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Things to do this Memorial Day Weekend with Your Family

Things to do this Memorial Day Weekend with Your Family

This Memorial Day Weekend kicks-off what will hopefully be a normal summer for our kids. Let's make it unforgettable!


Oh Memorial Day, the beautiful long weekend that kicks off the start of summer. As the nice weather rolls in and you get ready to have some fun family time this weekend, we’ve got a fun-filled list of how you can celebrate and honor the holiday. And to all the military members and families, thank you for your service.

10 Things to Do During Memorial Day Weekend

1. Spend the day at the beach!

After a shortened swimming season last year, beach fans will be excited to hit the surf again with all eight public NYC-run beaches opening on time this year on Memorial Day weekend! Pool lovers will have to wait a few weeks to go swimming, though, because the public swimming pools will open in mid- to late-June. Social distancing and health guidance rules will still be in place. Make sure to slather on the sunscreen before heading out and regularly throughout the day!

2. Host a cookout or have a picnic.

Family barbecues are a beloved activity over the long weekend—and are a great way to kickoff the summer cookout season! Heat up the grill and enjoy a cookout in your backyard, or find a picnic spot in a park where you can grill or bring your picnic favorites. Need some inspiration? Check out these healthy cookout recipes the whole family will love!

3. Go for a hike.

Relish the nice weather and long weekend by going out for a hike. Luckily, you don’t have to go too far for a great family hike: The metro area has an almost endless list of beautiful spots to check out. While you enjoy the solace of nature you can also honor Memorial Day by taking some time to be mindful and feel grateful for all the men and women who fought hard defending our country, allowing you the ability to enjoy time with family.

4. Donate to related causes and discuss the true meaning of Memorial Day.

While you are likely to have a number of fun plans over the long weekend, it is also a good opportunity to teach your children about the meaning behind the holiday and how it impacts you. Militay.com has a guide on how you can talk to your kids about the true meaning of Memorial Day. If you are a military family, or have extended family members who are in the military, you can teach friends and other family members how to honor the day. To really drive home the significance of the day, research some related causes as a family and choose one (or more!) to donate to.

5. Watch the Memorial Day concert on PBS.

This multi-award-winning annual concert honors the military service and sacrifice of our soldiers and their families. This year’s performers include Sara Bareilles, Gary Sinise, Steve Buscemi, Gladys Knight, Bailee Madison, and many more. Watch the 1½-hour show on PBS on Sunday, May 30th at 8pm.

6. Visit Governors Island

This 172 acre island is settled close to Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn and can be visited by ferries. (Travel note: To allow for social distancing on the ferries, visitors must reserve tickets in advance). Governors island is beautiful to walk around and is always bustling with activity. There are parks, historic buildings, and arts and culture programs/mini galleries. Your little kids will love the Slide Hill and play areas and the whole family can chill in Hammock Grove. Photography lovers will drool over the gorgeous photo-op views of the Harbor, Lower Manhattan skyline, and the Statue of Liberty. Another way to honor Memorial Day during your travels is to visit Castle Williams on the island, a former Army fortification that’s now part of Governors Island National Monument.

7. Watch a Memorial Day parade.

Parades are always a fun family activity and also a terrific way to honor our military serviceman. NYC honors our heroes with parades all over the five boroughs, and there is no shortage of them in the entire metro area; find one near you in the roundup of Memorial Day events in NYC, Long Island, Westchester, and Rockland.

8. Go on a getaway to catch some craft fair vibes.

The annual Woodstock-New Paltz Arts and Crafts Fair, located in New Paltz, takes place over Memorial Day Weekend. Hundreds of artists attend the fair to showcase their art, including glass creations, wood and furniture, and basket weaving. There is a children’s tent that includes projects and demonstrations. Pus, beer, wine, spirits, and gourmet specialties are for sale.

9. Go on a family bike ride.

Whether you bike around your suburban neighborhood, or rent some bikes to trek around Manhattan or a local park, a family bike ride is a fantastic way to get some fresh air and burn off all the food you ate at your barbecue.

10. Make s’mores

Making s’mores as a family will become a new tradition after you have a blast doing it this year. Not everyone has access to a campfire or backyard fire pit, but that doesn’t have to stop you! Make them in your oven wrapped in tin foil or try this delicious golden gram twist.

