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Love is in the air, but before you skip straight to Valentine’s Day, take a moment to show some appreciation to the ladies in your life via our favorite unofficial holiday: Galentine’s Day. The February 13 rite—whose patron saint is Parks and Recreation protagonist Leslie Knope—offers the perfect excuse to hang out with your favorite women and celebrate your friendship.
For easy, breezy planning, we’ve compiled a list of the best Galentine’s Day activities, no matter what vibe you’re going for. Whether you want some relaxing time at the spa with that busy bestie you haven’t seen in ages or you’re hoping to host a fabulous fondue night, we bet you and your squad will be pleased with any of these heartwarming options. “Friendships are everything,” Frientimacy author Shasta Nelson tells ELLE DECOR. “They are the foundation of our mental health, our emotional health, and our physical health. When we feel connected and supported we are healthier, happier, and more confident.”
Therefore, don’t miss your chance for a much-needed bonding session and get inspired to bring one of these ideas to life. Enjoy!
Reach for the Michelin Stars
For a next-level mashup, combine Leslie Knope’s Galentine’s Day and Donna and Tom’s “Treat Yo Self” Day by splurging on a super-gourmet meal. Plus, the timing couldn’t be more perfect as there are several hot spots with deals on special tasting menus, which you can find here.
If you want to go the extra mile (literally), head to the countryside and make a reservation at the Mayflower Inn & Spa, the boutique property that inspired the beloved Gilmore Girls. Just like the dynamic duo on Parks and Recreation, you’ll want to say yes to everything, including an unforgettable meal by Michelin-starred executive chef Jose Ramírez-Ruiz, state-of-the-art wellness treatments by the Big Apple’s The Well, handpicked bouquets, and more from February 11 to 14. Ready, set, book, you deserve it!
Support a Female Comedian
Nothing beats a roomful of laughs on any holiday. And a foolproof way to get some great energy flowing in the group is by attending a female stand-up’s comedy show. Check the schedule of venues closest to you and don’t wait to snag tickets because we wouldn’t be surprised if other girl gangs had the same idea, too.
When was the last time you and your friends went somewhere new in your neighborhood? A celebration calls for exploration. Why not become a tourist in your city for the day? Consider a walking tour filled with interesting facts about where you live or a tasting of a nearby brewery or distillery you’ve never been to before. For a limited time, Virgin Experiences is offering $20 off an experience of $100 or more with the code VDAY20.
Make Flower Arrangements
Instead of waiting for your significant others or dates to bring flowers, you and your girls should feel empowered to put together pretty arrangements yourselves. Opt for a class you can all sign up for as a group, or do a quick Trader Joe’s run and host a bloom-filled hang at home.
Plan a Pickleball Tournament
It’s time to hit the courts and create the sporty tradition of a friendly pickleball tournament with your gals. Besides winning matches, we suggest kicking things up a notch by awarding prizes to the most well-dressed player or the one with the prettiest racket, in case some participants are more interested in the fashion and design behind the popular game, and who can blame them?
Get Your Nails Done Together
Truth: Girls who mani-pedi together stay together. Because self-care and a hot-goss catch-up sesh are synonymous with a good time. Book an appointment for you and your besties at a fancy boutique salon and indulge in a rare time to treat yourself. Obviously you’re there to thank your friends for their lady power in your life; the milk-and-honey foot soak is just the cherry on top. Prefer to host the glamsquad at home? Prep your own Epsom foot bath and pamper away.
Make It a Spa Day
Better yet, go for an all-around glow at a nearby luxury spa. Whether you and your number one girl find serenity in a deep tissue massage, a good chemical peel, or a classic hot tub soak, spas are the prime micro-getaway to unwind and melt away the stresses of everyday life. And as with most good things in life, a spa day is best enjoyed with a congenial conversationalist (i.e., your BFF). With the right pampering, you’ll both be ready to slay it once again! If you’d prefer to stay in, create your own spa moment from your couch.
