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Top 5 Bucket List Experiences for Women

Let’s be honest, many of the “Bucket List” experiences that we offer are fueled by adrenaline and testosterone.  A few of our events seem to cater to upper middle class cavemen who sip scotch, smoke cigars and high-five each other at every opportunity. The Super Bowl is certainly like that. The Running of the Bulls in Pamplona is perhaps the ultimate adrenaline rush with grown men trying to prove to each other they still have what it takes to outrun an 1800 pound bull down a narrow cobblestoned street. Hemingway would be proud.

Yet, when we examine our sales metrics we see that slightly more than half of our bookings are initiated by women.  To be fair, many times it is a wife who is booking a Bucket List experience for her husband.  The Masters, for example, makes a much better Father’s Day gift than yet another cardigan sweater.  But that is only part of the story.  It turns out that some of our Bucket List experiences are more favored by our female clientele than others.  This post is intended to explore our Bucket List experiences that are most requested by women.

#1  Kentucky Derby

If you believe the Kentucky Derby is just a 2-minute horse race, then you haven’t been to Louisville on the first Saturday in May.  The Kentucky Derby is the ultimate “see and be seen” all day event.  The horse races almost seem secondary.  It’s really all about the hats.  

When the Kentucky Derby premiered in 1875, it was modeled after traditional high society British horseracing, with strict dress codes for both men and women.  To this day, ladies are still encouraged to wear elegant dresses and enjoy the day playing the part of a fine southern belle. Like Scarlett O’hara, a traditional belle’s crowning glory is her hat or fascinator.  It is the statement piece of the ensemble, and virtually anything goes. What might be considered “over the top” in most settings could be considered understated at Churchill Downs.  I cannot think of any other event in the world that so encourages women to express themselves through clothing more than the Kentucky Derby.  You can expect to spend a month or two shopping for the perfect hat.

The 3rd Floor Clubhouse and the adjacent Turf Club provide the best opportunities for people watching. That is where A and B list celebrities tend to congregate.  Rock stars, movie stars, and famous sports figures all come together in one place at the same time.  So if you want to catch the eye of Tom Brady or Usher, then get to the Turf Club wearing something special.

The Barnstable Brown Gala is the Friday night party on the eve of the Derby.  Conde Nast ranks it as one of the ten best parties in the world.  It’s a black tie event held at the home of local socialite Patricia Barnstable Brown – (notable as one of the original double mint twins). The gala tends to feel like an elaborate wedding reception, complete with a small stage and dance floor.  The difference is that the performers are a mashup of famous musicians who take turns on the stage, and by the end of the night are joining one another for impromptu duets.  For many of our female guests, the Barnstable Brown Gala is the highlight of their Derby experience. 

#2 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Most Americans have many years of childhood memories around the Thanksgiving holiday.  For many of us the day started with mom in the kitchen and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on the television. The parade was first held in 1924, so all but the very oldest among us have these endearing childhood memories.

Fast forward a decade or two, and now you’re a mom in your own right.  You’ve got kids of your own and you want to share this special memory with them.  So you take them to New York for the Macy’s Parade and bridge the generations.  The holiday season is all about family traditions, and there is no place that epitomizes them better than New York for Thanksgiving.

Included in our Macy’s packages are tickets for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the world famous Rockettes.  The show has been performed since 1933, and has become the quintessential New York Christmas tradition. There is no better way to launch into the Christmas season than with the Rockettes on Thanksgiving.

Another unique parental opportunity happens on the evening prior to the Macy’s Parade.  The Balloon Inflation is a chance to get your kids up close to the balloons in a less crowded setting, and without having to get up at the crack of dawn to see them.  The streets surrounding the Natural History Museum are all filled with the parade balloons, and from early afternoon until well into the evening, guests can watch the balloons come to life.  

Bucket List Experiences for Women

#3 The Olympics

Our bookings for the Olympics are split evenly between men and women, and it is easy to see why.  Every young athlete secretly dreams about what it would be like to become an Olympian.   Young boys may fantasize about running as fast as Usain Bolt, while young girls dream of becoming Olympic gymnasts or figure skaters. For decades, Olympic female athletes have provided inspiration for entire generations of girls.  Virtually every woman of a certain age fondly recalls getting her hair styled like Dorothy Hamil.  The haircut became so popular it was named after her!

