20 Memorial Day Weekend Getaways and Day Trips Across the Country
Weekend Trip Near NYC: Philadelphia, PA
New Yorkers can easily take the train to the City of Brotherly Love for an authentic Philly cheesesteak, top-notch vegan food or a tour of the country’s oldest continuously-operating indoor farmer’s market, but visit Memorial Day weekend for a host of fun outdoor events. Spend an afternoon lounging in a hammock at Spruce Street Harbor Park, the city’s seasonal “beach” overlooking the Delaware River, and only move for snacks from local favorites like Federal Donuts and Franklin Fountain ice cream.
Located in Franklin Square, the Chinese Lantern Festival will also be going on during the holiday weekend, featuring 29 giant lantern displays, including a 200-foot, illuminated Chinese dragon. Stay at the centrally-located Rittenhouse Hotel.
Day Trip Near NYC: Stone Barns Center in Tarrytown, NY
Just 30 miles north of New York, Stone Barns Center feels worlds away from city life. On Saturdays and Sundays starting in April, the farm hosts Warm-Weather Weekends, with seasonal activities and tours. They change from week to week, but be prepared to get your hands dirty with immersive activities like lettuce-planting and farm tours that introduce you to pigs and sheep. Take a break for lunch at the café, where super-fresh, grab-and-go options can be eaten outdoors among the property’s gardens. (Make sure to purchase tickets in advance.)
Weekend Trip Near Washington, DC: Rehoboth Beach, DE
Forgo the Chesapeake for a weekend at the Delaware beaches. After you get all of the requisite sunbathing in, taste your way down the boardwalk, starting with a slice of Grotto Pizza and a side of Thrasher’s Fries, topped off with Kohr Bros. Frozen Custard. Spend an afternoon touring the Dogfish Head brewery, just a few miles away in Milton, and stay for a sampling of offbeat brews and lunch from the property’s food truck. (Try the 60 Minute pub cheese sandwich, made from their famous IPA.) For a more upscale meal, make a reservation at the charming Heirloom in Lewes. The refurbished Victorian mansion is home to a seasonally-changing menu that includes dishes like Maryland crab salad, with ingredients sourced from local farms and orchards.
Day Trip Near Washington, DC: Baltimore, MD
If you only have one day to spare in Baltimore, feasting on Maryland Blue crabs should be your top priority. L.P. Steamers serves everything from Maryland crab soup to crab dip, but to fully experience the city’s quintessential food, order a dozen steamed jumbos—covered in spicy Old Bay—and grab a mallet. Sit on the breezy roof deck with views of the city, and order a pitcher of beer to wash it all down. One of Baltimore’s biggest beer fests also happens during Memorial Day weekend. On May 25 and 26, Brew at the Zoo features 80 local and national beers, live music and food, plus all-day admission to the zoo, where you can see the new baby giraffe. Even better? Hop on the free shuttle to Baltimore Penn Station to head back home sans car.
Weekend Trip Near Boston: Newport, RI
Newport’s Gurney’s Resort & Marina opens in May, so book a room and take advantage of the property’s amenities, like the sunset sail, which cruises the Newport Harbor with Champagne and hors d'oeuvres from their on-site restaurant, Scarpetta. Take the resort’s shuttle into town for lemon-raspberry muffins at Rosemary & Thyme cafe, and order lunch to go. Any one of their fresh sandwiches will make for a delightful picnic while taking a break from mansion-viewing on the Cliff Walk.
Day Trip Near Boston: Portland, ME
It’s perfectly acceptable to take a day trip to Portland for a lobster roll alone, but don’t stop there. Try the fresh crudo and oysters (ten varieties are from Maine) at Eventide Oyster Co., where the chef/owner duo just took home the James Beard award for Best Chef: Northeast. Book a seat on the Maine Brew Bus, which offers several compelling routes, all stopping at a selection of local breweries. Try the Beerunch tour. And for one of the city’s best lobster rolls, find the food truck Bite into Maine, which should be parked at Allagash Brewing Company. (While you’re there, stay for a free tour and tasting.)
Weekend Trip Near Charlotte, NC: Nashville, TN
Food-wise, there’s more to Music City than hot chicken. Stay at the Thompson Hotel. Go for brunch at Pinewood (chef Andrew Rodriguez hails from NYC’s A Voce) and try their festive house cocktails—served out of a 30-foot airstream by a dipping pool—or play a round of bocce on the outdoor court. And while there’s no shortage of stellar dining options in Nashville, try Henrietta Red, helmed by chef Julia Sullivan (formerly of Per Se and Blue Hill at Stone Barns) and sommelier Allie Poindexter. Dine on the patio, washing down seasonal wood-roasted dishes with natural wines
Day Trip Near Charlotte, NC: Asheville, NC
Situated in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, the city currently holds the country’s record for the most breweries per capita and they’ll be on full display this Memorial Day weekend with Asheville Beer Week and the Beer City Festival. For a truly unique experience, book a wild-food foraging tour with No Taste Like Home. Over the span of three hours, guests gather edible greens, berries, nuts and seeds. Next, they arrange for the tour guide to take you to Nightbell, where acclaimed chef Katie Button and her team transform the foraged ingredients into an inventive dish.
