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12 great Memorial Day getaways

We've rounded up 12 convenient Memorial Day escapes from coast to coast to ensure that you spend more time enjoying your blues festival (or pool party) than you do deciding where to go.

Thinking about taking a break for Memorial Day? Now is the time to start planning. To point you in the right direction, we looked for celebrations across America that offered something special in honor of the Memorial Day holiday, be it a unique patriotic tribute, a celeb-worthy pool party, an epic blues festival, or a vineyard tour. But reading about a party that's taking place miles and miles from home is frustrating, not fun. That's why we highlighted places that are easily accessible no matter where you are in the U.S. (all of the cities called out under "easy getaway" are within either a 1.5-hour flight or four-hour drive from the featured destination). Consider this your guide to three-day weekend bliss.

SEE PHOTOS OF THE PLACES!

Palm Springs, Calif.: For guaranteed summer weather

While most beach seasons are just beginning, Memorial Day marks the end of bearable temps in the desert, so hotels and operators are running specials for the holiday. Though other parts of California will be in the midst of "May Gray" and "June Gloom," Palm Springs still has nonstop sunshine—plus dozens of vintage shops, acclaimed restaurants such as Copley's on Palm Canyon (where celebrity chef Andrew Copley whips up So Cal comfort food like lobster pot pie) and an enduring love for all things mid-century (its hotels and private homes offer some of the best examples of 1950s modern architecture in the country). It also makes a great base camp for exploring the striking desert landscape of Joshua Tree National Park through hikes, mountain biking, or rock climbing—don't miss a scenic ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, one of Budget Travel's most beautiful cable cars in the world.
WHERE TO STAY Book one of the 157 pet-friendly rooms, with pool or mountain views and complimentary use of the hotel's desert cruiser bicycles, two pools, hot tub, cabana beds, BBQ area, and fire pit, at The Curve Palm Springs. From $129 per night. Call and mention "Budget Travel" for 20 percent off bookings over the weekend.
EASY GETAWAY FROM Los Angeles; San Francisco; Phoenix; Las Vegas.

Washington, D.C.: For patriotism, pomp, and circumstance

As you might guess, Washington D.C. is the most patriotic place to celebrate the holiday, with a parade and plenty of pomp and circumstance taking place during special military ceremonies. The Thursday before Memorial Day, soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery put flags before each gravestone, while a wreath-laying ceremony happens on Memorial Day at the Tomb of the Unknowns accompanied by performances from the U.S. Army Band. Men in uniform also march in the National Memorial Day Parade along the National Mall at 2 p.m. Don't miss the National Memorial Day Concert Sunday on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
WHERE TO STAY
Kimpton Hotels is running a Memorial Day weekend special at two of its hip properties—check in Thursday or Friday and you'll save 20 percent on two-night stays and 30 percent on three-three night stays between May 23rd and 28th. From $125 a night at the Monaco Baltimore and from $143 a night at the Lorien Hotel & Spa in Alexandria.
EASY GETAWAY FROM
Baltimore; Boston; Charleston, S.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Hartford, CT; Louisville, Ky.; Nashville; New York City; Providence.

Las Vegas: For only-in-Las-Vegas-style parties by the pool

Memorial Day weekend in Las Vegas is one of the busiest times of the year, along with New Year's Eve. Parties held around the resorts' elaborate pools are the big event, and become daylight nightclubs with DJs, drink carts, bottle service, cabanas, and more. To get in on the action, grab a chaise at the Venus Pool Club at Caesars Palace—ladies always get in free, while admission is free for men Monday thru Thursday, with reduced rates before 2 p.m. Friday thru Sunday. The Tropicana Las Vegas opened its Bagatelle Beach & Nightclub last Memorial Day weekend, featuring Mediterranean food and comfy daybeds to lounge in by day, with poolside dining and a new nightclub by night—admission is $30 for men, $20 for women, and Nevada residents get in free with a valid ID. The XS Nightclub at the Wynn Las Vegas & Encore Resort will host DJ Afrojack Saturday night and David Guetta on Sunday night among other electronica superstars over the weekend—tickets can be purchased ahead of time starting at $55 for men and $25 for the ladies.
WHERE TO STAY
The Orleans Hotel & Casino is just off the main drag and offers free shuttle service to and from the Strip every 30-45 minutes between 9 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. The hotel offers its own casino, comedy club, cabaret lounge, Irish pub, movie theater, bowling alley, as well as playgrounds and arcades for the kiddies. From $115 per night over Memorial Day weekend.
EASY GETAWAY FROM
Los Angeles; San Francisco.

