Top Things to Do for Memorial Day in DC (2021)

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Visiting DC for Memorial Day? This post is about things that are happening for Memorial Day in 2021.

There are usually a number of different events and ceremonies that commemorate this special weekend including a national concert, parade, and motorcycle rally. But 2021 will be a little different. This post covers things to do in Washington DC on Memorial Day 2021.

Read our master post on things to do in DC any time of year - we talk about what museums are open right now!





DC is the perfect place to spend Memorial Day. There are plenty of places to see and things to do to honor our fallen service members. This section covers our top five list for Memorial Day.

For more ideas on popular things to do in DC, check out our posts on bus tours and walking tours of the city.

Some of the items listed in this post are included for free with the purchase of a tourist discount pass

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1. Memorial Day Parade

May 31, 2021 - 5pm - 8pm along Constitution Ave NW

Come see the nation's largest Memorial Day parade right here in the nation's capital. Marching bands, floats, performers, and veterans will promenade down Constitution for this exciting televised event. The parade begins at 5 pm, but come early to catch a good spot! The steps of the National Archives is usually the most popular place! 

This video is from a past Memorial Day parade:


You can easily get to the parade by Metro so you don't have to worry about parking in the area. 

2. Memorial Day Tours

What better way to honor veterans than visiting their memorials? Our National Mall walking tour is the perfect way to experience the WW2 Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Korean Memorial, and others. 

We also offer tours of Arlington National Cemetery.  

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See when they are offered on our schedule of tours.

3. Visit Arlington National Cemetery

Honor our fallen heroes by visiting Arlington National Cemetery. Take a free tour with us to learn their stories, or take a self-guided tour if you'd like to explore at your own pace.

You can also take an audio tour of the cemetery. Be sure to catch the Changing of the Guard Ceremony on the hour. 

You will see flags decorating each of the over 250,000 tombs and free roses will be provided for visitors to pay tribute thanks to the Memorial Day Roses F0undation.  

Be sure to read our correo on Arlington National Cemetery to better plan your trip!

4. National Memorial Day Concert

May 30, 2021

One of the best Memorial Day traditions is PBS's annual National Memorial Day Concert.

Just like 2020, the concert is virtual for 2021 but you can enjoy it both on your local channels and on their website. If you're in town for the weekend, you may see the stage and hear the performance - those the concert usually takes place on the West Lawn of the US Capitol which is currently closed for security reasons. It has not been announced where the concert will be filmed this year.

For more information, click here

For more nighttime activities, visit our Things to do at Night in DC post.

5. Look into a Tourist Discount Pass 

Did you know that you could join our highly rated ticketed Ghosts and Scandals tours for free with the DC Explorer Pass?

With warmer weather, our late evening Adults Only tours are a perfect night out activity in a city that closes at 5 pm.

Get free admission to our tours and many top DC attractions with a Tourist Discount Pass.

Visit the Air Force Memorial

The Air Force Memorial is just outside of Arlington National Cemetery, or about a 25-minute walk from the Pentagon Metro Station. It honors Air Force men and women who have served since its beginning in 1992.

If you're surprised we have an Air Force Memorial, it's probably because it wasn't until 2006 that it was completed and dedicated, so you might have visited before it was around.

Come out and visit it on Memorial Day to honor our Air Force and to catch a breathtaking view of Arlington Cemetery and the city.

Navy Memorial

Honor our Navy veterans past and present by visiting their memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue. There is a wreath-laying ceremony Monday, May 27th at 1 pm hosted by the U.S. Navy Memorial. The ceremony features the Navy Band & Ceremonial Guard and is completely free to the public.

Afterwards, you can go across the street and visit the National Archives to see our Charters of Freedom: the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence, the documents of our freedom that our veterans have fought for.

For our comprehensive list, visit our Free Things to Do in DC post.  

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Visit Iwo Jima at Night

The Marine Corp Memorial, (or the Iwo Jima Memorial, as it’s often unofficially referred to) is an impressive sight during the day but especially lit up at night.

It features six 32-foot figures raising a 20-foot bronze flagpole in honor of every Marine who has served since the founding of the Marines in 1775.

We recommend coming back after dark because lit up the memorial is extra imposing. Feel free to stop by anytime between 6 am and midnight to pay tribute to our Marines.

Read more about the Iwo Jima Memorial here. This memorial can be harder to get to but its included in many of the nightime bus tour options!

Go to a Game

May 28-30, 2021

The Washington Nationals are spending Memorial Day in Atlanta, but they will be playing the Brewers at home over the weekend.

The stadium is limiting how many people can attend a game and preference goes to season ticket holders, but you can buy tickets from resell websites, like StubHub.

  • May 28, 2021 @ 7:05 PM
  • May 29, 2021 @ 7:15 PM
  • May 30, 2021 @ 1:05PM

Washington Nationals Baseball Game


Nat's Park is located in a lively part of Washington DC called Navy Yard and not too far from our newest waterfront development, the Wharf.

You'll find a number of great restaurants and bars for before or after the game, but Nat's Park is an experience in itself.

May is also postseason for NBA (basketball) and NHL (hockey) so keep an eye on the Washington Wizards and the Washington Capitals!

See Rolling to Remember (the new name of Rolling Thunder)

May 30, 2021

Rolling Thunder, the nation's most iconic display of support for veterans, has a new name but the same mission. Rolling To Remember raises awareness for those still missing and calls for action to find real solutions to the over 22 veterans who die from suicide each day.

Details are still coming about the 2021 demonstration run.


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About The Author

Boglarka Bordas

Boglarka is a tour guide and content writer. While obtaining her degree in Professional Writing from The University of Texas at San Antonio, she visited DC and went on her very first Free Tours by Foot. She loved it so much that she has been part of FTBF since 2015. Working as a guide has given her the freedom to travel, including trips to the Bunny Island off Japan, snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, eating her way around Italy, hunting for the Loch Ness monster in Scotland, and finally seeing her first Broadway show in New York. Her family is from Hungary - Boglarka means Buttercup.
Updated: octubre 6th, 2021
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