157 BEST Things To Do In Washington DC Memorial Day Weekend
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. This site is not intended to provide financial advice and is for entertainment only.
Are you looking for the best things to do in Washington DC this Memorial Day weekend?
Look no further!
This article provides 157 of the top activities, attractions, and places to visit in the nation's capital during this holiday weekend.
From outdoor adventures like biking along Potomac River trails to indoor excursions such as exploring world-class museums, there is something here for everyone.
Whether you're a local resident or an out-of-town visitor, these ideas will help ensure that your time in DC is unforgettable.
So take a look at our list and start planning your itinerary today – it's sure to be an amazing experience!
1. National Memorial Day Concert
Attend the annual concert held at the US Capitol for a patriotic musical celebration.
2. Arlington National Cemetery
Pay your respects to fallen soldiers by visiting the cemetery and witnessing the changing of the guard ceremony.
3. National Mall
Take a walk around the nation’s most iconic landmarks, including the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument.
4. National World War II Memorial
Honor veterans of World War II by visiting the memorial which features a fountain and bronze sculptures.
5. National Air and Space Museum
Explore the history of aviation and space travel with interactive exhibits and artifacts.
6. Smithsonian American Art Museum
Admire American art, including paintings, sculptures, and photographs from the colonial era to modern day.
7. National Gallery of Art
Browse masterpieces from artists such as Van Gogh, Monet, and Rembrandt in the museum’s classical and contemporary galleries.
Learn about the history of journalism and First Amendment rights through hands-on exhibits and multimedia displays.
9. International Spy Museum
Discover the world of espionage and covert operations with interactive exhibits and spy-related artifacts.
10. National Portrait Gallery
See portraits of notable Americans and explore the history of portraiture in America.
11. The White House
Take a tour of the most famous address in America and learn about the history and functions of the executive branch.
12. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Commemorate victims of the Holocaust and learn about its history through exhibits and artifacts.
13. U.S. Capitol Building
Take a guided tour of the Capitol, learn about the legislative process, and visit the chambers of Congress.
14. Tidal Basin
Enjoy a stroll along the waterfront and admire the iconic cherry blossom trees in bloom.
Shop, dine, and explore the historic neighborhood with cobblestone streets and charming architecture.
16. National Museum of Natural History
See dinosaur fossils, gems and minerals, and learn about the diversity of life on Earth.
17. National Museum of African American History and Culture
Experience the history of African Americans through interactive exhibits and artifacts.
18. The Kennedy Center
Attend a performance or tour the iconic performing arts center located on the banks of the Potomac River.
19. The National Archives
View the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights at the Archives museum.
20. Ford’s Theatre
Visit the site where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and see exhibits related to his presidency and legacy.
21. National Museum of the American Indian
Learn about Native American history and culture through artifacts, art, and multimedia presentations.
22. The Phillips Collection
Explore modern and contemporary art in America’s first museum of modern art.
23. The Supreme Court
Observe a court session or take a guided tour of the highest court in the United States.
24. Smithsonian National Zoo
See giant pandas, big cats, and other exotic animals from around the world in the zoo’s natural habitats.
25. Old Town Alexandria
Visit the charming colonial town on the Potomac River with historic homes, shops, and restaurants.
26. National Building Museum
Explore architecture and design through interactive exhibits and special events.
27. The Wharf
Enjoy waterfront dining, shopping, and entertainment at DC’s newest mixed-use development.
28. National Museum of Women in the Arts
Admire works by women artists from around the world and learn about their contributions to art.
29. Dupont Circle
Explore the lively neighborhood with art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants.
30. Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
Discover the serene water gardens with lily pads and lotus flowers, and spot wildlife such as herons and turtles.
31. National Cathedral
Visit the majestic neo-gothic cathedral for its intricate architecture, stained glass windows, and iconic gargoyles.
32. Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens
Explore the stunning mansion and gardens that belonged to heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, featuring art, decorative arts, and rare Faberge eggs.
