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 sincere 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. The new 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 popular summer series is back for its second week this evening. Enjoy blues harmonica by Bruce Ewan 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.
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, great food, and live music. 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: 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.
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue
* Its the final weekend of The Jungle Book at Adventure Theatre. A special for KFDC readers: use the code “MOWGLI” when you buy your tickets for $2 off!
* It’s also your last chance to catch Cinderella: The Remix at Imagination Stage
* See theatre on strings at The Puppet Co., where Pinocchio is on the main stage and Penguin’s Playground and Teddy Bear’s Picnic are the featured Tiny Tots show.
* Enjoy the NSO Teddy Bear Concert: Two Divas and a Bear! at the Kennedy Center.
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.
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.
Homefront Street Cars
Where: National Capital Trolley Museum
When: Saturday, Sunday, & Monday
Admission: $5/child, $7/adult
Recall the role of the transit industry during wartime in observance of Memporial Day. 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 the 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.
Memorial Day Observance
Where: Arlington National Cemetery
When: Monday, 10:30am
Observe the holiday at one of the most iconic spots to honor those who have served. A prelude concert by the United States Navy Band will begin in the amphitheater at 10:30am, and a wreath-laying ceremony will take place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at 11am followed by an observance program in the amphitheater. Space is limited to standing room only for the wreath-laying ceremony, and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis in the amphitheater. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early to ensure access to these events and should plan to be seated no later than 9:30am. Read more about Arlington National Cemetery here.
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.
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