VACATION IDEAS: MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND
12 Great Memorial Day Getaways
We've rounded up 12 convenient Memorial Day escapes from coast to coast to ensure that you spend more time enjoying your blues festival (or pool party) than you do deciding where to go.
New York, NY: For free Memorial Day concerts, films, and a parade
While Fleet Week may be off this year—most likely as a result of the federal sequester budget cuts—Memorial Day Weekend is still a great time to visit the Big Apple. Catch a free musical performance by the New York Philharmonic at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, one of Budget Travel's most beautiful churches in America—tickets for the 8 p.m. show are free and available on a first-come first-served basis starting at 6 p.m. on May 27. Brooklyn's historic Green-Wood Cemetery also offers a free Memorial Day concert at 2:30 p.m. highlighting the works of some of its most famous residents like Leonard Bernstein among others. The Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum will kick off its free summer movie series by showing Top Gun Friday night, while Memorial Day festivities continue all weekend long with demonstrations by the U.S. Coast Guard, performances by the Liberty Belles USO Show Troupe, and a Commemoration Ceremony at 11 a.m. on May 27. Families will want to catch the Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade, a tradition in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn since 1867. All Veterans, regardless of age or war, are invited to participate. The parade starts at 11 A.M., runs along 3rd Avenue towards Marine Avenue, and continues to 4th Ave. before making its way to John Paul Jones Park for a ceremony in honor of those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
WHERE TO STAY Finding a reasonably priced hotel in New York City is daunting any time of year, and especially so during a holiday. We wouldn't normally steer you to a large chain, but we make an exception for the Holiday Inn Long Island City-Manhattan View. It's just five minutes from Manhattan by subway and, true to its name, you can expect scenic views of the city skyline from most rooms. From $179 per night.
EASY GETAWAY FROM Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; Boston; Charleston, S.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; Baltimore, M.D.; Providence, R.I.
Atlanta, G.A.: For fireworks and a Jazz Festival
The Atlanta Jazz Festival turns 36 this year and fills the Piedmont Park area with music from May 25 through 27. Known for being one of the largest free jazz festivals in the country—it typically brings in 225,000 attendees over the three-day weekend—in past years the festival has featured performers like Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon, and Shirley Horn as well as local artists. Kid-friendly activities like face painting and balloon art take place by the playground near the stage, while the live music plays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday through Monday. For more family fun, take the kids to Stone Mountain Park, a 35-minute drive from Atlanta, for some kid-friendly outdoor activities such as the "Sky Hike," a ropes-and-ladders obstacle course through the treetops. In honor of Memorial Day, the park is hosting evening fireworks, free concerts, and a laser show from Saturday through Monday (from $28 for those over age 12, from $22 for children ages 3-11).
WHERE TO STAY Atlanta Marriott Suites Midtown is a family-friendly, all-suite experience that is within walking distance of Piedmont Park and just a ten-minute drive from the Georgia Aquarium. From $169 per night.
EASY GETAWAY FROM Savannah; Charleston, S.C.; New Orleans; Nashville; Charlotte, N.C.; Orlando.
Miami, FL: For a beach party like no other
Even fun-loving Vegas can't quite compete with the blow-out bash that takes place in Miami over Memorial Day weekend. Each year roughly 250,000 party-goers descend on the area for a booze-soaked bacchanalia full of music, dancing, and lots and lots of skin. Clubs around town host special Memorial Day kick-off parties, such as the one taking place on Sunday, May 26 at Cameo with DJ Drama, but the event everyone looks forward to is the Best of the Best Concert on Sunday, May 26—a 10-hour long music extravaganza starting at 2 p.m. in downtown Miami's Bicentennial Park (general admission tickets start at $52 per person). Of course, the point of the weekend is to honor our veterans, and Miami does so in style with the March of Colors, a parade that starts with a 21-gun salute at All Wars Memorial Park at 10 A.M. and then traverses the Snake Creek Canal Bridge. There is also a wreath laying ceremony on Monday, May 27 at 10:30 A.M. in front of the Miami Beach Police Headquarters.
WHERE TO STAY Book one of the 75 rooms at the Beacon Hotel South Beach and you'll be within walking distance of the beach, shopping, and nightlife. The bright, Art Deco-inspired hotel was fully renovated in 2009 and offers complimentary WiFi, beach chairs, and towels to guests. From $169 a night.
EASY GETAWAY FROM Orlando; Key West, Fla.; Savannah; Charleston, S.C.; New Orleans; Atlanta.
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