33. Dumbarton Oaks
Stroll around the impressive gardens and see the collection of Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art at this historic estate.
34. National Museum of American History
Learn about the history of America through exhibits showcasing everything from the original Star-Spangled Banner to Julia Child's kitchen.
35. National Postal Museum
Discover the history of the postal service and view objects such as stamps, mailboxes, and postal vehicles.
36. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Marvel at contemporary art and sculptures from renowned artists such as Auguste Rodin, Pablo Picasso, and Henry Moore.
37. National Museum of the Marine Corps
Pay tribute to the US Marine Corps with interactive exhibits and displays showcasing their rich history and culture.
38. Anacostia Community Museum
Explore the culture and history of African Americans and other minorities in DC through exhibitions and programs.
39. Smithsonian Gardens
Admire the beautiful outdoor gardens and collections that are part of the Smithsonian museums.
40. The Phillips Collection
See an extensive collection of Impressionist and Modern art, including works by Renoir, Degas, and Cézanne.
41. East Potomac Park Golf Course
Hit the links at the public golf course located on Hains Point, featuring picturesque views of the Potomac River.
42. Rock Creek Park
Enjoy hiking, biking, and exploring the nature trails and historic landmarks in DC's largest urban park.
43. The Watergate Hotel
Take a tour of the iconic hotel where the infamous political scandal took place and enjoy its luxurious amenities and dining options.
44. The Mansion on O Street
Explore the quirky mansion and its hidden rooms, secret doors, and eclectic art collection.
45. National Geographic Museum
Learn about the world through interactive exhibits and programs that highlight the work of National Geographic photographers and explorers.
46. US Botanic Garden
Discover the beauty and diversity of plants from around the world in the indoor and outdoor gardens of the Botanic Garden.
47. Folger Shakespeare Library
See rare manuscripts, books, and artifacts related to William Shakespeare and his contemporaries, as well as enjoy performances and exhibitions related to Shakespeare's works.
48. National Museum of American Jewish Military History
Learn about the contributions of Jewish Americans to the US military throughout history.
49. The National Building Museum
Visit the museum dedicated to architecture and design, featuring exhibitions, talks, and family-friendly activities.
50. Marie Reed Recreation Center
Enjoy a dip in the outdoor pool or play basketball, tennis, or other sports at this public recreation center.
51. National Law Enforcement Museum
Explore the history and culture of law enforcement through interactive exhibits and programs.
52. The Heurich House Museum
Discover the history of DC's brewing industry and the life of Christian Heurich, a German immigrant and brewer, at this historic mansion.
53. Hirshhorn Museum Plaza
Attend free outdoor concerts, movie screenings, and other events at this unique public space located next to the Hirshhorn Museum.
54. The National Museum of Health and Medicine
Discover the fascinating world of medical science and history through exhibits and artifacts related to anatomy, pathology, and military medicine.
55. The National Museum of Women's History
Visit the museum dedicated to highlighting the contributions of women in American history and culture.
56. The National Geographic Society Headquarters
Take a tour of the headquarters of the National Geographic Society and see rare artifacts and photographs from the society's archives.
57. The Octagon House
Explore the historic mansion that served as the temporary residence of President James Madison during the War of 1812.
58. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial
Pay tribute to fallen law enforcement officers at the memorial that features engraved names of officers who died in the line of duty.
59. The United States Navy Memorial
Visit the memorial that honors the contributions and sacrifices of sailors, marines, and coast guardsmen throughout US history.
60. The National Museum of African Art
Discover the rich and diverse artistic traditions of Africa through exhibitions and programs that showcase contemporary and traditional African art.
61. The President Woodrow Wilson House
Tour the historic home of President Woodrow Wilson and learn about his presidency and legacy.
62. The Renwick Gallery
Explore contemporary American craft and decorative arts through exhibitions and programs that showcase innovative works by artists from across the country.
