A New Study has Crowned Chicago as the Best Stag and Hen do City in America (Aside from Vegas) 

A new ranking has revealed which popular stag and hen do spots in America provide the best value for money as Brits look to celebrate their upcoming nuptials.

And while Las Vegas remains the ultimate choice for those looking to get away before their big day, many are put off by visiting Sin City and would prefer to visit the alternative destinations highlighted in the study.

The ranking, created by digital marketers Searchbloom, awarded the most popular party cities a score out of ten based on how their entertainment value, social scene, and accommodation options compare to the average daily cost of a trip.

Entertainment value looks at visitor reviews and ratings for top attractions and stereotypical activities typical for a pre-wedding celebration – including wine tastings, spa visits, live shows, beer tours, golf courses, and shopping malls.

The social scene considers the variety and visitor ratings of fine dining establishments, bars, and clubs in each city, as well as the average times each destination is Googled each month, which indicates how lively a night out may be.

Accommodation evaluates the number of Airbnbs and hotels available for a weekly stay in the summer months – and the proportion of them that are highly rated.

And when each category is compared to the average daily cost of a visit – based on a midrange hotel room, a restaurant meal, a taxi fare, and at least two alcoholic drinks – it’s Chicago that reigns supreme when Las Vegas is out of the picture.

Chicago achieved a perfect score of 9.9 out of ten, largely thanks to its nightlife, as it was the overall top performer in the social scene category.

The city has 145 fine dining restaurants – more than one in ten of which are rated five stars or up (11%) – and 112 bars, with a fifth rated highly (20%). It also closely follows Vegas regarding Google search popularity, with 624k average monthly searches.

Chicago also has the second-best Airbnbs, with one-third 33% rated guest favourites, while 85% of visitor reviews for top attractions carried an ‘excellent’ rating.

It also performed well for affordability, with the daily costs amounting to an average of £162.31 – 17% lower than the average across all analysed cities (£196.65 daily).

Following as the second-best stag or hen do destination is Milwaulkee, which was awarded a score of 9.84 out of ten. It’s also considerably cheaper than Chicago, with a daily cost of £137.97 – nearly a third (30%) below the average.

The state also scored highly in the social scene category, with Milwaulkee boasting 22 fine dining establishments and 44 bars – 18% and 16% of which were top-rated among visitors, respectively – as well as 415k monthly Google searches.

Milwaukee also scored highly for accommodation availability, with half of the Airbnbs available for a week this summer considered ‘guest favourites’, while 16% of hotels that accommodate group bookings were rated ‘superb’ on booking.com.

In third is New York City, scoring 9.83 out of ten. However, those visiting the Big Apple may need to budget better, as it has a higher daily cost of £189.97.

The city was the highest scorer overall for entertainment value, as it’s home to 921 spas, 606 landmarks, and 65 live performances. There are 487 fine dining restaurants and 205 bars – 17% of which are rated five stars by visitors.

Orlando is fourth and was the top performer for accommodation options of all cities analysed in the study. There are a vast 1,000 Airbnbs available for a large party booking this summer, with more than two-fifths (45%) considered guest favourites.

There are also 42 bars and 79 fine dining restaurants, 58 sights and landmarks, 148 spas, and 34 golf courses to keep groomsmen and the bridal party occupied.

Houston rounds out the top five destinations, scoring 9.79 out of ten. The city costs an average of £95.48 to visit each day and proves among the most-Googled destinations, with an average of 992k monthly searches.

The ten best stag and hen do destinations, aside from Las Vegas

The ten best stag and hen do destinations, aside from Las Vegas

 CityProportion of Bars Rated ExcellentAverage Monthly  Google SearchesDaily TotalFinal Score (Out of Ten)
3New York City16.6%256,000£189.979.83
7New Orleans8.0%382,000£141.709.70

Speaking on the findings, Cody Jensen, CEO and Founder of Searchbloom, said: “When deciding where to host your stag or hen do, there are plenty of things to weigh up – including the activities you want to do, the nightlife, the restaurant options, the accommodation options, and most importantly for some, the cost.

“Not everyone will have the same budget when attending a pre-wedding event, so prioritizing the cost as a key factor ensures that all invitees feel considered and avoids anybody feeling uncomfortable if they’re unable to participate in activities. This is especially important if you feel unsatisfied with some aspects of the trip, so this ranking gives you a good idea of where’s really worth the money.”

On the other end of the scale, the hen or stag do destinations that provide the worst value for money came out as Palm Springs and St. Louis. 

Despite Palm Springs’s top attraction carrying an excellent rating across 73% of reviews, bridal parties will struggle to find activities to fill their trip, as there are just four shopping malls, one wine tasting, and seven live performances.

St. Louis also has a limited availability of the analysed activities, with two beer tours, just 50 restaurants, and 38 bars to choose from. And of the nine Airbnbs available for a group booking one week this summer, none are considered guest favourites. 

Overall, the typical stag or hen do attendee can expect to spend around £189.59 per day on their trip, or the equivalent of £758.36 for a long weekend, which doesn’t account for the cost of activities, flights, or more than two alcoholic drinks.

The priciest destination to visit of those analysed is Palm Springs, with a daily cost of £423.97, while the most affordable was Houston, at £95.70 a day.  


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