The best Memorial Day weekend events in NYC

Have the best weekend ever with our suggestions for awesome Memorial Day events in NYC including parties and parades
Photograph: Courtesy House of Yes

The unofficial start to summer begins with these epic Memorial Day weekend events. NYC throws a proper commemoration for our troops on Monday, May 28, but also offers fun things to do starting Friday, May 25. So before you decide to sneak out of town and plan one our our epic weekend getaways, consider staying in Gotham for all the wonderful Fleet Week events, parades, BBQs and parties at the best rooftop bars in town.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Memorial Day in NYC

Memorial Day weekend events

Fleet Week 2010, lead image
Things to do, Festivals

Fleet Week

Ahoy, sailors! Fleet Week NYC is a seven-day celebration in New York City, which honors the members of the United States Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps. Every year, the weeklong party kicks off with the Parade of Ships—a flotilla of visiting vessels and tall ships that cruise along the Hudson river—and continues with military demonstrations, a Memorial Day ceremony and more outstanding things to do around some great New York City attractions.

The 9/11 Memorial
Photograph: Beth Levendis
Things to do

9/11 Memorial Museum

The 9/11 Memorial Museum is a testament not only to the inner strength of New Yorkers but also to the idea that a great city that can still stand strong. It's a tough institution to visit, hardly what one could call fun, but with the right kind of eyes, it's a truly beautiful and moving tribute to the events that took place, especially during Memorial Day weekend.

Photograph: Courtesy Rebecca MB. Pearson
Things to do, Festivals

Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit

Every year around Memorial Day, hundreds of artists from New York and around the world gravitate to Washington Square to exhibit their wares. A spread of jewelry, metal work, ceramics, graphics, oils and acrylics are laid out for art lovers to choose from. Tourists, collectors, students and teachers crowd this sidewalk show from University Place at 13th Street to the West 3rd Street to immerse themselves in day full of craft and color.

The Exhibition
Photograph: Courtesy Cesar Soto
Comedy, Stand-up

The Exhibition

Though it's only a few months old, Mary Beth Barone and Michael Kayne's well-curated comedy showcase at Public Arts has become an always-lit, high-class affair every month. This month packs quite an outstanding lineup, with Chris Gethard, Robby Hoffman, Cole Escola, Paris Sashay and Chris Distefano hitting the stage. Dress sharp for a dope after party with some of the hotel's guests.

Photograph: Erez Avissar
Nightlife, Daytime parties

Mister Sunday

The unbeatable duo of Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin have grounded their world-touring record label and Mister Sunday dance party at the stunning Nowadays space in Ridgewood. Join them every Sunday for jubilant dancing, food truck bites and beyond. The Memorial Day rager promises a packed dance floor and cute looks from guests of all ages.

Photograph: Courtesy Jmartinvisuals
Things to do


It's not summer until the General Public deems it so. The reliably excellent party crew lights off another Memorial Day rager with this jumbo warehouse party, at which free bites, drink specials and dancing abound. Show up in a fly look you can sweat through; DJs Trueblends, L-squared, Mike Nasty and Proper Edakit will be spinning epic beats all day.

Dirty Dancing
Things to do, Film events

Dirty Dancing + Watermelon Margarita

Relive one of the greatest summer love stories of all time at this delightful screening event for “dance people.” Sing along to “Hungry Eyes,” let Patrick Swayze teach you how to dance (and how to love), and live your best Catskills fantasy with a delicious margarita in hand. Don’t try to do a lift with a stranger from the bar until after the movie.

Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade
Things to do

Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade

Catholic war veterans lead Brooklyn service organizations in honor of fallen soldiers and their families in one of the oldest parades in Brooklyn—in fact, it's now in its 151st year. Sponsored by the United Military Veterans of Kings County, the ceremony kicks off at 11am on Third Avenue and 78th Street in Bay Ridge, then proceeds along Fourth Avenue and ends with a 21-gun salute by the U.S. Army at Fort Hamilton. The NYPD and FDNY will also march, Brooklyn high-school bands will perform, and antique fire trucks and autos will be on display.

Side Ponytail
Sean Waltrous
Comedy, Stand-up

Side Ponytail

icon-location-pin Friends and Lovers, Crown Heights

This free weekly getdown from Carolyn Busa, Julia Shiplett, Chelsea Taylor, Ben Wasserman and Emily Winter is a reliable night for solid laughs and surprise stars in Crown Heights. For the Memorial Day special, count on happy hour drink specials and giddy sets by Jono Zalay, Sharron Paul, Noa Osheroff and Michael Svetich. 

Photographer: D. Keith Owens

Better Days Comedy

Count on Pete DeAbreu to shut it down at this weekly Lower East Side gig, featuring DJ Juanyto spinning hip-hop and R&B. In addition to his wild Wednesday night gig, DeAbreu throws a lit Memorial Day party, featuring co-host Cipha Sounds, DJ Frei and a joyous after party. It's guaranteed that some very special guests will drop in for the special holiday event, so don't miss it. 

Little Neck
Things to do

Little Neck–Douglaston Memorial Day Parade

Honor fallen members of the United States Armed Forces at the largest of the city’s Memorial Day parades. Bring your handheld Old Glory and cheer on local members of the military, veterans, marching bands, Brownie troops and Boy Scouts as they march westward along Northern Boulevard in Queens from Great Neck to Douglaston. Go to for more information.

Things to do

YES Memorial Day BBQ + Party

Throw together your most patriotic getup and bring your holiday to a thrilling end with 12 hours of all-American raging in House of Yes’s yard, where hot dogs and patties (with veggie options!) are doled out all day, barely clad partyers dance to house beats and the alcohol keeps coming. Tunes are provided by Eli Escobar and David Kiss.

Start of the summer means BBQ!

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