63. The Kreeger Museum
Admire the museum's collection of 19th and 20th-century art, including works by Monet, Picasso, and Matisse, in a stunning architectural setting.
64. The National Museum of African American History and Culture Sweet Home Café
Sample traditional dishes and contemporary cuisine inspired by African American history and culture at the Sweet Home Café.
65. The National Museum of Women in the Arts Café
Enjoy brunch, lunch, or tea at the café located inside the National Museum of Women in the Arts, featuring seasonal menus and locally-sourced ingredients.
66. The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden
Stroll through the outdoor sculpture garden and see works by artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Roy Lichtenstein, and Alexander Calder.
67. The Tregaron Conservancy
Explore the natural beauty of the Tregaron estate, which features walking trails, a pond, and an abundance of flora and fauna.
68. The George Washington University Museum and Textile Museum
Discover the history of textiles and fibers from around the world, including rare carpets, blankets, and clothing.
69. The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Take a tour of the research center and learn about the science behind environmental studies and conservation efforts.
70. The National Portrait Gallery Courtyard
Enjoy live music and entertainment at the courtyard of the National Portrait Gallery, featuring jazz, blues, and other genres.
71. The Dupont Underground
Explore the former trolley station turned underground arts space, which hosts concerts, exhibitions, and other cultural events throughout the year.
72. The National Building Museum Ice Rink
Go ice skating in the Great Hall of the National Building Museum during the winter months, surrounded by historic architecture and holiday decorations.
73. The National Cathedral Observation Gallery
Enjoy panoramic views of Washington D.C. from the observation gallery located at the top of the National Cathedral.
74. The National Museum of Women in the Arts Shop
Browse unique gifts, jewelry, and art inspired by women artists and feminist themes at the museum's gift shop.
75. The Smithsonian American Art Museum Luce Foundation Center
See 3,300 works of art from the museum's collection, including paintings, sculptures, and crafts, in the Luce Foundation Center.
76. The National Museum of American Jewish History
Learn about the history and culture of Jewish Americans through exhibitions and programs that explore their struggles, triumphs, and contributions to American society.
77. The United States Botanic Garden Conservatory
Admire rare and exotic plants from around the world in the indoor conservatory, which features a variety of ecosystems, including tropical rainforests and deserts.
78. The Library of Congress
Take a tour of the largest library in the world and see rare books, manuscripts, and documents that reflect the history and culture of the United States.
79. The National Academy of Sciences
Explore the science and technology behind some of the world's most pressing issues, including climate change, energy, and public health, through exhibits and programs at the National Academy of Sciences.
80. The National World War I Memorial
Pay tribute to the sacrifices of American soldiers and civilians during World War I at the national memorial that features a bronze sculpture and reflecting pool.
81. The National Postal Museum Research Library
Conduct research on postal history and philately at the library located inside the National Postal Museum.
82. The Phillips Collection Music Room
Attend classical music concerts and recitals at the intimate music room located inside the Phillips Collection.
83. The National Museum of American Diplomacy
Discover the history of American diplomacy and foreign policy through exhibits and programs that highlight the role of diplomats and ambassadors throughout US history.
84. The National Museum of American Indian Mitsitam Café
Enjoy indigenous cuisine inspired by Native American culture and traditions at the Mitsitam Café located inside the National Museum of American Indian.
85. The International Spy Museum Shop
Browse spy-themed gifts, books, and gadgets at the gift shop located inside the International Spy Museum.
86. The National Museum of American History Starbucks
Grab a coffee or snack at the Starbucks location inside the National Museum of American History, located in the building's historic central hall.
87. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Millennium Stage
Attend free performances and concerts featuring local and international artists at the Millennium Stage, located inside the Kennedy Center.
88. The National Archives William G. McGowan Theater
Attend film screenings, lectures, and other events at the McGowan Theater located inside the National Archives building.
