Ok. Unpopular opinion but hear me out: Memorial Day Weekend down the shore is overrated. There, I’ve said it. While I love a warm day on the beach just as much as the next sunbathing beauty, there’s just something about being at the beach on a holiday weekend that feels overwhelming, crowded and, dare I say it, not exactly enjoyable.
So if you’re looking to switch it up this year let us introduce you to a crazy concept: this Memorial Day weekend, skip the crowds, avoid the traffic, stay local, and discover a whole new world right in your own backyard. And in case you need a little inspo, we’ve got you covered with suggestions on where to go and what to do.
Keeping it Patriotic
It likely comes as no surprise that America’s birthplace boasts some of the most patriotic and celebratory events in the week leading up to and during Memorial Day Weekend. In the City of Brotherly Love you’ll find everything from historical reenactments, craft fairs, food vendors, parades, and a fireworks show unlike anything you’ve seen before.
In the morning visit the Museum of American Revolution for a special Memorial Day exhibit that includes hands-on activities for adults and children of all ages.
In the afternoon head to Independence Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest where you can enjoy carnival rides, mini golf, an arcade, and the city’s largest outdoor roller skating rink. Grab some funnel cake at Skelly’s and a fun drink at The Lodge Bar and then head down to Spruce Street Harbor Park and snag a hammock for a quick breather before sunset. The best part? General admission is free!
If you really want to make it a special experience, grab an Airbnb in Rittenhouse Square for the weekend and have yourself a little staycation! And don’t you dare leave without visiting the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and of course, running up the Rocky Steps!
Head to the Country
Experience a whole different way of life while learning about the history and culture that Lancaster has to offer. The countryside is just as beautiful as you’d expect and further into town you can take in the various farmers and crafts markets, go for a horse-drawn buggy ride, and visit the many museums and historical sites - all of which are walkable!
Wrap up the day with a delicious wood-fired pizza and a fun cocktail at The Exchange, a restaurant and bar located atop the Lancaster Marriott. The panoramic views of Lancaster’s historic district are breathtaking and extremely IG friendly!
A Sight to See
While there’s no shortage of piro-technics throughout Memorial Day Weekend, if fireworks are your jam and you want to be truly dazzled another must-see is the fireworks display at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square.
Throughout the weekend you can enjoy themed fountain performances, small bites, live music in their beer garden and spotlight walks throughout the venue. Then, relax and prepare to be amazed as they light up the sky!
In nearly every city and town during Memorial Day weekend there is sure to be a parade to watch at some point throughout the day. While some may be on the smaller side there are others that are big productions with marching bands, classic cars, fire trucks, local officials, and more. Nothing makes you feel more patriotic than standing along the sidewalk, American flag in hand, waving to decorated veterans. Parades are fun, light hearted, and they make you feel connected to a community in a whole new way.
If you want to find out when the parades are happening in your own town, hop onto good ole’ Facebook and ask your friends/followers for recs or check out the events section to see what’s going on. You’re sure to not only find out info about the parades but you may stumble upon a few other events going on that seem fun!
Tap Into the Nightlife
For those who want something a little more out of the box, the Summer Twilight Night Tours at Eastern State Penitentiary are for you! Kicking off May 24th, this experience combines the history, exhibits, and art installations of the penitentiary with new hands-on activities and events.
After strolling through the infamous prison, treat yourself to a beverage at the Fair Chance Beer Garden on the penitentiary’s baseball field. A unique and unforgettable experience that you'll surely want to revisit again!
Kicking off May 25th in Devon, Pa. is the Devon Horse Show and County Fair - the country’s oldest and largest event of its kind! More than just an equestrian competition this event brings the community together in a celebration of philanthropy, athleticism and fun.
The fair, which helps to raise money for Bryn Mawr hospital, includes exclusive Devon souvenirs, yummy food, an art gallery and also features a ferris wheel, carousel and games for children of all ages! This unique event runs until June 4th so even if you aren’t able to get there over MDW it’s a must see this summer!
Let’s Taco Bout It!
For the foodies who are always looking for the next great taco and the wine lovers who appreciate a well thought out tasting, look no further than Chaddsford Winery’s Memorial Day Taco Fest! This event which includes cold beverages, top of the line wine, taco trucks, live music and more will be your unofficial kickoff to summer. Grab a glass of your favorite white (or red), pull up a patch of grass and enjoy good tunes, great food and the perfect summer night.
While it’s hard to turn down a weekend at the beach there is really something to be said about discovering all that your hometown or neighboring town has to offer. Whether you take a stroll through a new park, grab a beer and some apps at a new restaurant, or try something completely out of your comfort zone you’ll be happy you decided to skip the holiday weekend chaos and partake in new experiences with neighbors who may end up being lifelong friends!
And if you happen to find yourself in Media, Glen Mills, Ardmore or Newtown Square be sure to pop into your closest Stile because what fun are new experiences if you don’t have a great fit to wear? Happy exploring, happy shopping and happy Memorial Day!