5 Wonderful Girls Weekend Getaways in the Midwest & Great Lakes

downtown detroit girls weekend getaway

It’s Time to Plan a Girls Weekend Getaway in the Midwest

Grab Your Besties, Mama, and Take one of These Girls Only Midwest Weekend Getaways

A weekend away from the routine of daily life, the demands of family, and some much-needed time to get my favorite gal pals together for laughs, sleep, hot coffee, and new memories!

As my children get older, our family calendar is filled with more activities and family vacations.

It’s become harder for me to find time for myself and to foster those important relationships with my dear friends. I know time for myself is important and it’s something I’m committed to making it happen.

I once read an article that said, “the more social connections a mother has, the higher her kids scored on early cognitive development tests – and if the mom didn’t have many friends, her kids scored lower”.

That sealed the deal, it’s time to start planning a girls’ only trip!

girls weekend getaways in the midwest

Sometimes getting away seems like too much trouble, after coordinating childcare, carpools, and the guilt of leaving our family at home as we go off and have fun. Trust me, making time to get away nourishes friendships and helps our tired, stressed bodies relax.

But, you don’t have to go far or spend a ton of money to feel the day-to-day responsibilities roll off your shoulders.

5 Best Midwest Weekend Getaways in the Great Lakes

Pack Your Bags, Get Your Gals and Hit the Road

Here’s a list of the best places to take a road trip in the Great Lakes area with your besties:

map of midwest weekend getaways in the great lakes

Map of Midwest weekend getaways in the Great Lakes region

1 – Chicago, IL

For the Ultimate Girls Weekend

Chicago is a great place for the ultimate girls weekend.

Offering a multitude of daytime and evening activities and plenty of public transportation, the “Windy City” is sure to be a crowd-pleaser!

You can even take the train to Chicago if you don’t want to drive.

Whether your group is looking for relaxation, shopping, adventure, or a bit of everything, it’s all at your fingertips in Chicago. Our recommendation: Get out and explore Chicago like a local.

Or, hit the easy button with a CityPass. You really can’t go wrong.

Chicago Outings & Adventures

By Boat

If your gals are looking for adventure on your girls weekend getaway, check out Chicago River Boat Architecture Tours.


Chicago Architecture Boat Tour

It’s a great way to get out on the water and learn a bit of Chicago history. If you can’t fit an architectural tour into your schedule opt for a quick ride via a Chicago Water Taxi. Trust me, the skyline is even more amazing from the water.

By Bike

Don’t be scared to give Divvy Bikes a try, it’s easy! They offer classic bikes, e-bikes, or scooters.

Download the Divvy App before heading to the city.  It’s an amazing way to see the breathtaking Chicago lakeshore via bicycle.

If you pedal north to Lincoln Park check out the Lincoln Park Conservatory and the Lincoln Park Zoo, both are free.  

Lincoln Park Chicago - Deposit Photos

Lincoln Park in Chicago

To Tea

If a relaxing day is what your group is seeking, head out for afternoon tea at the Drake – Palm Court in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago.

Drake Hotel afternoon tea chicago

Palm Court at The Drake Hotel

The dining room is beautiful and tea is so much fun. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time and are having tea with the cast from Downton Abbey. Reservations required.

To Cheer

If your group is looking for action attend a Cubs game at historic Wrigley Field. The lively pre and post-game atmosphere make it an event you won’t forget.

To Laugh

You can’t go wrong by ending your day catching a show at The Second City.  Last time I went I laughed so hard I got a free ab workout. If you end up with a front row seat and you may end up as part of the show!

the second city chicago

To Sip

The Signature Lounge in the evening is an absolute must! It’s the perfect place to finish the day with a cocktail or coffee. The view is perhaps the best in the city. signature lounge chicago

Visit the Signature Lounge for evening cocktails and fantastic views

To Spa

After a full day in the city your group is bound to be exhausted. What could be better than an afternoon at the spa? If you really want to unwind, book time at AIRE Ancient Baths.

AIRE Ancient Baths Chicago Spa

AIRE Spa in Chicago

Chicago Shopping Ideas

We all know that a girls weekend getaway to Chicago isn’t complete without shopping. Of course, Michigan Avenue isn’t called the Magnificent Mile without reason.

Even the Apple Store is cooler here.

chicago apple store

Apple Store in downtown Chicago, IL

With the shops of Water Tower Place, 900 North Michigan, and The Shops at North Bridge all within a few miles of you simply can’t go wrong.

The Chicago Starbucks Reserve Roastery building is definitely a must (646 Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611).