Where to Celebrate Memorial Day in the NY Metro Area

Family-Friendly Memorial Day Events in Manhattan

FREE. 2021 Virtual Fleet Week
WHEN:
May 26-May 31, various events
WHERE: Fleet Week New York, Online
AGES: All
WHAT: The U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard are proud to present Virtual Fleet Week New York 2021. The weeklong event is a new way for the residents of New York City and the surrounding tri-state area to continue to take part in the annual celebration despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Viewers are encouraged to check back each day as new content is added to the line-up, including live question-and-answer sessions, and virtual ship tours.
WANT TO GO? Participate on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.

FREE. Memorial Day Garden Highlights Walk
WHEN:
May 31, 2-3pm
WHERE: Wave Hill, 4900 Independence Ave, Bronx
AGES: All
WHAT: Join a knowledgeable Wave Hill Garden Guide on a tour of favorite garden areas and seasonal highlights on the holiday Monday. Severe weather cancels. Walks do not include the Conservatory at this time.
WANT TO GO? Registration required, onsite on the day of the walk at the Perkins Visitor Center, or by phone.

Check out the calendar to find even more great family activities in Manhattan.

Family-Friendly Memorial Day Events in Brooklyn

FREE. Brooklyn's 154th Memorial Day Parade
WHEN:
May 31, 11am
WHERE: 78th St. and Third Ave., Bay Ridge
AGES: All
WHAT: Brooklyn’s 154th Memorial Day Parade route is from 78th St. and Third Ave., along Third Ave. to Marine Ave., up to Fourth Ave. and over to John Paul Jones Park on 101st St. and Fourth Ave. for the memorial service. 
WANT TO GO? Parade steps off at 78th St. and Third Ave.

FREE. Memorial Day Fishing
WHEN:
May 31, 10-11am; 11:30am-12:30pm; 1-2pm; 2:30-3:30pm
WHERE: Shirley Chisholm State Park, 1750 Pennsylvania Ave., Brooklyn
AGES: All
WHAT: Join park educators in learning what fish live in Jamaica Bay! In addition to fishing, participants can learn about fish identification, fishing equipment and techniques, angling ethics, and aquatic ecology. 
WANT TO GO? Advanced registration required. Each session is limited to 10 fishing rods; families/small groups are encouraged to share a rod. Adaptable fishing equipment is available, but limited in supply per session. 

Check out the calendar to find even more great family activities in Brooklyn.

Family-Friendly Memorial Day Events in Queens

FREE. Memorial Day Weekend: Free Family Game!
WHEN:
May 27, 2021, 2-6pm
WHERE: IKEA, 96-05 Queens Blvd., Rego Park
AGES: All
WHAT: Keep the kids busy over break! In celebration of Memorial Day Weekend, IKEA is giving away FREE Kids games for IKEA families. While supplies last, so be sure to head over to the blue IKEA Family kiosk between Kitchens and Living Rooms to participate! 
WANT TO GO? Must present an IKEA Family Card to be eligible (free to register for one).



Check out the calendar to find even more great family activities in Queens.

Family-Friendly Memorial Day Events in Westchester

FREE. City of White Plains 2021 Memorial Day Ceremony
WHEN:
May 31, 11am
WHERE: Delfino Park, 104 Lake Street, White Plains
AGES: All
WHAT: The White Plains Memorial Day Ceremony will honor our veterans in an outdoors socially distanced event.  During the past year of tremendous upheaval and loss, we also remember the 12,000 recorded deaths of veterans from COVID-19. 
WANT TO GO? Ebersole Ice Rink, which is a covered outdoor area at Delfino Park, will be utilized in case of inclement weather. 

FREE. Norwalk CT's Memorial Day Parade
WHEN:
May 31, 10am-12pm
WHERE: Veteran's Memorial Park and Marina, 42 Seaview Ave., Norwalk, CT
AGES: All
WHAT: Honor our veterans at Norwalk‘s annual Memorial Day Parade.
WANT TO GO? Parade begins at Veterans Park and ends at the Town Green on East Avenue.

