Spur-of-the-Moment Memorial Day Excursions for Angelenos

Tacos & Tequila


The long holiday weekend is finally upon us. Haven't made any getaway plans yet? Don't fret, fellow procrastinators — Los Angeles is buzzing with events and activities to keep you entertained. Plus, we've rounded up some epic day trips in our SoCal backyard that are perfect for squeezing in some last-minute fun and adventure. Keep reading to discover your perfect weekend plans…

Happenings in LA

If you’re looking to stay local, Los Angeles has an array of festivals, markets, and fairs taking place over the next couple days, including:

Fiesta Hermosa

This free annual Memorial Day celebration takes over the streets of downtown Hermosa Beach with carnival rides, game booths, diverse food trucks, live music stages, and plenty of beachfront vibes. It runs through Monday, making it an ideal spot to post up for the rest of the weekend. 

Photo: Fiesta Hermosa

LA County Fair

Get an early start on county fair season at the massive Fairplex grounds in Pomona. This enormous event features wild thrill rides, all the fried and sugary foods your heart could desire, concerts from top performers, agricultural exhibitions, and plenty of classic fair fun and games. 

Photo: Spectrum News

Smorgasburg LA

Smorgasburg is hosting a massive three-day BBQ Invitational and Memorial Weekend Carnival at Santa Anita Park, Saturday through Monday. They've assembled LA's hottest up-and-coming BBQ vendors, with one winner scoring a permanent vending spot at Smorgasburg every Sunday. Packages start at $30 and include admission, BBQ samples, parking, and racetrack perks.

Photo: Santa Anita

Topanga Days Country Fair

This free bohemian festival in the rustic Topanga Canyon community goes all out today with a quirky Memorial Day parade, artisan craft vendors, country dancing, pie eating contests, and old-fashioned delights galore. It's a throwback to simpler times that makes for a delightful local outing. 

Photo: Fest Beat

SBP-Approved Day Trips

Use what's left of the long weekend as an excuse to get out of town for a quick holiday adventure! Here are some of our top nearby getaway picks:

San Juan Capistrano

Just over an hour south of LA, you can step back in time wandering through this historic former mission town's charming adobe buildings and cobblestone paths. Stop for a leisurely lunch at the Michelin-rated Heritage BBQ, or stay for dinner and indulge in Mediterranean flavors at Mayfield. And whatever you do, be sure to tour the iconic Mission — the birthplace of Orange County that was founded more than 200 years ago. Want an overnighter? Make your way to the coast and take refuge at El Caminante.

Photo: Expedia

Los Olivos

Make the scenic two-hour drive up to Santa Barbara's picturesque wine country, where the tiny town of Los Olivos makes an idyllic getaway. Spend your day sipping local wines at Stolpman or Carhartt, noshing on fresh oysters at Bar Le Côte, browsing antique shops and art galleries, and admiring the iconic flag-lined thoroughfare. And if you can swing it, try to snag a room at the newly opened Mattei’s Tavern

Director of Ops Courtney Welsh in Los Olivos / Middle Photo: Travel + Leisure

Avalon, Catalina Island

Just a zippy one-hour ferry ride from Long Beach is this iconic California island with unbeatable ocean views, laidback waterfront dining, outdoor recreational activities from hiking to watersports, and an unmistakable vacation vibe. Stay the night at Hotel Atwater or make it a quick day trip to relish in Avalon's charming beachfront scene.

Photo: Love Catalina

Big Bear

Just a couple hours from LA, you can escape to a whole different world at this alpine lake area nestled high in the San Bernardino mountains. Relax in tranquil surroundings with prime hiking and mountain biking trails, head out for a day of boating and fishing on the glittering lake, or, if you choose to stay the night, simply post up and enjoy all the cozy cabin vibes at Noon Lodge.

Associate Partner Nathan Stadler in Big Bear / Middle Photo: Big Bear Property Services

As you make your weekend plans, be sure to take a moment to reflect on the tremendous sacrifices made by those of the U.S. military who lost their lives defending our freedoms. The revelry and time off is thanks to these fallen heroes who we honor on Memorial Day, and always.

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