How to Make the Most of a Long Weekend

How to Make the Most of a Long WeekendWhat’s everyone doing for the long weekend coming up? In general, how do you like to spend long weekends like this, and what historically has been your best long weekend ever? What are your best tips for how to make the most of a long weekend if you don’t have plans?

For my $.02, I’ve employed a few tactics over the years to make the most of long weekends:

  • The Add-On. If you have one or two days off work, you can add a few days on either end and take a legitimate week-long vacation.
  • The Road Trip. Whether you drive, train, bus, or Zipcar it, this is a great time to get away to outlet malls or other far-flung but close destinations. You can stay with a friend, use Hotel Tonight or a similar service if you’re really feeling adventurous, or plan to head back before the end of the day.
  • Tourist In Your Own Town. Again, check out Hotel Tonight and do other tourist-y things like museums, tours, and more. You don’t have to stay anywhere other than your own apartment, but if you can get a great deal it can be really fun to mix it up for one night.
  • The Staycation. I’ve rounded up my favorite ideas for a staycation before (and we just shared great tips for a family staycation over at CorporetteMoms) — this is honestly one of my favorite ways to spend a long weekend!

(Psst: if you’re near NYC, here’s our guide to shopping in NYC.)

Readers, what are you up to for this long holiday weekend? What are your favorite ways to make the most of a long weekend? 

Further reading:

Picture via long weekend ideas

Wondering how to make the most of a long weekend if you don't have plans? We're rounding up our favorite ideas for busy professional women, whether you feel like taking a trip or not...


  1. I love adding on to a long weekend. If you don’t have a ton of vacation time like me, it really helps you feel like you’ve had a few breaks throughout the year. I don’t feel like I’ve truly relaxed unless I’ve spent a solid 2 days in bed, sleeping and watching Netflix, not cooking, not doing chores.

  2. Meg March :

    We’ve been back to school for two weeks and all I need is 3 solid days of sleep, catching up on Bachelor in Paradise and spending some quality time with Mr. Brooke. We’re planning brunch, a long bike ride and maybe some pool time.

  3. Is there any item (clothing or accessory) or style you really love but can’t pull off? I wish I could wear hats and bright lipstick without looking like I am playing dress up. Share yours!

    • Senior Attorney :

      OMG bright red lipstick! I want to wear it and I feel like it would really fit my personality, but it makes me look like a big old hag. So sad!

      • Same. I’ve tried every “universal red” recommended by every style magazine and blogger there ever was. Every one makes me look like a hooker clown.

    • Bright lipstick. The super slouchy trend that’s in right now is cute, but soooo wrong for my body type. It makes me look 20 pounds heavier, no exaggeration.

    • Oversized sunglasses. I love the glamorous look on others but I have a narrow face and a tiny mouth and it just looks silly on me.

    • S in Chicago :

      Jumpsuits. I have one that I absolutely love and feel great in and get compliments when I wear. But I’ve probably tried on more than 100 to find it. Just too darn hard to get the rise right and waist right to be flattering. And for some reason too many folks decide a jumpsuit needs to be a wacky color or pattern.

    • Floaty tops :

      Floaty tops. I suppose that’s the name. The kind of blouses/shirts that everyone wears with white skinny jeans. I ALWAYS look pregnant in them, which is interesting because they have a slimming effect on many of my friends.

    • Belle Boyd :

      Skinny jeans and leggings. I would love to wear them, but I have the good sense and respect for my fellow man to not leave the house looking the way they make me look.

    • Anonymous :

      BoHo looks. I end up looking like your crazy aunt.

  4. Backpacking. Staycations don’t really do it for me because the household chores and responsibilities weigh me down and/or I waste the entire time watching Netflix. The best thing to do is get away from it all.

  5. Anonymous :

    On a normal weekend, I never feel like I get enough time with my kids, so I am actually going on a day date on Saturday with my husband! And then the rest of the time will be QT with the kids. I’m soooo excited.

  6. Anonymous :

    I had a bridesmaid and groomsmen (married couple) drop me and my fiance right before our wedding (canceling plans with us, ignoring our messages, being rude to us the one time we saw them in a group setting), but they have not actually pulled out of the wedding party. It coincided with them getting pregnant so I guess they’re just in another phase of their life now and we don’t fit anymore (though we have years and years of history and closeness), but you’d think they’d have the decency to either make an effort to play nice until after the wedding OR have the guts to just bow out entirely.

