The momentous bachelorette party may be one of the last times in a long time that you and your ladies will get to paint the town pink, so why not make a weekend of it? Break tradition without breaking the bank by leaving Vegas for every other bride-to-be, and rendezvousing in Chicago.

Not only is it the ideal meeting spot if you have companions living across the country, but there’s 103.6 single men for every 100 single women (according to the Chicago Sun-Times), the bars close at 3 a.m. on Saturdays, and let’s face it: deep-dish pizza is the ultimate late-night nosh. Follow my guide below for a Windy City bachelorette bash that will blow you away.

Recommended Resort:  Too many choices can be daunting when it comes to anything in life, particularly picking a hotel. Thankfully, your search ends at Hotel 71. This centrally located boutique property, featured in The Transformers and The Dark Knight, boasts luxurious accommodations and chic décor without a high price tag attached.

For the friend who needs her daily dose of fitness, a 24-hour gym is available; for the plugged-in pal, free Wi-Fi runs throughout the 39-story building; and for the hungry girl, room service and an on-property eatery, Hoyt’s Chicago, promises to silence the growl.

Oversized bathrooms with illuminated make-up mirrors, an iPod docking station and plenty of square-footage provide the perfect pre-party setting, while pillow-top mattresses and top-notch linens ensure a peaceful night of beauty rest.
Check in:  71 East Wacker Drive, Chicago, 312-346-7100,

Check Out:  The list of quintessential Chicago is as long as Lake Michigan, but with only a few days to explore, there are definitely some must-see sites.

For the architecture aficionado (or to see the city without having to hoof it), I recommend Chicago Architecture Foundation’s River Cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady. The 90-minute tour takes you to all three branches of the Chicago River – past Navy Pier, the Wrigley Building, Chicago Tribune Tower, and the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower – and is a great way to see the metropolis from a different vantage point. Bonus: The on-board bar serves a killer (no pun intended) Bloody Mary!
If shopping is more your friends’ forte, there’s the Magnificent Mile – a Mecca for major fashion houses – or the eclectic Lincoln Park neighborhood, bursting with boutiques and a zoo with free admission. Boredom may be a choice, but not one you’ll have to make on this trip.

Don’t Miss:  Estate Ultra Bar. The new kid on the block, Estate is sure to become everyone’s best friend in no time.

Seasonal American fare with a playful twist – think cake pops with Pop Rock frosting, lobster mac and cheese with Goldfish crust, and pretzel croissants with Gouda – piques even the pickiest of palates and is easy on the eyes, too.

But it’s the cocktails that will, literally, blow you away. Head Mixologist Dan De Los Monteros shakes things up with libations like Life’s Too Short, The Yachtsman and Summer Snow, plus skinny cocktails under 150 calories (I recommend That’s What She Said and the Millionaire Mojito II); all drinks are made with fresh fruit, spices/herbs, house-made syrups, custom ice cubes and quality spirits.

Choose to sip and be social in the Atrium, Living Room, Dining Room or Trophy Room; otherwise, head upstairs to the StarDeck, Chicago’s largest open-air rooftop lounge. No need to bar hop tonight, you’re home sweet home at Estate.
Money Saving Tips!

  • Whether flying into Midway or O’Hare Airport, a cab into downtown will run close to $50. If trying to save some mullah, hop on the L train (Chi town’s rail system); the ride will cost just $2.25 and take roughly 30 minutes. From Midway, catch the orange line and from O’Hare, the blue.
  • For a breathtaking view without paying sky-high fees, ride the John Hancock Center’s elevator to The Signature Lounge at the 96th. For the price of a cocktail, you’ll get to soak in the picturesque Chicago skyline and get buzzed!

  • Monday through Friday, Pequod’s Pizza offers a $5 lunch special that’s hard to beat: 7” deep dish with cheese one topping and a soda or pint of Bud Light. The pie’s crisp caramelized crust, generous slathering of sweet saucy goodness and fresh ingredients are to-die-for delicious.

Blog post by Real Weddings Magazine’s Managing Editor, Megan Wiskus.

Hotel 71 photos courtesy of and copyright Hotel 71, River Cruise photos courtesy of and copyright Chicago Architecture Foundation, Estate Ultra Bar photos courtesy of and copyright Estate Ultra Bar, food photos courtesy of and copyright Megan Wiskus.

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