Memorial Day Events

When Americans think of Memorial Day, it’s often as the unofficial start to summer. The three-day weekend is typically filled with lazy days spent outdoors at the beach or lake, grills fired up and ready to cook Memorial Day barbecue recipes, and red, white, and blue Memorial Day desserts. The holiday always falls on the last day Monday in May, which means that this year, we’ll be commemorating the occasion on Monday, May 30, 2022.

When planning things to do for Memorial Day, it’s important to remember the purpose of this national holiday: honoring those who lost their lives while serving in the U.S. military. So while stores may encourage shopping with steep Memorial Day sales and you’re stoked to get a day off from work or from school, don’t forget to pause for a moment and hold space for the significance of the holiday.

The Memorial Day activities we’ve rounded up here will help you do exactly that. On the fun side, you can enjoy patriotic crafts and DIY lawn games, while Memorial Day tribute ideas include sending care packages to our troops and paying your respects for the fallen at a national cemetery. (The VA maintains 155 in 24 states.) Also an option: tuning in to the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS!

This list of Memorial Day activities has something for the whole family, including kids of elementary school and preschool age. We’ve also got ideas for indoor celebrations, should the rain keep you from enjoying the great outdoors.

1 Tune Into the National Memorial Day Concert

memorial day activities concert


Turn on your TV and watch a moving tribute that honors America’s servicemen and women from the comfort of your home. This year’s event airs Sunday, May 29, at 8:00 p.m. EST on PBS. Past celebrity performers have included Mickey Guyton, Sara Bareilles, Vince Gill, and Alan Jackson.

2 Do a Patriotic Craft

memorial day activities patriotic flower pot craft


If you’re a hands-on kind of family, everyone will enjoy working on a patriotic craft together. This flag-inspired flower pot is the perfect addition to any front porch.

3 Organize Lawn Games

young couple playing croquet with their three daughters


Get everyone outside by hosting a tournament of DIY lawn games for family and friends.

4 Take a Virtual Tour of The White House

the white house south lawn, washington dc, america


Kids will love exploring the historic rooms and fascinating history of The White House via this online tour, created by the The White House Historical Association.

5 Create a Sidewalk Mural

girls with chalk coloring american flag on sidewalk


Kids of all ages (even preschoolers) can get in on the fun of creating a giant sidewalk chalk mural of a flag. Passersby will adore this creative approach to celebrating Memorial Day.

6 Donate to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

close up of man holding american flag


Whether you donate time or money, your contribution to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will be greatly appreciated. To see how you can help, visit the VA’s website.

7 Send a Care Package

memorial day activities care package


Honor the heroes of the past by sending a care package to an active duty service member. According to the Support Our Troops website, $25 credit card gift cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, etc.) are the most requested item because they’re used to buy wifi.

8Decorate Your House

a white farmhouse is decorated with red white and blue bunting that hangs on the porch


Twirl up your house with patriotic decor and other red, white, and blue decorations that are cute and inexpensive to show your appreciation for the people who have served our country.

9 Offer a Moment of Silence

memorial day activities silence


With all the hustle and bustle of a long weekend, it’s easy to forget to pause and think about what Memorial Day is really about. Simply take a moment or two with your family to remember those who have served.

10 Camp Out In Your Backyard

a little boy in a tent that is set up in the backyard


From pitching a tent to making popcorn over a fire, these backyard camping ideas will make you feel like you’re in the great outdoors.

11 Set Up a Drinks and Snacks Station

summer party with paper straw garland, water balloon ice cubes, soda cap pinwheels, and ice cream floats set the stage for summer entertaining


If your Memorial Day includes a laid-back day playing in the yard, set up a drinks and snacks station so everyone can serve themselves. Save the fabric pinwheels and garland made of paper drinking straws for the 4th of July!

12 Watch a Movie Outside
movie night backyard camping ideas


The backyard is the new drive-in. Pick one of these best classic kids’ movies for a movie night under the stars.