    I’m not really asking for advice because I don’t think there’s much to be done (we’ve decided to take the high road and not have a confrontation 3 weeks out from the wedding, and smile and be polite but busy ourselves with other people on the day of), but I’m just so, so sad. My fiance is sad as well but less ‘wounded,’ if that makes sense. Can anyone relate?

    • Anonymous :

      This doesn’t make sense. Why haven’t you asked, “Hey, what’s going on? Is there something we can talk about?”

    • Anonymous :

      Ugh, that sucks. I sincerely don’t understand why people treat each other so poorly. Obviously you can’t force them to be your friends, and you seem to know that, but why do they have to be so cold about it? Hasn’t happened to me in this specific context, but the sudden, inhumane dropping certainly has.

    • Actually this is a big deal, since you have no idea how many people are in your wedding party. Just shoot them a text, no need to have a confrontation saying, “hey, I understand you’re busier now and haven’t been able to participate in the wedding, so please don’t feel pressure to. We’ll save your seats at one of the other tables. Hope you can still make it!”. It is basically set up for them to cop out, and a clear message of you are no longer in the wedding party.

    • Anonymous :

      Based on your description, I would assume she’s having a rough pregnancy/dealing with health issues/maybe money issues. She probably hasn’t talked to you about it because she doesn’t want to burden you when you’re already stressed about the wedding. And no definitely don’t kick her out of the wedding. How awful would you feel if you confronted her about her flakiness and she dissolved into tears about some horrible pregnancy-related thing she’s been dealing with? Whatever the issue is, it’s not about you, and you should give your friend some grace in coping with whatever she’s going through.

      • +100 Pregnancy presents so many ridiculous and unexpected challenges, mentally and physically – things I didn’t understand prior to having my first via an objectively “not easy” pregnancy. There is a long list of things that I swear must only be shared with pregnant women on a need-to-know basis because it’s so brutal.

        I wouldn’t assume that the pregnancy is driving the bus here, but I also wouldn’t assume she’s just an awful human being who has cut you out. The “high road” here is having any actual face-to-face conversation with your friend, not making assumptions and begrudgingly having them remain in your wedding party. If it is the pregnancy, or anything else for that matter, their behavior isn’t excused but at least better explained so that you can figure out a path forward with this friend.

      • Anonymama :

        +1 to all of this.

      • Agreed wholeheartedly.

        She’s probably exhausted and stressed. Congratulate her on her pregnancy and ask if there’s anything you can do to help. Ask her what works best for her for your wedding – say you would love to have her as a bridesmaid, but not at the expense of her health.

    • Anonymous :

      This s*cks, but it may not be about you. I had a very difficult pregnancy, and I realized after my baby was born that, in addition to being physically ill, I was probably depressed during pregnancy. I’ve also had friends disappear due to physical or mental health issues. Sometimes, they come back into my life, and sometimes we’ve drifted apart too much to really connect 100% again.

      I recognize that this may not be the case with your friend. But there may be something going on that she either doesn’t recognize yet, or doesn’t know how to deal with, or doesn’t want to burden you with right before your wedding.

      So, yeah, I agree with your approach not to confront your friends. It’s OK to be sad and hurt. But they probably are not terrible people who want to drop you now that they’re pregnant but don’t have the decency to either say so or play nice.

    • Hugs. People can be a-holes, and often without real reasons they are willing to share. FOOEY ON THEM! What I have done when I am excommunicated by someone is to just say FOOEY on move on. There are SO many people who are out there who are decent that I do NOT sweat it when some one who used to be my friend becomes an a-hole. Dad says what goe’s around come’s around and he is right. By being nice to everyone, I really do get a head, and do NOT sweat the details of ex-friend’s and others not worth worrying about. Even in a boyfriend situation, you can NOT get worked up over an EX. JUST SAY FOOEY and MOVE ON! YAY!!!!!

  7. Wedding Guest :

    As a wedding guest which do you have a preference for in an otherwise short ceremony (no readings or anything, pretty much straight to the ‘I do’s’): skipping vows completely, generic but beautiful vows that someone else wrote (likely from the internet), or personally written vows?

    • Generic but beautiful, I guess. Personally written vows have a way of veering into TMI / inside joke territory, which makes me cringey.

    • As a guest, I don’t feel like I should have an opinion on this – this is 100% up to the couple & what is meaningful to them

      • Vicky Austin :


      • Anonymous :

        +2 If I’m a guest, my job is to be happy for the couple getting married and support them in whatever they decide to do at their wedding. I hope to never be so judgy that two people I love are worried about what I’m going to think about how they express their love.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I think the important thing is that it be authentic to the couple and that it have a good vibe.

