Top 11 Ways to Spend Memorial Day Weekend

If you haven’t yet made Memorial Day plans, then now is probably the time to start planning. To point you in the right direction, we searched high and low for places near and in Chicago that are easily accessible to and from the city. Consider our Top 11 roundup the answer to your holiday weekend bliss.

11. Indiana Dunes. Pack a cooler with your favorite beach snacks and drinks and head to the primitive, historic, and unique Hoosier landscape, located right outside Chicago. The Dunes also include more than three miles of beautiful beach along Lake Michigan’s southern shore—the perfect way to celebrate a long weekend.

10. Navy Pier. Kick off the holiday with great music and a fabulous skyline view from the pier or along the lakefront near Grand Avenue. B96 will be onsite synched with a fireworks display at 10:15 p.m. on Saturday, May 26.

9. Chicago’s Memorial Day Parade. Show your patriotism by honoring active military and veterans. The parade wreath ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. followed by the parade at noon on Saturday, May 26. The City of Chicago will also have post 9/11 veterans represented in the parade this year, and Leon Panetta, former Secretary of Defense and Director of the CIA, will lead as its Grand Marshal.

8. The Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival. Celebrate at the 28th annual music fest, with performances by Dot Dot Dot, Trippin’ Billies, Wedding Banned and more. Aside from music, patrons can stop by their favorite vendor for food and drinks. There is a $5 suggested donation at the gate that will benefit the Central Lakeview Merchants.

7. Arlington Park Racetrack. Arlington International is opening their gates for a special Monday live racing card in honor of Memorial Day. They are offering free general admission to active military and veterans with ID. The Marine Air Control Group-48 will present the colors for the National Anthem, and the first 750 attendees will receive a miniature American flag.

6. Lake Geneva. The activities that Lake Geneva offers are endless, from golfing, hiking, biking, zip lining, or walking along the lake path, which is why it’s so appealing to Chicagoans. Take one day or the whole weekend to browse unique shops and dine at any of their family or fine dining restaurants.

5. Castaways Bar and Grill. Stop by the biggest hotspot overlooking North Avenue beach for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and drinks from noon to 11 p.m. daily. Menu items include fresh salads, wraps, appetizers, frozen cocktails, and a wide variety of canned beers.

4. The Randolph Street Market Festival. Doors open to this European-style, indoor-outdoor urban antique market in the historic West Loop neighborhood for the summer on May 26 and May 27. It will feature 200 select purveyors with furnishings, vintage clothing, jewelry, collectibles and more.

3. Six Flags Great America. Enjoy a thrilling experience (practically located in your own backyard) for $46.99 over Memorial Day weekend. That price includes admission and an all-you-can eat meal with favorites like hot dogs, fried chicken, potato and pasta salad, rolls, ice cream and soft drinks in their private picnic grove from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

2.  Boat and Fireworks Cruises. Hop aboard one of Chicago’s many boat tours, architecture cruises, or water taxis at any time of day for a fantastic and unforgettable sightseeing trip. The tours run all day long, with entertaining guides who will teach you everything you need to know about the city.

1. Montrose Beach. Out of all the beaches in Chicago, Montrose Beach offers the most parking, space to grill, throw a football, play volleyball and enjoy the outdoors with your family. If you’re craving a tasty beverage, head to The Dock for great menu choices.

How will you celebrate your Memorial Day weekend?