Starbucks Reserve Chicago

starbucks reserve chicago

Starbucks Reserve in Chicago

Oak Street is an upscale area and a fun place to window shop. With shops like Prada, Giorgio Armani, Barneys and Jimmy Choo, you’ll feel like you’re in Hollywood strolling down Rodeo Drive.

If you are looking to do some budget-friendly shopping on your girls weekend getaway, check out State Street. With shops like Old Navy, Nordstrom Rack, and Marshalls you’re sure to find some deals.

Chicago’s Culinary Hot Spots

With so many amazing restaurants it’s hard to choose where to dine. Below are my restaurant recommendations.

Eataly 43 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611

It’s simply amazing! It’s my favorite place to grab a quick breakfast before hitting the road to head home. Besides the wonderful food it’s an amazing place to walk around and simply take in the sights and aromas. From sit-down restaurants to fresh meat, seafood, produce, chocolates, and cheese counters this place has it all. I could spend hours in this place!

3 Arts Club Cafe1300 N Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60610

Located inside Restoration Hardware in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood this spot will be sure to impress on many levels. From the unbelievable décor to the delicious food, everyone is sure to be wowed.

3 ARTS CLUB CAFÉ AT restoration hardware chicago

3 Arts Cub Cafe at Restoration Hardware in Chicago

Shaw’s Oyster Bar 21 E Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60611

Cool, casual and so much fun! This Chicago institution is located just a few blocks off Michigan Ave. making it the perfect midday shopping respite. From fresh oysters to sushi you won’t be disappointed!

Summer House Santa Monica 1954 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

From brunch to dinner Summer House Santa Monica will offer a unique California influenced dishes. With the beach décor and a retractable ceiling you may actually forget that you are in fact still in the Midwest. The ever-changing menu features locally sourced produce when possible.

Cindy’s Rooftop12 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603

Located across from Millennium Park, Cindy’s offers amazing city and lake views. With brunch platters that are built for sharing (most accommodate 3-4 guests) it’s the perfect way to start your day in the city. After brunch take a stroll through Millennium Park.

Cindy's Rooftop Restaurant Chicago, IL

Cindy’s Rooftop Restaurant Chicago, IL

Where to Stay in Chicago

Chicago Athletic Association12 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603

If you’d like a hotel that’s both fun and unique, the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel is the perfect spot. This historic landmark celebrates the city’s rich history in a lively, nostalgic way.

Home to Cindy’s Rooftop, this once men’s club offers stunning décor, excellent amenities, and a prime downtown location.

The library area on the second floor is a cozy and luxurious space to relax, while The Drawing Room is a must-visit spot for its wood carvings, comfortable couches, and intimate atmosphere.

Chicago Athletic Association

Chicago Athletic Association

The Viceroy1118 N State St, Chicago, IL 60610

Viceroy Chicago is where it’s at! This 5-star hotel has the only rooftop pool in the area, with stunning views of Lake Michigan and the skyline. Sipping cocktails on the seasonal rooftop lounge and cozying up in a tastefully decorated guestroom elevate the stay.

A retro-inspired interior design theme ties the hotel together. Even better? Located in the heart of the historic Gold Coast, Viceroy Chicago is the perfect spot for exploring the city’s best luxury shopping and dining.

Viceroy Chicago Rooftop Pool

Rooftop Pool and Lounge at Viceroy Chicago

London House 85 E Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601

From cozy robes and slippers, to rooms with breathtaking views and a great spa, a stay at London House will make you want to come back again and again. Head up to the rooftop for delicious girls weekend getaway cocktails and an even better view. The staff is friendly and helpful, and valet parking is the easiest option. Perfectly located for exploring Michigan Ave and the lake.

London House Chicago Hotel

London House Chicago

Chicago Insider Tips

  • Traveling to Chicago can be relaxing. Read, nap or catch up with the girls while traveling via Amtrak or the South Shore train. In addition to not having to navigate traffic you will also be able to avoid costly city parking fees.  
  • Be sure to check out the women’s bathroom at The Signature Lounge, it offers some of the best views in the city, seriously!
  • Make meal reservations whenever possible, Chicago restaurants are insanely busy.

2 – Milwaukee, WI

For the Ultimate Girls Weekend Getaway

Milwaukee is an amazing city with great restaurants, breweries, waterfront walking and biking paths, tons of culture, and cute boutiques. Definitely consider this Lake Michigan city for one of your next Midwest weekend getaways.

If you’re departing from Michigan, taking the Lake Express ferry from Muskegon to Milwaukee adds an element of fun to your adventure!


Things To Do In Milwaukee on a Girls Weekend Getaway


Every summer Milwaukee is host to Summerfest, a huge music festival that runs from the end of June through early July. This year the festival features artist from Imagine Dragons to Dave Matthews Band, truly something for everyone.

