Whether you seek events to observe Memorial Day, are ready to get your summer started, or just want to enjoy some extra quality time with the kids over the long weekend, these ideas for family recreation should have you covered. Happy Weekend! And a heartfelt thank you to those who have served and sacrificed for our country.
Summer in the City
Where: Throughout the area
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by activity
Celebrate the unofficial start of summer with an activity exclusive to this time of year. Outdoor public pools, spraygrounds, and water parks open Saturday; music and movies are playing under the stars; the strawberry picking season is underway; and blue crabs are making many a feaster very happy. This guide to summer in DC has specifics on all of the special events and series that come with the warm months (and a select few are also mentioned below).
Jazz in the Garden
Where: National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden
When: Friday, 5:30-8:30pm
The first session of the popular summer series is this evening. Enjoy the jazz sounds of Ruthie and the Wranglers along with big, bold works of art in the NGA Sculpture Garden on the Mall. Bring a blanket and a picnic dinner or buy a bite there. Note: Adult drinks are available from the pavilion; BYO alcohol is not permitted.
Rock by the River
Where: The Yards Park
When: Friday, 6:30-8:30pm
Kick off the weekend with free music in the fresh air. The Justin Trawick Group will be performing on the Yards Park boardwalk this evening. We saw them last year, and they rocked! Catch the show along with great views of the Anacostia River from the comfort of a blanket spread out on the grass. Pack a picnic or purchase food there from Pepe, Jose Andres’ mobile sandwiches or other food trucks.
Where: Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens
When: Saturday & Sunday, 6-9pm
Admission: $18/adults, $12/ages 6-11, free for children 5 and under
Visit Mount Vernon after the daytime crowds have departed for a special Memorial Day weekend celebration. Guests can take evening tours of the Mansion, relax and enjoy wine and desserts available for purchase, and delight in 18th-century music, dancing, games, and wagon rides. Stroll the lantern-lit grounds and immerse yourself in the 18th century as the sun sets on the plantation and costumed residents like the charming Lady Washington and her granddaughter Nelly interact with visitors. This family-friendly event celebrates the beginning of summer on the plantation.
Nats vs. Phillies
Where: Nationals Park
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Ticket prices vary
The Nats are hosting the Phillies this weekend with evening games on Friday (7:05pm) and Saturday (7:15pm) and an afternoon match-up on Sunday (1:35pm). Stay after on Sunday for Kids Run the Bases when children ages 4-12 can loop the infield after the final out.
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue
A few children’s show will be on local stages this holiday weekend: Catch a performance of Big Nate at Adventure Theatre. The Magic Finger & James and the Giant Peach are still on the Imagination Stage — shows have been extended through June 2! See the marionette version of Cinderella or a Tiny Tots show at The Puppet Co. Jam out with the grandsons jr. as they play a 10:30am Memorial Day show on Monday at Jammin’ Java.
Memorial Day at Abe’s Place
Where: President Lincoln’s Cottage
Admission: Tours are $15/adult, $5/child
President Lincoln’s Cottage will host an array of activities on Memorial Day to honor the men and women who have served in the U.S. military. Family-friendly activities will include guided tours of the first National Cemetery, commemorative ceremonies honoring veterans at multiple locations, picnicking opportunities on the grounds of the Soldiers’ Home, and tours of the Cottage, the seasonal residence of the Lincoln family during the Civil War. See the website for more information and a schedule of tours and activities.
Where: Great Country Farms
When: Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 6pm
Admission: $10/child, $12/adult
The largest U-pick strawberry festival is this weekend, rain or shine. Get ready for lots of fun activities for all ages, including the popular diaper derby, pie-eating contests, tart toss, strawberry princess, KidzArt, great food, live music, and Strawberry wine-tasting with Bluemont Vineyard. As if that’s not enough to keep the family entertained for the day, there’s also the five-acre play area, complete with the Pumpkin Jumpin’ Pillow, slides, a pedal cart track, rope swings mazes, a tractor tire mountain, Cow Train ($2), and animal encounters. Whew!