89. The Smithsonian American Art Museum Lincoln Gallery
See a life-size sculpture of Abraham Lincoln by artist Daniel Chester French in the Lincoln Gallery located inside the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
90. The National Museum of Women in the Arts Library
Conduct research on women artists and feminist issues at the library located inside the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
91. The National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center
Visit the museum's second location, located near Dulles Airport, which features an extensive collection of aircraft and spacecraft, including the space shuttle Discovery.
92. The National Portrait Gallery America's Presidents Exhibition
See portraits of every US president from George Washington to Barack Obama in the America's Presidents exhibition located inside the National Portrait Gallery.
93. The Hirshhorn Museum Sculpture Garden Café
Enjoy outdoor dining and drinks at the café located inside the Hirshhorn Museum Sculpture Garden.
94. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Shop
Browse books, films, and gifts related to Holocaust history and remembrance at the gift shop located inside the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
95. The Smithsonian American Art Museum Luce Foundation Center Visible Storage
See over 3,000 works of art from the museum's collection that are normally stored behind closed doors in the Luce Foundation Center Visible Storage.
96. The National Museum of the American Indian Mitsitam Espresso Coffee Bar
Grab a coffee or snack at the coffee bar located inside the National Museum of the American Indian.
97. The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink
Go ice skating in the outdoor sculpture garden during the winter months at the National Gallery of Art.
98. The National Museum of American History Spark!Lab
Participate in hands-on, interactive activities and experiments that explore invention and innovation at Spark!Lab located inside the National Museum of American History.
99. The Smithsonian Institution Castle
Take a tour of the first building constructed for the Smithsonian Institution and learn about its history and mission.
100. The National Museum of the American Indian Potomac Atrium
Admire the stunning architecture and design of the Potomac Atrium located inside the National Museum of the American Indian.
101. The Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute Front Royal Campus
Visit the zoo's conservation biology institute located in Front Royal, Virginia, which features research facilities and habitats for endangered species.
102. The National Postal Museum Stamp Gallery
See rare and valuable stamps and philatelic objects from the museum's collection in the Stamp Gallery.
103. The National Museum of African American History and Culture Oprah Winfrey Theater
Attend film screenings, lectures, and other events at the Oprah Winfrey Theater located inside the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
104. The National Gallery of Art East Building
Explore modern and contemporary art in the East Building of the National Gallery of Art, featuring works by artists such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Alexander Calder.
105. The National Museum of American History Flag Hall
See the original Star-Spangled Banner flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the national anthem, located in the Flag Hall of the National Museum of American History.
106. The National Portrait Gallery Kogod Courtyard
Enjoy live music and entertainment at the Kogod Courtyard located inside the National Portrait Gallery, featuring a unique, open-air design.
107. The National Museum of the American Indian Rasmuson Theater
Attend film screenings, lectures, and other events at the Rasmuson Theater located inside the National Museum of the American Indian.
108. The Smithsonian American Art Museum Luce Foundation Center Study Center
Conduct research on artworks and artists from the museum's collection in the Luce Foundation Center Study Center.
109. The National Museum of American History Food History Weekend
Attend a three-day festival celebrating American food and culinary history at the National Museum of American History.
110. The National Mall Reflecting Pool
Take a walk around the iconic reflecting pool, which spans over 2,000 feet and is surrounded by famous landmarks such as the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.
111. Enjoy a Memorial Day concert at the National Cathedral
On May 31, experience a night of music with the All-Star Orchestra and United States Navy Band at the National Cathedral.
112. Visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
A powerful tribute to those who lost their lives in the Holocaust, the museum features artifacts, personal testimonies, and exhibits that educate visitors on the impact and legacy of the tragic event.
113. Take a bike tour along the National Mall
Rent a bike and explore the National Mall and its monuments on two wheels. With many bike tour companies available, you can choose one that best suits your interests and schedule.