Try Drunk Yoga with Your Gal Pals
You’re not living your best life until you’ve tried this boozy spin on your typical yoga class. This new hobby will leave you feeling tuned in as ever with your ride-or-die as you blithely attempt to balance in crow pose (blame the wobble on those sips of Merlot). If you want to pick up a new hobby without taking yourself too seriously, get your drunk vinyasa on with your able-bodied bosom buddy. Namast’ay sippin’ rosé all day!
Paint and Sip Night
You don’t have to be artistic in the slightest to be able to enjoy a paint and sip. In fact, art therapy is a proven way to help people express themselves artistically. Your number one girl might already be your stand-in therapist, so why not bust out your color chops, uncork your creativity, and get your Picasso on with her.
Take an Afternoon Tea
Few outings feel more decadent than an afternoon around a tea table. Bring on the three-tiered cakes, mini sandwich towers, and Cornish clotted cream anything. Whether you opt for a small shop with carefully curated tea blends or a posh hotel with a robust tea menu and bottomless Champagne pairings, a structured four-course pastry presentation is sure to elevate the most amorous of friendships. Pinkies up!
Book a Hotel for a Grown-Up Sleepover
Confession: Every woman secretly wants to relive the halcyon days of her slumber-party-throwing youth. But this time with booze and even better dares. For a night to truly remember, book a hotel room, bring out your busiest-patterned jam-jams, pull up your favorite throwback playlist, and order those satin eye masks. Because rule number one in the Best Friend’s Handbook dictates that the later the hour, the fewer the inhibitions. So snuggle up with your squad for a memory-making night that doesn’t have to end after you’ve slept.
Bring in a Private Chef
Want the intimacy of hosting without the inconvenience of cooking? Hire a private chef for a girl’s night that will be as tasty as it is fun. With a range of chefs, an at-home dining experience can be immersive and instructional, and above all, an event that honors the people you cherish most, sans meal-planning stress. Win-win!
Host a Fondue Night
In the world of debauchery, there are two main vices worth forsaking your healthy New Year’s resolutions for: cheese and chocolate. And the beauty of a fondue night is that guests can bring any kind of side because almost everything edible pairs with either (if not both). So bring on anything sprinkled, salted, fresh, or fried. And if it’s the right kind of girls’ night, the heaping plates of sweet and sultry–dipped cuisine won’t be the only things you’re dishing up.
Shop Fondue Sets
Get a Psychic Reading Together
Obviously it’s written in the stars that you’ll be partying on together until death do you part. And while your friendship might not need validation from a fortune teller, any added insight into your future might require some serious hand-holding from said friend. Prefer to be your own medium? Host a tarot party from the comfort of your couch and be her most understanding seer.
Go on a Shopping Spree
Sometimes impulsive decisions break up the monotony of a routine in the best of ways. And if there’s one therapy sesh your fellow fashionistas will happily rally around you on, it’s shopping. Because how can you possibly decide which houndstooth-gingham combo will make the new you without a weigh-in from your all-too-honest sartorial savant? So leave your solitary doomscrolling ways behind and hit up your favorite department store with your most trusted advisers. Cha-ching!
Participate in a Fun Run
Galentine’s Day is a day for ladies celebrating ladies. What better way to do so than with a low-key fun run? Whether you’re in Atlanta or Seattle (or dozens of cities in between), Galentine’s race events are becoming more and more popular. Participants are presented with a rose and chocolate-covered strawberries at the finish line. As Run 2 Be Fit notes: “Friendships included. Running is optional.”
Host a Mixology Party
Staying in is the new going out, and thus an at-home cocktail party is the new barhopping. First things first: Make a crowd-pleasing cocktail that sounds upscale but is easy to whip up. A kicked-up version of the classic French martini, made special with raspberry liqueur and fresh lime juice, is sure to get the party pumping. Better yet, put out a variety of drink ingredients and let everyone shake up their own versions of cocktails. For real though, is it wine o’clock yet?
