bachelorette Dining Guide: Part 2

NYC Bachelorette Dining Guide: Where to Eat and Drink in New York City

First up, can I just say that writing an New York City bachelorette dining guide is hard! There are so many choices and I want you to love your experience in my city. So take a look through the below, but make sure to also check out my first NYC Dining Guide! It includes many, many more recommendations.

Restaurants have to meet a few very important criteria to make this list. First, they can’t charge you crazy rates for being a large party. Some restaurant require large parties to have a set menu and buy things like “beverage packages” and meet “room minimums.” You just want to go to dinner! So if they have a policy that will end up costing you $75 a head just for the food or will force you to meet a $2500 minimum in three hours (I am not making these numbers up, they are legitimate packages I found while researching this article), they are out! Also, they have to accept reservations. If you have a group of six or more, you are just never going to get into a nice restaurant without a reservation. Not on a Saturday night. No way. Unless you wait, like, two hours. And you don’t want to do that. You have some celebrating to do!

For this list, I let myself go up a little bit on price point for you. My first list focused on restaurants where you could pretty easily get an entree for $15 and still enjoy some ambiance. This time, I’ve upped my price point to places that average around $20-$25 an entree. I’ve made sure that each of my selections still has lower-priced options, but we can look at a whole new group of restaurants if we open the price point a bit. Eating cheaply can definitely be done in New York—what’s difficult is finding cheap eats with atmosphere. Lots of incredible hole-in-the-wall joints are making amazing food in New York, but many only have counter service or have six chairs crammed up against the wall in a railroad-style eatery. They can’t accommodate a big group. Or they won’t have that urban, energetic New York atmosphere you desire. I’ve tried to pick places that deliver on atmosphere, will serve great food and can accommodate a big party with ease (no easy feat).

Also, note: Happy hour is your friend. A lot of these restaurants have considerable deals between the hours of 5 and 7pm.

Dinner Spots

Pagani: A beautiful rustic Italian restaurant with plenty of candlelight and leather banquettes perfect for seating a large group (they also have a private back room that can accommodate 13). The homemade pasta dishes are the star, like the ricciatelle with wild mushrooms and arugula ($19.50) or the gnocchi with gorgonzola and black truffle ($23).

Flex Mussels: This place focuses on doing one thing really really well: mussels. The menu offers over 20 preparations, from the classic white white with garlic and herbs ($21) to thai flavored with a curry coconut broth, lemongrass and kaffir lime ($24) or decadent Maine lobster with bacon and a creamy chowder-like broth ($26). And yes, they do offer a few non-mussel dishes (helpfully listed on their “Not Mussels” menu), and a good happy hour menu. Save room for dessert and try the key lime pie in a glass, a deep fried whoopee pie (sinful but delicious) or a selection from their donut “collection.”

Bacaro: The ambiance of this little Italian spot is pitch-perfect for a bachelorette party. A flight of stairs leads down to a wine cellar–like dining room lit by romantic candlelight. The location is a bit off the beaten path, tucked away in Chinatown, but a quick cab ride will bring you to the heart of nightlife just a few blocks north in the Lower East Side. They’re great with groups and the food is lovely and quite affordable—braised pork shank with polenta will run you $20 or try a whole wheat pasta with duck ragu for $17.

The Mermaid Inn: The perfect spot for the seafood-loving bachelorette, The Mermaid Inn feels like a New England home with a bit of New York City flair. A daily happy hour from 5-7pm offers $1 oysters, $7 specialty cocktails like a Mermaid Mary and a menu of delicious snacks, like shrimp corn dogs ($3) or fish tacos ($3.50). The dinner menu is a bit pricier, with entrees like linguini and clams running $24, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a seafood restaurant with this high quality at a lower price.

Burger and Barrel: The ambiance of this winepub is warm, urban chic, with dark wood booths, brick walls and low lighting. Entrees like duck lasagna or Southern fried chicken will set you back $20, but you can also easily make a meal for the table with their sharing plates, which include things like a kale Caesar salad, chicken lollipops with Asian BBQ sauce or rock shrimp hush puppies for around $14 each.