114. Attend a Washington Nationals baseball game
DC's professional baseball team, the Washington Nationals, play throughout Memorial Day weekend. Grab a hot dog and cheer on the home team at Nationals Park.
115. Explore the National Museum of African American History and Culture
Dedicated to showcasing the history and culture of African Americans, this museum has exhibits on topics like slavery, segregation, and the Civil Rights Movement.
116. Take a guided walking tour of Capitol Hill
Join a guide for a tour of the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood, where you'll see historic homes, learn about the area's architecture, and explore the U.S. Capitol building.
117. Attend the National Memorial Day Parade
This annual parade honors those who have served and sacrificed for the United States. Watch as marching bands, veterans, and military units make their way down Constitution Avenue.
118. Visit the Newseum
Dedicated to the importance of a free press in America, this interactive museum has exhibits on everything from 9/11 and the Berlin Wall to the First Amendment and investigative journalism.
119. Listen to live jazz at the Bohemian Caverns
Located in the historic U Street Corridor, the Bohemian Caverns is DC's oldest jazz club. Enjoy live music and drinks in this intimate setting over Memorial Day weekend.
120. Visit the Smithsonian American Art Museum
With a collection of over 7,000 works of art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum is a must-visit attraction for art lovers. The museum showcases everything from contemporary sculptures to historical paintings.
121. Take a nighttime monument tour
See DC's monuments in a new light by taking a nighttime tour. Many tour companies offer evening tours that allow you to see the monuments illuminated against the night sky.
122. Visit the National Geographic Museum
Exhibits at this museum focus on topics like ancient Egypt, outer space, and the natural world. Visitors can explore hands-on exhibits and watch films in the museum's theater.
123. Sample delicious food at the Taste of Peru festival
On May 30, head to the Taste of Peru festival for a celebration of Peruvian food and culture. Enjoy live music, dance performances, and food from some of the city's best Peruvian restaurants.
124. Explore the National Air and Space Museum
From the Wright brothers' plane to the Apollo 11 command module, the National Air and Space Museum has exhibits that showcase the history of aviation and space exploration.
125. Take a sunset river cruise
See the monuments from a different perspective by taking a sunset river cruise on the Potomac. Watch as the sun sets behind the Washington Monument and enjoy drinks and snacks on board.
126. Visit Tudor Place Historic House and Garden
Located in Georgetown, Tudor Place is a historic house museum that offers visitors a glimpse into the lives of one of the founding families of America. The house also has a beautiful garden that is worth exploring.
127. Attend a concert at the Kennedy Center
The Kennedy Center is one of DC's premier cultural institutions, featuring performances by some of the world's best musicians, dancers, and actors. Check the schedule to see what's on during Memorial Day weekend.
128. Take a self-guided tour of the National Gallery of Art
With over 130,000 works of art, the National Gallery of Art is one of the largest art museums in the country. Pick up a map and explore the galleries at your own pace.
129. Visit the United States Botanic Garden
Featuring a variety of plants from around the world, the Botanic Garden is a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city. Walk through the conservatory and explore the outdoor gardens.
130. Attend a performance at the Shakespeare Theatre Company
The Shakespeare Theatre Company is known for its outstanding productions of the Bard's plays, as well as contemporary theater. Check the schedule for performances over Memorial Day weekend.
131. Explore the National Museum of American History
From the Star-Spangled Banner to the First Ladies' Inaugural Gowns, this museum has exhibits that showcase the history of America. Don't miss the exhibit on the presidency, which features artifacts from every U.S. president.
132. Visit the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
This modern art museum has a collection of over 12,000 works of art, including
133. Take a scenic walk along the Tidal Basin
The Tidal Basin offers stunning views of DC's monuments and cherry blossom trees. Take a leisurely stroll around the basin and enjoy the sights.
134. Visit the National Museum of the American Indian
Dedicated to showcasing the history, culture, and art of Native Americans, this museum has exhibits on everything from traditional clothing to contemporary art.