      We had a full-on Episcopalian mass complete with communion and although I was super worried that it would seem too long, a bunch of people told me it was their favorite part of our (day-long, four events) wedding celebration.

      You can’t please everybody so my advice is please yourselves.

      • Anonymous :

        I did a full Episcopal mass with communion/organ/hymns for my first wedding and SO MANY people came up afterwards to say what a beautiful ceremony it was, even though it was objectively long.

        My second wedding was teeny (just 10 people) and still Episcopalian, but no communion because it likely would have freaked out my husband’s Baptist family, but even they thought it was beautiful.

        But to the OP, as a guest, generic is best for me. The first poster got it right when she said personal vows can be cringey for the audience.

    • Anonymous :

      I prefer whatever content and length is most meaningful to the couple. My particular ceremony was fairly short, but we picked every detail and it was perfect for us. We used traditional vows and readings because it meant something to us. All weddings are beautiful in their own way.
      The only time I got slightly annoyed as a member of the wedding party was when we got to the rehearsal and the priest informed us that we would be standing almost the entire 45 minutes ceremony. Had I known that, I would have worn different shoes because that stone floor was not comfortable.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m fine with whatever the couple wants, but I love personal vows! DH and I did that and everyone told us it was their favorite part of our wedding. They may have veered into inside joke-y territory but there was nothing remotely TMI.

    • Anonymous :

      If you skip vows are you even married? I spent all this time to come to a wedding. Have one.

      • Well, this is a culturally insensitive comment. Generic American-Christian weddings have vows. Almost no other culture does.

    • As a guest, I don’t have (or get) an opinion.

      As a married person, here’s my experience: we did non-standard vows that we found online and then further customized. Now (15 years on) I can’t tell you what they said. Ceremonies that have the typical generic-American-Christian “for better or worse” vows do make me very vaguely wistful that we had just used those – because then every ceremony we attended would have “our” vows in them and there’s a nice sense of community in that (I am NOT usually the sentimental type so this was a completely stunning realization).

    • Patricia Gardiner :

      I haaaaaate it when couples write their own vows, but that’s just me and I will never tell them.

    • Anonymous :

      I wrote vows with a little help from DH. One guest, who works in the wedding industry, said he was so glad because he likes hearing that kind much better.OTOH, my mom said it was nice that they were unique but not too personal- she’s blunt like that ;)

  8. TorontoNewbie :

    Not my wedding, not my issue.
    As long as there’s music after!

  9. Anonymous :

    I want to have a hobby, and have decided that fancy cookie making is the way to go. I have a baby on the way and I always thought it would be fun to be a parent who bakes with their kid. What items do I absolutely need to make those super fancy cookies that people pay $5 for? These kind:

    and any recs for a good how-to book?

    • Senior Attorney :

      Cookie cutters
      Good baking sheets
      Wire cooling racks
      Squeeze bottles to pipe the icing like in your sample
      Good food coloring
      Parchment paper for lining the cookie sheets
      A good cookie recipe, of course. I like this one:

      But you might want to, you know, try it out before you buy all this stuff… And OMG it will be years and years and YEARS before your baby will be capable of producing cookies like the ones in the picture.

    • Meringue Powder, all the meringue powder for the safe to eat royal icing. Rolling pin and cookie cutters.
      Food coloring. Toothpicks for decorating, also likely one of those multi-tip icing decorating sets so you can get the varying thickness tips (I use squeeze bottles and toothpicks and they are not as precise). Recommend a stand mixer if you decide this will be a serious hobby. A marble pastry slab or a granite countertop are helpful for keeping sugar cookie dough cold; also consider silpat or knockoff baking liners both for lining the half-sheet pans and for rolling out on if you’re not using cold stone (helps with the mess). I love my silicone french style rolling pin for clean-up purposes, but a heavy wood or marble one works better for sugar dough. Above all, keep that sugar cookie dough cold (think multiple plastic wrapped trips to the freezer).

    • Also recommend considering cake baking as a new baby hobby. A 6 inch round holds half the batter of a 9-inch so you don’t explode from cake construction and if you do two layers, it’s easy to make off standard recipes. I (crazily) made my LO (really a celebration cake for us parents) a cake on each of months 1-12 and decorated it.

      • Anonymous :

        Wow I’m impressed! My husband and I bought a bundt cake for each of our daughter’s monthly birthdays (for us to eat) but I can’t imagine making one.