Saint Louis: For Blues, bar-b-que, and the ultimate treasure hunt

This year, Soldier's Memorial Park will host the Bluesweek Festival, free from Friday to Sunday, with performances by musicians including blues legend Mavis Staples. If all that music whets your appetite, head to the Schlafly Tap Room on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pork Shop, a combination community garage sale and neighborhood bar-b-que, featuring local pork and plenty of Schlafly beer. You'll need all this fuel to tackle the largest flea market in the Midwest, Gypsy Caravan, an annual Memorial Day event organized for the 41st year by the St. Louis Symphony Volunteer Association.
WHERE TO STAY Downtown, the 179-room Roberts Mayfair Hotel has a rooftop pool and emerged from a $9 million makeover in March 2011. You can get the MetroLink light rail two blocks from the hotel, which will take you to Soldiers Memorial and other downtown sites. From $89 a night.
EASY GETAWAY FROM Chicago; Cincinnati; Kansas City, MO.; Memphis.

Atlantic City: For new restaurants and rides along the iconic Boardwalk

Contrary to popular belief, Atlantic City was not hit hard by Hurricane Sandy last fall and was actually back on its feet within a week of the storm—in fact the area still continues to bounce back post-Sandy with new openings and events along its iconic stretch of New Jersey coastline. Ultra-chic hotel Revel will open its new HQ Beach Club, a nightclub modeled after the posh décor of Mykonos that will feature pools, bungalows, bars, DJs, and a new dance floor. The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel is bringing back its beloved Beach Bar starting Memorial Day weekend, and will offer happy hours daily between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. The Tropicana Casino and Resort will open not one, not two, but six new restaurants this summer beginning with Tony Luke's and the Broadway Burger Bar & Grill. Steel Pier is open for business as well, debuting eight new rides this summer. Don't miss Boardwalk Beat, a new free 3-D light show opening May 27 featuring catchy music and summer fun-filled images against the façade of Boardwalk Hall every half hour between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m nightly.
WHERE TO STAY Prices along the iconic Boardwalk aren't cheap during Memorial Day weekend although they normally are very reasonable. Opt to stay at the Ramada West Atlantic City, located just 1.5 miles off the main drag with rates starting from $137 a night including complimentary continental breakfast, free parking, and shuttle service to the Boardwalk area for a small fee.
EASY GETAWAY FROM Philadelphia; New York City; Baltimore; Washington D.C.

Austin: For boating season and outdoor fun

Head to Lake Travis to soak up some of Austin's best weather of the year, with plenty of sunshine and temperatures in the eighties. Memorial Day kicks off boating season here, so the place to be is the lake. To get in on the action, check out Austin's REI store's schedule of events to find out what classes and events are on offer this weekend or rent a ski boat at Just for Fun ($75 for one hour). If you'd rather be a spectator, catch a glimpse of the Capital of Texas Triathalon on Memorial Day, an event founded in 1991 that brings in 3,000 participants annually. Things get started with a swim at Lady Bird Lake before athletes break out the bikes for a race through Austin, leading up to a foot race around the southern part of the lake.
WHERE TO STAY The Mansion at Judges' Hill is a reasonably priced, 48-room boutique hotel. Plus, the turn-of-the-century property is walking distance from downtown. From $119 per night.
EASY GETAWAY FROM Atlanta; Dallas.

Charleston, S.C.: For high art with Southern hospitality

One of the earliest observances of Memorial Day was by a group of freed slaves and took place weeks after the Civil War ended in 1865 in Charleston's Hampton Park. Today, the world-renowned Spoleto Festival starts its two-week run this weekend, filling the historic city's theaters, churches, and outdoor spaces with opera, theater, jazz, symphonies, choruses, and visual arts. Highlights this year include a Cirque du Soleil-esque spectacle called Le Grand C, singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash, and dance performances by a Spanish Flamenco troupe among other events. Tickets can be purchased on a per-event basis, with prices ranging from $10 to $130.
WHERE TO STAY Rooms can be hard to come by during Spoleto, so for last-minute travelers, we recommend Lodge Alley Inn, a time-share that rents its unreserved rooms starting seven days in advance—it's an old collection of restored 18th century warehouses with your choice of a studio or a one- or two-bedroom condo, all with kitchenettes. Alternately, you can stay across the river at the Hampton Inn/Charleston Mount Pleasant-Patriot's Point. It's a short drive to downtown over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, and the rates are more affordable than those in the city center. Rates at the Lodge Alley Inn start from $209 a night while rates at the Hampton Inn/Charleston Mount Pleasant-Patriot's Point start at $139 a night.
EASY GETAWAY FROM Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Miami; Washington, D.C.

