Small groups of women have created businesses that are great destinations for groups

Women dominate the travel industry, accounting for nearly two-thirds of all travelers. Operators long ago understood that women made tour decisions. Because of this, there’s been a growth in the number of experiences designed specifically for female travelers in recent years. As an added bonus, the present state of travel lends itself well to small groups, especially helpful as the world begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. With women entrepreneurs on full display at many destinations, consider gathering your closest girlfriends and embarking on a tour of one (or more) of these female-owned sites.


Chicago, Illinois

If you’re looking for a culinary experience that’s female-owned (and delicious), check out Read it & Eat. Located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, the kitchen was opened in 2015 by owner Esther Dairiam in order to satisfy the hungry minds of food lovers throughout the area. Read it & Eat offers a series of events and cookbooks designed to provide foodies with top-notch culinary experiences. Sign up for events such as French-style cooking, author talks and even “pump up the pumpkin” baking classes for an unforgettable culinary experience.


Los Angeles, California

Create your own fun with a pottery class at Los Angeles’ POT Studios, a female-owned studio started by Mandy Kohlani and Ambar Arias in 2017. The studio prides itself on the idea of “radical inclusivity,” and encourages people of all races, sexual orientation and gender to visit POT for a fun (and affordable) look into the world of pottery. POT Studios regularly offers a variety of workshops, classes and private events, as well as virtual sessions perfect for a socially-distanced gathering with friends. Sit down, throw some clay and get crafty during your next ladies’ weekend to LA at POT Studios.


Napa Valley, CA

Good friends, scenic views and world-class wine: what’s not to love about Napa Valley? For your next girl’s trip, head west to Walt Wines, a female-owned winery located in Napa’s charming Oxbow District. Kathryn Walt Hall is the founder of both Walt Wines and Hall Wines, and operates several tasting rooms and vineyards across California. Their signature wines include a handcrafted pinot noir and chardonnay, both of which have received rave reviews from top wine critics. Guests to the Walt Wines tasting room are encouraged to make a reservation, but walk-ins are accepted. Get ready to sip on award-winning pinot noir and chardonnay wines, paired perfectly with seasonal bites at one of Walt Wines’ tasting rooms.


New Orleans, LA

She’s New York Times recommended and holds a 5-star rating on Yelp. By all accounts, Judy Geddes Bajoie, founder of Tours by Judy, is unstoppable. A former history teacher and lifelong New Orleans native, perhaps no one is as qualified as Judy to guide visitors around the city. Private walking tours are available in addition to her step-in tours. She offers a wide range of tours such as a Literary Tour, Jazz Tour, and New Orleans Civil Rights Movement Tour. For an authentic, female-operated New Orleans experience, bring your girlfriends to the bayou state and learn all about the city with Tours by Judy.


New York City

For many people, museums are, quite frankly, a bore. But with the help of Museum Hack, a New York-based company, get ready for a fun, R-rated museum experience like you’ve never had before. Museum Hack is not female-owned, but tours are regularly female-led with an emphasis on the off-beat side of history. The Badass Bitches tour takes a deep dive into the history of feminist art through examining the works of female artists at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. These tours are offered in multiple cities across the U.S, from San Francisco to D.C.


Portland, Oregon

Fewer than one percent of the world’s distilleries are owned by women. But in Portland, Oregon, Freeland Spirits is paving the road for change. Freelance gin was established in 2017 by founder Jill Kuehler and distiller Molly Troupe, and almost every step of the distilling process is handled by women. Located in the Slabtown neighborhood of Portland, consider a visit to the tasting room and sample bourbon, gin and other craft beverages — all while supporting a woman-owned and operated business. The tasting room remains closed under COVID-19 precautions, but Freeland Spirits is still hard at work with a contactless “booze-thru.” In addition to distilling gin, they’re brewing up a different kind of concoction: hand sanitizer.

By Amanda Landwehr