Weekend Trip Near Cleveland, OH: Louisville, KY
In Downtown Louisville’s 21c Museum Hotel, guests are surrounded by contemporary art, historic architecture and over 120 varieties of Kentucky bourbon, care of the hotel’s restaurant and bar, Proof on Main. If beer is more your speed, though, take advantage of the city’s burgeoning scene with a visit to Apocalypse Brew Works for small-batch brews and food truck fare on their lively outdoor patio, or try Monnik Beer Company, which has an on-site brewery and gastropub serving 20 beers on tap and a local delicacy called “War Fries,” served with house mayo and peanut sauce.
Day Trip Near Cleveland, OH: Pittsburgh, PA
Get a sense of one of Steel City’s neighborhoods through its unique culinary scene with a two hour ‘Burgh Bits and Bites food tour. Choose from spots like Lawrenceville (often compared to Brooklyn) or the Strip District Market, tasting samples of Italian pastries, Polish specialties and more. Before heading home, plan for dinner at the Ace Hotel’s Whitfield, with a meat-centric menu, butchered in-house.
Weekend Trip Near Chicago: St. Louis, MO
Celebrate Memorial Day weekend with a quintessential St. Louis festival, like the annual Greek Fest or Schlafly Brewery’s alternative art fair, Art Outside. The latter showcases local art, with live music, food from the Schlafly brewpub (including the local favorite, “Hot Chick on the Stick”) and plenty of beers from Missouri’s largest locally-owned independent brewery. To sample the city’s barbecue, try the wood-smoked, Memphis-style fare from Pappy’s, or Texas-style from Salt and Smoke, paired with bourbon and a slice of made-from-scratch pie. For a more vegetable-focused meal, head to Vicia, from husband-and-wife team Michael and Tara Gallina, formerly of Blue Hill at Stone Barns.
Day Trip Near Chicago: Monroe, WI
If your motto is “will travel for cheese,” take a scenic drive to Monroe, where you’ll find the National Historic Cheesemaking Center. The $5 admission price includes a tour of the museum and the 100-year-old, restored Imobersteg Farmstead Cheese Factory. Nearby, get a firsthand look at the cheese-making process at Emmi Roth’s Swiss chalet-style plant, and grab a wedge of Grand Cru, dill Havarti or other picnic provisions from their shop, Alp & Dell. Before heading home, stop for a creamy frozen custard and an order of fried cheese curds from the beloved Wisconsin-based chain Culver’s.
Weekend Trip Near Houston: San Antonio, TX
Celebrating Memorial Day weekend with barbecue just makes sense, so spend a few days tasting your way through San Antonio’s most authentic offerings with stops at Harmon’s Barbecue, Two Bros. and Smoke Shack. For a slightly more offbeat adventure, dine among the olive trees at Sandy Oaks Orchard. The property’s café offers plates like a farm-fresh fruit and cheese tray, olive bread and housemade olive oil gelato. After lunch, take a self-guided tour of the grounds.
Day Trip Near Houston: Texas Hill Country
Even if you can’t spend the night at the Inn at Dos Brisas, stop by for lunch at its award-winning restaurant, where meals are prepared with ingredients gathered from the property’s organic farm and orchards. Before dining on plates like farm greens with Texas goat cheese or an organic omelet made with farm eggs, take a tour of the grounds—including the berry patch and herb garden—with Dr. Steven King, the farm’s general manager.
Weekend Trip Near L.A.: Santa Barbara, CA
Live the dream, and spend a taco- and wine-focused weekend by the water in Santa Barbara. Take a self-guided taco tour, starting at Corazon Cocina SB in the Santa Barbara Public Market for one of their fresh fish tacos and an agua fresca in flavors like cucumber-lime pineapple. Next, head to Milpas Street, stopping at the Julia Child-approved La Super-Rica and Los Agaves, just a block away from each other and drawing similarly eager crowds for authentic menus that go well beyond tacos. To sample some of the area’s best wines without leaving town, head to the Santa Barbara Wine Collective. The communal tasting room gives way to a sunny patio, where you can sip a glass of Chenin Blanc with fresh bread, housemade butter and other provisions from the on-premise Helena Avenue Bakery. Or take your provisions to the A.C. Postel Memorial Rose Garden, and have a picnic lunch before heading over to the city’s I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival, where the pavement outside the iconic Old Mission Santa Barbara becomes a canvas for artists to create large-scale works in chalk pastel.
Day Trip Near L.A.: San Diego, CA
On Sunday, take a drive to the annual Vista Strawberry Festival. The city in San Diego County, once the strawberry capital of the world, celebrates with carnival rides, classic fair foods, bands and a craft beer garden.
Weekend Trip Near Portland, OR: Bend, OR
The holiday weekend coincides with Oregon Wine Month and Central Oregon Beer Week. Find events around the city celebrating both, or tour the Bend Ale Trail on an eBike, stopping at some of the area’s most notable breweries along the way. For sushi and other super-fresh fish, try 5 Fusion from James Beard Award semi-finalist Joe Kim.
Day Trip Near Portland, OR: Willamette Valley Vineyards
Visit the picturesque vineyards for seated tastings and educational seminars highlighting the property’s exceptional soil and wines.
Weekend Trip Near Santa Fe, NM: Denver, CO
The Mile-High City hosts Denver Day of Rock on Saturday, May 25 along the 16th Street Pedestrian Mall, with five stages of free live music, food trucks and a beer garden featuring some of Colorado’s best breweries.
Day Trip Near Santa Fe, NM: Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque holds both its annual beer week and wine festival over Memorial Day weekend. Sunday, May 26 is Blues and Brews, with three blues bands performing, plus samples from local and national craft breweries. The outdoor Albuquerque Wine Festival takes place over all three days, featuring award-winning wines from around the state.