Milwaukee Summerfest

Milwaukee Summerfest

When the music side of Summerfest is over the grounds is home to the Milwaukee World Festival. An ethnic festival featuring a different ethnicity every weekend and showcasing art, ethnic performances, and cook-offs.

Find it all at Henry Maier Festival Park, 200 N Harbor Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53202.

Warehouse District

Midwest weekend getaways to Milwaukee require that you check out The Third Ward. It’s an old warehouse district and home to super cute boutiques, art, bars, and restaurants.

Plan to spend at least the afternoon, it’s a super fun area. While there I highly recommend grabbing lunch at the Public Market in the Third Ward. Milwaukee Public Market

Milwaukee Public Market

Arts & Culture

If culture is more your gig take a stroll through the Milwaukee Art Museum. It’s worth checking out even if you just take in the exterior of the building; the architecture is amazing.

Milwaukee Art Museum

Milwaukee Art Museum

Brady Street is a funky and artsy street that’s fun to walk down. At the end street, you will find Peter Sciortino Bakery – an amazing Italian bakery that you must try.

While you are in the area be sure to stop into Art Smart’s Dart Mart and Juggling Emporium. It’s the perfect spot to pick up treasures for the kids back at home. Plus, it’s a juggling store, how fun is that!

Enjoy the River

The Milwaukee Riverwalk is a fun and scenic way to explore downtown Milwaukee. This charming pedestrian walkway follows the Milwaukee River through three vibrant neighborhoods, connecting you to some of the city’s best dining, shopping, and entertainment.

Plus, the Riverwalk is home to a fantastic outdoor art gallery. Strolling the Riverwalk is a must-do activity on a beautiful day.

Milwaukee Riverwalk

Milwaukee RIverwalk

Alternately, see the river from a different angle when you book a bike or boat tour with Milwaukee Paddle & Pedal Tavern.

Milwaukee Paddle Tavern

Milwaukee Paddle & Pedal Tavern

Where to Spa in Milwaukee

When your crew is ready to kick back and relax check out Well Spa in The Pfister Hotel. It’s an amazing spa and you don’t have to be a hotel guest to use the spa.

the pfister hotel milwaukee wisconsin

The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Blu is an incredible bar on the 23rd-floor of the hotel. It features full views of downtown Milwaukee and Lake Michigan. It’s one of the most popular martini bars in Milwaukee. You can find it at 424 E Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202.

Fun fact, rumor has it that the hotel is haunted by friendly ghosts

Milwaukee’s Food Scene

Milwaukee is another city with so many amazing dining choices. It’s hard to narrow it down to just a few. You truly can’t go wrong with anything you choose.

cheers to this girls weekend getaway in the midwest

Cafe Benelux 346 N Broadway, Milwaukee, WI 53202

Located in the heart of the Third Ward, Cafe Benelux celebrates European culture with a massive, award-winning Belgian beer selection, a from-scratch menu, and one of Milwaukee’s most unique rooftop patios.

Milwaukee Ale House 1208 13th Ave, Grafton, WI 53024

Enjoy lunch or dinner with river front seating, downtown views and handcrafted beverages. Fun fact, Schooners used to dock in front of the building to get fitted with new sails before heading back out to Lake Michigan.

Lakefront Brewery1872 N Commerce St, Milwaukee, WI 53212

Stop in for a tour, brew or a bite at the popular Lakefront Brewery Beer Hall or Patio. Fill up with tasty bites from the CurdWagon on summer weekends.

Milwaukee Riverwalk

Lakefront Brewery, Milwaukee

Iron Horse Hotel 500 W Florida St, Milwaukee, WI 53204

Grab Sunday Brunch at this upscale hotel designed for motorcycle riders. After you’ve had your fill of bottomless mimosas, head to the nearby Harley Davidson Museum.

Koz’s Mini Bowl 2078 S 7th St, Milwaukee, WI 53204

Super casual spot where you are guaranteed to have a blast while grabbing a bite to eat. The restaurant features four mini-bowling lanes, darts, pool and a jukebox.

Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro  – 3133 E Newberry Blvd, Milwaukee, WI 53211

If you’re looking for an elegant setting, authentic French cuisine and fabulous views of Lake Michigan this is the place. It’s delicious and a crowd pleaser.

Bartolottass Lake Park Bistro Milwaukee

Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro

Where to Stay in Milwaukee


Don’t stop reading – this is a great destination for a girls weekend getaway!

Hey World, Detroit is on the map!

