10 Memorable Memorial Day Getaways You Can Still Plan Slideshow

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Here are a few last-minute getaways for a wonderful weekend away
10 Memorable Memorial Day Getaways You Can Still Plan

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The summer season kicks off with Memorial Day weekend, making it an ideal time to take a vacation and start your summer off on the right foot. For most, it’s also the first holiday off from work in several months, which is reason in itself to spend the day celebrating. Sure, you can stay home and host a backyard barbecue that’s typical for Memorial Day — or you can take advantage of the day off and plan a quick trip away from the usual routine.

Party it up in Miami for Urban Beach Week down by South Beach, sip on endless amounts of wine in Oregon’s Columbia Gorge, or enjoy one of several festivals taking place in St. Louis —  the Assumption Greek Festival, Ribfest, and (for the first time this year) the Mississippi Nights Festival. Regardless of where you ultimately decide to go, you won’t regret spending your long weekend at any of these destinations.

10 Memorable Memorial Day Getaways You Can Still Plan

10 Memorable Memorial Day Getaways You Can Still Plan

Shutterstock

The summer season kicks off with Memorial Day weekend, making it an ideal time to take a vacation and start your summer off on the right foot. For most, it’s also the first holiday off from work in several months, which is reason in itself to spend the day celebrating. Sure, you can stay home and host a backyard barbecue that’s typical for Memorial Day — or you can take advantage of the day off and plan a quick trip away from the usual routine.

Party it up in Miami for Urban Beach Week down by South Beach, sip on endless amounts of wine in Oregon’s Columbia Gorge, or enjoy one of several festivals taking place in St. Louis —  the Assumption Greek Festival, Ribfest, and (for the first time this year) the Mississippi Nights Festival. Regardless of where you ultimately decide to go, you won’t regret spending your long weekend at any of these destinations.

Atlanta

Atlanta

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Memorial Day weekend in Atlanta also happens to be when the Atlanta Jazz Festival — which is free, outdoors, and spectacular — is in full swing. To sit on a patio with great views of Piedmont Park, where the festival takes place, go to The Nook, or take a walk to Flying Biscuit for beloved Southern fare, most notably the eponymous biscuits with apple cranberry butter. To try one of the best restaurants in Atlanta, go to Holeman & Finch Public House, where only 24 of their off-the-menu double cheeseburgers are made per night. You’ll definitely want to order one in advance.

Columbia Gorge, Oregon and Washington

Columbia Gorge, Oregon and Washington

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Oenophiles, pay attention: This Memorial Day weekend in Columbia Gorge (which straddles the border between Washington and Oregon) several local wineries are opening their doors for day-long wine tastings where you can try “special wine releases, food pairings, live music, and world-class wine.” All the wineries are located on the banks of the river, which makes for scenic walks from one tasting to the next. Enjoy wood-fired pizza at Solstice, whose Country Girl Cherry pizza was voted the best in Washington by Food Network Magazine in 2011 (before they moved across the river to Hood River, Oregon). The area also has a few great breweries, such as Everybody’s Brewing, where you can enjoy local beers on a deck with amazing views of Mount Hood.

Miami

Miami

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During Memorial Day Weekend, Miami’s South Beach area hosts Urban Beach Week, where crowds of people flood the beach, road traffic is closed, and plenty of partying ensues. If you’re looking for a weekend of nonstop partying, this is where to be. While there, make time for a delicious brunch at Beaker and Gray or the Asian fusion cuisine at Talde.

Montreal

Montreal

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Though it doesn’t seem right to leave the United States on Memorial Day, it’s also one of the best and most economical times of the year to visit Montreal — right before the tourist-heavy summer, when prices soar. With its many French-inspired restaurants (go to L’Express) and plenty of unique cuisine of its own (make time to eat the bagels at St. Viateur), Montreal is a culinary gem.

Nashville

Nashville

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There are plenty of great reasons to visit Music City all year round, but the weather in Nashville is most well-behaved during late spring and early summer, when visitors can view the many outdoor veteran memorial statues throughout the city. As for food, not only is Nashville home to the coolest coffee shop in the world, but it also boasts the Loveless Café, which has been serving its famous breakfasts and meat-and-threes since 1951. You’ll also love Prince's Hot Chicken, a local favorite that inspired the city to throw an annual hot chicken festival every July 4 — when hotel prices will be far more expensive than they are now.

New Buffalo, Mich.

New Buffalo, Mich.

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This Midwestern getaway boasts scenic views of docked boats along the harbor and a relaxed, unpretentious vibe. It’s the first getaway that comes to mind for many Chicagoans, as the beachfront allows water sports that just aren’t possible on the Chicago side of the lake. For crêpes in a converted Victorian home, visit Pierre Anne. You’ll also want to wait in line for Oink’s Dutch Treat — an ice cream parlor with over 50 flavors — and eat items like grilled swordfish with Michigan asparagus or seared scallops with grilled pineapple at the Lake Michigan-facing Bentwood Tavern.

Palm Springs, Calif.

Palm Springs, Calif.

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If you want to see the most exceptional and picturesque Memorial Day commemoration there is, head to Palm Springs for the Air Museum’s Annual Memorial Day Flower Drop, during which 3,000 red and white carnations are dropped from a B-25 bomber in honor of those who fought for the United States. Palm Springs is at the tail end of its tourist season, but it’s not yet hot enough in the desert that you can’t lounge outdoors amidst mountain views, which means you’ll get great deals and great weather. As for food, celebrate the arts district by eating at Cafe des Beaux-Arts, eat Japanese teppanyaki at Mikado (to which you can choose to travel by boat), and get boozy while playing ping pong and croquet, respectively, at El Jefe and Bar.

Riviera Maya, Mexico

Riviera Maya, Mexico

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You might think it’s too late to plan a trip to Mexico, but think again. Tickets during this time of year are cheaper because the spring break rush is over and the weather is still beautiful to enjoy before the sweltering summer heat intensifies. Once you arrive, enjoy fine dining at Oh LaLa!, healthy and holistic cuisine at Tulúm’s Co.ConAmor, and posh Mexican contemporary fare at Le Chique.

Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

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Only a two-and-a-half-hour drive from New York City, Saratoga Springs, with all its Revolutionary War-era splendor, is a patriotic place to go for Memorial Day Weekend — especially because horse-racing season has yet to begin, so the prices for hotels and the area’s many bed and breakfasts have yet to skyrocket. Everyone sings the praises of Mrs. London’s, and rightly so, but its brother restaurant Max London’s can hold its own very well. Grab sandwiches at Putnam Market and take a drive to Saratoga National Historic Park, where the Battle of Saratoga took place. If you’re craving Southern food, Hattie’s serves some of the best fried chicken in the country.

St. Louis

St. Louis

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St. Louis, known as the “Gateway to the West,” is certainly more than just a city to drive through, especially on Memorial Day weekend. Three festivals will take place this weekend — the Assumption Greek Festival, Ribfest, and the Mississippi Nights Festival — and each will boast delicious food that tastes best outdoors. Or, if you’d like well-priced Cajun-inspired food and cocktails al fresco, dine on the patio at The Kitchen Sink.