FREE. Memorial Day Commemoration
WHEN:
May 31, 10am-4pm
WHERE: St. Paul's Church National Historic Site, 897 S. Columbus Avenue, Mt. Vernon
AGES: All
WHAT: In commemoration of Memorial Day, St. Paul's Church National Historic Site is pleased to offer ongoing, self-guided tours of the historic cemetery, exploring the lives & stories of veterans from the Revolutionary War through World War II. The tour guide and map will be available for distribution in front of the church. There will also be flags and flowers for visitors to decorate the graves of the veterans. A tour would probably take about 45 minutes
WANT TO GO? Advanced registration required. 

Check out the calendar to find even more great family activities in Westchester.

Family-Friendly Memorial Day Events in Rockland

New York Boulders Drive-up Fireworks Show
WHEN:
May 30, 7:30-10pm
WHERE: Palisades Credit Union Park, 1 Palisades Credit Union Park Drive, Pomona
AGES: All
WHAT: Join Palisades Credit Union Park for a Drive-Up Firework Show to celebrate Memorial Day Weekend with live music! Band performance from 7:30-9:30pm. Fireworks begin around 9:30pm. 
WANT TO GO? $25 per car load. Advanced registration required. The fireworks are rain or shine.

FREE. Memorial Day Parade & Ceremony
WHEN:
May 31, 11am-12pm
WHERE: The Village of Suffern, Lafayette Ave., Suffern
AGES: All
WHAT: Join The Village of Suffern for their Annual Memorial Day Parade. The 42nd Infantry Band will be joining along with Veteran’s, Scouts and other dignitaries.
WANT TO GO? The parade will proceed up Lafayette Avenue to Soldiers Monument for a ceremony. 

FREE. Village of Monroe Memorial Day Parade
WHEN:
May 30, 1:30pm
WHERE: Smith's Clove Park, 133 Spring St., Monroe
AGES: All
WHAT: The Village of Monroe will be hosting its annual Memorial Day Parade along with Veterans organizations. The village looks forward to seeing everyone on this very special day honoring all those who served in our military and who gave their last full measure for our freedom.
WANT TO GO? The parade steps off from Smith’s Clove Park.

FREE. Memorial Day Parade
WHEN:
May 31, 11:30am
WHERE: 580 Wyckoff Ave., Wyckoff, NJ
AGES: All 
WHAT: The Township commemorates Memorial Day with it's annual Memorial Day Parade honoring those who served our country and especially those who gave their lives to ensure our freedom.Please note: there WILL NOT be food or beverages offered after the parade or candy throwing during the parade.
WANT TO GO? The parade begins along Wyckoff Avenue. The parade will proceed starting from Wyckoff Reformed Church heading north along Wyckoff Avenue, turning right onto Main Street, then turning right onto Franklin Avenue and ending at Town Hall.

Check out the calendar to find even more great family activities in Rockland.

Family-Friendly Memorial Day Events on Long Island

Bethpage Air Show
WHEN:
May 28-30, 10am-3pm
WHERE: Jones Beach, 1 Ocean Parkway, Wantagh
AGES: All 
WHAT: The 2021 Bethpage Air Show officially will take place this Memorial Day weekend Saturday and Sunday, with a special preview practice show on the Friday before. See the United States Army Golden Knights dropping in as well as the United States Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II, the United States Army Golden Knights, and more! 
WANT TO GO? $10 parking passes must be reserved in advance. Empire Passports and Golden Park Program are not valid forms of admission and cannot be used for the purchase of this pass and cannot be used for entry into the parking fields during this special event.

Kick Off Memorial Day Weekend-Kids Drop Off
WHEN:
May 28, 6-8:30pm
WHERE: AR Workshop Bellmore, 2930 Merrick Road, Bellmore
AGES: 7-14
WHAT: Join AR Workshop for their Friday Memorial Day Drop Off Youth Class, where registrants will make a centerpiece box with succulents! The registration fee includes all materials to create a custom DIY Centerpiece Box, the planting materials to create a one-of-a-kind custom planter, and a pizza dinner!
WANT TO GO? $60. Advanced registration required.