Perhaps this destination isn’t the first to come to mind when thinking of Midwest weekend getaways, but the Motor City has made big strides in the last decade and deserves consideration.

downtown detroit

Capitol Park, Detroit

Over the last few years, I’ve heard more and more people proclaim the city’s resurrection after a visit downtown.

Be assured, Detroit today looks quite different than it did 15 years ago.

You and your gals will find hip and bustling restaurants, well-manicured parks and gardens, and perhaps a professional sports event or concert taking place.

Must-See Destinations in Detroit

Get out and explore the city. It’s full of history and culture. Book a walking tour with The City Institute.

The tours vary in theme and price and include topics like Best of Downtown, Art & Architecture to Bar Tours and tours focused on social issues.

The Belt 1260 Library Street Detroit, MI 48226

While downtown be sure to stroll down BELT Alley (located between Broadway and Library Street). It’s truly a one of a kind destination. The alley has been transformed with art and restaurants.

The Belt downtown Detroit

The BELT Alley in Downtown Detroit

Eastern Market – 2934 Russell Street, Detroit MI 48207

The Eastern Market is amazing, I could spend the entire day perusing the goods. On Saturdays the market is focused on fresh produce, meats, baked goods, flowers and local art.

The Sunday market is far from a traditional farmer’s market. It’s a street-style market showcasing local artists, musicians, cooks and more. It is the perfect place to find items that are unique to Detroit and Michigan made.

Eastern Market Shed Detroit

Eastern Market in Detroit, MI

Belle Isle 99 Pleasure Drive, Detroit, MI 48207

If your group is looking for a slower pace head to Belle Isle.

From the conservatory to a giant slide there is truly something to please everyone. You can easily spend the day exploring this park.

Belle Isle Conservatory Detroit Michigan

Detroit Institute of Art – 5200 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48202

For a great indoor activity check out The Detroit Institute of Art, home to one of the largest and most significant collections of art in the United States! From mummies to modern art, the collection is impressive.


DIA – Detroit Institute of Art

An added bonus: if headed from downtown, you will drive through a lovely neighborhood of beautiful Victorian era homes (Historic Indian Village). Grab coffee and pastries from The Red Hook in neighboring West Village to fuel your journey.

Indian Village home in Detroit
Historic home in Indian Village in Detroit

Head to the Water

Paddle the Canals with Detroit River Sports – 14601 Riverside Boulevard in Detroit, Michigan

These canals have been a part of Detroit’s story since at least the time of the Underground Railroad.

Located adjacent to the Detroit River near the northern end of Belle Isle, you can paddle the canals on a guided tour, learning the history of the canals as you go.

They also offer nighttime glow paddles and trips for advanced kayakers as well. The trip is about 2.5 hours from start to finish. Highly recommend.

detroit canal kayaking

Hang out by the River

Wow. The Detroit Riverfront should win an award for creating a space where people want to be.

Gorgeous walkways, beautiful gardens and parks, and plenty of trendy seating options go on for miles. A few favorite spots are in front of The Renaissance Center and at Mt. Elliot Park. Many days out of the year, the Riverfront is popping with events and fun things to do.

Detroit Riverwalk Detroit MI

Detroit Riverfront

Shopping in Detroit

Somerset Collection in Troy features the most exclusive shopping in Michigan. It’s like Chicago’s Magnificent Mile – under one roof.

For unique artisan goods in the city, you can’t go wrong at The Rust Belt Market in Ferndale (22801 Woodward Ave, Ferndale, MI 48220).

The Rust Belt Market Detroit Michigan

And a girls weekend getaway to Detroit isn’t complete without a stop at IKEA in Canton. Plan to spend an afternoon, and more money than you thought.

I always going in for one thing and leave with all sorts of treasures. Don’t worry, if you spend longer than expected they have a tasty cafeteria.

Dining Detroit style

The greater Detroit area offers many amazing restaurant choices for your girls weekend getaway. The food scene in downtown Detroit has seen some new, hip and tasty additions in the last few years.  

Vicente’s Cuban Cuisine – 1250 Library St, Detroit, MI 4822

Located in downtown Detroit Vincente’s has delicious authentic Cuban food. The ambience is super fun with live music and Salsa Dancing. The portions are huge. It’s a great place to order and plan to share with your table.

Cornerstone Barrel House – 1456 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48226

Centrally located, Cornerstone Barrel House is a hip, upbeat bourbon and whiskey restaurant/bar with live music Thursday – Saturday evenings. The restaurant is small, so try to get there early as they don’t take reservations.

