Every summer the Marine Corps hosts a weekly Sunset Parade at the Marine Corps War Memorial (also known as the Iwo Jima Memorial).
The tradition began in 1956, two years after the dedication of the memorial, and has continued ever since.
The parade includes musical performances by "The Commandant's Own," the Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, as well as precision drill by the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon.
For 2018 and 2019, the parade took place at the Lincoln Memorial due to renovations at Iwo Jima Marine Corps Memorial. This video is from that location.
The 2023 Sunset Parade will take place at both the Iwo Jima Memorial (June 2023) and Lincoln Memorial (July and August)
There is no cost to attend the event, and guests need not make a reservation. There is no seating available. However, guests are welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets as there is ample space in the grass.
How long is the Sunset Parade? The parade is about 1 hour long.
When: The 2023 Schedule is listed below. Please note that there are two different locations for the sunset parades this year.
Take our National Mall tour that ends just in time for the Sunset Parade - where the guide will tell you the best place to sit to watch it!
For a full look at the schedule, visit their website.
The June Dates for 2023 will be at the Iwo Jima Marine Corps War Memorial - read about it here.
The Marine Corps War Memorial and surrounding lawns provide ample room for guests to bring lawn chairs for an informal viewing. No other type of seating is available,
For July and August 2023, the Sunset Parade will be held at the Lincoln Memorial.
There is very limited public parking which is available on a first come first serve basis.
The dates at the Lincoln Memorial will be easier to get to - join our National Mall tour that ends just in time for the Sunset Parade! Our guide will show you the best place to sit.
You can also easily walk there from Foggy Bottom Metro Station.
The nearest metro stations to the Iwo Jima Memorial are either Arlington National Cemetery Metro Station or Rosslyn Metro Station, which are both on the blue line.
From ANC Metro:
After existing the station, walk towards the entrance of the cemetery. Within 100 yards, you will note a bike path that veers off to the right. Follow that path as it takes you alongside the highway and ends on the outskirts of the cemetery.
Walk straight over the small grassy hill in front of you, passing the Netherlands Carillon Bell Tower on your left. The Marines Corps Memorial will be straight ahead. (20 min walk).
Please note that the Arlington Metro Station closes before the parade is over so you will need to use Rosslyn Metro after the event.
From Rosslyn Metro:
Head south on Fort Myer Dr. toward Wilson Blvd. Eventually take a left on Meade Street. You will see the Iwo Jima Memorial on your left (15 min. walk).
For more detailed instructions, read our Iwo Jima Memorial Guide.
If you are planning on utilizing the hop-on-hop-off bus tour in D.C. then be aware that all companies stop at the Iwo Jima Memorial and near the Lincoln Memorial however their route and schedule may be affected by the event so do check with individual companies first.
The bike share program, Capital BikeShare, which is very useful for visitors to the National Mall has a bike station conveniently located just next to the both Iwo Jima and Lincoln memorials.
We have a post with tips on renting a bike in DC.
The Lincoln Memorial and Iwo Jima Memorial is free of charge and is fully wheelchair accessible.