FREE. Harbes Memorial Day Weekend Celebration
WHEN:
May 29-31, 10am-6pm
WHERE: Harbes Family Farm, 715 Sound Ave, Mattituck
AGES: All
WHAT: Celebrate Memorial Day weekend at Harbes Family Farm for a fun time at the farm. FREE LIVE MUSIC will be available in the courtyard/picnic area all three days from 1-5 pm! Saturday, the popular Mike Ryan will be performing. Mike always entertains with his smooth voice, expert guitar playing, and decades worth of musical hits. Sunday, singer-guitarist Matt Taylor is back at the farm. Don't miss this versatile Long Island performer. Monday, singer-songwriter Glenn Jochum is scheduled to perform. Glenn easily transitions from folk to soul to rock to blues to country, delivering lyrics that come straight from the heart. 
WANT TO GO? Admission to the farm is free. Barnyard Adventure requires admission at $21.95 per person.

Memorial Day Weekend Air Show Cruise
WHEN:
May 30, 12-4pm
WHERE: Freeport Water Taxi & Tours, 211 Woodcleft Ave., Freeport
AGES: All
WHAT: Enjoy an up close and personal view of the Memorial Day weekend airshow in Freeport, NY on this public 28-passenger tour boat! Along with the cruise, your group will enjoy free beverages throughout the show.  You won’t get a better view of the show anywhere. And the best part? No traffic! Just remember to bring along your camera for some breathtaking photos.
WANT TO GO? $60 ages 10 and older; $40 ages 5-10; free for children 4 and younger

FREE. 136th Memorial Day Parade
WHEN:
May 30, 2:30pm
WHERE: Inc. Village of Hempstead, 160 Marvin Ave., Hempstead
AGES: All
WHAT: March and celebrate Memorial Day with the Village of Hempstead! Prior to the parade kick off there will be a brief ceremony at the Civil War Monument at Greenfield Cemetery. 
WANT TO GO? The parade steps off from the corner of Greenwich St. and Marvin St. and then proceeds south on Greenwich St. to Greenfield Cemetery. 

FREE. 2021 Memorial Day Parade
WHEN:
May 30, 10am
WHERE: Village of Cedarhurst, Central and Cedarhurst Avenues, Cedarhurst 
AGES: All
WHAT: Enjoy watching and cheering for the Veterans groups, police and fire departments, many local organizations and schools that will march along Central and Cedarhurst Avenues to pay tribute and remember those who gave their lives for our country.  At the conclusion of the Parade please join the village for a very inspiring and meaningful Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony at Andrew J. Parise Park in Cedarhurst.
WANT TO GO? Line up along Central Avenue for best viewing spots. 

Kids Memorial Day Party 2021
WHEN:
May 31, 1-3pm
WHERE: The Color Palette Lindenhurst, 51 West Hoffman Avenue, Lindenhurst
AGES: 5-12
WHAT: Kids will enjoy painting, slime, ice cream, snow machine, indoor dodgeball, & shaving cream mashup!
WANT TO GO? $28. Advanced registration required. 

FREE. The Annual Levittown Memorial Day Parade
WHEN:
May 31, 10am
WHERE: 45 Wantagh Ave., Levittown
AGES: All
WHAT: The Annual Levittown Memorial Day Parade returns this year. The parade will be led by members of American Legion Post 1711 and the Veterans of Foreign War Post 9592 of Levittown. It will feature many marchers. There will be bands from the Levittown and Island Trees School districts, local politicians, classic cars, all Levittown Civic Groups, Various Sports Clubs, the Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts, the Levittown Fire Department, and the Wantagh/Levittown Ambulance Corps. Immediately following the parade, the American Legion and VFW would like to invite attendees back to their respective Posts for a Memorial Day Service.
WANT TO GO? The Parade kicks off promptly at 10:00 am from Island Trees Middle School on Wantagh Avenue. The Parade runs 1 ¾ miles along Hempstead Turnpike and ends at the viewing stand on Shelter Lane near the Levittown Library. 

Check out the calendar to find even more great family activities on Long Island.


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Alison Leighton

Author:

Alison Leighton spent a decade in marketing at Fortune 500 Financial Institutions before leaving that world to focus on the hardest job out there: being a parent. She now does freelance writing and marketing and is the founder of Social Parent NYC, which hosts events for parents and their babies/toddlers. Follow the brand to get creative parenting inspiration about travel and activities on Instagram and Facebook: @SocialParentNYC. She lives in NYC with her husband and son and spends a lot of time reading Corduroy and wondering why Play-Doh smells so good.

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