This One’s for the Girls

By Nora Heston Tarte

Girls just wanna have fun! Plan a spring or summer getaway with your best girlfriends. The Central Valley, Bay Area, and beyond are full of destinations for every group of girlfriends, whether it’s wine tasting or baseball games that pique your interest. Check out our nearby locales for fun adventures planned with your common interests in mind. There’s only one rule—leave the boys at home!


For The Wine Lovers

Livermore, Calif.

Why Go: The Livermore Valley AVA is home to more than 50 wineries including small players that sell only direct to consumer and viticulture heavyweights known around the world such as Wente and Concannon. Taste your way through the vines before heading downtown for cuisine from every corner of the world.

While You’re There: You’ll never make your way through every Livermore winery in one trip—and please don’t try. Instead, pick a few to taste at. We suggest going regional so you can uber from place to place (or book a ride on the Livermore Wine Trolley and let the experts be your tour guides).

Try This Route:

Steven Kent. The lawn at Steven Kent is a picturesque place to share a bottle of wine or do a tasting. Specializing in cabernet and other Bordeaux wines, Steven Kent is focused on small lot fine wines. Come noon – 4:30 PM to taste. 5443 Tesla Rd.

Winemaker’s Studio. This tasting room is located next to Steven Kent making it easy to get from one place to the next. Keep in mind, however, that while Wente wines are tasted here, it is not the area’s main Wente hub. Stop here to take a class—the studio focuses on educational vino experiences for guests. 5565 Tesla Rd.

Darcie Kent. Darcie paints the labels on every bottle of vino produced through Darcie Kent Vineyards—and boy, are there a lot. Come in for tastes of red blends, chardonnays, zinfandels, petite sirahs, merlots, cabernet sauvignons, and more. 7000 Tesla Rd.

Wood Family. If you want to taste wine exclusively from Livermore Valley grown grapes, this is the place. You might have to make an appointment to visit this family-owned winery, or stop in during a scheduled event when food trucks and corn hole are staples for guests. On Fridays find live music from 4 -7 PM. 2407 Research Dr.

Where to Stay:

If you want to combine wine and spa, book a room at the Purple Orchid Resort. It is Livermore’s only option for a hotel amongst the vineyards. 4549 Cross Rd.

Looking for a home base closer to downtown? The location of the local Hawthorn Suites is a perk for any group visiting the area. 1700 N. Livermore Ave.

Where to Eat:

Keep an eye on food truck happenings throughout the vineyards. The new Posada food truck, owned by Posada Restaurant, offers Southwestern cuisine. Wednesdays through Sundays it’s typically parked on Research Drive outside of Wood Family Vineyards. Other wineries often have food trucks visiting too, ranging from grilled cheese to wood fired pizzas. LVWine.org can help you find some.

At night, visit Aviation, Livermore’s only rooftop bar. The food here is easy—burgers and salads served with craft cocktails on a rooftop lounge overlooking Livermore’s iconic First Street. 2470 1st St.

When to Go:

May 18-19 is Livermore’s biggest wine country celebration. Once known as the Livermore Honey & Wine Festival, the Livermore Wine Country Festival takes place in charming downtown Livermore amongst the shops and restaurants you’ll want to visit. Buy a wristband and travel from booth to booth, sipping local wines and craft brews while shopping more than 300 vendors.


For The Bougie Besties

San Francisco, Calif.

Why Go: Embrace the culture of San Francisco. Whether you’re looking to expand your mind or indulge in some of the city’s food and drink hotspots, this is the place for girlfriends who want to embrace the bougie. Go to trending restaurants, have drinks with a view, and straddle the line between tourist and city slicker.

While You’re There: Don’t miss out on the cultural offerings at SF MOMA and the Palace of Fine Arts. Both museums showcase art you just can’t find anywhere else—plus the Palace of Fine Arts (located in San Francisco’s vivid Marina district) is definitely Instagram-worthy.

The SF Museum of Modern Art is a nonprofit organization that houses modern and contemporary art. Inside there are over 33,000 pieces of artwork from the 20th century. 151 Third St.

Next, take a stroll around the Palace of Fine Arts, featuring walkways made for wandering and a lagoon, before stepping inside. View the artwork, have lunch at the café, and take plenty of photos of the building originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exhibition. 3301 Lyon St.

Where to Stay: There are plenty of high rises located in the touristy Union Square area of San Francisco, which is a safe bet for a place to stay that won’t be too grungy and is also centrally located to some of the activities you’ll be partaking in.

Opt for a boutique hotel for the best experience. Favorites include Hotel Zeppelin, Hotel Zephyr, and Handlery Union Square.

Where to Eat: Don’t forget to tag @AyeshaCurry and @ChefMichaelMina when you visit International Smoke, the dream team’s BBQ restaurant with a twist. Stop in for shareable plates and craft cocktails; but don’t expect a walk-in. Reservations are often needed several weeks in advance. 301 Mission St.

When you’re done, grab a post-dinner drink at Top of the Mark, or head here for pre-meal cocktails depending on your reservation time. From 4:30-11:30 PM (and 12:30 AM on Fridays and Saturdays), guests can enjoy gourmet nibbles and excellent drinks in this posh spot. It’s a good excuse to get dressed up with the girls. Nightly entertainment including salsa and swing take place on the dance floor. 999 California St.

No girl’s weekend is complete without brunch. Try something a little different this trip. Brenda’s French Soul Food serves cups of steaming chicory coffee, filled beignets, brioche French toast, and of course fried chicken starting at 8 AM daily. 652 Polk St.


