When my cousin Kristen told me she wanted to have her bachelorette party in New York City, I only mildly panicked. I immediately called my co-maid of honor, the bride’s sister Katie, and we talked it over (read: freaked the f— out). Eight girls, four days, one apartment. No big deal, right? “Don’t worry, we totally got this!” we told Kristen, smiling through our teeth.
So, did we manage to pull it off? Psh, that would be an understatement. We totally killed it! Sure, there were a few hiccups along the way—like the long wait at the restaurant that didn’t take reservations (note to self: always make reservations!)—but all in all, it was a massive success.
If you’re planning a bachelorette weekend in N.Y.C. (or just a random getaway), I would highly recommend following some of the activities on my itinerary. We packed in a little bit of everything on relatively tight budget—sightseeing for the non-New Yorkers, karaoke in Koreatown, hair styling at Birchbox, and we even managed to squeeze in a hangover nap, which ended up being the best decision we made all weekend.
Here’s a full recap of how my N.Y.C. bachelorette party went down.
Katie and I set up our Lower East Side Airbnb in the afternoon before everyone arrived from Ohio. We stocked the fridge with snacks and drinks, hung decorations, and mixed a fresh mimosa for Kristen’s arrival. We also made sure all the goodie bags were out and ready for the girls—a MIMI beauty bag, of course, and a MIMI umbrella in case of rain. Fortunately we had blue skies all weekend, but I can’t really take credit for that.
After everyone got settled in, we had dinner at a Greek restaurant in Chinatown called Kiki's Greek Tavern, stopping for some photo ops along the way, natch.
To be honest, I picked this restaurant mainly because Kristen is Greek and she has a dog name Kiki (perfect, right?), but now I couldn’t imagine kicking off the weekend any other way. It was perfect for family-style group dining and the ambiance was quintessential N.Y.C.
Speaking of quintessential N.Y.C, our next stop was just that and more—Apotheke Cocktail Bar, a lowkey speakeasy located in the heart of Chinatown just walking distance from Kiki's, down a windy, hidden street called Doyers. We sipped mixology cocktails in the dark while dancing to the Latin sounds of Grupo Irék. For the out-of-towners, it was an experience they’ll never forget.
We woke up bright and early Friday morning and walked to brunch at Smörgås Chef, located on historic Stone Street in the financial district. If you're looking for that classic Sex and the City-style brunch, you should probably hold out and make a reservation for the weekend. While this place is way more hopping on Saturdays and Sundays, it was nice to get a table to ourselves and flirt with some of the cute finance guys on their lunch breaks (this applies only to the single girls in the group, of course).
Next, we trekked across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge like total tourists. I selected this activity so everyone could check it off their bucket list and get some great photos in the process. It took us about 30 minutes to walk the whole thing (OK, fine, more like 45 because we couldn’t stop taking pics), and it ended up being a blast. And the best part? It was completely free.
At the base of the bridge on the Brooklyn side is a gorgeous and newly-revamped park called the Brooklyn Bridge Park—one of my all-time favorite places in all of New York City. The skyline is so beautiful it almost doesn’t look real. We stopped there for a few minutes to take in the breathtaking views before Ubering back to our Airbnb. If you visit New York City and don’t put DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) on your itinerary, you are seriously missing out.
After a quick pitstop at the apartment to freshen up and change, we headed to Birchbox Soho for a surprise hairstyling appointment before our night on the town. As I expected, this was the biggest hit of the whole weekend. The Birchbox staff had the entire downstairs salon ready for us, complete with champagne and macarons from Baked by Melissa. All eight girls got their hair styled while sipping their drinks and snacking on sweets. Then, we headed upstairs to put together our very own beauty boxes. The bride-to-be looked like a little kid in a candy store and I secretly patted myself on the back for a job well done.
Once we were all beautified, we took an Uber up to Koreatown for dinner and karaoke. Not going to lie—at this point we were pretty hangry and it didn’t help that the restaurant we selected had a pretty legit wait. But after we finally sat down at Pocha 32, we understood why this place was so jam-packed. The massive soju-filled watermelon is the main draw and it did not disappoint.
Next, we headed to karaoke across the street, where I booked us a private room of unlimited songs for two hours. If only we sounded as good as we looked, we’d all be famous pop stars by now. Sorry, but all the pics from this part of the night will be staying in our private Dropbox. You know what they say—what happens at karaoke stays at karaoke!
Not going to lie—Saturday morning was a little rough. We woke up around 10 a.m., downed some iced coffees, and headed to Pier 83 to catch the Circle Line Landmark Cruise. But once we set sail it was totally worth the early wakeup call. The tourist-packed boat took us around the entire island, starting at about 42nd Street on the Hudson River, rounding our way past the Battery Park City and One World Trade, taking a quick detour to see Lady Liberty, heading up the East River to catch views of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, and finally coming all the way back. A boat cruise is one of the best ways to see all of New York City—and from a totally different perspective. Needless to say, there was a lot of Instagramming going on (our official hashtag was #pawsoffpaul, if you want to check out some highlights!).
If you want to view the Big Apple from afar like a true resident, the Staten Island Ferry is also a great option—plus it won't cost you anything. It's a 25 minute ride and you can stay on the boat for a roundtrip experience.
After the cruise, we headed back to the apartment to freshen up and squeeze in a nap. From there, we took a short taxi ride to Little Italy for a much-needed carb fest. The best way to experience Little Italy is to just wander around and let your nose do the rest. You’ll find a plethora of dining options and each one smells better than the next. We settled on Aunt Jack’s, a quaint little place that's way less touristy than most traditional Little Italy establishments, but just as delicious.
After fueling up, we headed to one of my favorite rooftop bars in the entire city — RARE View on 37th and Lexington. We grabbed a table and shared our favorite Kristen stories while the light from the Empire State Building illuminated our faces.
It was one of those "only in New York City" kind of nights and the perfect way to close out a fun-filled bachelorette party weekend.
Before we knew it, the weekend was over. On Sunday morning, we made a quick stop at Sweet Chick for a delicious Southern-style brunch before everyone took their respective Ubers to the airport.
By this point, I was more than ready to head back to my apartment and binge-watch some Netflix on my couch. That said, I wouldn’t have changed a single thing about the trip. Sure, planning and hosting a bachelorette party can be stressful, but it’s important to remember that you deserve to have fun, too. Don't sweat the small stuff. If you get off schedule, no big deal. If you don't have Venmo, download it. Opentable.com is your best friend. Uber > taxis. Other than that, just be completely present in the moment—because it's the little things the bride-to-be will remember forever.