Columbia Gorge, Ore.: For wine tasting along the river

Over Memorial Day weekend, more than 30 wineries and tasting rooms in the scenic Columbia Gorge area of Oregon, which borders Washington State to the north, will be holding open houses featuring such events as barrel tastings and special releases. Maryhill Winery (on the Washington side) toasts its 12th anniversary with live music, and tasting specials among other events. Outdoors, there are tournament-quality bocce ball courts, an amphitheater, and a vine-covered arbor terrace, all with sweeping views of Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge. Visit Cascade Cliffs Vineyard & Winery all weekend for live folk music, complimentary local cheeses, tastings, and vineyard tours.
WHERE TO STAY Historic Hood River Hotel was originally built in 1911 and restored in 1988—no two of the 41 rooms are alike and each is decorated with reproductions of antique furniture. The property is located in downtown Hood River, near wine tasting rooms, art galleries, jewelry shops, restaurants, and it's just a two-minute drive from the river. From $99 per night.
EASY GETAWAY FROM Portland, Ore.; Seattle; San Francisco.

Denver, Colo.: For fine art and music in the 'Mile High City'

Fine art and pop culture descend on the Rockies over Memorial Day weekend. The Downtown Denver Arts Festival kicks off its 15th year on Friday, May 24, hosting more than 135 local artists from all over the state. The free festival lasts all weekend at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, and everything from 3D mixed media to jewelry to photography will be featured. If live music is more your style, try the Denver Day of Rock on Saturday, May 25, when 20 bands—including country music star Lee Brice among others—treat audiences to a series of free rock concerts from 2:30 P.M. to 9:30 P.M. along the 16th Street Mall. Best of all, the concerts benefit Concerts for Kids and Food Bank of the Rockies, two local organizations dedicated to fighting child hunger—everyone is asked to bring canned food to drop off at designated spots around the venue.
WHERE TO STAY Area hotels, like the Magnolia Hotel Denver are offering special Day of Rock packages just for Memorial Day weekend, with perks like a complimentary daily breakfast buffet, and an evening reception with free beer, wine, soda, and milk and cookies. From $135 a night during Memorial Day weekend—use promo code VISITDENVER when booking online. Participating hotels throughout Denver also offer deals throughout the summer starting at just $52 a night.
EASY GETAWAY FROM Salt Lake City; Albuquerque; Las Vegas; Kansas City, M.O.; Phoenix; Dallas; Minneapolis.

New York, NY: For free Memorial Day concerts, films, and a parade

While Fleet Week may be off this year—most likely as a result of the federal sequester budget cuts—Memorial Day Weekend is still a great time to visit the Big Apple. Catch a free musical performance by the New York Philharmonic at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, one of Budget Travel's most beautiful churches in America—tickets for the 8 p.m. show are free and available on a first-come first-served basis starting at 6 p.m. on May 27. Brooklyn's historic Green-Wood Cemetery also offers a free Memorial Day concert at 2:30 p.m. highlighting the works of some of its most famous residents like Leonard Bernstein among others. The Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum will kick off its free summer movie series by showing Top Gun Friday night, while Memorial Day festivities continue all weekend long with demonstrations by the U.S. Coast Guard, performances by the Liberty Belles USO Show Troupe, and a Commemoration Ceremony at 11 a.m. on May 27. Families will want to catch the Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade, a tradition in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn since 1867. All Veterans, regardless of age or war, are invited to participate. The parade starts at 11 A.M., runs along 3rd Avenue towards Marine Avenue, and continues to 4th Ave. before making its way to John Paul Jones Park for a ceremony in honor of those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
WHERE TO STAY Finding a reasonably priced hotel in New York City is daunting any time of year, and especially so during a holiday. We wouldn't normally steer you to a large chain, but we make an exception for the Holiday Inn Long Island City-Manhattan View. It's just five minutes from Manhattan by subway and, true to its name, you can expect scenic views of the city skyline from most rooms. From $179 per night.
EASY GETAWAY FROM
Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; Boston; Charleston, S.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; Baltimore, M.D.; Providence, R.I.

