Are you spending Memorial Day in our nation’s capital? Already know what you’re doing? great! If not, here’s some tips of what to do and some tips and tricks for having a wonderful day.

  1. Attend the National Memorial Day Parade

The parade of marching bands, floats, performers, and veterans will march down Constitution Avenue. It’s the largest parade of its kind in the US. The parade is scheduled for Monday at 2 p.m. So if you can’t attend make sure to watch the televised version.

  1. Attend the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally

This ride brings together motorcycle riders from across the country to honor and respect POWs and MIAs who served during the Vietnam War. The “ride for freedom” has more than 900,000 riders and a route that starts at the Pentagon and goes through West Potomac Park. This is on Sunday, May 27.

  1. Pay your respects to the monuments on the Mall.

The mall includes lots of ways to honor American men and women. With the Korean War Memorial, American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, Vietnam Woman’s Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, World War Two Memorial and other harsh reminders of the true price that our veterans paid.

While not all not mall, the Iwo Jima memorial is located right outside of the Arlington National Cemetery. It’s open 6 a.m. to midnight.

There’s also the laying of the Poppy Memorial on the mall on Sunday. Each poppy represents a member of the armed forces who has passed away since the beginning of World War 1. It’ll be on Sunday the 27th.

  1. Observe the Flag Laying at Arlington National Cemetery

On Memorial Day, servicemen and women will place more than 250,000 flags on the graves on the thousands of veterans and their families who lay in rest. The U.S. Navy band will begin performing in the Amphitheater at 10:30 a.m.

Side note: At times the President, Vice-President, and various Cabinet Members have attended.

  1. National Memorial Choral Festival

The Air Force Orchestra is accompanied by more than 300 voices sing patriotic songs. This is on Sunday, May 27, at the Kennedy Center.

  1. National Memorial Day Concert

The concert, which takes place on the West Lawn of the Capitol, will be on Sunday, May 27. What can you expect? According to PBS, “The National Memorial Day Concert features uplifting musical performances, documentary footage and dramatic readings that honor the military service of all our men and women in uniform and their families at home. One of PBS’ highest-rated programs, featuring an all-star lineup, the multi-award-winning television event has become an American tradition. The concert unites the country in remembrance and appreciation of those who gave their lives for our nation and serves those who are grieving through the mission put forward by Abraham Lincoln in his second inaugural address, “Let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan.” 

All of these events are free – and take place over Memorial Day Weekend. Make sure to keep in mind, all this is going to be crowded and it’s going to be hot. Make sure you’re prepared!

If this isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of rooftop bars, parties, and other events going on. Welcome to the nation’s capital, and enjoy your visit.

AnnaKatherine C