Some things just warrant leaving the boys at home. Like, say, a girls weekend getaway. Pedicures, cocktails, noshing on appetizers that aren’t loaded with bacon. It’s good to be a woman, especially when you get to do it your way, uncompromised. For times such as these, we've got the guide of things to do in Boston. Make a necklace; hear some comedy. Learn about local women, including one whose artful vision lives on as one of the city’s best museums. Let loose on the dance floor. Have fun!
Love Local Ladies
Take in some female-oriented history while you’re here in town. The Boston Women’s Heritage Trail is a great starting point and its website offers a number of self-guided tour options. Try “The Ladies Walk,” which begins at the Boston Women’s Memorial in the Back Bay and spotlights the lives of three progressive locals: suffragist Lucy Stone, First Lady Abigail Adams and writer Phillis Wheatley. Visit a dozen different stops around town, including the Boston Public Library, Old State House and Faneuil Hall, to learn alternative histories of Boston’s early years.
Then there's the incredible Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (25 Evans Way, Boston, 617.566.1401), the cozy, intimate, art-loaded vision of early-20th-century arts patron Isabella Gardner. She travelled the world, collecting paintings, drawings, sculpture and more, brought it back in Boston, and built a Venetian palace-style home in which to house them. Since her will dictates nothing be changed, visitors can essentially see her prized possessions as she arranged them for viewers in her day.
Pedicures are the perfect cure for tired, cobblestone-beat feet. Not to mention, what girl doesn’t like a little pampering? Beaucage on Newbury is a must for its signature pedi (71 Newbury St., Boston, 617.437.7171). MiniLuxe is super affordable and accommodates walk-ins (296 Newbury St., Boston, 857.362.7444). Family-run Jeanne Lee Salon offers expertise in pedicures and reflexology—so try both (115 Newbury St., Boston, 617.536.0143)! For the eco-friendly crowd, Wet Paint Nail Spa uses steamed towels instead of water baths and ‘3-free’ polish (143 Huron Ave., Cambridge, 617.868.0620).
Channel Your Creative Side
Located down in SoWa's artist complex on Thayer Street, Bead & Fiber (460 Harrison Ave., Boston, 617.426.4343) offers a diverse roster of classes, so sign up in advance or try your luck and just walk in—as long as there's a seat available, it's yours. Small groups make felt hats, master the art of kumihimo beading, and learn to knit with beads and/or wire; there's usually something happening every day (except Monday when it is closed).
Girls Gotta Eat
Culinary titan Barbara Lynch is the epitome of a girl gone wild in the kitchen, reigning over six highly successful local restaurants and a seemingly always sold-out demonstration kitchen. Her swanky, modern, Seaport 'diner' Sportello (348 Congress St., Boston, 617.737.1234) serves up elevated stylings of simple Italian food. Menu is always adapting to the season, but it goes without saying that all pasta is made in-house. Her signature tagliatelle Bolognese is a must-try.
If you're feeling spicy, the South End's Masa (439 Tremont St., Boston, 617.338.8884) remains a hidden gem even though it's been thriving there for years. Stop in any day after 4 pm for Southwestern-influenced tapas at the bar for $1 each (the already good bargain meets Happy Hour special Sunday through Thursday 5-7 pm at half-price). Mix and match, order up one of each variety on a board for $10, and share with your girlfriends.
Laugh, A Lot
Boston is smart, historic and full of pride, but it also cultivates some pretty darn funny people—Bill Burr, Denis Leary, Stephen Wright, and yes, Amy Poehler. If you like to laugh, check out the local comedy scene, girl-style. Boston Comedy Chicks takes over Doyle’s on March 15 (3484 Washington St., Jamaica Plain, 617.524.2345); it’s the only ongoing, all-female comedy night, featuring sketch, stand up and song. The show also runs for a special night at Laugh Boston on March 8 (425 Summer St., Boston, 617.725.2844) featuring Ashley Gavin, Kristin Manna, Heather Whitty and Julee Antonellis.
Over at Somerville's Arts at the Armory (191 Highland Ave., Somerville), comedienne Christa Weiss hosts Broad Appeal, a guaranteed-to-be-hilarious show that focuses on funny, smart and sassy stand-up presented by women (and a few 'beautiful and talented' men). The 50-seat house usually sells out, so get tickets early—next show is April 9.
Own the Night
Once the sun sets, you'll find there's more to Boston than clubs catering to the college crowd.
Head to legendary folk haunt Club Passim (47 Palmer St., Cambridge, 617.492.7679) in Harvard Square. Joan Baez got her start here, but these days you'll find the Americana and roots-heavy roster comprised of both rising and veteran singer-songwriters, like Paula Cole (March 7), Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys (March 18), Mary Gauthier (March 22) and Red Molly (March 29).
Sling back a moonshine cocktail, or simply a virgin sweet tea, and get ready to move at honky tonk hangout Loretta's Last Call (1 Lansdowne St., Boston, 617.421.9595). The Southern-Midwestern-Texas-inspired bar hosts free line dancing lessons every Tuesday night at 8 pm. Wear your cowboy boots—they were made for stomping.
Thursday night is ladies' night at Somerville Irish pub The Burren (247 Elm St., Somerville, 617.776.6896), or rather it's L80’s Night, when patrons get to travel back to the decade when Whitesnake and Journey ruled the airwaves. Fun includes a 1980s singing contest and special drinks, plus gals get in free.