Eatóri Market1215 Griswold St, Detroit, MI 48226

A tiny adorable market and patio in Capitol Park, Eatóri Market’s feels like a cozy set you’d see in a movie or at someone’s perfectly curated backyard party. Lights span across the whole park lighting up the night as if it’s just for you. The drinks are gorgeous and the food is tasty.

capitol park downtown Detroit

Standby – 225 Gratiot Ave, Detroit, MI 48226

This super fun location borders The Belt Alley in downtown Detroit. The art, music, cocktails, and food are all top notch.

Dime Store – 719 Griswold St #180, Detroit, MI 48226

Located downtown this is an amazing location for brunch. The food is made from scratch with creative twists on brunch staples.

Dime Store Brunch Bar Detroit Michigan

Dime Store Brunch Bar in Detroit Michigan

Como’s Restaurant22812 Woodward Ave #100, Ferndale, MI 48220

Como’s serves up the BEST gluten free pizza we’ve ever experienced in our lives. No contest. They know how to do Detroit style pizza. And everything else.

Comos Gluten Free Pizza Detroit Michigan

Gluten Free Pizza at Como’s Restaurant in Ferndale

SPKRBOX Detroit – 200 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 48226

Not your typical coffee shop. Drop in for a cup or a cocktail or stay for a party – the second level is equipped with a DJ booth. And, if you’re lucky, snag the little room behind the curtain – it’s the perfect place to dish on your girls weekend getaway.


Spkrbox 🔊

♬ As It Was – Harry Styles

Evening Bar 1400 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48226

One of the secret speakeasies in Detroit, the Evening Bar is accessed by a nondescript side door of the Shinola Hotel in Parker’s Alley. Serving up cocktails and mocktails in a vibey lounge setting, it’s a great spot to include in you Midwest weekend getaway itinerary.

Evening Bar speakeasy detroit

Evening Bar entrance in Parker’s Alley

Parker's Alley Evening Bar speakeasy detroit

Parker’s Alley

Where to Stay in Detroit

The Siren – 1509 Broadway St, Detroit, MI 48226

This gorgeous boutique hotel in Detroit’s Wurlitzer Building is filled with charming art deco décor.

Perfectly situated to explore downtown Detroit, the beautifully appointed rooms definitely have a certain wow factor and a quirky, to-die-for, vintage vibe.

The Siren Hotel in Detroit - Romantic Getaways in Michigan

Siren Hotel Lobby, Detroit, MI

And don’t miss The Siren’s very own cocktail lounge, the Candy Bar, serving handcrafted drinks in opulent surroundings.

Shinola Hotel – 1400 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48226

This newer boutique hotel is also in Downtown Detroit. It’s an amalgam of several buildings, including an old sporting goods/hardware store, a former Singer sewing-machine store, and new buildings.

Shinola Hotel Detroit MI

Shinola Hotel, Detroit, MI

4 – Northern Michigan: Traverse CIty

Traverse City is a perfect girls weekend getaway destination anytime of year.

Breathtaking hikes, an abundance of wineries & breweries, quaint downtowns, and a first-rate food scene are all tucked away in these northern Michigan cities – just waiting for you to discover them.

These are exactly the things that come to mind when thinking about a Great Lakes getaway – what’s not to love?

Clinch Park Beach Traverse City

Clinch Park Beach, Traverse City MI

Downtown Traverse City

From endless boutiques, to Cherry Republic, to The State Theater downtown Traverse City is truly bustling with life.

You can easily plan to spend an entire day, eating and shopping downtown.

Downtown Traverse City

Plus, downtown is just steps away from the sugar sand beaches of West Grand Traverse Bay.


Clinch Park Beach, Downtown Traverse City, MI

Traverse City Restaurants

The Traverse City food scene is a real treasure. You may be surprised that a small northern Michigan town has so many delicious choices. I really believe that you can’t go wrong with any restaurant choice in Traverse City.

Little Fleet –  448 E Front St, Traverse City, MI 49686

The Bar meets permanent food truck lot = The Little Fleet. Sample a variety of delicious eats when you dine here and satify everyone in your group with the endless options.

Little Fleet Traverse City Food Truck Court

Little Fleet, the Traverse City Food Truck Court

amical229 E Front St, Traverse City, MI 49684

Magic happens in the kitchen at amical. Locally-sourced ingredients (when possible) are transformed into eclectic European fare. The atmosphere in the dining room is cozy and makes you want to linger over your wine and your bread and and your meal and your dessert… the dessert! amical is where I want to go when I’m in Traverse City. If you want to go, I highly suggest making reservations.

