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.
Charleston, S.C.: For high art with Southern hospitality
One of the earliest observances of Memorial Day was by a group of freed slaves and took place weeks after the Civil War ended in 1865 in Charleston's Hampton Park. Today, the world-renowned Spoleto Festival starts its two-week run this weekend, filling the historic city's theaters, churches, and outdoor spaces with opera, theater, jazz, symphonies, choruses, and visual arts. Highlights this year include a Cirque du Soleil-esque spectacle called Le Grand C, singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash, and dance performances by a Spanish Flamenco troupe among other events. Tickets can be purchased on a per-event basis, with prices ranging from $10 to $130.
WHERE TO STAY Rooms can be hard to come by during Spoleto, so for last-minute travelers, we recommend Lodge Alley Inn, a time-share that rents its unreserved rooms starting seven days in advance—it's an old collection of restored 18th century warehouses with your choice of a studio or a one- or two-bedroom condo, all with kitchenettes. Alternately, you can stay across the river at the Hampton Inn/Charleston Mount Pleasant-Patriot's Point. It's a short drive to downtown over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, and the rates are more affordable than those in the city center. Rates at the Lodge Alley Inn start from $209 a night while rates at the Hampton Inn/Charleston Mount Pleasant-Patriot's Point start at $139 a night.
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 12th 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. Visit Cascade Cliffs Vineyard & Winery all weekend for live folk music, complimentary local cheeses, tastings, and vineyard tours.
WHERE TO STAY Historic Hood River Hotel was originally built in 1911 and restored in 1988—no two of the 41 rooms are alike and each is decorated with reproductions of antique furniture. The property is located in downtown Hood River, near wine tasting rooms, art galleries, jewelry shops, restaurants, and it's just a two-minute drive from the river. From $99 per night.
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 15th year on Friday, May 24, 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 on Saturday, May 25, when 20 bands—including country music star Lee Brice among others—treat audiences to a series of free rock 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.
WHERE TO STAY Area hotels, like the Magnolia Hotel Denver are offering special Day of Rock packages just for Memorial Day weekend, with perks like a complimentary daily breakfast buffet, and an evening reception with free beer, wine, soda, and milk and cookies. From $135 a night during Memorial Day weekend—use promo code VISITDENVER when booking online. Participating hotels throughout Denver also offer deals throughout the summer starting at just $52 a night.
EASY GETAWAY FROM Salt Lake City; Albuquerque; Las Vegas; Kansas City, M.O.; Phoenix; Dallas; Minneapolis.