Atlanta, G.A.: For fireworks and a Jazz Festival

The Atlanta Jazz Festival turns 36 this year and fills the Piedmont Park area with music from May 25 through 27. Known for being one of the largest free jazz festivals in the country—it typically brings in 225,000 attendees over the three-day weekend—in past years the festival has featured performers like Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon, and Shirley Horn as well as local artists. Kid-friendly activities like face painting and balloon art take place by the playground near the stage, while the live music plays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday through Monday. For more family fun, take the kids to Stone Mountain Park, a 35-minute drive from Atlanta, for some kid-friendly outdoor activities such as the "Sky Hike," a ropes-and-ladders obstacle course through the treetops. In honor of Memorial Day, the park is hosting evening fireworks, free concerts, and a laser show from Saturday through Monday (from $28 for those over age 12, from $22 for children ages 3-11).
WHERE TO STAY Atlanta Marriott Suites Midtown is a family-friendly, all-suite experience that is within walking distance of Piedmont Park and just a ten-minute drive from the Georgia Aquarium. From $169 per night.
EASY GETAWAY FROM
Savannah; Charleston, S.C.; New Orleans; Nashville; Charlotte, N.C.; Orlando.

Miami, FL: For a beach party like no other

Even fun-loving Vegas can't quite compete with the blow-out bash that takes place in Miami over Memorial Day weekend. Each year roughly 250,000 party-goers descend on the area for a booze-soaked bacchanalia full of music, dancing, and lots and lots of skin. Clubs around town host special Memorial Day kick-off parties, such as the one taking place on Sunday, May 26 at Cameo with DJ Drama, but the event everyone looks forward to is the Best of the Best Concert on Sunday, May 26—a 10-hour long music extravaganza starting at 2 p.m. in downtown Miami's Bicentennial Park (general admission tickets start at $52 per person). Of course, the point of the weekend is to honor our veterans, and Miami does so in style with the March of Colors, a parade that starts with a 21-gun salute at All Wars Memorial Park at 10 A.M. and then traverses the Snake Creek Canal Bridge. There is also a wreath laying ceremony on Monday, May 27 at 10:30 A.M. in front of the Miami Beach Police Headquarters.
WHERE TO STAY
Book one of the 75 rooms at the Beacon Hotel South Beach and you'll be within walking distance of the beach, shopping, and nightlife. The bright, Art Deco-inspired hotel was fully renovated in 2009 and offers complimentary WiFi, beach chairs, and towels to guests. From $169 a night.
EASY GETAWAY FROM Orlando; Key West, Fla.; Savannah; Charleston, S.C.; New Orleans; Atlanta.