13Plan a Backyard Barbecue

a try of grilled hot dogs with toppings and an american flag


A backyard grilling session featuring these Memorial Day recipes for your weekend barbecue is an ideal—and all-American—way to usher in summer.

14 Post a Special Message on Instagram

smiling woman using cell phone in a park


Share your love and respect on social media with the best Memorial Day captions for your Instagram posts.

15 Listen to Patriotic Music

memorial day activities music


Crank up the volume and queue up our list of Memorial Day songs. The collection of tracks will have you bursting with American pride.

16 Bake Patriotic Treats

memorial day activities dessert


Everyone loves a sweet treat to kick off summer. From cupcakes and cookies to brownies and berry pies, these red, white, and blue Memorial day desserts are a delicious ending to your backyard barbecue.

17 Pay Respects at a Cemetery

memorial day activities cemetery


Not everyone can pay their respects at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day weekend, but there are many national cemeteries across the country where you can place American flags on the resting places of fallen soldiers.

18 Cool Down in a Pool

memorial day activities pool


Because the long weekend is known for its climbing temperatures, a dip in a pool is a great way to cool off. Might we suggest your own personal stock tank pool for your backyard?

19 Go Berry Picking

little girl holding a big basket of fresh strawberries


Sweet strawberries and blueberries will be in season around Memorial Day, so find the nearest farm for berry picking and get some fresh ingredients for your next summer dessert.

20 Take a Drive

a red car driving on a winding road along the coast


Even if you’re just exploring your neck of the woods, it’s always nice to enjoy a road trip with your loved ones in tow.

21 Head to the Beach

girl on the beach in galveston, texas


Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to summer, and a beach trip is often a way families kick off the season. Before planning a trip, check beach openings and follow state and local guidelines.

22 Visit a National Park

yellowstone grand canyon with blue skies and a river running between two mountains


It’s absolutely beautiful outside, and it’s even better when you’re soaking up the warm weather at one of our America’s most beautiful national parks. Before visiting, check the park website for updates on operating status.

23 Go Tubing

a family on innertubes floats down a river


Have a relaxing afternoon and head to the local lake or river and float in the cool water. Remember to pack life jackets, and check state and local guidelines before planning a trip.

2022 Memorial Day Events

While many associate Veterans Day and Memorial Day with service, the two are not the same. Veterans Day is a celebration of those who serve and have served. Memorial Day is a solemn day to reflect on those veterans and military personnel who are deceased.

May is also National Military Appreciation Month, and many businesses offer special discounts to veterans over the Memorial Day Weekend. Visit the Military Appreciation Month Discount Center to find out what offers are available throughout the month of May.

Arlington National Cemetery

The Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Day ceremony takes place at the Amphitheater. The president of the United States typically delivers an address at the Memorial Day ceremony. Numerous military and government organizations also conduct services. All ceremonies and special events are free and open to the public. Check back at the Arlington National Cemetery website for details as the date approaches.

National Memorial Day Concert

The National Memorial Day Concert will be broadcast on Sunday, May 29, 2022, at 8 p.m. Eastern. Check your local listings to watch on PBS or go to the concert website to stream.

National Memorial Day Parade

Hosted by the American Veterans Center, the National Memorial Day Parade returns in person for 2022 along Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C. The event begins at 2 p.m. Monday, May 30, 2022.

National WWI Museum and Memorial

The National WWI Museum and Memorial’s annual ceremony in Kansas City, Missouri, will feature keynote speaker Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Larry R. Jordan. It takes place from 10-11 a.m. Monday, May 30, 2022, and is free to the public. The museum is also hosting a slate of other events and observances on Memorial Day and during the days leading up to the holiday.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund Annual Observance at The Wall

This year’s ceremony will be held Monday, May 30, 2022, at 1 pm. Keynote speakers include Chuck Hagel, the 24th Secretary of Defense; and retired Air Force Col. Edward L. Hubbard. To attend in person, you must register for a seat. There will also be a virtual showing of the ceremony at or on the organization’s Facebook page.

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