Amical Traverse City Dessert Case

amical’s dessert selection

Mama Lu’s Taco Shop149 E Front St, Traverse City, MI 49684

Fill your table with tacos (get the Pescado and Beef!), guacamole and deliciously salty tortilla chips. And the infamous Street Corn. Definitely get the Street Corn. You’ll be dreaming of Mama Lu’s guacamole & street corn for months to come.

Mama Lu's Taco Shop Traverse City MI

Mama Lu’s Taco Shop in Traverse City

Red Ginger237 E Front St, Traverse City, MI 49684

If it’s sushi you’re after, then Red Ginger is a great choice. This upscale Asian-infused restaurant offers upscale dining with their spin on Asian favorites. Reservations recommended.

Trattoria Stella830 Cottageview Dr, Traverse City, MI 49684

Trattoria Stella is another longtime favorite for dining in Traverse City. Located on the Grand Traverse Commons Campus, Trattoria Stella is known for delectable Italian dishes made with locally sourced food. Reservations recommended.


GT Commons

The Village at Grand Traverse Commons – 1200 W Eleventh St, Traverse City, MI 49684

A trip to Traverse City isn’t complete without a trip to The Village at Grand Traverse Commons. The former State Asylum has been transformed into a dining, shopping and lodging destination. The-Village-at-Traverse-City-Commons

Village at Grand Traverse Commons

Definitely take the tour of the old State Asylum in Traverse City if you have a chance.

They offer various walking tours. You’ll learn the history of this expansive place and may go down to the steam tunnels – very exciting! The tours also take you into a few of the non-renovated buildings, too. It’s an unforgettable experience.


Steam Tunnel Tour, Traverse City MI

Wineries, Breweries, Cider & Tours

Shady Lane Cellars9580 E Shady Ln, Suttons Bay, MI 49682

Choosing a favorite Traverse City winery is a tall order – there are so many deserving destinations on the Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas.

If you’re up to the task, though, you might spend your girls weekend getaway winery hopping. You can even do a winery tour by bike.

At Shady Lane Cellars, it’s a treat to stop in and sample wine at the outdoor tasting bar, play yard games, and enjoy the ambiance. If you’re lucky, your visit will coincide with one of their winery dinners or events. In the winter, can cross-country ski through the vineyard and warm up in the tasting room.

Shady Lane Winery Traverse City MI

Shady Lane Cellars is just outside of Traverse City, MI

Not far away is Suttons Bay Ciders (10530 E Hilltop Rd, Suttons Bay, MI 49682). This hidden gem cider tasting room has indoor seating, outdoor seating, and seating in two heated igloos in the winter.

Suttons Bay Ciders

Suttons Bay Ciders

Suttons Bay Ciders

If beer is your libation of choice, one of the many area breweries will be sure to satisfy.

Hop Lot Brewing Co & Beer Garden (658 S W Bay Shore Dr, Suttons Bay, MI 49682) is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. With a laid-back vibe, this place is always hopping.

Hop Lot Brewing Company, Suttons Bay MI

hop lot brewing

Live it Up at the Grand Traverse Resort

When it comes to getting pampered the Spa at the Grand Traverse Resort will not disappoint!


In the summer, the outdoor pool hits the spot. In the winter, it’s the outdoor hot tub for me.

Grand Traverse Resort Pool

Outdoor Pool at the Grand Traverse Resort

There’s a lounge and restaurant at the top of the 19-story tower where you’ll find fine dining to go with the breathtaking views.

aerie restaurant Grand Traverse Resort

Fine Dining at the Grand Traverse Resort

Outdoor Adventures

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Epic hikes and scenic vistas are the norm at nearby Sleeping Bear Dunes.

If you’re short on time, do the Empire Bluff trail. Ending up on this boardwalk bluff is the payoff – worth the moderately hilly hike out to the lake.

Empire Bluff Hike at Sleeping Bear Dunes Michigan

Empire Bluff Trail, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Wheels on Rails5843-5853, US-31, Grawn, MI 49637

Traveling with adventurous friends? Sign up for the new railroad biking tour. Pick either a tandem bike for 2 or the quad bike, fit for a group of 4. Tours take about an hour, covering 6 miles of track.

Traverse City Wheels on Rails Rail biking

Rail Biking with Traverse City Wheels on Rails

Where to Stay in Traverse City

5 – NORTHERN MI – Bay Harbor & Petoskey

60 miles north of Traverse City is another Northern Michigan lakeside destination perfect for Midwest weekend getaways: Petoskey MI.

Head to Petoskey for boating, shopping, winery hopping, and the ultimate spa weekend getaway at Bay Harbor. It’s worth the drive!

Petoskey Michigan

Petoskey, MI

Bay Harbor

4000 Main Street, Bay Harbor, MI 49770

Just minutes from downtown Petoskey, Bay Harbor is is a captivating, high-end vacation community nestled along five miles of exquisite Lake Michigan shoreline. If you find yourself staying or playing at Bay Harbor, you’re in for a treat!

The neighborhood includes a deep water marina, upscale boutiques and restaurants, a performing arts center, a golf course, homes, and cottages, as well as an inn with spa.

Bay Harbor Village Petoskey

Bay Harbor Village Specialty Shops & Dining

The whole place is like an enchanted storybook.

While there, take in one of their inviting events, like Balloons over Bay Harbor or their Father’s Day weekend Boat Show, where you’ll be face to face with very impressive boats. Stay up to date by following their Facebook page.

Balloons over Bay Harbor Night Glow

Balloons over Bay Harbor Night Glow

The Inn at Bay Harbor

The Inn at Bay Harbor – 3600 Village Harbor Dr, Bay Harbor, MI 49770

If an invite comes your way for a stay at the Inn at Bay Harbor – yes! – is the correct answer.

Honestly, this place is a dream come true.

Inn at Bay Harbor, Autograph Collection Hotels in Petoskey, MI

From the moment you walk through the doors, the friendly, welcoming staff make you feel right at home.

the inn at bay harbor lobby

Choose from thoughtfully designed rooms, suites and cottages – they’re all stocked with high-quality bedding, plush pillows, and soft linens.

Coming with friends for girls weekend away? Book the Grand Suite.

inn at bay harbor suite

You can’t go wrong with any of the top-notch accommodations here, but the Grand Suite is what you want for a group of friends or family.

Formed by two rooms, the suite sleeps 6 and features a fireplace, balcony, kitchenette, and dining area. One king and two queen beds make up the sleeping area. The suite also has two bathrooms.

Inn at Bay Harbor balcony

Lakeview rooms, outfitted with sliding doors and balconies offer stunning views of Lake Michigan.

If you pre-order the yummy charcuterie board – a delightful selection of artisan meats and cheeses, jam, marcona almonds, crackers, and fresh fruit – it will be waiting in your room when you arrive.

the inn at bay harbor charcuterie (1)

During your stay, plan to wrap up in a cozy robe and make your way to the lakeside hot tub, too.

The water is the perfect temperature for a relaxing soak under the stars.

the inn at bay harbor hot tub

Bay Harbor Restaurants

Vintage Chophouse at the Inn at Bay Harbor 3600 Village Harbor Dr, Petoskey, MI 49770

Dining at Vintage Chophouse is truly a memory-maker.

Cozy and elegant, the upscale steakhouse has a unique and varied menu with some of the most delicious and creative dishes around. The wine list is extensive.

Inn at Bay Harbor Vintage Chophouse

Start with an appetizer of lamb pops – succulent and tender, they’re phenomenal.

Beyond that, any dish you order likely will be cooked to perfection. End with the flourless chocolate cake. It’s the chef’s kiss.

flourless chocolate dessert vintage chophouse petoskey

Sagamore Room for Breakfast at the Inn3600 Village Harbor Dr, Petoskey, MI 49770

Don’t let the word buffet fool you – breakfast at The Sagamore Room is anything but ordinary. For starters, they serve the freshest and best fruit that you can find in Michigan.

The buffet brims with specialty egg dishes, homemade pastries and breads, waffles and scones, to name a few.

Bay Harbor Inn breakfast

The Sagamore Room

The Inn Cafe

The adorable Inn Cafe serves Starbucks coffee, wine, cocktails, sundries and food along with grab and go with gourmet sandwiches, salads, soups, freshly baked pastries, and Murdick’s ice cream.

inn at bay harbor coffee cafe

The Inn Cafe

Mammoth Distilling Bay Harbor4181 Main St., Bay Harbor, MI 49770

This Northern Michigan staple is worth a stop for cocktails. If you’re lucky, live music will be on the menu, too.

Spa at Bay Harbor

Tranquil and rejuvenating, The Inn at Bay Harbor Spa is the definition of luxury.

This is the ideal destination for a treat-yourself moment or a girls’ weekend away. The attentive staff, heated robes, and special touches will make your visit as indulgent as possible.

Step inside, slip into a robe, and let yourself be transported to a place where time seems to stand still.

Inn at Bay Harbor Spa

Do try the hot stone massage; it will leave you feeling like you’re floating on a cloud.

And let the friendly, accommodating aestheticians work up a soothing, customized facial just for you. Their blend of masks, moisturizers, and serums will leave you glowing.

Sip on mimosas in the comfortable lounge while you enjoy the relaxing atmosphere.