More recently, consider the Williams sisters in tennis, or Lyndsay Vonn, Katie Ledecky, Simone Biles, Missy Franklin, Sheryl Swoopes, Mia Hamm and Megan Rapinoe, and a host of other world class female athletes who are household names in America and beyond.  These ladies are more than athletes. They are role models for new generations of young women.  

Women seem to enjoy attending the Olympics perhaps more than any other sporting event.  Beyond the exceptional athletes, the Olympics is an opportunity to celebrate patriotism, engage with other cultures, and explore a new and interesting host city every couple of years.  My wife will tell you that the favorite event experience of her life was attending the 2010 Opening Ceremony of the Vancouver Olympics.  Not far behind was the pairs ice skating competition later in those same Games.  Both events literally brought tears to her eyes, and still do whenever she reflects on the experience.  As for me, the greatest Olympic moment of my lifetime was watching the USA women’s Hockey Team defeat Canada for the Gold in the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang.  I was right behind the net when Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored the game-winner in a shootout.  It was my miracle on ice.

Bucket List Experiences for Women

#4 The Masters

Attendees at the Masters tend to skew about 60% male, but the women who come always love the experience. The Masters is typically held during the first full week of April, and signifies the beginning of springtime.  It is a chance to dress in Easter pastels and enjoy those first sunny days after a long winter.

The Augusta National club was an all male club for most of its existence.  Under intense public pressure, they finally allowed their first female members in 2012 by welcoming Condoleeza Rice and investor/philanthropist Darla Moore into the club.  In recent years, the club has begun adding more women to it’s roster, and at last count there were 6 female members of Augusta National.  The most recent addition was Heidi Ueberroth in 2019.  Ueberroth is perhaps the most powerful woman in sports, as the President of Global Marketing for the NBA and is considered a front-runner to eventually become commissioner of the league.

To become even more inclusive for women, Augusta National agreed in 2019 to begin hosting the Augusta National Women’s Amateur in the week prior to the Masters.  The tournament consists of three rounds, with the first two rounds played at the nearby Champions Retreat golf course.  The final round is played on the Augusta National course on the Saturday prior to the Masters.  It has become a joyous celebration of women’s amateur golf and is a unique opportunity to visit the golf course in the days leading up to the Masters. 

You do not have to be a golf fan to enjoy the Masters.  Augusta National Golf Club is among the most beautiful pieces of real estate in the world.  Prior to becoming a golf course, the land was home to a plant nursery that imported exotic plants and shrubs from all over the world. More than 80,000 plants of over 350 varieties can be found on the property, making it a world class arboretum.  So even if you don’t know any of the golfers, you will still appreciate a day on the course during Masters week.

Bucket List Experiences for Women

#5 Oktoberfest

When most people think of Oktoberfest, the first image that often comes to mind is men in lederhosen chugging beer from oversized steins.  The next image is usually women in dirndls also holding a stein of beer, or two or three. However, during Oktoberfest there is a lot more going on around Munich than beer.

Most of our guests include local tours with their booking.  We take our guests via bicycle to explore the amazing city of Munich.  Our tour includes stops at the most emblematic buildings and sites in Munich, exploring the rich history of the city.  We will take you to the beautiful English Garden, home of The Chinese Tower, the second-largest beer garden in the world. You have ample time to enjoy the best cuisine Munich has to offer under the blue and white Bavarian sky along with a cold drink of your choice.  After lunch, we visit one of the coolest highlights of the city, a massive urban wave continuously ridden by the best surfers the city has to offer.

The next day you have the chance to join us on the most popular tour in the area, to visit the famed Neuschwanstein Castle.  If you aren’t familiar, this is the castle that Walt Disney modeled his iconic theme park castle after.  The castle is located in a picturesque Bavarian alpine village that will leave you breathless. We take bikes or a footpath around a nearby pristine alpine lake.  Afterwards, we stop for a traditional Bavarian lunch at a local beer garden. In sum, this day is a fairytale in the Alps, and don’t be surprised if someone in the groups starts singing “the hills are alive with the sound of music…..”

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