How to spend Memorial Day weekend in NYC

May 21, 2024

Sailors pose for I Heart NY photo ahead of Fleet Week in 2016. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Raymond Minami via Flickr

While it marks the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day was created to honor the brave men and women in uniform who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Fortunately, in New York City, there are plenty of ways to commemorate the holiday while also enjoying the long weekend, with activities including live music aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid, a military history boat cruise in the New York Harbor, and the largest Memorial Day parade in the country.

Parades and memorials

Photo courtesy of MarineCorps NewYork on Flickr

Maspeth Memorial Day Parade
May 26 at 1 p.m.
Walter A. Garlinge Memorial Park, 72nd Place and Grand Avenue, Queens

The parade kicks off at Walter A. Garlinge Memorial Park at 1 p.m., followed by a ceremony honoring servicemen and women at Maspeth Memorial Park at 69th Street and Grand Avenue.

Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade
May 26 at 11 a.m.
107-15 Metropolitan Avenue, Queens

On the Sunday of every Memorial Day weekend, Forest Hills’ American Legion Continental Post #1424 hosts a parade on Metropolitan Avenue. The opening ceremony begins at 11 a.m. and steps off at noon from the post, proceeding west on Metropolitan Avenue, turning right on Alderton Street, and ending with a brief wreath-laying ceremony at the Remsen Family Cemetery.

Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade
May 27 at 11 a.m.
Bay Ridge, 78th Street and Third Avenue

Brooklyn’s annual Memorial Day parade returns to Bay Ridge for its 157th year. The 2024 grand marshal is Brigadier General Dean P. Thomas. The parade sets off from 78th Street and Third Avenue and continues along Third Avenue to Marine Avenue, up Fourth Avenue to John Paul Jones Park, where a memorial service will be hosted.

Little Neck/Douglaston Memorial Day Parade 2016. Image courtesy of Pamela V White on Flickr

Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade
May 27 at 2 p.m.

Since 1927, the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade has been a cherished tradition, with event organizations claiming it is the largest continually hosted Memorial Day parade in the country. The parade sets off from Jayson Avenue and Northern Boulevard at 2 p.m. rain or shine, traveling down Northern Boulevard to 245th Street. For more information and a map of the route, click here.

Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in Riverside Park. Photo by Eden, Janine and Jim on Flickr

Visit the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument
May 27 from 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

West 89th Street and Riverside Drive, Manhattan
Every year, New Yorkers gather for a Memorial Day ceremony at the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in Manhattan’s Riverside Park. The towering monument honors the roughly 370,000 soldiers from New York who served in the Union Army during the Civil War. More than 2,500 people attended last year’s ceremony, according to I Love the Upper West Side. Expect to see and hear speeches, a wreath-laying ceremony accompanied by bagpipes, and a fighter jet flyover.


Image courtesy of the New York Philharmonic

New York Philharmonic Free Memorial Day Concert
May 27 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
1047 Amsterdam Avenue, The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine

The New York Philharmonic is giving a free concert on Memorial Day inside Morningside Heights’ stunning Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. Conducted by music director Jaap van Zweden, the 31st Annual Free Memorial Day Concert is presented as a gift to New Yorkers and a day of musical remembrance. The program will include Wagner’s “Prelude to Act I of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg,” Copland’s “Quiet City,” and Brahms’ “Symphony No. 4.” Admission is free, but tickets are limited and available on a first-come first-serve basis.

Memorial Day Concert at Green-Wood Cemetery
May 27 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn
Green-Wood’s beloved Memorial Day concert is returning to the cemetery’s historic grounds for its 24th year. Guests are invited to bring a blanket, a picnic, and friends to enjoy a festive summer kickoff. This year, the cemetery welcomes back the high-school musicians of the ISO Symphonic Band at Third Street, led by music director Paul Corn and hosted by guest conductor Brian P. Worsdale.

Every year, Green-Wood features works that honor those who have served in the armed forces throughout the nation’s history, while also highlighting Green-Wood’s notable permanent residents, including James Weldon Johnson, Fred Ebb, and Leonard Bernstein. This year’s concert will also include pieces by a variety of contemporary composers. Tickets are free with a suggested donation and can be purchased here.

Fleet Week Times Square Concerts
May 24, May 25, May 26
Times Square

As part of Fleet Week, enjoy three nights of band concerts in Times Square. On May 24, 25, and 26, listen to performances by the U.S. Navy Brass Band, U.S. Navy Rock Band, U.S. Marine Corps Band, and the U.S. Fleet Forces Rock Band.

Boat tours & cruises

Fleet Week 2018. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Hunter Medley via Flickr

Military History Tour of New York Harbor
May 27
Set sail on a fun and educational boat tour through New York Harbor this Memorial Day. During the 2.5-hour ride, you’ll enjoy views of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships in town for Fleet Week, see military landmarks such as the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the Brooklyn Army Terminal, and hear stories about the crucial role the city’s ports played during World War II. Tickets cost $116.

Memorial Day Dinner Cruise
May 24, 25, 26 and 27 at 7 p.m.

This Memorial Day weekend, enjoy a delicious dinner aboard a ship with the twinkling NYC skyline as your backdrop. The three-hour dinner cruise travels down the East and Hudson Rivers, passing under the Brooklyn Bridge and alongside the city skyline as you indulge in a gourmet meal. Admission grants you access to all levels of the ship, offering panoramic views of NYC, Jersey City, and Brooklyn. Tickets are priced at $159 for general admission and $199 for window seating.

