Across the United States, there are numerous events held over Memorial Day weekend, in order to honor people who have died while serving in the armed forces. The day is celebrated as a national holiday, and in Washington D.C., the country’s capital, the events are especially grand.
Here are five free and fun things to do in Washington DC during the Memorial Day Weekend. Reaching D.C. from New York and Richmond is simple. Bus companies provide perhaps the most affordable option. Book your bus tickets ahead to secure your seats.
The National Memorial Day Parade
The National Memorial Day Parade is sponsored by the World War II Veterans Committee. It starts at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 7th streets, passes the White House, and ends at 17th Street. The parade includes marching bands, floats, performers, youth groups, and veterans. This year it will take place on Monday, May 29th at 2 pm. Check out the patriotic spirit of the thousands of people who come to watch the parade.
The National Memorial Day Concert
The National Memorial Day Concert is sponsored by PBS and airs on television, boasting a star-studded line-up. It honors the sacrifices made by military members and their families. The concern is free, and held on Sunday, May 28th from 8-9:30 pm on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Get ready to sing along to your favorite patriotic tunes and witness in person this unbelievable production.
Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally
For anyone looking to experience a heart pounding event, plan to attend the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally. On Sunday, May 28th, riders will gather the Pentagon from 7 am to noon. Thousands of motorcycle riders will ride through Washington in order to bring attention to the need for improved veterans benefits and a necessity to resolve POW/MIA issues. The best place to view the ride is along the Arlington Memorial Bridge and Constitution Avenue.
Arlington National Cemetery
The country’s largest cemetery is located in Washington D.C. At Arlington National Cemetery, visitors can pay their respects to the thousands of veterans and family members resting there. On Memorial Day, more than 250,000 American flags are placed on graves by servicemen and women. The cemetery alone is awe-inspiring, but the addition of the flags makes it a sight you will never forget. Visitors to the cemetery on Memorial Day receive free roses donated by the Memorial Day Roses Foundation. While you’re there, you can see the Iwo Jima Memorial (also called the Marine Corps War Memorial). This is located just outside Arlington.
Additionally, Memorial Day weekend is a great time to visit the numerous free museums Washington D.C. has to offer, such as the National Gallery of Art, the National Air and Space Museum, and the National Museum of Natural History. Also at the National Mall are various memorials such as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the National World War II Memorial, and the Korean War Veterans Memorial, where visitors can honor American servicemen and women.