From big cities to small hamlets, New York is full of exciting things to do on Memorial Day weekend. Along with commemorations and parades throughout the Empire State, spend beach time in Brooklyn, celebrate Fleet Week in Manhattan, watch canoe races in Oneonta and Bainbridge, or have fun at a circus in Monroe. Known for its diverse culinary scene, New York is also home to plenty of good eats. As for accommodations, there are plenty of spacious and cozy New York vacation rentals to choose from. Check out the top Memorial Day weekend getaway destinations in New York.
The island of Manhattan, one of five boroughs composing the City of New York, is like a city itself. Spend Memorial Day weekend enjoying Fleet Week at the Intrepid Museum, with free events like Battle of the Big Bands and meetings with NASA astronauts, all honoring the nation’s military forces. If you love a parade, head to Riverside Drive for Manhattan’s Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Day Observance. Mingle with the crowds in Times Square, and then browse or shop at the annual holiday weekend’s Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit, full of ceramics, contemporary artwork, and jewelry. In nearby Greenwich Village, go old school at North Square for its jazz brunch, or scoop up a sandwich and sweet potato fries at Saigon Shack.
In the borough of Brooklyn, New York, the Bay Ridge community continues a 150-year-old tradition with its big Memorial Day parade and commemoration Monday. Later, go to Grand Army Plaza to see the Soldiers and Sailors Arch, and visit the Prospect Park Zoo. When you’re ready for the beach, there’s famous Coney Island and its boardwalk, and Luna Park for rides and attractions. Get frankfurters at Feltman’s of Coney Island, run by the hot dog inventor’s descendants. Brighton Beach is a less hectic, close-by alternative beach, easily accessible with its own stop on public transportation. Area Russian restaurants like TITIANA offer food, dancing, and a great floor show, and Ocean View Cafe features classic blintzes and beef stroganoff. For walking-around food, find a street vendor and order a pirozhok, a doughy, deep-fried delight filled with meat, veggies, or fruit–think fried apple pie.
In Oneonta, the traditional Memorial Day Parade includes the city police and fire departments, and an assortment of classic cars. Another tradition is the exciting General Clinton Grand Prix Relay, a 30-mile, five-leg canoe race, with teams of 10 paddlers. While in town, relax at the Joseph L. Popp, Jr. Butterfly Conservatory, an indoor tropical garden with butterflies, birds, and reptiles. Have a bowl of French onion soup with your lunch or dinner at The Farmhouse at Emmons, or opt for sandwiches like the Oneonta Reuben or eggplant Parmesan at Undercover Eggplant.
The Bainbridge Memorial Day Parade is one of the town’s most significant annual events, along with the General Clinton Canoe Regatta, a staple since 1962. Stay busy all weekend with regatta activities including children’s entertainment, giveaways, carnival rides, and a flea market. Visit Frog Pond Farms for fresh produce and see the live farm animals, or go antiquing at The Iroquois Antiques and Collectibles, which houses multiple dealers. Chow down on Virginia ham while listening to music at Bob’s Diner, and get dessert at Back of Bob’s Ice Cream Shop.
5. South Salem
Get your exercise or cheer on the runners at the Annual Memorial Day Races and Fair in the hamlet of South Salem, New York. From the 10k race to the Pee Wee run, there’s an event for all ages on Monday morning. Afterwards, have fun at the fair with live music, local arts and craft demonstrations, kids’ games, and food. Start your weekend with breakfast or brunch at The Market on Spring, and take some of their made-in-house doughnuts back to your South Salem vacation rental. Celebrate the season with firecracker shrimp at The Horse and Hound before returning to your South Salem vacation rental.
Monroe offers family entertainment throughout the weekend with the Zerbini Family Circus at Museum Village. Watch jugglers, high wire acts, clowns, and camels perform. Spend time practicing your golf swing with a bucket of balls at Cassidy’s Driving Range. Later, dine on stuffed veal chops or lamb at La Vera Cucina, or enjoy burgers at Captains Table.
7. New Paltz
In New Paltz, arts and crafts take center stage Memorial Day weekend at the Woodstock-New Paltz Art and Crafts Fair. Hundreds of artists from across the nation converge on the Ulster County Fairgrounds to display their talents, such as basket weaving, doll-making, and stained glass artistry. Take your kids to the children’s tent for supervised arts and crafts projects and demonstrations. Before your vacation ends, stop at Dressel Farms for fresh fruit and ice cream from the roadside stands.
Head to Albany, New York’s capital city, walk the steps of the massive state capitol building and watch the Albany Memorial Day parade Monday morning. Afterward, take a Memorial Day Sightseeing Cruise of Albany on the Hudson River with Dutch Apple Cruises. Pack a lunch or buy snacks on board and listen to a narrated history of the region. Visit the USS Slater DE-766, a World War II destroyer escort ship, and you might get to talk to sailors who served on the vessel. Enjoy Italian dishes at Mio Posto, dim sum at Taiwan Noodle, or Mexican meals at Ana Cocina.
In Westchester County, the village of Bronxville’s holiday weekend activities include the annual Memorial Day Dog Parade and Show on Saturday. Enter your dog for a small fee, or watch the parade free. On Monday, pay tribute to veterans at the Memorial Day Parade, and stay for the Antique Car Show that follows. For outdoor fun, rent horses at Twin Lakes Farm and go for a ride in Twin Lakes Park. Satisfy early morning hunger with breakfast or brunch at Scalini Osteria, and end your day with super-thin-crust pizza and saucy Buffalo wings at Coals.
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