VACATION IDEAS: MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND

12 Great Memorial Day Getaways

From Palm Springs to D.C., 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.

EASY GETAWAY FROM Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Miami; Washington, D.C.

Columbia Gorge, Ore.: For wine tasting along the river

Over Memorial Day weekend, more than 30 wineries and tasting rooms in the scenic Columbia Gorge area of Oregon, which borders Washington State to the north, will be holding open houses featuring such events as barrel tastings and special releases. Maryhill Winery (on the Washington side) toasts its 13th anniversary with live music, and tasting specials among other events. Outdoors, there are tournament-quality bocce ball courts, an amphitheater, and a vine-covered arbor terrace, all with sweeping views of Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge.

EASY GETAWAY FROM Portland, Ore.; Seattle; San Francisco.

Denver, Colo.: For fine art and music in the 'Mile High City'

Fine art and pop culture descend on the Rockies over Memorial Day weekend. The Downtown Denver Arts Festival kicks off its 16th year on Friday, May 23, hosting more than 135 local artists from all over the state. The free festival lasts all weekend at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, and everything from 3D mixed media to jewelry to photography will be featured. If live music is more your style, try the Denver Day of Rock starting Friday night from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Skyline Park and all day on Saturday, when more than 20 bands—including The Wallflowers and The Plain White T's among others—treat audiences to a series of free concerts from 2:30 P.M. to 9:30 P.M. along the 16th Street Mall. Best of all, the concerts benefit Concerts for Kids and Food Bank of the Rockies, two local organizations dedicated to fighting child hunger—everyone is asked to bring canned food to drop off at designated spots around the venue.

EASY GETAWAY FROM Salt Lake City; Albuquerque; Las Vegas; Kansas City, M.O.; Phoenix; Dallas; Minneapolis.

New York, NY: For free Memorial Day concerts, films, and a parade

After a brief hiatus last year, Fleet Week is BACK! From May 21st thru the 27th, you'll be able to see military band concerts, aerial demonstrations by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps, and search and rescue demonstrations by the U.S. Coast Guard. You'll also be able to tour the ships at Pier 92 in Manhattan and at The Sullivans Pier in Staten Island between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Thursday thru Monday. 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 26. 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. 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.

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 37 this year and fills the Piedmont Park area with music from May 23 thru 25. 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. Friday thru Sunday. Getting to the festival is easy—free Lanier shuttles are available from nearby MARTA stations directly to Piedmont park, or you can use UBER: enter promo code JazzATL for $25 off if it's your first ride with this revolutionary new car company. 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 (The Adventure Pass Meal Deal, which includes a free meal with admission, costs $29.95 for those over age 12, and $24.95 for children ages 3-11). As a special thank you, all active and retired military members receive one free adventure pass with a valid ID and can save up to $10 per immediate family member, as well as a 20 percent discount on food and merchandise inside the park. Fans of AMC's hit show, The Walking Dead, will love the Zombie Run on May 24th, a 3.1-mile obstacle course at Durhamtown Plantation that participants (who register as either humans or zombies) must conquer over the course of the day. Register online or watch the festivities as a spectator on the sidelines. Proceeds from the run benefit children fighting brain injuries and disorders at the Kennedy Krieger Institute.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
 

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