Where NOT to Stay on Your Bachelor Party
You’ve picked the perfect city for the bachelor party weekend, but now you’ve got to find a neighborhood to stay (and potentially hang out in). As you start your search you might hear that a particular hood is a “hotspot” or “lots of fun for guys.” Or it’s the place that’s featured on all the postcards. Don’t go there. trust us. By the time a neighborhood gets to be on the postcard or featured on the tourism board’s website, it’s long since passed from being cutting-edge to a tired stereotype (Welcome to Brooklyn!). What’s more, tourist areas are rarely home to the stand-out restaurants, the quirkiest stores, or the most interesting personalities (at least the ones who aren’t busking or otherwise trying to squeeze a buck out of you). Here’s what to look for in a neighborhood so you know exactly where to stay to have the very best time in a new town.
Read Between the Lines
Bachelor-party groups have developed an unfortunate, and not always deserved, reputation of frat boys on spring break, but with bigger budgets and much less to look forward to in life. Or, to sum it up in three B’s: boobs, booze, and barfing. So when they’re saying that a neighborhood is “bachelor-party perfect,” what they’re really saying is that it’s full of strip clubs, cheesy bars, and the kinds of people who frequent strip clubs and cheesy bars. If you hear that and think, “Great! That’s exactly what l I wanted to do for my bachelor party!” then you’re all set. You’ve found the right neighborhood, and just need to book a place to stay. But if you want something more than boobs, booze, and barfing, stay away from areas like these when you’re setting up your headquarters.
Avoid the Tourist Traps
Without exception, tourist neighborhoods are the most wildly overpriced in town at every level. Times Square in Manhattan? There’s a reason native New Yorkers avoid it like the plague unless they work there (and pity those who do). Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco? The seals are pretty much the only locals who hang out there willingly. The French Quarter? You’re more likely to find honest-to-goodness Yats in other neighborhoods for a good reason. Restaurants, souvenir shops, and every other schlock-shop jack up their prices on everything from bottled water to “genuine local” specialty foods. It’s because they know that the tourists (re: suckers) have bought into the hype. Don’t be a sucker. Avoid the tourist traps and inflated price tags and go somewhere that’s both more authentic and reasonably priced.
Map the Mixed-Use Neighborhoods
The real city also isn’t going to be the downtown office district that feels like I Am Legend once the clock strikes 5 p.m. Often, the ideal neighborhoods to stay in are a combination of residential and commercial. That way you get the best of both worlds, while living like a local and meeting and hanging out with natives instead of other tourists. You won’t need to Uber every time you want to go out to eat, drink or oggle. You also won’t find yourself swimming upstream in a sea of camera-wielding tourists or wondering where all the people went after 5 pm on Friday.
Secure Some Much-Needed Shuteye
You and your crew, much like your smartphones, will eventually require some sort of recharging before you’re ready to seize the next day (or night). You’re not going to get that respite if you can’t get at least a few solid hours of rack due to honking traffic, active construction sites, or pounding club music rattling the windows. Find neighborhoods that aren’t going to be “on” 24 hours a day and that let you catch your breath between adventures. Check around and make sure the area’s going to be reasonably calm at 4 am, or that the hotels available include rooms that look onto quieter side streets, and just not pulsing thoroughfares. That little sleep you get will be your most precious commodity.
Trust the Locals (Not the Pros)
It’s vital to do your homework ahead of time. Ideally, someone on your team either lives in the city you’re visiting or knows it well. If not, you probably relying on word of mouth or delving into online resources. In the latter case, be wary of official city tourism sites and tourism officials, who are required to paint everything in the same rosy colors, leaving you with little sense of the downsides. Also, keep clear of those selling you something you might not want, like unscrupulous Airbnb hosts, hotel operators pulling what amounts to a bait-and-switch scam, or tour operators trying to push a pricey package on you. Use your common sense, double-check all claims with Google Maps and travel-site forums, and if something sounds too good to be true, it is.
Make Use of Mass Transit
Still, if your bachelor party is going to be at least a weekend long, you’re probably going to have to do some trekking outside your home base at least once. You’ll probably hale a rideshare, but having a public-transportation option nearby ensures that you have a backup, and that anyone who wants to call it an early night can do so without having to paying surge prices all by himself. And where there’s public transportation, there’s going to be locals nearby. A lot of locals is always a good sign.