The Girlfriend Getaway Guide
Pick a cool city for your next trip and you'll never be bored—you can shop, sightsee and eat at great restaurants.
When Lisa Christie, 30, moved from Salt Lake City to Virginia last year, she and her best friend, Amy Ursenbach, 34, vowed to plan a girls-only weekend every year. Last September they headed to San Francisco. Both women are married with young kids, so just the thought of a rare kid- and husband-free weekend was exhilarating. "It was so nice to be able to do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted!" says Christie. Their first getaway together went so well that they've already made plans for another.
Market value Fisherman's Wharf is often swarmed with tourists, but on Saturdays locals come out for the farmers' market. "I loved seeing all the fresh seafood," says Ursenbach. "For lunch we got bowls of clam chowder." There are also lots of funky shops selling souvenirs and T-shirts.
City cycling After renting bikes at Fisherman's Wharf, they decided to ride all the way across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. "Neither of us knew that it was an eight-mile bike ride up San Francisco hills to get there," laughs Christie. For the return trip they took the ferry that runs by Alcatraz Island, the site of the infamous prison. San Francisco Bicycle Rentals, 425 Jefferson St.; 415-922-4537; bikerentalsanfrancisco.com.
Shop and stop The women spent a day in Chinatown, which is lined with tiny mom-and-pop stores. "We bought kimonos and Lisa got little jammies for her kids," says Ursenbach. They ate dinner at the House of Nanking, which is known for serving some of the best Chinese food in the city. "There was a line to get in literally down the block," says Christie. "So we figured it must be good. And we were right." 919 Kearny St.; 415-421-1429.
Up all night long Christie and Ursenbach found a deal at the Warwick, a historic hotel with a prime location near Union Square. Art galleries, shopping and restaurants are all close by, but the best night was when they just stayed in. "We ordered drinks, sat on our beds like we were in college and stayed up late talking and laughing," says Ursenbach. "I love San Francisco but honestly, the best thing about the trip was having three uninterrupted days with my best friend." 490 Geary St.; 415-928-7900; warwicksf.com.
More great city trips
- The hip Ace Hotel in Portland, Oregon, lets guests use their bicycles for free. Visit the Portland Saturday Market, one of the country's largest open-air crafts fairs. 503-228-2277; acehotel.com/portland
- In South Beach, Miami, the ocean and nightclubs are within walking distance of Hotel Chelsea, as is the popular Art Deco Historic District. 305-534-4069; thehotelchelsea.com
- Chicago's funky Hotel Monaco is near the lakefront and Millennium Park, home of the famous Bean sculpture. 312-960-8500; monaco-chicago.com