Fleet Week ship tours
May 23 through 29 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Every Fleet Week, the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Coast Guard bring multiple ships (and thousands of service members) to New York. The week-long event offers New Yorkers the chance to tour naval ships docked at piers across the city, among other events and celebrations.

  • 4 U.S. Naval Academy YPs from Annapolis, Maryland
    May 23 through May 27, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Intrepid Museum, Pier 86, Manhattan
  • USCGC Sturgeon Bay from New Jersey
    May 23 through May 27, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Intrepid Museum, Pier 86, Manhattan
  • USS MARINETTE from Mayport, Florida
    May 23 through May 27, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Homeport Pier, Staten Island
  • USCGC Calhoun from Charleston, South Carolina
    May 23 through May 27, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Homeport Pier, Staten Island
  • USCGC Katherine Walker from Bayonne, New Jersey
    May 23 through May 27, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Homeport Pier, Staten Island
  • USS Bataan from Norfolk, Virginia
    May 25 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Pier 88 South, Manhattan
  • FGS Baden-Württemberg from Germany
    May 25 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Pier 90 North, Manhattan
  • FGS Frankfurt am Main from Germany
    May 25 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Pier 90 North, Manhattan
Image courtesy of the Intrepid Museum

Intrepid Museum
May 24, May 25, and May 27
Pier 86, West 46th Street, Intrepid Museum
Celebrate the country’s men and women in uniform with fun activities aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid. On May 24 at 7 p.m., enjoy a free screening of “Top Gun: Maverick” on the Intrepid’s Flight Deck. On May 25 and 27, experience a variety of live performances, activities, and demos from the U.S. Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Office of Naval Research, and more. The weekend festivities will conclude on May 27 at 10 a.m., with a Memorial Day ceremony. All activities on the pier are free to the public.

Recreation and relaxation

CityPickle. Image courtesy of Justin Steele

Pickleball in Central Park
Central Park, Wollman Rink

Spend Memorial Day weekend at Central Park’s Wollman Rink, which has been transformed into a summer pickleball oasis. CityPickle is a 14-court pickleball installation offering lessons, open-play sessions, and tournaments. Courts can host up to eight players and are reservable from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; prices start at $10 per player during off-peak hours and $12.50 during peak hours.

Jacob Riis Park and bathhouse via Padraic/Flickr

Hit the beach
No surprise here, a great way to spend Memorial Day is at the beach. NYC beaches officially open for the season on Saturday, May 25. During beach season, lifeguards are on duty daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Open through September, the city’s beaches are free and open to the public. Plan a trip to one of our favorite local beaches, from the Rockaways and Jacob Riis to Orchard Beach and Coney Island.

Image courtesy of Mike Szpot

Seaport Summer Kickoff
May 25 to May 27

The Seaport, Manhattan
Start summer on a high note this Memorial Day weekend with three consecutive days of exciting events at the Seaport. Experience a six-hour daytime party with tropical dance vibes at Kokos at Pearl Alley, and indulge in a wide variety of delectable seafood and drinks available all day at the neighborhood’s restaurants and bars.

Live music lovers can enjoy outdoor performances by a brass band as they make their way from the outdoor bar at the Tin Building to Malibu Farm and onto the Lawn Club. There are plenty of other exciting ways to spend Memorial Day at the Seaport, including a 2.5-hour sunset sail, public ship tours, and more. Learn more about the offerings here.

Hester Street Fair
May 25 and 26
89 South Street, Manhattan
The Hester Street Fair is returning for its 15th season this Memorial Day weekend, showcasing an eclectic variety of local vendors in a vibrant outdoor marketplace. Taking place on May 25 and 26, the street fair features two days of fun, food, drinks, and shopping. More information about the fair can be found here.

Photo courtesy of WCS’s Prospect Park Zoo

Prospect Park Zoo
May 25
450 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn

After being closed for nearly eight months due to flood damage, the Prospect Park Zoo will reopen during Memorial Day weekend. The Brooklyn zoo will open on Saturday, May 25 following $6.5 million in repairs needed after Tropical Storm Ophelia in September 2023. Visitors will find some new animals, including a pair of southern pudu, one of the world’s smallest species of deer, and a female Hamadryas baboon born during the zoo’s closure.

37th Annual Loisaida Festival
May 26 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Along Avenue C between East 5th Street and East 12th Street, Manhattan

The Loisaida Festival returns to the Lower East Side this Memorial Day weekend, drawing thousands of visitors for a packed afternoon featuring live music, spoken word poetry, dance and theatrical performances, food vendors, arts and crafts, and a showcase of services from local community-based organizations. This year’s theme, “A Cultural Mosaic,” will highlight the neighborhood’s diversity and vibrancy.

The festival begins at 11 a.m. with a community parade led by the all-female Batalá NY batucada ensemble. The parade starts on East 5th Street and proceeds up Avenue C to the festival’s main stage on East 12th Street. Main stage performances will feature Pinc Louds, a NYC-based, self-proclaimed “imaginary band”; the NYC Womxn Bomba Collective, an all-women ensemble performing traditional Afro-Puerto Rican bomba music; and Taina Asilli, a Puerto Rican singer and activist, and more.


Get Insider Updates with Our Newsletter!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *