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Memorial Day 2014 in DC

Wollongong
Level Contributor
209 posts
98 reviews
Memorial Day 2014 in DC

When we arranged our trip for May to Mexico, New York and finally DC we didn't realize we were there on Memorial Day arriving evening of 23 and departing 28. On reading forum posts it sounds like this is not a great idea? We are staying at the Rouge in Dupont Circle.

I have a few questions please and would appreciate your advice.

1)Will places of interest e.g. Smithsonian, LOC, Arlington Cemetery plus others be open to the public for visiting that day or closed? (We have a long list of things we want to see so need to plan our itinerary).

2) Will we be able to easily get around on foot from our hotel to places of interest as one post mentions lots of traffic and road closures?

3)We presume there will be big queues everywhere for sightseeing (whatever may be open) so should book tickets in advance wherever possible?

4) Are dinner reservations in advance necessary?

Thanks in advance. Any advice to make our time in DC (first visit) run a little smoother would be appreciated.

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
21,254 posts
51 reviews
1. Re: Memorial Day 2014 in DC

Things will be open. On that Sunday the Rolling Thunder parade will make crossing some streets around The Mall more difficult, but just for that afternoon. Seeing the thousands of motorcycles is also pretty exciting. The crowds will be bigger than on some weekends, but should still be manageable. Getting tickets in advance where you can is always a good idea in the spring and summer in DC. It all depends on where you want to eat whether reservations are necessary or not. Some places it is almost a requirement 12 months a year. In general, many of the Rolling Thunder people stay out in the suburbs rather than in the city. But the city will still be busy..

Falls Church...
Level Contributor
3,558 posts
7 reviews
2. Re: Memorial Day 2014 in DC

There is always a big (free) concert on the Capitol lawn by several of the military bands and some famous singers in honor of memorial day as well. Usually it's on Sunday.

Actually, here it is.

pbs.org/memorialdayconcert/…information.html

Olney, Maryland
Level Contributor
9,422 posts
5 reviews
3. Re: Memorial Day 2014 in DC

The night before the Memorial Day Capitol concert there is a dress rehearsal. Only about 1/3 the number of people attend, and you can get there and get a seat on the lawn very easily.

When we went two years ago, we saw that dress rehearsal, and the real concert was rained out by threatening tornadoes halfway through, so no one on TV saw the whole thing but we did. But that's rare.

For the rehearsal or the main event, the entrance is through a security entrance on the north side of the Botanic Garden which is on the south side of the Mall and east of the American Indian Museum. If you can find 3rd St and Jefferson Drive (right near 3rd and Independence), you will be right at the ONLY place where you go in.

Also, Memorial Day weekend is when Garrison Keillor does "A Prairie Home Companion" from Wolf Trap Park. There are possibly still lawn tickets available. You can get there by public transportation. You must be seated by 5:30 for the 6:00 performance. Also there is a dress rehearsal on the Friday night before.

Finally, every Smithsonian and other museum and attraction is open the entire weekend.

The only things that would be closed are the gov't equivalent of "factory tours", like the Bureau of Engraving, the Pentagon, the Voice of America tour, and the Capitol tour on Sunday (it's closed every Sunday) and Monday because it's a Federal holiday.

Olney, Maryland
Level Contributor
9,422 posts
5 reviews
4. Re: Memorial Day 2014 in DC

If I am thinking about this correctly, there are no tickets for hardly anything, other than the Capitol, the Holocaust Museum, and the Spy Museum.

All Smithsonian buildlings easily handle the crowds, which are mostly in the entrance areas and not so large in the exhibit halls (other than Air and Space, but it's like that every day, because it is not large enough for the 7 million people who visit every year). Interstingly, Natural History has the same 7 Million but feels less crowded once you leave the lobby area.

There are no tickets required for any Smithsonian, or for the National Gallery of Art, or outside at the White House, or any memorial or monument.

The crowds are very orderly at the Smithsonians; the big three are Natural History, Air and Space, and American History (which only has 4 million a year); arriving before 11:00 and after 4:30 ensures smaller crowds.

The only day of the year when things can seem overwhelming is Independence Day, 4 July, because of the concerts, parade and fireworks. Then about 1 million people are downtown on that one day! Mem. Day doesn't even come close to that!

Wollongong
Level Contributor
209 posts
98 reviews
5. Re: Memorial Day 2014 in DC

Thanks for your replies to my questions regarding Memorial Day.

The information was very useful and will help with planning our time as we only have 4 full days unfortunately! Will probably post our tentative itinerary for comments during the next few days.

Thanks again.

6. Re: Memorial Day 2014 in DC

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