Okay, fine—Las Vegas is the ultimate bachelor party destination. No argument here. But it’s not the only one. Spending all night gambling, drinking, and stuffing dollar bills into garter belts is all well and good, but it’s not for every groom and his groomsmen. Here are six alternatives guaranteed to make that bachelor party one to remember.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans has a lot of the same things Las Vegas does—the gambling, the drinking, and yes, plenty of those garter belts in search of dollar bills—but it does it all with a seductive southern accent. Are you a group of music lovers? The French Quarter has a live music venue around every corner, and whether you like jazz, blues, honky tonk, zydeco, or straight-up no-frills rock and roll, you can catch exciting newcomers or iconic elder statesmen doing their thing on stage every night of the week. Are you foodies? New Orleans might be the best food town in the U.S. If you’re an upscale bunch, there are 34 different Michelin Star restaurants. But do yourself a favor—leave the ties at home and get down and dirty with a fried alligator po’ boy or bowl of gumbo bought from a window in the back of a corner grocery. Finally, here’s something you can’t do in Las Vegas… shake off your hangover with a strong cup of chicory coffee and a plate of beignets at Cafe Du Monde.
Austin is similar to New Orleans in a lot of ways—it’s a hard-partying southern town with a ton of fabulous restaurants and live music venues—but the food scene is more barbecue and Tex-Mex than creole, and music is an eclectic mix of country, rock, pop, and everything in between. This is a point that can’t be stressed enough: Austin may be the live music capital of the U.S., if not the world. There are also breweries galore in and around the city, and wineries if you’re feeling a little fancier. When it’s time to come up for air, Austin averages more than 300 sunny days per year, so ditch your boots for some board shorts, rent a pontoon boat or some jet skis, and move the party lakeside. There’s also river tubing and mountain biking if adventure is more your speed. A bachelor party can be whatever you want it to be, and Austin truly expands your options.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
A Myrtle Beach bachelor party is all about beaches, waves, fairways, and greens. There are more than 90 golf courses strung along the sun-drenched Grand Strand, 60 miles of Atlantic Ocean beaches that includes Myrtle Beach, and that includes the Dunes Club, one of Robert Trent Jones’s most iconic courses. If you get tired of three-putting, you can always hit the ocean. Myrtle Beach is home to surfing, wakeboarding, and of course swimming and sunning. Craving some real adventure? Load up a cooler with frosty beverages and charter a boat for deep sea fishing—cobia, barracuda, wahoo, and more are waiting for your line. Come nightfall, trade in your golf and fishing attire for some casual beachwear and hit one of the many seaside bars, clubs, and restaurants. Sweet tea and vodka is the drink of choice, beach music is the sound to dance to, and tangy Carolina barbecue is what’s for dinner.
How’s this sound for a bachelor party plan? Check into a boutique art deco hotel on Ocean Drive in South Beach, don’t bother taking the time to unpack, grab a cabana on the beach or a deck chair by the pool, and have a few cocktails that are mostly rum but taste like fruit punch. If you’re feeling adventurous, leave the beach behind and strap on a scuba tank or snorkel. As the sun sinks into the ocean in glorious technicolor, head back to your room, wash off the sunscreen, and shrug into your most stylish threads—it’s time to scale the heights of multiple seafood towers, or maybe enjoy a few handmade arepas, and drink some extraordinarily expensive scotch. When you feel a thumping bass beat rattling your bones, it’s time to follow that beat and hit some of the best dance clubs in America. Finally, stagger back to your room, sleep for a few hours, and repeat.
As Monty Python used to say, and now for something completely different. Rather than neon lights and the great indoors, head for the wide open spaces of Tucson, Arizona, the Rincon Mountains, and Saguaro National Park. Visit the summit of Mount Lemmon, nearly 9,000 feet above the desert floor. Trade in your polo shirt and khakis for jeans and cowboy boots, and spend your bachelor party at an actual working ranch, riding the range, even herding cattle alongside real cowboys. Enjoy a bowl of chuckwagon chili with the best cornbread you’ve ever tasted, or sample the Sonoran-style Mexican food that Tucson is famous for. When night falls, sip some damn good whiskey around the campfire while the most stars you’ve ever seen blaze overhead.
New York, New York
The amazing thing about New York City as a bachelor party destination, besides the simple fact that it’s New York City, is that no matter who you are, no matter what kind of bachelor party you have in mind, there’s a part of the city that’s tailor-made for it. Times Square and the lights of Broadway may be filled with tourists, but go ahead and join them: drinking, dancing, seeing a show, and engaging in general revelry. If the hipper crowd is more your speed, head uptown to Harlem, downtown to SoHo and the East Village, or even farther down to Brooklyn. Chinatown, Koreatown, and Little Italy all have their unique charms. And no matter which NYC neighborhood you decide to make your home base, there are guaranteed to be fabulous restaurants and exciting bars and clubs on just about every corner.
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