Can you hear that? It's the sound of a three-day weekend calling your name. Memorial Day offers the perfect opportunity for a weekend getaway, but the big question is: Where to go? Check out these three across-the-country hot spots that offer everyday excitement, plus a dash of something extra for the holiday weekend.
If you're in the mood for a patriotic Memorial Day celebration, our nation's capital is the place to do it. On Sunday, May 25, the National Symphony Orchestra will put on a free concert on the West Lawn of the United States Capitol, and on Monday, May 26, the National Memorial Day Parade, featuring participants from all 50 states, will make its way through the city. Throughout the weekend, the public is invited to observe a number of ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and various memorials.
While you're in the city, make time to visit some of the capital's many fine attractions. Visit at least one of the Smithsonian's 19 museums and galleries, shop and eat in the Georgetown neighborhood or tour a government building.
For those who whose holiday experience wouldn't be complete without a beach experience, Maryland's Sandy Point State Park is less than an hour drive from Washington, D.C. The park offers swimming beaches, wildlife viewing opportunities, fishing, crabbing and more.
Ready for blues and barbecue? You'll find both at the Saint Louis Bluesweek Festival, Saturday, May 24 and Sunday, May 25 in Chesterton, Mo., a Saint Louis suburb. Each day of the festival features six blues acts, plus plenty of Saint Louis-style barbecue.
If blues aren't your thing, there's still more than enough to do for three days in Saint Louis. Ride to the top of the famous Gateway Arch or watch the butterflies at the Butterfly House in Faust Park. Children will have a blast at City Museum or the Magic House.
One of the best things about this city is just how affordable a trip can be, thanks to a number of free attractions. General admission to the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum, Grant's Farm, the Saint Louis Zoo and the Saint Louis Science Center all free.
If thoughts of visiting the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz aren't enough to draw you to San Francisco, consider the fun you'll have at Carnaval, a multicultural celebration that highlights Latin American and Caribbean cultures. The 2014 festival will be held on Saturday, May 24 and Sunday, May 25. A particular highlight of Carnaval is the Grand Parade, which begins on Sunday morning and lasts for several hours.
There are plenty of other attractions to keep you busy during the rest of your visit to San Francisco. Catch a performance of the San Francisco Symphony at Davies Symphony Hall, enjoy the various shops and tourist attractions of Fisherman's Wharf and have hands-on science fun at the Exploratorium in its brand-new facility that just opened last year.
Of course, San Francisco also offers the opportunity to take a stroll on one of the area's lovely beaches or to hop in the car for a quick drive over to the wine country of Napa Valley.
From coast to coast, Americans will be celebrating Memorial Day weekend with food, music, patriotism and a whole lot of fun. Make plans now for a holiday weekend you won't soon forget.
Meghan Ross is a freelance writer covering all things home and living. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.
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