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  • A national group is speaking out about Norman High School apparently violating the separation of church and state before a football game. The group Freedom From Religion Foundation claims they have received a complaint from a parent stating the football team and coaches prayed before a game. Chris Line is an attorney for the group and says, 'There could be a member on the team who doesn't agree with this Christian prayer that goes on, and they're not going to speak out about it.' School officials tell us they are looking into the complaint. Do you think the school should get in trouble if this is true?
  • We have good news if you have outdoor plans for your Sunday. National Weather Service Meteorologist Robert Darby says it will be a whole lot less windy and the sun will come out to play. “It should be a fairly mild day with sunny skies,” Darby said.  “Temperatures will be near 60.” The low Sunday night will drop to around 37 degrees. Temperatures will continue to rise on Monday.  NWS reports sunny skies and a high around 64 degrees.  
  • As the House voted along party lines on Thursday to approve a sweeping package of GOP tax reforms, one peculiar part of the floor debate came when a number of Republicans – who voted for the bill – took to the floor to request changes in the their party’s plan, as some highlighted unintended consequences, while others objected to the basics of the measure. Known in parliamentary parlance as a “colloquy,” the scripted exchanges between lawmakers are often done to clarify the legislative intent of a bill, or in this case, to urge action in a specific way in House-Senate negotiations. And for some Republicans in this week’s tax reform debate, it was clear they wanted some provisions altered. Some requests were specific, like Rep. David McKinley (R-WV), who made the case for historic preservation tax credits, which were eradicated by the House GOP tax reform bill. “Without the credit, projects that transform communities in all 50 states, from West Virginia to Texas, to Wisconsin, simply will not happen,” McKinley said on the House floor, as he asked for Brady’s word that he would help reverse the decision. That didn’t happen. “I commit to working with him and continuing to work with him on this issue because I know the importance of it,” Brady responded, making sure not to guarantee anything in some of these floor exchanges. For Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), a staunch advocate of the GOP bill, he asked the Chairman of the House Ways and Means to do more in terms of tax help for the people of Puerto Rico, whose island was devastated by Hurricane Maria. “I look forward to working with you on ideas to best serve the people of this island,” said Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), who thanked fellow GOP lawmakers for their concerns, but made no promises. For Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY), the issue was with a new excise tax from Republicans that would be levied on the endowments of private colleges and universities. Barr said that would harm Berea College in his district, a ‘work college’ that uses its endowment money to pay the tuition of all students. It was noted in press stories back home. Barr Fights for Berea College in Tax Reform Bill – https://t.co/YoBgs5CWvp – — BereaOnline.com (@bereaonline) November 16, 2017 “I was pleased to learn that the Senate version of the bill exempts schools with fewer than 500 tuition-paying students from the excise tax,” Barr said, urging Brady to accept that position in any House-Senate negotiation. Brady said he would try. “Mr. Speaker, we will work together for a mutually accepted solution to make sure we exempt work colleges to use their endowments to provide tuition-free education,” the panel chairman responded. For Rep. Don Young (R-AK), the problem he brought to the House floor was under the heading of unintended consequences, as the GOP tax bill would subject native settlement trusts in Alaska to a higher rate of taxation. “This would make it more difficult for Alaska Native Settlement Trusts to provide long-term benefits to Alaska Natives,” Young said on the House floor, asking Brady to include provisions of a bill to remedy that and more. Unlike some of the other requests, Brady acknowledged that the GOP tax bill would “unintentionally” change the tax rate for the Alaskan settlements, agreeing to focus on this in conference as we finalize individual rate structures between the House and the Senate.” Others weren’t so lucky to get a guarantee of action, as they pressed for changes in maybe the most controversial part of the GOP plan, which limits a deduction for state and local taxes. “I am concerned about its impact on some of my constituents in Maryland who pay high state and local income taxes,” said Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), the only Republican member of the House from that state, which would be one of the biggest losers on the SALT issue. That subject also drew two California Republicans to make the same appeal to Brady later in the debate; Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) and Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA) echoed the concerns of Harris – all of them got a murky assurance of help. “I am happy to commit to working with both of them to ensure we reach a positive outcome for their constituents and families as we reconcile our differences with the Senate,” Brady said, making no promises. Other Republicans brought up education, and a provision in the GOP tax reform bill that would hinder colleges and universities from providing tax free tuition waivers and reimbursements, a matter that has drawn more and more attention in recent days. Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) – whose district includes Dayton University – and Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) – whose district includes the University of Illinois – both appealed to Brady to make a change. “I believe that an unintended consequence of this bill would hinder middle class Americans pursuing a higher education degree in an attempt to better their lives,” Turner said. “I am worried it is going to have an impact on the custodians and the assistants in the Registrar’s Office who are just working at these institutions to be able to send their son or daughter to college,” said Davis. There was no guarantee that the provision would be changed. “I have a keen interest in this issue,” Brady told Turner and Davis. “I will work with you toward a positive solution on tuition assistance in conference with the Senate.” Democrats noted the exchanges on both days of the House tax reform debate, arguing that it showed off the haphazard nature of how the bill was put together. “I also was intrigued by the colloquy where Members came to ask the leadership if they will work with them to take out egregious elements of this tax proposal,” said Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI). “We get this sort of, “Yes, I will work with the gentleman,” answer,” Kildee added, raising his voice on the floor. “Why did you put it in in the first place?” Kildee yelled. “Why are you cutting historic tax credits in the first place? Why did you put it in in the first place? You just wrote the bill. You just wrote it,” he said. GOP lawmakers said this past week that anyone can find a reason to vote against a big bill like this tax reform plan – we’ll see in coming weeks whether these publicly voiced concerns become an issue for the final version of tax reform in the Congress.
  • We have updated information regarding a Tulsa homicide Friday night near East 36th Street and South 137th East Avenue. Police tell us Phazon Scott surrendered to investigators around 9:45 p.m. He will be booked into the Tulsa County Jail for first-degree murder. The unidentified 40-year-old victim was found fatally shot inside a house around 6:37 p.m. “The victim wanted to talk to the grandmother about a situation at the house involving his children,” police said.   “Scott arrived and entered the house and he and the victim had an argument. During the course of the argument Scott pulled a handgun from his waistband and shot the victim.” Scott then left the scene with the gun.  He later returned to the home and surrendered.   
  • KRMG has learned Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed 'most' of the revised budget bill passed by lawmakers this week. In a statement released by her office, Fallin says, “House Bill 1019X does not provide a long-term solution to the re-occurring budget deficits, and within three months we will come back facing an estimated $600 million shortfall.' Fallin vetoed 165 of 170 sections in the bill.  She did leave intact provisions for the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Human Services, Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the Department of Health, and the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Statement from the Tulsa Regional Chamber: “We at the Tulsa Regional Chamber strongly applaud Governor Fallin’s decision to veto much of the revised budget sent to her by the legislature Friday. Her courage in demanding real solutions to our budget crisis – not merely kicking the can down the road – is admirable and necessary. Oklahomans expect elected officials to be responsible stewards of public funds and navigate a sound budget for the state. We support Governor Fallin’s leadership tonight in demanding a higher standard for all Oklahomans.”