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The best Memorial Day weekend events in NYC

Enjoy three days of work-free bliss with our list fun Memorial Day events and ideas on how to spend your time

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
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Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kick-off for things to do in summer. It's the weekend that starts it all. NYC is finally reopening, which means New Yorkers are ready to party more than ever. Whether its heading to a massive barbecue, hanging out at the beach all weekend or taking a brunch cruise around Manhattan, there is a plethora of fantastic ways to spend your Memorial Day Weekend. And 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?

The Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade goes from 78th Street and Third Avenue, along Third Avenue to Marine Avenue, up to Fourth Avenue and over to John Paul Jones Park on 101st Street and Fourth Avenue.

The Little Neck Douglaston Memorial Day Parade steps off from Jayson Avenue and Northern Boulevard.

Memorial Day weekend events

Head to the Little Neck Douglaston Memorial Day Parade
Photograph: Courtesy LN-D Memorial Day Parade

1. Head to the Little Neck Douglaston Memorial Day Parade

The Little Neck Douglaston Memorial Day Parade steps off at 2pm from Jayson Avenue and Northern Boulevard rain or shine and has every Memorial Day since 1927, when American Legion Post #103 marched to remember their fallen comrades 10 years after they went off to World War I. As part of the parade experience, there are free refreshments, including hot dogs, White Castle sliders and more treats from local merchants, which begins when the first marchers arrive at the Divine Wisdom Catholic Academy schoolyard.

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

For World War II buffs, and folks that 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 upclose look at the nuts and bolts of our not-so-distant history.

Fleet Week activities will kick off Friday, May 27, with its annual movie night on the flight deck. Throughout the weekend, explore a variety of displays, activities and demos including the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, USO and even some antique military vehicles. The weekend will conclude on Monday, May 30 with the Museum’s annual Memorial Day ceremony.

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Tour Naval ships
Photograph: Public Domain

3. Tour Naval ships

Tour the ships on Saturday and Sunday, May 28 and 29 at the following locations:

- Amphibious assault ship, USS Bataan (LHD-5) from Norfolk, Virginia: Pier 88 South
- HMS Protector (A173), United Kingdom: Pier 90 North
- Four U.S. Naval Academy YPs, Annapolis, Maryland
- Two U.S. Naval Academy sailboats, Annapolis, Maryland: Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum at Pier 86
- The freedom-class littoral combat ship, USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) from Mayport, Florida: Homeport Pier, Staten Island
- United Stares Coast Guard medium endurance cutter, USCGC Dependable, Virginia Beach, Virginia: Homeport Pier, Staten Island
- United States Coast Guard seagoing buoy tender, USCGC Sycamore, Newport, Rhode Island: Homeport Pier, Staten Island

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The Angel's Share by Death of Classical is kicking off at Green-Wood Cemetery on Friday, May 27, at 7pm, with Hot Dogs, Hooch, & Handel. It'll toast to the legacy of Green-Wood permanent resident (and inventor of the hot dog) Charles Feltman with an after-hours celebration that includes music by The Grand Street Stompers and a baroque ensemble performing "more Handel than you can shake a footlong at!" Tickets are $65.

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  • 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.

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

Unlike in 2020, New York City's beaches will be open for Memorial Day weekend, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio. All eight public beaches will open Saturday, May 29 (48 outdoor public pools will open soon after that on Saturday, June 26). Check out our list of the city's best beaches here.

 

  • Bars

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!

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  • Restaurants
  • Eating

New Yorkers can’t wait to unfurl their blankets and (discreetly) drink outdoors with Memorial Day around the corner and picnic season about to kick into high gear. But as the state slowly lifts its stay-at-home orders, we’re all antsy to leave our shoebox-sized apartments while abiding by appropriate social distancing norms. Like us, you’ve probably seen on social media how crowds have swarmed Central Park, the Christopher Street Piers and even McCarren Park. To that, we say: thanks but no thanks. Luckily, the city is dotted with other lesser-known parks and hidden gems to picnic all summer long. 

Go rowing for free!
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Charley Lhasa

12. Go rowing for free!

Head up to Hunts Point Riverside Park in the Bronx for an afternoon of free rowing on Saturdays, starting May 28, between 1 and 6pm.

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