Memorial Day—traditionally, the first “real” summer weekend. Think cookouts, picnics, and pool parties. Or maybe not, this year? A three-day weekend is the perfect time to try something or someplace new. And whatever your preference, from races to jazz festivals, there’s a getaway that’s just right for you.
So this year, skip the classic backyard barbecue and consider something a bit more exciting for Memorial Day weekend. Check out the activities in these five cities to kick off your summer fun!
Beat the heat and the crowds? Yes, please! While everyone else is heading south for a seaside Memorial Day weekend, you can head north and still have a beach-y blast!
The water might not be warm enough yet (unless you’re feeling extra brave), but there’s plenty of other fun to be had in this awesome seaside city. If you’re feeling artsy, the culture scene is vibrant and thriving, with art galleries, murals, and trendy dining spots dotting the boardwalk.
And be sure to leave time for Asbury’s top-notch music scene. The birthplace of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band offers live music and outdoor concerts all summer long.
Best Memorial Day Weekend Spot: for artsy oceanfront fun
Hot ‘Lanta lives up to its sizzling rep during Memorial Day weekend!
If jazz music is your thing, then Atlanta has you covered with one of the largest jazz festivals in the country. The annual event draws the nation’s jazz greats for a month-long series of concerts, coming to an exciting close over Memorial Day weekend. Oh, and did we mention that they’re all free?
Need a break from the ATL? Head to Stone Mountain, just 25 minutes away. Their Memorial Day festivities include laser light shows and fireworks, Friday through Monday.
Best Memorial Day Weekend Spot: for tapping your toes to a jazzy rhythm
That SoCal laid-back vibe is perfect for a three-day weekend. Think gorgeous climate, beautiful beaches, and that friendly Cali feel.
Want to try your hand at surfing? Check out Tamarack Beach for the best waves. In the evening, hit Carlsbad Village. The quaint downtown is the perfect place to sample the local nightlife, with pretty streets spilling over with delicious restaurants, wine bars, Irish pubs, and more.
Carlsbad is also a great choice if your Memorial Day getaway includes flying with little ones. Not only do they get the beach time, but the city is also home to California’s LEGOLAND.
Best Memorial Day Weekend Spot: for Cali-style fun in the sun
We all know what Indianapolis is known for, right? Its unparalleled Indy 500, known to race fans as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” takes place every year over Memorial Day weekend.
Even non-race fans will find plenty of exciting events to choose from. The Friday before the race is traditionally the night of a headlining concert. Local artists showcase their talents with race-themed artwork, displayed all over Indianapolis.
Oh, and make sure you bring your appetite to Indy with you. The city was recently voted as “the most underrated food city in America” by Condé Nast Traveler. The mild May weather is perfect for an outdoor meal or two!
Best Memorial Day Weekend Spot: for revving your engine
Just because it’s a cliche doesn’t mean that it isn’t awesome! And that’s exactly the case with jetting off to D.C. for Memorial Day.
First off, there’s the epic parade: floats, marching bands, and veterans all make their way down Constitution Avenue, past the White House, for the largest Memorial Day Parade in the country. Afterward, walk over to the U.S. Capitol building for the National Memorial Day concert, an annual (and free!) event.
To pay your respects to fallen soldiers, spend some time exploring the National Mall. Memorials located along the path honor sacrifices made during World War II, Vietnam, and the Korean War.
Best Memorial Day Weekend Spot: for feeling that patriotic pride
You have all summer for grilling up a storm, so make the most of Memorial Day weekend. These five cities all offer plenty of exciting, unique events and activities. Pick your favorite, pack your bag, and enjoy your long weekend!
And you can maximize your weekend fun by shipping your stuff to your hotel or Airbnb with LugLess. Instead of wasting the start of your vacay waiting at baggage claim and then dutifully dropping off your luggage, you can go straight from the runway to enjoying the Memorial Day festivities!