How to Plan a Girls' Weekend in Downtown L.A.

Sometimes exactly what you need in life is to break away from your busy day-to-day demands and take a time-out with the people who matter. As we live our individual lives and pursue our separate careers, it can be a challenge to carve out quality time with your best friends and have meaningful conversations that go beyond a string of sporadic group texts or regularly rain-checked coffee dates.

If you're overdue for a getaway with your girlfriends, it's time to mark your calendar. A long weekend is all you need to slate out an itinerary that promises plenty of relaxation and a chance to catch up. Tips for how to plan a girls' weekend work across destinations, but we test-drove them during the ultimate staycation in downtown L.A.—in a hotel that's a destination in its own right.

Choose a Central Home Base

Since your hotel is serving as your home base for the weekend, it's wise to choose a central location that's close to your desired activities. Better yet, a hotel where you don't even have to step foot outside to enjoy delicious food and good design is even more desirable when enjoying a restorative weekend with friends. L.A. isn't known for being walkable, and yet the Intercontinental Los Angeles Downtown is right in the heart of the city's burgeoning downtown neighborhood—just steps from popular restaurants, shops, and the Staples Center.

Explore With Your Appetite

For any trip, girls' weekend or otherwise, my rule of thumb is to explore with my appetite. I plan much of my itinerary around meals—mapping out culinary hot spots to check off my list during my stay—and I organize other activities around them. While this strategy isn't for everyone, it certainly provides for a satiated weekend and ensures that no member of the party becomes hangry. There's also no better way to catch up with friends than over a delicious meal and drinks. So by making sure every mealtime promises delicious eats, you're setting the scene for some much-needed candid conversation.

My staycation at the Intercontinental was punctuated by memorable meals boasting skyline views without ever having to step foot off of the property. I experienced my first raindrop cake at Sora—an intimate sushi restaurant nestled on the 69th floor, where a conveyor belt transports nigiri in front of a panoramic view of L.A. We toured the impressive portfolio inside the cheese atelier at La Boucherie—an elegant steakhouse that infuses a western flair with a French twist—and sampled top-shelf Japanese whisky along with casual bites at the lobby bar.

Try an Unexpected Activity

A girls' weekend is the perfect time to try your hand at new things. Sign up for an activity or a class you wouldn't necessarily take alone, and fine-tune your skillset side by side with your best friends. It could be a group workout class, a laid-back wine tasting, or a hands-on cooking class.

During our staycation at the Intercontinental, we enjoyed a cooking demonstration with executive chef Todd Sicolo who oversees the entirety of the hotel's culinary venues. While learning (and sipping) the correct wine and beer pairings to accompany our culinary efforts, we tried our hand at homemade apple cider and roasted spaghetti squash.

See the City Through New Eyes

Even if you're indulging in the ultimate staycation, a girls' weekend can be a chance to play tourist in your own town. It's very easy to settle into a routine and overlook the attractions in your own city. A staycation with your friends can rekindle your curiosity about the best that your city has to offer. Carve out time with your friends to explore the hot spots that would be on your list if you were visiting, like special exhibitions, pop-up shops, or shows and sports games you keep putting off.

Balance Work With R&R

Rarely does a weekend go by that you don't have to do a little work. If you or one of your girlfriends has to plug in for a couple hours, why not balance it with a relaxing and scenic setting? Rent a poolside cabana for a quiet afternoon of work or reward yourself after an early-morning work session with a spa treatment later in the day. A girls' weekend is all about finding a healthy balance in your busy life, so however your stack your itinerary, the important thing is that you're together with your friends and able to recharge in good company.