Where: National Museum of the American Indian
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10:30am – 5pm
In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the museum welcomes Hawaiian artists, performers, and practitioners of traditional Hawaiian healing and culture. Visitors can learn about living a life of “aloha” by watching and learning about hula, watching films and presentations, and meeting and greeting Hawaiian guests.
Stamp Collecting Saturday
Where: National Postal Museum
When: Saturday, 11am – 3pm
Start your own collection of stamps focusing on favorite topics such as art, animals, or transportation, even princesses at the Activity Cart.No reservation is required for joining the activity, just drop by and make a memorable souvenir to take home with you.
National Memorial Day Concert
Where: West lawn of the Capitol
When: Sunday, 8-9:30pm, gates open at 5pm (or Saturday for the dress rehearsal)
Why watch on TV when you can be there in person? The 2013 National Memorial Day Concert will take place on the west lawn of the Capitol on Sunday from 8 – 9:30pm. Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna are hosting the event once again, and an all-star line-up of artists will join the National Symphony Orchestra in honoring those who have served and sacrificed for the U.S. If you’re planning to go, this FAQ page on the concert website is worth a read. If you can’t make Sunday’s show or don’t want to deal with the crowds, Saturday’s dress rehearsal is also always open to the public — gates open at 5pm, and the show begins at 8pm.
Street Cars for Memorial Day
Where: National Capital Trolley Museum
When: Saturday, Sunday, & Monday
Recall the role of the transit industry during wartime. Enjoy Tilley the Trolley and Billy the Bus, a wartime production of the Capital Transit Company, and Ten Seconds to Go, a wartime production of Kansas City Public Service. See a special exhibit, Homefront Street Cars.
Memorials on the Mall
Where: National Mall
When: All Weekend
Tributes to those who have served our country will take place at the many memorials and monuments on the National Mall throughout the weekend. Times vary, but you can look for schedules on the National Park Service website. The Mall is guaranteed to be crowded, so plan accordingly.
Mike the Knight
Where: National Harbor
When: Sunday, 11am & 1pm
Help Nick Jr.’s Mike the Knight in his mission for hidden treasure at National Harbor in the Plaza! See Mike and Squirt in an all new FREE live show on the Plaza Stage at 11am and 1pm. Meet and have your photo taken with Mike and become an official knight in training during a special knighting ceremony. Visit the Mike the Knight play area at The Carousel at National Harbor and enter to win Mike the Knight toys, DVD’s and books.
National Memorial Day Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue NW, 7th to 17th Streets
When: Monday, 2pm
The annual National Memorial Day Parade celebrates and honors American veterans with a grand procession through the city. Get a curbside view of military units and vehicles, marching bands, flag teams, and hundreds of veterans as they travel up Constitution Avenue.
Falls Church Annual Memorial Day Parade and Festival
Where: Falls Church City Hall
The City of Falls Church will host its 32nd Annual Memorial Day Parade and Festival on the grounds of City Hall (300 Park Ave.). Festival-goers of all ages can enjoy amusement rides, pony rides, arts and crafts, food, civic and business booths, public safety tips, stage entertainment, and more. Live musical entertainment will be provided by the band Shenandoah Run and the City of Falls Church Concert Band.
Where: National Building Museum
Admission: $3/members, $5/non-members (or $3 w/exhibit ticket)
The National Building Museum is bringing back their unique, interactive exhibit that explores the design of our built world: Mini Golf! With holes are designed and built by leading architects, landscape architects, and contractors in the DC area, the expanded attraction will feature two nine-hole course options.
Where: Area farms
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by location
The pick-your-own season is well underway! Many local farms have opened their strawberry patches to the public, so you can get out there and reap the fruits. See this post for a list of area farms where you can gather your own strawberries, several offering much more than just picking.
Find even more ideas for family fun in these popular KFDC posts:
The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy A Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids
The Great Indoors