        • It was the only “pinteresty” thing I will probably ever do in her entire life. Smitten Kitchen’s party cakes are generally one-bowl and a lifesaver for stuff like this (or other last-minute cake-needing events).

    • Anonymous :

      The blogger Annies Eats has a tutorial about how to make these kind of cookies:

      But fair warning that unless you’re really talented, they’re not going to look like Annie’s or those Etsy cookies. There’s a reason people pay $5 for them and it’s because it requires coordination that a lot of people don’t have.

      • Second this. I love that blog but that woman is a doctor and she’s got coordination skills that I am highly lacking. My cookies would look like blobs if I made them.

    • I am the parent that bakes with her kid ( and what you need to bake those cookies are cookie cutters, a piping bag and a steady hand.

    • Anonymous :

      Look up SweetAmbs for tutorials. She has some for free on her blog, others you have to buy. I’m pretty sure the basics are free. You absolutely need a stand mixer, so if you don’t have one or aren’t willing to invest in one, I’d re-evaluate. Other than that, the minimum items you need are a basic set of round frosting tips in varying sizes, frosting bags, and food coloring and cookie ingredients. You’ll also want a LOT of counter or table top space for drying, since those types of cookies have to dry flat for hours between decorating stages.
      Frankly, I don’t think that style of cookie is worth the effort. I learned to make them and occasionally do them for a friend’s baby shower or something, but they’re tedious and not conducive to kids helping in the kitchen. The frosting is really finicky and easy to mess up, and I think it would frustrate kids younger than about 8. I’d look into easier, kid-friendly baking if I were you. I Am Baker is mostly cakes and things like that, but her stuff is super forgiving and adaptable to kids.

    • Word of warning … I’ve been making cutout cookies for years. Even with lots of practice and having a steady hand, my level of decorating is nowhere near this level. Most people will never achieve that perfect, bakery goods look. But! It can still be a lot of fun to decorate cookies. My kids and I just rely more on sprinkles and doo-dads, and less on perfect piping skills.

    • Belle Boyd :

      If you want to make cookies like this, I would highly — HIGHLY — recommend taking a cake decorating course. It will help you tremendously when it comes to the decorating part.

      And let me be the first one to tell you the absolute unvarnished truth that baking and decorating cookies like this is tedious, time-consuming work. Like Anonymous said above, there is a reason people pay $5 for them. A ridiculous amount of work goes into these cookies. Ask me how I know….

      I love to cook and bake, but if I never see another cut-out/decorated cookie again in my life, I’ll die a very happy girl.

      • +1. I do bar cookies, brownies, or rice krispie treats for a reason. I made homemade marshmallows for Xmas gifts/cookie exchange. Every single person loved them. Except my kid. Figures, but whaddya gonna do?

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Let me give you my best advice for baking iced sugar cookies (learned when I worked in a bakery one summer in college): don’t pipe on the base layer of icing. Instead, make the icing fluid enough that it can flow over the cookies (but not so thin it looks too thin when it dries. It’s trial and error at first, but you’ll get it. I just made cookies this week, so I’ve got the recipe memorized for my icing–it’s 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 tsp corn syrup, 1/4 tsp almond extract, and then add milk to get the right consistency. I need a triple or quadruple batch of this to get enough icing for one batch of my dough). Then place uniced cookies on a cooling rack on top of a baking sheets with sides. Pour icing over cookies so it flows over and coats them. Scrap icing out of baking sheet and repeat until all the cookies are covered. It’s so much faster. Then make a thicker icing to pipe on whatever design you want.

      Cookie decorating is a lot of work. But my cookies are adorable.

  10. Anonymous :

    Why is it that whenever I plan a fun long weekend getaway by the time the weekend comes all I want to do is stay home and sleep, but when I don’t go anywhere for the long weekend I feel grumpy and bored and like I’m wasting my time?

  11. I’m cheating – I scheduled a trip to North Carolina to see my sister’s new baby starting tomorrow! So I have three days worth of weekend, four days missed from work, and another two days. It’s not really a vacation so much as “help this poor woman whose husband works 12-hour days catch up on laundry and dishes and sleep and gym time” oh and also, deal with baby crying all night. Lol. But it’s gonna be so fun!

  12. Friday night jazz concert with the husband and kids

    Furniture delivery/redecorating etc Saturday

    Lunch with good friend Sunday, maybe shopping for jewelry

    Monday is for chores. :/

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