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When I graduated college, my girlfriends and I all moved to different cities. This now makes our Friday night ritual of dinner and dancing around our apartment to “Fancy” by Reba McIntyre a bit more difficult. We all stayed in the south or southeast, so we’ve spent the last few years traveling around various cities in the south. I’m a girl on a budget and so are most of my friends, so we try to girls trip (relatively) in the same region of the U.S. to help cut down on cost.
I’d love to venture a little farther west but, for now, I’ll leave you with my recommendations for the southeast. Most things on this list are personal favorites, but I did get a few tips from locals in each of these cities. Here are the five hottest and overall best cities to take on with your girl gang.
1. Charleston, SC
Why it should be on your list: Charleston is the sweetest little gem you never knew about. I visited Charleston for the first time my freshman year of college and have been fangirling over the city ever since then. It’s got an old-south charm that’ll make you fall in love. It’s a smaller city with plenty to do and gorgeous views of the ocean.
What you should do: Mosey around Rainbow Row and the battery to admire the colorful houses and plan for your dream home. If you’re into history, take a walking history tour. I also highly recommend a nighttime ghost tour of the city at night.
Where you should eat (or drink): You’re on the coast, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t suggest some seafood. The Darling Oyster Bar is a favorite of mine, and it really is darling. Victoria’s on King is a great place to get some southern food with a twist. Grab a drink at night (or really, any time of day) at Star’s rooftop bar. Lastly, make a stop at Callie’s Biscuits. Yes, it’s a chain, but their biscuits are so delicious you’ll regret not stopping. Bonus points if you come home with a “I’m a hot little biscuit” shirt.
2. Nashville, TN
Why it should be on your list: If country music is your thing, then Nashville is a great option for you. If country music isn’t your thing, then Nashville is still a great option for you. The truth is, there’s a lot more to Nashville than the music.
What you should do: Take a stroll down Broadway street. This is the main stretch of bars in Nashville and there are plenty of places to stop in and hear some music. I once spotted one of the stars of the show “Nashville” dancing in Robert’s Western World and it was truly a magical moment. If you’re looking to experience the non-country side of Nashville, visit East Nashville for—what google calls—the hipster side of Nashville (yes, really).
What you should eat (or drink): Fried chicken and biscuits. Biscuit Love is a great way to start your day. Get the bonuts to share (or not share, I’m not judging). Arguably, the most well-known place to get fried chicken in Nashville is Hattie B’s. It’s nothing fancy, but it is good chicken—with a little bit of spice. The Loveless Café is a little outside of Nashville, but worth the few extra minutes of driving. If you’re looking for traditional southern food, this is your place.
3. Atlanta, GA
Why it should be on your list: Atlanta made it onto this list for a bit of a different reason: the flights. I am #teamDelta all the way and the Atlanta airport is the hub of Delta airlines. Yes, there’s plenty to do in the city, but for me, the real star is the cheap flights. If your girls are flying in from all over the U.S., then chances are you can all find a good deal on flights to Atlanta.
What you should do: Walk around the Atlanta Beltline or Piedmont Park for great views of the city. Or, visit the Ponce City Market for a lot of shopping and a lot of food (a win in my book). If you can time your visit for the first weekend in October, go to the Great Atlanta Beer Festival. Not only does the festival take place in Suntrust Park (a fun place to explore), but there’s also an incredibly long list of beers for you to try.
What you should eat (or drink): For a good meal in Atlanta, go to Ecco or South City Kitchen. If you’re looking for a fun outdoor atmosphere, grab drinks at Ladybird. This was suggested by a friend of mine who says Ladybird is a great place to watch the sunset.
4. Washington D.C.
Why it should be on your list: No matter your political affiliation, Washington has plenty for you to do while you’re there. And yes, D.C. isn’t technically in the south—but roll with me, people.
What you should do: Take advantage of museums and monuments. Not only is this the place for your girl who loved that history class she took sophomore year, but there are also tons of free museums to visit. And who doesn’t love free? If you’re hoping to take a casual stroll, walk around the Georgetown area. You’ll feel like you’re walking around a historic new England neighborhood.
What you should eat (or drink): While you’re walking around Georgetown, stop into Luke’s Lobster to grab a lobster roll. Or two. If your looking for a good brunch spot with your girls, try Boqueria. I have yet to try this one out, but it comes highly recommended by a local D.C. resident. She says they have margarita sangria mimosas. I didn’t know the perfect brunch drink existed, but there it is at Boqueria.
5. Disney World, Orlando, FL
Why it should be on your list: Look, ladies, Disney World is the happiest place on earth. And if you disagree—well, that’s perfectly fine because we’re all entitled to our own opinions. But, let me paint you a picture (with all the colors of the wind? Too much?) of the beauty that is Disney World as a girls trip.
What you should do: If you can, visit all of the parks. Magic Kingdom is the OG park and quintessential Disney World. It’s also home to both Cinderella and Belle’s castles, as well as some classic Disney rides. Hollywood Studios is currently undergoing some park additions, but will soon open up a new area of the park devoted to Star Wars. For now, make sure to ride Tower of Terror and Rock’n Roller Coaster. Animal Kingdom is for the Lion King/animal-lover in all of us. Take a ride on the Killimonjaro safari in the morning and make sure you ride Mt. Everest at some point during your day. To me, Epcot is the most “adult” friendly park—but maybe that’s just because they serve the most alcohol. Epcot has a focus on education and technology. Spend a good portion of your day walking around the countries and make time to ride Soarin’.
Where you should eat (or drink): If you’re looking to splurge, visit Narcoossee’s or California Grill. Both restaurants have tasty food and beautiful views of Cinderella’s castle—and are great places to catch the late-night fireworks show. If you’re wanting a unique dining atmosphere, make a reservation at Coral Reef (Epcot) or Sci-Fi Diner (Hollywood Studios). My favorite park snack is a pineapple Dole whip with a little bit—or a lotta bit—of rum. If all else fails, and the crowds are too much, make your way to Mexico to have a margarita.