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 jazz festival (or pool party) than you do deciding where to go.

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 17th year on Friday, May 22, 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 6th annual Denver Day of Rock all day on Saturday, May 23, when more than 20 bands and musicians—including Austin Young, The Railbenders, and Mat Kearney among others—treat audiences to a series of free concerts from 2:30 P.M. to 9:30 P.M. along Arapahoe, Curtis, Champa, and Welton Streets between 15th and 17th Street, and in Skyline Park 1 and 2. Best of all, the concerts benefit Amp the Cause (formerly known as 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. Click here to see why Denver was listed as one of Budget Travel's best places to visit in 2015.

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

Don't miss Fleet Week in New York City, a Memorial Day weekend tradition. From May 20th thru the 26th, 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 (for free) at Pier 92 in Manhattan and at The Sullivans Pier in Staten Island between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. May 21st thru Memorial Day. 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 25. 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. on 78th St. and Third Ave., 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 38 this year and fills the Piedmont Park area with music from May 22 thru 24. 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 Friday night through 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 ATLJazz for $25 off if it's your first ride. 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 30 percent off additional tickets per person in your immediate family, as well as a 20 percent discount on food and merchandise inside the park.

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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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