 Trending! See Hamilton

Step inside the theatre to see one of the most celebrated shows on Broadway. Most days of the month, Hamilton will play at the Orpheum theatre. The only tricky part can be getting tickets! 1192 Market St.

When to Go: From May 7-May 12, the SF Ballet will play its last performances of the season. Shostakovich Trilogy—made up of three distinct ballets: Symphony #9, Chamber Symphony, and Piano Concerto #1—will play at the War Memorial Opera House (301 Van Ness Ave.) near City Hall.

Want to focus your trip on the arts? Come starting May 23 to enjoy the SF International Arts Festival. Performances and displays cater to all areas of the arts, including music, theatre, dance, and more. Held at the Fort Mason Center. Buchanan Street & Marina Boulevard


For The Sports Fan

Oakland, Calif.

Why Go: Who says ball games, brats, and dollar beers are for the boys? Smash the stereotype and plan a sports-based getaway with your girls. May is the time for baseball in the Bay Area, and while San Francisco may seem like the best choice, more professional sports teams call Oakland home.

While You’re There: Catch a game at the Oakland Coliseum, home of the Oakland A’s. Here the tickets are cheaper and the vibes are, well, rowdier. There’s a reason sports announcers say Oakland has the best fans. Don’t miss out on Banjo man or the Bernie Lean. 7000 Coliseum Way

Waiting until late summer or fall for a visit? The Oakland Raiders and the Golden State Warriors call Oakland home—for now.

Where to Stay: If you’re catching a game stay close to the Coliseum. Try the Radisson Hotel Oakland Airport (less than one mile from the Coliseum) or opt for the Hilton Oakland Airport.

Where to Eat: Oakland’s uptown is a foodie haven, and it’s convenient to get to by BART. Choose Hopscotch (1915 San Pablo Ave.) with an upscale menu that is slightly absurd, or go for Plum Bar + Restaurant for a new concept—over-the-top cocktails and rotating food pop-ups. 2216 Broadway

Surprisingly, the Bay Area isn’t home to many rooftop bars. Mad Oak Bar in Oakland is one of few, making it that much more special. In addition to a full bar, the place offers 40 beers on tap and a good crowd for sporting events. While it may be tame on a Tuesday, come in during a Bay Area playoff game and expect a party. 135 12th St.

When to Go: The Oakland A’s have two long stretches of home games during the month of May—May 7-12 and May 24-29. You’ll have to wait until August if you want to watch them face off against the San Francisco Giants, though (August 24-25).


For The Chill Girls

Bodega Bay, Calif.

Why Go: Trade suburban life for coastal charm. Bodega Bay is known for its gorgeous views, stunning hikes, high-end spas, and more. It’s the perfect locale for girls who can roll with the punches, and hang if things get a little bit rugged.

While You’re There: Get a little outdoorsy. Bodega Head juts out from the coast making it a great spot for whale watching or an easy stroll with great coastal views. Take the wooden steps down to the beach to get closer to the action. Other opportunities to enjoy outside include fishing charters and kayaking (www.BodegaBayKayak.com).

Don’t forget to hit the links. The Links at Bodega Harbor, an 18-hole Scottish links-style course, is located in the heart of Bodega Bay, offering holes overlooking the rugged coastline. Never played before? It doesn’t matter. Book a group or private lesson to learn the ropes. 21301 Heron Dr.

After a long day of outdoor exploration, pamper yourself. Bodega Bay Lodge is a four-star resort located on the Sonoma Coast. It offers a world-class spa on-site, open 9 AM – 7PM Sunday through Thursday and 9 AM – 9 PM on Fridays and Saturdays. We suggest the warm shell massage. Similar to a hot stone massage, the signature treatment uses warm Tiger Clam seashells to soothe sore muscles and promote relaxation.

Where to Stay: If you’re looking for luxury, The Bodega Bay Lodge is the place to be. Overlooking the rugged Sonoma coastline, this resort offers everything from ocean view rooms to suites outfitted with whirlpool tubs. Stay for the weekend, dip in the pool, book a spa treatment, and eat on-site. Stay up late gossiping on your private deck, or at the Fireside Lounge, glass of wine in hand. 103 Coast Highway 1

Want to get a little closer to Mother Nature? There are a few options for that. Check out Bodega Dunes Campground or Doran Regional Park (where Doran Beach is located) for camp sites.

Where to Eat: Whether you’re staying at Bodega Bay Lodge or not, Drake’s Sonoma Coast is open for dinner. The menu is created based on accessibility of locally farmed produce, seafood, and more. Dinner served daily until 9 PM.

Other options for fresh seafood? Spud Point Crab Company, which looks more like a bait shop than a restaurant, is an unsuspecting contender for best seafood in the Bay (1910 Westshore Rd). Try braised fish and oysters, or order up a crab and watch it cook right outside the store in a broiler. For a laidback lunch hit the Fishetarian for seafood salads, tacos, and more. 599 South Highway 

Want another high-end dining experience? Tides Wharf & Restaurant is located at The Inn at the Tides, another ritzy resort. Overlook the water while you dine candlelight. Fun fact? The Tides was used as the backdrop for the infamous Alfred Hitchcock film “The Birds.” 835 California 1

When to Go: Come for one of Bodega Bay’s annual extravaganzas. The weekend of May 17-19 is filled with some of the best events. May 17 is the Grgich Hills Estate Winemaker Dinner at Inn at the Tides. Reservations Required. May 19 brings the free Castles & Kites event to Doran National Park where guests can partake in the activities or stand back and watch while the experts create over-the-top sand castles from scratch.

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