Things to do on Memorial Day > Washington DC

8 Cool Things to do in Washington DC on Memorial Day

Memorial Day Weekend in Washington DC

Home of cool White House, National Mall, National Air, Space Museum and lots of things to do in Washington DC on Memorial Day. We've compiled some of the best things to do in Washington DC on this Memorial Day holiday.

Memorial Day Weekend in Washington DC

Memorial Day on The White House

A trip to the nation’s capital is not complete without visiting the White House in Washington DC area during Memorial Day. The grand building has been home to Presidents since the 18th-century, often finding itself at the center of major world events and the occasional controversy.

However, the building has changed drastically throughout the years, undergoing numerous renovations and restorations. The easiest way to see the White House is through the fence.

Tours of the White House are possible, but requests need to be made far in advance. Citizens should arrange a tour via their member of Congress, while foreign citizens should contact their embassy in Washington DC to help organize a tour.

National Mall

Run by the National Park Service, the National Mall is known as “America’s Front Yard.” The large park is home to some of the country’s most iconic sites and buildings, including the Washington Monument and the United States Capitol.

The park has also been host to some of the most critical events in history, from Presidential Inaugurations to momentous occasions in the Civil Rights movements, such as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

The National Mall is open 24 hours a day, and there is a ranger service throughout the day.

National Air and Space Museum on Memorial Day

One of the best Smithsonian Museums is the National Air and Space Museum. Dedicated to everything space and aviation, the museum has some fantastic items on display, such as Niel Armstrong’s spacesuit, spacecraft, and various historical planes. I visited here first on a school field trip!

The museum is split across two locations, with the main museum located right off of the National Mall, while the second site is the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, where some larger planes are on display.

The museum is free to enter, but you will need to book a time slot before visiting.

Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is the most extensive collection of American Art in the world. Covering just about nearly every aspect of visual art you can imagine, the museum successfully documents American life through the arts, from paintings and photography to video games.

The museum is split between two locations within Washington, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery. Both museums are free to enter.

National Museum of American History

The National Museum of American History is a one-stop-shop for cataloging and preserving artifacts of the American way of life.

The museum boasts an impressive collection of historical items such as Lincoln’s Top Hat to more pop culture artifacts such as Julia Childs’s kitchen. It even has Dorothy’s shoes from the Wizard of Oz!

Each of the exhibits has a leading article or display that dictates the theme of that area. It truly is a beautiful place to learn about everything that has shaped the America of today.

National Museum of the American Indian on Memorial Day

The National Museum of The American Indian is dedicated to the history of Indigenous people throughout the Americas. The museum has an impressive range of artifacts, documents, and images that catalog the lives of Native Americans from the Arctic down to the tip of the South American continent.

The on-site cafe is classed as one of the museum’s highlights; it serves a range of Native American dishes from the five different geographical ranges, e.g., the Great Plains, South America, and the Northern Woodlands.

For those looking to learn more about Native American cooking, the museum has also published a cookbook.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum aims to teach the world about the atrocities that led to one of humanity’s most despicable acts.

Through documents and imagery, the museum details what life was like during the Holocaust, hoping that people will stand up to this hate and stop further genocides throughout the world.

While the museum is in the same area as many of the Smithsonian museums, it is not technically part of the group. The museum’s tickets are free, but there is a $1 transaction fee if you reserve online.

At the end of the museum, there is an educational center where you can learn about other genocides throughout history (and many of them are not even discussed in American schools).

Lincoln Memorial

One of the most iconic sights in Washington DC is the Lincoln Memorial, a monument that honors one of America’s most beloved Presidents.

The site is historically significant as it has played host to many important events, such as the Martin Luther King, Jr. “I Have A Dream” Speech.

There are several curiosities about the statue; it is believed the sculptor may have purposely made the hands spell A and L in sign language. There was also a spelling mistake made during the Second Inaugural Speech carving when an E was mistakenly carved instead of an F, although it was since covered up.

The Lincoln Memorial is located on the National Mall’s western side is open 24 hours a day and is one of the city’s most popular tourist sites. It is especially beautiful during spring in Washington DC as the area is teeming with Cherry Blossoms.

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