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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

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

Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Written by
Rossilynne Skena Culgan

Memorial Day is about remembering servicemembers 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 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 in NYC

  • 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 upclose look at the nuts and bolts of our not-so-distant history.

Fleet Week activities will kick off Friday, May 26, 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 29 with the Museum’s annual Memorial Day ceremony.

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

2. 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 on May 29, 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. Before the parade, a variety of events will be held all morning, including an interfaith service and a wreath laying.


Tour military ships all week long at the following locations:

Manhattan, Pier 88 South:
— Amphibious assault ship, USS WASP (LHD-1) from Norfolk, Virginia
Note: Closed on Sunday.

Manhattan, Pier 88 North:
— Ocean survey vessel HMS Scott (H131) from Plymouth, United Kingdom
Note: Closed on Sunday.

Manhattan, Pier 90 North:
— HMCS Glace Bay (MM 701) from Nova Scotia, Canada
— ITS Virginio Fasan (F 591) from La Spezia, Italy

Manhattan, Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, Pier 86:
— Four U.S. Naval Academy YPs, Annapolis, Maryland
— Fast response cutter USCGC Warren Deyampert (WPC-1151) from Boston, Massachusetts

Homeport Pier, Staten Island:
— The Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD-51) from Norfolk, Virginia
— Spearhead class fast transport USNS Newport (T-EPF 12) from Norfolk Virginia
— Medium Endurance cutter USCGC Legare (WMEC-912) from Portsmouth, Virginia

Ships are open from 8-5am daily, except for tours on the Intrepid which run from 10am-5pm daily.

  • Things to do
  • Events & Festivals

If you're single and ready to mingle, head to this singles event called "Fleet Week Mixer: Snag Yourself A Sailor," held on Friday, May 26 at The Dean in Midtown. Tickets for servicemembers cost $18; tickets for the general public cost $28. (Time Out readers can get $5 off with the code TIMEOUTNY.)

At the mixer, expect servicemen and women in uniform, complimentary appetizers, professional photos, a fun icebreaker to get everybody mingling, DJ music and dancing. Servicemembers in uniform get access to an open bar for the first hour.

More than 150 people usually attend the 21+ Fleet Week mixer. While the majority of attendees are women looking for men, Soletti said the dating scene is becoming more diverse. 

  • Things to do
  • City Life

New York City's beaches will be open for Memorial Day weekend, starting on Saturday, May 27, 2023. NYC Parks maintains 14 miles of beaches, inlcuding Rockaway Beach, Coney Island and Brigton Beach. Check out our list of the city's best beaches here.

  • 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
  • City Life

The 1960s-themed TWA Hotel rooftop pool opens for the season on May 26. You can add it onto your trip to JFK Airport or just go for the day. 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). 

The rooftop pool offers views of flights taking off, and it just debuted a new Endless Summer theme. Reservations are suggested for non-hotel guests. Visiting the pool costs $50 for adults and $20 for children up to age 12. The price includes admission to the pool and 10,000-square-foot observation deck for an hour and 45 minutes, towels, and seating for dining at The Pool Bar.

  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

This tropical takeover at Pier 15 features tiki decor, seasonal drinks and twinkling lights for when the party stretches into the nighttime hours. A trip to Watermark Beach feels like a summery escape without ever leaving Manhattan.

Reservations are available here, so grab your Tommy Bahama shirt, slather on some sunscreen and party like you're in the Bahamas right here in Manhattan. The venue's even hosting a Memorial Day party on Monday, May 29.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Things to do
  • Events & Festivals

New York's newest botanic garden is found 1,131 feet in the air.

Sky Bloom,” a new immersive floral experience taking over Edge‘s skydeck opens on Wednesday, May 24, and runs through September 4. Located on the 100th floor of 30 Hudson Yards, Edge is the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere, known for its outdoor viewing area with a glass floor, angled glass walls and transparent staircase up to the 101st floor. 

Tickets to Edge start at $33 for adults with New York City residency and $35 for visitors. 


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