Inn at Bay Harbor Spa

If you’re coming with friends, call the spa (231.439.4046) and they will coordinate your treatments. Be sure to ask about including Afternoon Tea as part of your visit – it’s the icing on the cake.

the inn at bay harbor afternoon tea

Book a visit today and treat your girls to the ultimate pampering session. 10/10 do recommend!

All in all, a Great Lakes getaway to the Inn at Bay Harbor is the stuff of dreams.

Downtown Petoskey

Downtown Petoskey – Petoskey, MI 49770

Pull yourself away from Bay Harbor for a few hours for a trip to Downtown Petoskey. It’s super cute and offers great shopping and lovely park space.

This bustling destination, known as the Gaslight Shopping District, is packed with over 170 unique shops and restaurants – too many to name here. Often, weekends will find events and festivals on tap.


Be sure to stop into Grandpa Shorter’s (301 E Lake St, Petoskey, MI 49770) for unique gifts, souvenirs, and Petoskey Stones while you’re there.

Petoskey stones at Grandpa Shorter's store in petoskey MI

Petoskey Stones for sale at Grandpa Shorter’s

Nearby Roast and Toast (1045 Kalamazoo Ave, Petoskey, MI 49770) is great for a latte, smoothie, or quick bite – love the vibe here.

Roast and toast petoskey MI

Roast and Toast Coffee Shop, Petoskey MI

If time allows, tour the Kilwins Chocolate Kitchen (1050 Bay View Rd, Petoskey, MI 49770) on the north side of town or visit Sturgeon River Pottery to the south (3031 Charlevoix Ave, Petoskey, MI 49770) – it’s brimming with pottery and gifts galore.

Sturgeon River Pottery Petoskey Michigan

Sturgeon River Pottery in Petoskey, MI

Petoskey Wine Trail

If sampling the fruits of the region is high on your list, you’re in luck; the Petoskey area is filled with wineries for you to explore.

A few to add to your list:
– Rudbeckia Farm Winery, 3379 Lake Grove Road, Petoskey, Michigan 49770: Igloos, Firepits
– Walloon Lake Winery, 3149 Intertown Road, Petoskey, Michigan 49770
– Resort Pike Cidery and Winery, 3471 Resort Pike Road, Petoskey, Michigan 49770
– Mackinaw Trail Winery, 3423 US 131, Petoskey, Michigan 49770: Winery, brewery, bisto, store.
– Petoskey Farms Vineyard & Winery, 3720 Atkins Road, Petoskey, Michigan 49770: Try their wood-fired pizza. They’re open 11-7 Monday through Saturday (Memorial Day through Labor Day).
– Gabriel Farms & Winery, 2800 E Mitchell Rd, Petoskey, MI 49770

– Maple Moon Sugarbush & Winery, 4454 Atkins Road, Petoskey, Michigan 49770:
Maple Moon is a family-run sugarbush and America’s first maple winery. Tour the farm, sample treats, and adults can even go wineshoeing in the winter. Their free one-hour tours show you the process of pure maple syrup production. Do call if interested, schedule a tour at least 24 hours in advance – (231) 342-6843.

Bonus: SkyBridge at Boyne Mountain

SkyBridge1 Boyne Mountain Rd, Boyne Falls, MI 49713

A 30 minute drive south brings you to one of Northern Michigan’s newest attractions – the SkyBridge at Boyne Mountain – the longest Timber-Suspension Bridge in the world! This experience is not for the faint-hearted, but if you’re feeling adventurous, it is definitely worth the trip.

sky bridge boyne mountain

They SkyBridge is open year-round.

Purchase a ticket, scan, and then ride the pedestrian chairlift up the mountain. Once you reach the top, it’s a short walk to the SkyBridge.

At the top, there is a food truck, bathrooms, and a fire to get warm for your journey back to the other side and the chairlift. The Eagles Nest Restaurant Cafe is stocked with snacks, coffee, hot chocolate, and other beverages too.

Walking the bridge for the view alone (the fall colors here are amazing!) is worth it. In the middle section, you can look down and see people skiing on the snow through the glass in the winter. It’s a popular spot for taking fun pictures.

Just a heads up, the bridge may sway or lean to one side if more people are walking on the other side. But don’t worry, it’s safe and adds to the excitement of the experience.

Tips: Dress for the weather if you’re visiting in the winter and buy your ticket in advance to avoid any delays.

Make Time For You a Priority

We hope you can find time for a Midwest weekend getaway with your friends soon!

Even if you and your favorite gals don’t have the time or budget for an overnight getaway make sure that you make time for you and your gals to grab dinner, a movie or maybe just a coffee while strolling your local Target. You deserve it!

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