Challenge Your Friends to a Bake-Off
Turn on your ovens and dig into that emergency powdered-sugar supply because it’s time for a great Galentine’s bake-off. Whether you’re going for a theme (it has to be pink or chocolate-filled) or throwing out the rulebook, it’s sure to be the sweetest of nights!
Host a Girl’s Poker Night
Who says the boys get to have all the fun? Ladies’ poker night is a great excuse to catch up while learning the game in a low-stakes environment. Whether there’s money or makeup on the table, everyone’s sure to have a good time attempting to fool their friends with their best poker face.
Shop Playing Cards
Throw a “Favorite Things” Party
Maybe there are some things you still don’t know about your gal pals. If you haven’t been to a “Favorite Things” party, here’s how it works: You invite a group of friends and each brings multiples of a favorite thing to gift each guest. Each friend takes a turn sharing their gift with everyone and explaining why it’s their favorite thing. While returning home with one of your bestie’s chosen must-haves is a hoot, the best part is learning about everyone’s can’t-live-withouts.
Watch Your Favorite Chick Flick Together
Because swooning over Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You doesn’t have quite the same squeal solidarity when it’s just you and your man. The chick flick is best enjoyed over chocolate, a robust rosé, a face mask, and your fellow Ledger buffs. Drama, drama, drama.
Cruise Around on the Open Sea
A sea-bound girlfriends’ getaway isn’t just for bachelorettes. Whether you’d like some relaxing fun in the sun or a drink-fueled night cruise, hop on a boat with your gals for a chance to spend some quality time together getting some vitamin sea. They’ve been your lifesaver on more than one occasion, and now it’s time for you to make sure your girls don’t sink.
Profess Your Girl Love, Karaoke Style
Unlock your inner Mariah Carey by bearing your soul in rhyme to your ladyfriends. Because if a voice-cracking, off-tune attempt at the ambitious I Will Always Love You ballad doesn’t remind your girls why you love them, what will? So invite your fellow Whitney Houston wannabes to dance it out and belt it out with you in an evening that will certainly end in a few mic drops.
Book Club, Galentine’s Day Style
Make the monthly book club an extra Galentinian event in February by opting for a lady-themed read. Whether you’re laughing about Mindy Kaling’s tell-all about female friendships in Why Not Me?, spilling your deepest lifelong dreams after reading Grace Bonney’s In the Company of Women, or sharing ways to simplify life in light of Anne Bogel’s Don’t Overthink It, there’s something for everyone in the world of words.
Host a Clothing Swap Night
Maybe you’re more keen to discard than procure. We all have those pieces of clothing that just never worked out, so invite your ladyfriends to bring their unwanted fashion items and host a clothing swap. Because who doesn’t love returning home with a new fashion hall of items that will remind you of your bestie everytime they’re reworn?
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, love is in the air. And while you might be getting pumped (and primped, hello little black dress) for a fancy, flirtatious evening with your Romeo, there’s yet another kind of love that deserves its own moment in the spotlight: girlfriend love. Work wives, best friends, sisters—they are our secret keepers, our fashion consultants, our shopaholic enablers, and our safe place to ugly cry as well as all-out laugh. All cause for an occasional hey girl hey. Enter: Galentine’s Day, an unofficial holiday set on February 13th (invented by the ultimate girl’s girl, Leslie Knope, more than a decade ago) that is an official excuse to toast to your tried-and-true ladyfriends (or non-ladyfriends, for that matter). “X,” says Dr. Miriam Kirmayer, a clinical psychologist and friendship expert.
Stumped on how to make a statement this year? We’ve got you, girl. Whether you’ve cleared your calendar to skip off somewhere for the afternoon or are bunkering down for a cozy night in with your galpals, here are 20 Galentine’s Day ideas that will make this one a Galentines to remember. Keep the frittatas coming!
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