Updated for 2023
Memorial Day Weekend is one of the best times to visit Fairfax County and the U.S. Capital Region. And it's also a great time for us to take a moment to remember what the day is really all about: honoring the brave men and women who gave their lives to protect ours. The sacrifices our nation's heroes have given throughout the generations have paved the way for our continued freedoms as American citizens. In addition to honoring our fallen, Memorial Day Weekend typically signifies the start of the summer travel season.
Below are some ways to commemorate the weekend in a fun and poignant way.
Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Day Ceremony and "Flags In"
One of the most poignant reminders of what Memorial Day represents is the annual "Flags In" ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery An unforgettable experience for any visitor upon first walking in is being amazed by the enormity of the thousands of graves, all decorated with an American flag. Every year, the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) has honored America's fallen heroes by placing American flags at gravesites for service members buried at both Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery just prior to the Memorial Day weekend. This tradition, known as "Flags In," has been conducted annually for over six decades. Visitors can also attend the wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and go to the Memorial Day Remembrance Concert held at the Memorial Amphitheater.
23rd Annual Ride of the Patriots® to Rolling To Remember®
Ready to ride? Start your engine and saddle up for the biggest joyride of the year! The 23rd Annual Ride of the Patriots® to Rolling To Remember® has become a highly anticipated annual event honoring those in uniform, who serve every day and put their lives at risk to protect in times of crisis. Not only is this event in remembrance of men and women in the military but also for the first responders who have made sacrifices during their service. The ride begins at Patriot Harley-Davidson in the City of Fairfax and continues into Washington, DC over the Memorial Bridge. It will feature hundreds of riders both on Sunday and will connect with the annual Rolling to Remember motorcycle rally. Not a motorcycle rider? You'll still want to find a good spot to watch the riders pass by because it's quite a sight to be seen.
Falls Church Memorial Day Ceremony
The cornerstone of every past, present, and future Falls Church Memorial Day celebration is the Memorial Day Festival and Parade, where the community comes together to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. In addition to the parade, there will be a Memorial Day Ceremony hosted by the Falls Church Veteran's Council, a 3K Fun Run, civic, merchant, crafter and food vendors, live music, and the always popular kids entertainment area.
Wolf Trap's Summer Blast Off!
This FREE community event on Sunday, May 28 features the “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band and will officially launch Wolf Trap’s summer season with a program of concert band favorites including selections from The Music Man, a medley of the Armed Forces’ service songs, and more. After the concert, you'll be treated to an epic fireworks display that has been a "must-see" for generations of concertgoers.
Civil War History
Learn the stories about Fairfax County’s role in the Civil War by digging into the resources offered by Civil War Trails, which is the largest open-air museum in the world. With hundreds of interpreted sites throughout the region – including dozens in Fairfax County – you’ll always have a new place to explore. View their map guides online or explore their interactive map.
You can read more about Fairfax County's connections to the Civil War here (hidden forts) and here (love stories).
The National Museum of the United States Army
The National Museum of the United States Army is holding a variety of ceremonies and activities throughout Memorial Day weekend that will create new memories and traditions in a venue dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of American Soldiers. This state-of-the-art facility tells the complete story of the more than 245-year history of America's oldest and largest military branch. For more information, you can visit their Memorial Day Weekend activities overview.
A family and community-oriented celebration of Memorial Day and the greater Vienna Community spirit returns this year! Spanning the entirety of Memorial Day weekend (May 26-29), ViVa! Vienna! brings carnival rides, food, crafts, vendors, and entertainment for all ages. Take a whirl on the Ferris Wheel and grab the oh-so-delicious carnival food we've all been desperately missing since last summer!
The National Memorial Day Concert
The National Memorial Day Concert on the West Lawn of The Capitol is one of the most patriotic and enjoyable events one can attend here in the Capital Region on Memorial Day Weekend. For over 30 years, this multi-award-winning television event, featuring uplifting musical performances, documentary footage, and dramatic readings, has become an American tradition and is one of PBS’ highest-rated programs. The show kicks off on May 28 starting at 8 pm and is free to attend.
What are some ways you will spend Memorial Day? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on social media at #FXVA and @VisitFairfax.