People march in The Memorial Day Parade in Brooklyn.
Photograph: By a katz / Shutterstock | The Memorial Day Parade in Brooklyn.

The best Memorial Day weekend events in NYC for 2024

Enjoy three days of work-free bliss with our list of fun Memorial Day activities, plus events remembering the fallen.

Rossilynne Skena Culgan

Memorial Day is about remembering service members who gave their lives in defense of our country, and there are several parades and special events to honor their lives.

The holiday weekend also serves as the unofficial kick-off to summer. Whether it’s heading to a massive barbecue, hanging out at the beach, or taking a brunch cruise around Manhattan, there are plenty of memorable ways to spend your three-day weekend. If you want even more ideas, check out our best things to do in NYC this weekend column.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Memorial Day in NYC

What to do in NYC on Memorial Day weekend?

There are a ton of activities in NYC for Memorial Day Weekend, from outdoor parties on rooftops and at parks to parades, tours of Naval ships and more. Read below for what's going on.

Is NYC busy on Memorial Day?

Between the parties and cookouts, NYC is pretty chill on Memorial Day unless you head to one of NYC's parades.

Where is the Memorial Day parade?

There are two parades, actually. Both are held on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29.

The Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade kicks off in Bay Ridge at 11am on Monday, May 27 from 78th Street and Third Avenue. The route continues along Third Avenue to Marine Avenue up Fourth Avenue and over to John Paul Jones Park.

The Little Neck Douglaston Memorial Day Parade steps off at 2pm on Monday, May 27 from Jayson Avenue and Northern Boulevard; here's a map of the route. Event organizers say it's the largest continuously-held Memorial Day parade in the nation.

Memorial Day weekend events in NYC

Tour the ships all week long at the following locations:

Manhattan, Pier 88 South
— Amphibious assault ship, USS Bataan (LHD 5) from Norfolk, Virginia
Public tours available May 23-May 25, from 9am-4pm

Manhattan, Pier 90 North
— Baden-Württemberg-class frigate FGS Baden-Württemberg (F-222) from Germany
— Berlin-class replenishment ship FGS Frankfurt am Main (A-1412) from Germany
Public tours available May 23-May 25, from 9am-4pm

Manhattan, Intrepid Museum, Pier 86
— Four U.S. Naval Academy YPs, Annapolis, Maryland 
Public tours are available May 23-May 24, from 10am-5pm

— Bay-class cutter USCGC Sturgeon Bay (WTGB-109) from Bayonne, New Jersey
Public tours are available May 23-27, from 10am-5pm

Homeport Pier, Staten Island
— Freedom-class littoral combat ship USS MARINETTE (LCS 25) from Mayport, Florida
— Legend-class cutter USCGC Calhoun (WMSL-759) from Charleston, South Carolina
— Keeper-class coastal buoy tender USCGC Katherine Walker (WLM-552) from Bayonne, New Jersey
Public tours are available May 23-May 27, from 8am-5pm

  • Things to do

A good number of free outdoor movie screenings are taking place all over town this summer, but none boast an ambiance quite like the one that attendees of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum's Summer Movie Series get to revel in. After all, you get to watch some awesome movies while hanging out on Intrepid’s flight deck at sunset. 

The series runs all summer long. For Memorial Day weekend, Top Gun: Maverick is playing on Friday, May 24. 

Fair warning: the spots fill up fast, so make sure to get there pretty early!

  • Museums
  • Military and maritime
  • Hell's Kitchen
  • price 3 of 4

For World War II buffs and folks who like checking out fighter ships and planes, this museum on a real aircraft carrier The Intrepid docked at Pier 86 is a chance for an up-close look at the nuts and bolts of our not-so-distant history.

The Intrepid Museum serves as a primary destination during Fleet Week with activities all weekend long. Here's what's on the schedule: 

— Friday, May 24

Free movie night on the flight deck featuring Top Gun: Maverick.

— Saturday, May 25-Sunday, May 26

Throughout the weekend, enjoy musical performances and explore a variety of displays, activities, and demos from the military, including the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, Office of Naval Research and many more.

— Monday, May 27

The Museum’s annual Memorial Day ceremony begins at 10am. Civic and military leaders will offer remarks and conduct a special wreath-laying ceremony to honor the fallen. The ceremony will conclude with a flyover by fighter jets. 

  • Drinking

Watermark Bar has transformed into the tropically-themed Watermark Beach. Expect a full season of fun at Watermark Beach, which will be gussied up for the warm weather with Instagram-ready tiki decor, seasonal drinks and twinkling lights for when the party stretches into the nighttime hours.

And this summer, the al fresco experience will introduce new cabanas and a curated new cocktail program, in addition to large-format Cooler Packages, which will allow guests to have their canned and bottled drinks ready on ice as they visit. 


Plus, don't miss the venue's Rosè All Day Fest on May 27, which includes a rotating lineup of DJs and endless rosé.

  • Movies
  • Movies

Take your movie-going experience to the next level this summer at Rooftop Cinema Club. The experience offers a chance to watch a movie on a Midtown rooftop with vegan popcorn, classic theater candy, and craft cocktails.

This season's rooftop movie schedule includes classics like When Harry Met Sally, Dirty Dancing, Grease, Mean Girls, Clueless, and so much more. Also expect special programming for Star Wars day, AAPI Heritage Month, Black Music Month, and Pride Month. Plus, it’s adding a Saturday Cereal Club and Mimosas & Muffins Sundays. Get tickets here.

  • Things to do
  • City Life

New York City's beaches will be open for Memorial Day weekend, starting on Saturday, May 25, 2024. NYC Parks maintains 14 miles of beaches, including Rockaway Beach, Coney Island and Brighton Beach. Check out our list of the city's best beaches here.


Smorgasburg, the food bazaar spectacular, is back for 2024 with dozens of great local vendors across three locations.

In fact, with more than 70 vendors, it's the largest Smorgasburg lineup since 2018! Vendors this year will serve up fragrant Ethiopian stews, Hawaii-style street comforts, explosive pani puri, potato puff poutine, and lots more.

Smorgasburg WTC runs on Fridays; Williamsburg is on Saturdays; and Prospect Park is on Sundays. Each location is open from 11am-6pm and operates weekly through October. 

  • Things to do

When it gets hot, cool off in style. Several of New York’s finest hotels offer day passes for their rooftop pools, most of which include chaises and cabanas for lounging in addition to a full-service bar. The combination of two of New York's favorite things—swimming pools and rooftop bars—creates an elevated summer oasis worth throwing down some cash for. Make sure to cross one, if not all, of these pools off your things to do in the summer bucket list.

  • Things to do
  • Queens

The 1960s-themed TWA Hotel rooftop pool is a super fun way to spend a summer afternoon. You can add it onto your trip to JFK Airport or just go for the day. While you're swimming and lounging, watch as flights take off above.

Accessible by public transit, the pool sells passes, so you can take a pool-centric trip to the airport that is very low-stress (no TSA check or boarding pass required). Reservations are suggested for non-hotel guests.

The ultimate outdoor experience to have this weekend is taking in the waterfront views at one of the best boat bars in NYC as you imbibe a cocktail (or three) with menus that feature everything from freshly-shucked oysters to lobster rolls. So hop aboard one of these boat bars!

  • Things to do

Take a scenic bicycle ride to see some of the most beautiful vistas around, from the best beaches, parks, gardens and good food. It’s the next best thing to getting the heck out of town.

We recommend Bronxville to Rockaway Beach and more.

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