Momofuku Noodle Bar: OK, I cheated a little on this one. But Momofuku is a New York institution and a dining experience not to be missed. The restaurant is small and incredibly popular (for good reason), but reservations are not offered…unless you order the fried chicken. Yep, the only way to get a reservation is to order the Korean fried chicken dinner ($135, including a few sides, but no drinks or other dishes—those will cost extra). Since the meal will feed up to 8 people, the cost isn’t prohibitive, so I let this one slip onto the list. So sue me. It’s that good.

Unique Drinks

The Frying Pan: Set on a barge floating in the Hudson River (docked next to a historic ship that you can also drink aboard), The Frying Pan is the perfect place to spend a sunny summer afternoon. Order a bucket of cold Coronas and some Old Bay French fries and enjoy the sunshine and the breeze off the river.

The Met Rooftop: Want a rooftop bar without the a hefty price tag or bottle service? Or just a fun way to end your visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art? Grab a drink on the roof! Open during the summer, the roof features a sculpture installation plus stunning views of Central Park and midtown Manhattan. Sunset is the perfect time to visit.

Tequila Park: You like the name already, am I right? Located in a courtyard of the Hudson Hotel, Tequila Park looks like the coolest little Mexican eatery you’ve encountered. With ivy climbing the brick walls and plenty of inviting seating, this is the perfect place to kick back with a margarita and a few yummy and inventive tacos.

Gallows Green: From the folks behind Sleep No More, an interactive theater experience unlike any other, this bar is a bit of immersive theater in and of itself. Take the elevator to the top floor and suddenly find yourself outside a log cabin surrounded by a pine forest. Inside you’ll find bunk beds that serve as seating, communal tables, plush armchairs, and an outdoor patio under the stars. Truly transporting.

Yummy Treats

Momofuku Milk Bar: Oh man, this place. They do such crazy/wonderful things! Their inventive desserts remind you of childhood favorites but are totally grown up. Best known for their crack pie and compost cookies, which must be tried to be comprehended, they also mix up a mean frozen yogurt and naked cakes in unique flavors like cereal milk (way more yummy than it sounds). Not a sit-down joint, but pick up for a celebration in the hotel.

Dylan’s Candy Bar: Worth a stop for sheer color and sweetness overload. Dylan’s is the ultimate candy store, packed with every sweet treat imaginable, from nostalgic favorites to new creations. You can also hold private events here, making it a great location for a sweet-themed shower. Or stop in at the Candy Bar for a candy-themed cocktail, like a Pop Rocks Explosion made with vodka, melon liquor, lime and orange juices and, yes, Pop Rocks!

Sprinkles: Two words: Cupcake ATM. Worth it for the Instagram alone, am I right?

NYC Bachelorette Dining Guide

A New York City Bachelorette Dining Guide

Trying to plan a bachelorette weekend in NYC and absolutely overwhelmed by your restaurant choices? Trust me, as a New Yorker I feel your pain. Just deciding where to go to dinner often requires a flow chart. I need to consider location, price, ambiance, and even the size of the restaurant, read reviews on Yelp, check New York magazine for the latest openings…it’s too much! I keep lists of places I’ve enjoyed just to have a few options on the tip of tongue in a pinch. I can’t imagine how you, a NYC visitor, must feel. So here you go: my recommendations for affordable NYC dining, all chosen with your bachelorette party in mind.

I have to preface this by saying that this list is by no means complete. NYC is just too big and there are too many amazing restaurants, with new ones opening every day. So this list is very personal to me. It’s based on my experiences and the places I like. Please leave me suggestions in the comments for the inevitable part 2!

P.S. Part 2 has arrived! Click here for more dinner recommendations, a few unique drinking spots and more yummy treats. 