135. Take a historic tour of Georgetown
With its cobblestone streets, historic homes, and quaint shops, Georgetown is a charming neighborhood that is worth exploring. Join a guide for a walking tour and learn about the area's rich history.
136. Watch a film at the AFI Silver Theatre
This historic movie theater screens everything from Hollywood classics to foreign films. Check the schedule for special screenings and events over Memorial Day weekend.
137. Visit the National Postal Museum
This unique museum showcases the history of the U.S. Postal Service, with exhibits on postage stamps, mail delivery, and more.
138. Explore the Hirshhorn Museum's Sculpture Garden
Located outside the Hirshhorn Museum, the sculpture garden features works by artists like Auguste Rodin, Alexander Calder, and Jeff Koons.
139. Attend a performance at the Ford's Theatre
The site of President Lincoln's assassination, Ford's Theatre is now a popular venue for theater productions. Check the schedule for performances over Memorial Day weekend.
140. Visit the National Museum of Women in the Arts
Dedicated to showcasing the work of women artists, this museum has a collection of over 5,000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, and photographs.
141. Take a tour of the Library of Congress
The largest library in the world, the Library of Congress has millions of books, manuscripts, and other materials. Join a guided tour to learn more about this impressive institution.
142. Visit the Smithsonian National Zoo
Home to over 2,000 animals, the National Zoo is a must-visit attraction for animal lovers. See giant pandas, lions, tigers, and more.
143. Take a tour of the Supreme Court
The highest court in the United States, the Supreme Court hears cases that have a significant impact on American law. Join a guided tour to learn more about the court's history and operations.
144. Visit the National Museum of Natural History
With exhibits on everything from dinosaurs to gemstones, this museum is a favorite among families. Don't miss the Hope Diamond, one of the museum's most famous artifacts.
145. Attend the Washington DC Jazz Festival
From May 28 to June 6, the Washington DC Jazz Festival brings together some of the world's best jazz musicians for a series of concerts and events.
146. Take a tour of the National Archives
The National Archives is home to some of America's most important historical documents, including the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Join a tour to see these priceless artifacts up close.
147. Visit the Smithsonian Institution Building
Also known as the Castle, this distinctive building serves as the headquarters for the Smithsonian museums. Explore the exhibits and learn more about the history of this iconic institution.
148. Take a tour of the White House
While the White House is closed to the public, you can still take a virtual tour of the presidential residence. Learn about the history of the White House and see what it's like inside.
149. Visit the National Portrait Gallery
With over 23,000 portraits on display, the National Portrait Gallery has something for everyone. See portraits of famous Americans like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
150. Take a food tour of DC's neighborhoods
DC is known for its diverse and delicious food scene. Join a food tour to sample cuisine from different cultures and neighborhoods around the city.
151. Attend a performance at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
This award-winning theater company is known for its innovative productions of contemporary plays. Check the schedule for performances over Memorial Day weekend.
152. Visit the Phillips Collection
This intimate museum features a collection of modern and contemporary art, including works by artists like Paul Klee and Mark Rothko.
153. Take a tour of the United States Capitol
Join a guided tour of the iconic Capitol building and learn about the history and significance of this important American institution.
154. Explore the National Museum of the Pacific War
Located in Fredericksburg, VA, about an hour's drive from DC, this museum is dedicated to showcasing the history of the Pacific War during World War II.
155. Take a trip to Mount Vernon
Located just outside DC, Mount Vernon was the home of George Washington. Tour the historic house and gardens and learn more about America's first president.
156. Visit the National Museum of Health and Medicine
This unique museum has exhibits on everything from Civil War medicine to modern-day medical research. See preserved human specimens and learn about the history of medical science.
157. Attend a performance at the Howard Theatre
The Howard Theatre is a historic music venue that has hosted some of the biggest stars in jazz, blues, and soul. Check the schedule for upcoming performances.
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