(Kinetic Grand Championships in Northern California)
Memorial Day! BBQ’s, Fireworks and the unofficial start of summer is right around the corner. Stumped for ideas on places to go? Here are a few Memorial Day destinations to put on your radar this year…
Chicago: For traditionalists, the Windy City boasts the largest and the most historic Memorial Day Parade. This annual tribute to veterans has been taking place since 1871, drawing more than 10,000 participants who travel down State Street from Lake to Van Buren. The festivities take place on Saturday and start at 11am. If you’d rather celebrate by working your glutes, then check out the ‘Bike the Drive’. One of America’s biggest bike rides gives riders a car-free view of the skyline along Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive. One of my fave spots in Chicago is the Green Mill, a jazz bar and old Capone haunt that captures the roots of an era gone by, so if you choose Chicago this Memorial Day weekend…don’t forget the Green Mill.
New York: Can’t beat Manhattan during Memorial Day. The streets are packed for Fleet Week, an annual event that brings hundreds of sailors and marines to the city to participate in parades. There are all kinds of activities, from Broadway performances to the famous military Tug of War. If you’re into art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is open on Memorial Day as part of the special Met Holiday Mondays.
Montreal: With its cobblestone streets, quaint houses, thriving nightlife scene and distinctly French language, Montreal has all the benefits of Europe at a fraction of the cost. If you’re craving sidewalk French bistros and authentic maple sugar, this Canadian city is perfect for a weekend getaway. Club Chasse et Peche, a charming restaurant in Old Montreal, has some of the best seared scallops I’ve ever had. Plus – for gentlemen on a bachelor weekend – the strip club scene rivals Vegas….so I’ve heard…
New Orleans: If you’re a real foodie….NOLA might also be a good pick this memorial day weekend. Check out the annual New Orleans Wine and Food Experience featuring 100 of the city’s finest restaurants. The event spotlights the city’s legendary restaurants, local chefs and features delicious local foods http://www.nowfe.com/
California: For something a little unusual, check out the Triathalon of the Art World. Arcata’s Kinetic Grand Championship is a race that features bizarre people-powered sculptures. The race takes place in California’s Northern Coast from Arcata to Ferndale over Memorial Day weekend each year, across 42 miles of road, water, sand and mud. http://kineticgrandchampionship.com/
San Francisco: For a multi-cultural flavor this memorial day, check out San Francisco’s Carnaval. The city’s Mission district is transformed into a Latin celebration and Grand Carnaval Parade. Picture wcostumed Mexican Aztec performers, traditional African drummers, Polynesian dancers, Japanese drummers, stilt-walkers and even giant puppets. Get your salsa on http://www.carnaval.com/sf/sf_carn.htm
Atlanta: For music, the Atlanta Jazz festival (the country’s largest free jazz fest) is celebrating the greats as well as up and coming musicians redefining the genre. http://atlantafestivals.com/ Or you could head to Austin for an event that combines my two loves. Wine and Music. The Wine and Music Festival mixes 100% local brew with Texan rock bands. http://www.austinwineandmusicfestival.com/index.html
Las Vegas: If you’re looking to let loose and party, you can never go wrong with Vegas. The ‘Love Festival’ at the Palms casino, is a three day music event over Memorial Weekend that features the best in international DJs. Expect thumping nightclub anthems and glow sticks. www.thelovefestival.com Be sure to check out The Cosmopolitan, the hot hotel to hit the scene this summer and, if you’re traveling with little ones, check out Adventure Dome, America’s largest indoor theme park, the Pinball Hall of Fame, or soar above the strip in a hot air balloon.