First, let’s talk about cost. I consider an affordable entree in NYC to be $15 and the average beer will set you back $6-$8. I know, I know. As a girl who has ordered a Long Island Iced Tea at a bowling alley in North Carolina for $4, I feel your pain. Here, that same drink will set you back $12 at some bars. So set your budget or your expectations accordingly. But don’t despair. There are deals to be found if you know where to look and you can absolutely have amazing food and an amazing time without shelling out $100 a person on dinner. All the restaurants I’ve chosen here are affordable and delicious.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that many mind-blowing NYC restaurants are incredibly tiny. I’m talking 10 seats or just counter service! So if you have a big group to accomodate, you need to keep the size of the restaurant in mind.

Lastly: reservations, reservations, reservations. Live and die by Open Table, a great website for booking reservations online or on your phone in a snap.


Otto: Mario Batali’s West Village spot is called a pizzeria, but take a look at the menu and you’ll see it goes far beyond pizza. The price tag also doesn’t match how divine the food really is (personal pizzas run $7-$14). Start with the braised pork shoulder with pappardelle and finish with the olive oil gelato—trust me! This gelato is one of my favorite things to share with visitors. They always seem nervous before their first bite, but then can’t stop eating this fruity, tangy concoction. The cavernous Tuscan-style dining room makes this a great choice for big groups.

Nai Tapas: This East Village joint is small, but could accommodate a big party with advanced notice and a reservation. The tapas plates are delicious, authentically Spanish and perfect for sharing along with pitchers of sangria. If you’re daring, try the pulpo a la gallega (octopus) or for something a bit tamer but still delightful go with the pan tumaca (toasts with serrano ham, manchego cheese and tomato). Either way, make sure to order their champagne sangria—it’s a celebration in your mouth. Thursday and Saturday nights have live flamenco shows. Tapas portions run about $7 each and full plates are $9–$14. A pitcher of sangria will set you back $27, but you’ll get at least 6 drinks out of it.

The Park: Want to feel like you’re dining in Central Park? Request seats in the garden room of this casually chic Chelsea spot. With cobbled floors and patio tables, the atmosphere is casual, but candlelight and the rustic wood bar add an element of sophistication. (If you really want to get swanky, ask for seats in The Red Room. Or, there’s even a huge penthouse room that can be rented out for large events.) The food matches the breezy outdoor vibe, with wood oven pizzas, designer burgers and small plates to share. The large entrees like the grilled salmon start to get pricey at around $18, but the seasonal white mushroom pizza or turkey burger with pepperoni relish on an English muffin will only set you back $13. This place is really about the atmosphere though. If you want really posh eats, graze at a few locations in Chelsea Market next door, then stop into The Park for drinks.

Murray’s Cheese Bar: What could be better than wine and cheese? Murray’s Cheese Bar is an extension of their amazing cheese shop. As the restaurant itself is small, your best bet may be to book a private event at the cheese shop, which has a great room overlooking the whole cheese paradise. A certified cheese expert can serve you delicious morsels and tell you a bit about each scrumptious bite while you wash it down with plenty of bubbly. Or make a reservation in the restaurant, where you can indulge in decadent mac and cheese ($12) or nibble on a grilled artichoke heart salad ($10) in between bites of cheesy goodness.

Westville: Oh man, Westville. Sometimes I have dreams about you. You are just so good. This gem is all about fresh and local. Believe it or not, my absolute favorite dish is the market side plate: four of their to-die-for vegetable sides, like zucchini with tomatoes and mozzarella, mashed sweet potatoes, or brussels sprouts with honey dijon. The market veggie plate will run you $12, while a grilled pork chop smothered in red-wine mushrooms will be about $15. There are four locations, but only the Hudson St. location takes reservations (for parties of 6 or more only). Opt for this location so you don’t end up waiting.

Late-Night Eats

It’s after midnight. You’ve been partying the night away. You are hungry. Here is where your dreams will come true.

Artichoke Basille Pizza: Sinfully delicious pizza. The East Village location is open until 5am—yep, you read that right—or you can stop in the West Village or Chelsea locales until midnight. Best known for their white pie with artichoke and spinach.

This Little Piggy: As the rhyme goes, “…had roast beef,” and you shall too. Order it “This Way” (with aus juz and cheese whiz) or “That Way” (with gravy and fresh mozzarella). Either way, it will be the most perfect drunk food you have ever consumed. Also located in the East Village and open until 5am.

