We work hard in the U.S. — sometimes even a little too hard, leaving perfectly good vacation days on the table while the rest of the developed world is happy to say au revoir. Don’t make that mistake this year. Take advantage of the extra day off and go someplace new over Memorial Day Weekend this year.
Step 1: When is the Memorial Day in 2018?
In 2018, Memorial Day falls on Monday, May 28th, meaning the long weekend lasts from Saturday, May 26th to Monday, May 28th.
This is a federal holiday, so unless you’re considered an essential government employee, that means you have the day off. (Sorry, Mr. President, but we’re sure you’ll find time to golf anyway.)
Step 2: Book your Memorial Day weekend away
With one paid holiday given, why not tack on the Friday preceding the weekend and/or the Tuesday immediately following to make it an extra long weekend?
If you think they need you at the office, well, trust us. They don’t. We’re sure you’re special and important, but the world will not implode if you embrace the long weekend. Instead, live a little by embracing one of our suggest Memorial Day weekend getaways.
Step 3: Where to go over Memorial Day
To cover as many people as possible in a short amount of time, we’ve selected some of the biggest cities in the country with, no surprise, the largest airports. These cities also make great starting points because they have viable rail options.
Research from the National Coalition for Safer Roads reported 2.3 million drivers in 18 states running red lights with a violation happening every second of Memorial Day Weekend, a 27 percent increase compared to an average holiday weekend. As if that’s not enough to ditch the car keys, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 400 people a year die during Memorial Day Weekend driving.
Considering Memorial Day Weekend is statistical one of the most dangerous times to drive in the year, we thought we’d do our part to help you travel while staying off the roads as much as possible.
A Memorial Day weekend from NYC
For a Memorial Day weekend away by train: Philadelphia
Okay, we know this getaway might not appeal to Big Apple sports fans, but let’s sideline (sports pun!) the hate for a moment and look at the obvious. Philadelphia is not only home to the Liberty Bell, but a plethora of historic sites that can be traced back to the founding of our country. What better way to spend Memorial Day weekend than to experience firsthand our nation’s history?
(Of course, if history isn’t your bag, there’s still plenty to eat, drink, and do in Philadelphia.)
For a Memorial Day weekend away by plane: Cleveland
If you’re reading this from New York City, there’s a good chance you’re from either Cleveland or Ohio yourself. Use the Memorial Day weekend to visit family and friends back home. (Your mother misses you and you should really call more often.)
If you’re not from the Forest City or you just haven’t been back in years, then a long weekend is the perfect opportunity to dive in and see for yourself what so many travel writers have been buzzing about — ourselves included. Read our roundup of things to do in Cleveland for a cultured getaway with a dash (or splash) of craft beer.
A Memorial Day weekend from Los Angeles
For a Memorial Day weekend away by train: Santa Barbara or San Luis Obispo
Hop abroad Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner for a gorgeous ride up the Californian coastline this Memorial Day Weekend. You can get to Santa Barbara in just two-and-a-half hours for a stay at the Canary Hotel, an affordable luxury favorite with panoramic views of downtown. Beer lovers can take the train to the end of the line at San Luis Obispo. Book yourself a stay at SLO Brew Lofts where they’re serving Great American Beer Festival award-winning beers at the pub on the ground level.
For a Memorial Day Weekend away by plane: Boise
Sure, you’ve heard of Boise, Idaho. But do you really know anything else? We’ve said before that it’s a great city for a mancation with plenty of craft beer and good-old-fashioned American food. Before you pack on those calories (or to burn them off), you might want to consider embracing the city’s great outdoors. The Ride to River Trail System guides cyclists from the urban core to the surrounding hills.
A Memorial Day weekend from Chicago
For a Memorial Day weekend away by train: Milwaukee
You’ve lived in Chicago how long now and still haven’t gotten up to Milwaukee? Don’t feel bad. It’s so close that you always think you’ll get to it, but then time happens.
Make this Memorial Day weekend the time you finally hop on the Hiawatha line at Union Station for the short 90-minute ride up to Milwaukee. Make it a beer weekend by staying at the Brewhouse Inn & Suites. Once a working Pabst Brewery from 1882 to 1996, the former brewhouse has since been remodeled into a beer-lovers dream lodging.
For a Memorial Day weekend away by plane: Pittsburgh
If you want to talk about a city that’s reinventing itself all the while embracing its Rust Belt roots, that’s Pittsburgh. Tech companies have been dropping anchor here in western Pennsylvania for the better part of the decade and beyond. At the same time, the city hasn’t given up its ethnic, cultural roots. In other words, Pittsburgh is the convergence of science and pierogi.
A Memorial Day weekend from Houston
For a Memorial Day weekend away by train: Lafayette
If your time is limited, then buy a ticket for the Sunset Limited’s 12:10 p.m. train to Lafayette, Louisiana. New Orleans gets all the attention down in Bayou Country (yes, for good reason), but you can have a unique experience by spending the Memorial Day weekend in Lafayette. (Though with the long weekend, you could spend time in Lafayette then hop back on the train for another few hours to New Orleans.)
For a Memorial Day weekend away by plane: Tampa
All you need to know about Tampa is it’s close to sandy white beaches and hosts an annual pirate-themed parade. Who wouldn’t want to visit a city like that? Unfortunately, you’ll have to plan a return visit for the Gasparilla pirate bash (it’s in January), but you can always spend Memorial Day weekend checking out coastal Florida’s explosive craft beer scene matched only by its flourishing art and music chops.
A Memorial Day weekend from Atlanta
For a Memorial Day weekend away by train: Birmingham
Civil Rights history is American history, which means a visit to Birmingham, Alabama over Memorial Day weekend makes perfect sense. In fact, in one of President Obama’s final acts as president, he declared the city’s Birmingham Civil Rights District a national monument. The district includes historic sites significant to the fight for Civil Rights that took places throughout the streets of Birmingham in the 1960s.
For a Memorial Day weekend away by plane: Kansas City
The heart of the country is often overlooked by the coasts, and with Kansas City, you’re pretty much in the heart of the heart. Use the long Memorial Day weekend to gain a new appreciation for the plain states and visit Kansas City. It’s a city that defies expectations, dispelling the podunk cow town stereotype, and relishes in offering up some of the best barbecue you can find in the country.
*Feature image courtesy of Yuwei Zhang, Unsplash