Crif Dogs: You’ve never had a hot dog like this. My personal favorite is the tsunami dog, which is wrapped in bacon and topped with pineapple, green onions and teriyaki sauce. Bonus: The phone booth is actually the entrance to a speakeasy, PTD. Pick up the phone to dial for entry, but be warned that they keep the numbers low so the bar isn’t overcrowded. You can make a reservation to be sure you’re admitted. East Village, open until 4am.


Brunch is an event in NYC. If reservations are accepted, I highly recommend you make one. But some of these places are good ol’ fashioned first come first serve. Just be prepared to wait (it’ll be worth it).

Friend of a Farmer: Fresh food that will make you feel good about yourself and say yum! The vibe is a rustic country house and the dishes match. The pumpkin pancakes with toasted walnuts ($13) are just tooo much goodness or opt for smoked salmon scrambled eggs for a taste of New York ($14). Located in Gramercy.

Calle OchoThe trek to the Upper West Side will be worth it when you encounter this Spanish brunch spot’s number one draw: an unlimited sangria bar is included with your meal and presents you with eight different flavors to sample, from the Spanish Harlem spiked with dark rum and a pinch of cinnamon to the Havana Banana with tropical creme de banana and coconut. Try the wild mushroom paella ($15) or a chorizo and scrambled egg burrito ($14) to soak up the liquid deliciousness.

Sarabeth’s: Sarabeth’s is a New York institution, well known for serving a classy and scrumptious brunch. Order their porridge Mama Bear (cream, raisins and honey) or Big Bad Wolf style (wheatberries and brown sugar). Be sure to include some kind of baked good in your meal—they’re known for their breads and jams. Multiple locations  all over town.

88 Palace: Take brunch in a new direction by having dim sum, the Chinese equivalent. The foods are more like what you’d typically want for lunch, so don’t go in expecting eggs and pancakes. It’s more like morning tapas. Small carts wheel around this cavernous space at the top of a strange strip mall. Don’t be alarmed as you enter and wind past cellphone vendors and free clinics. 88 Palace occupies the entire top floor and is a revelation. Be sure to grab a plate of roast pork puns, but be adventurous! Each plate is only around $5.


No girls trip is complete without treats, am I right? Whether you want to order a special cake for the bride or just want a sweet stop off, here are my favorite treat destinations.

For cookies, try City Bakery. Though the best chocolate chip cookie in the city is a hotly debated topic, many give City Bakery the title for their chewy yet soft cookies with a hint of salt. If you’re visiting during February, you’re in luck! For their Hot Chocolate Festival, the bakery creates a new hot chocolate flavor every day.

For ice cream, I gotta go with Sundaes and Cones. Why? It’s right by my office! No, seriously, this is good ice cream. Super-creamy and rich, with your favorite standbys, but a few Asian-inspired offerings as well, like red bean or green tea.

For cookies and ice cream, track down the Cool Haus truck for an ice cream sandwich like you’ve never seen before. Make your own cool combination, like a red velvet cookie with yogurt and berries ice cream or a potato chip and butterscotch cookie with salted caramel ice cream. You can even eat the wrapper! (Not as weird as it sounds.)

For cupcakes, hit up Two Little Red Hens. (Also, scones. Man I miss those scones!) NYC has this trend for supersweet sugary icing on cupcakes and I just do not like that. So Two Little Red Hens is my perfect cupcake. The icing is not overwhelmingly sweet and the cakes are moist. Brooklyn Blackout will send you into a double chocolate coma, but I personally have to go with the carrot cupcake as their cream cheese frosting is divine!

For pie, you’re going to have to trek to Brooklyn for Four & Twenty Blackbirds. Could you find good pie in NYC? Oh sure. But this pie is hands down my favorite in the city. Like, have-daydreams-about-salted-caramel-apple-goodness amazing.

So, what are your favorite spots for brunch, dinner and treats in NYC? Have you planned a bachelorette weekend in the city and had success (or failure) with certain spots? Leave suggestions in the comments!