For many of us, Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff to summer. It's the weekend we finally uncover our grills for backyard barbecues and make trips to the Cape. However, Memorial Day is at its core a day to honor and remember women and men who lost their lives in military service to our country. To mark the holiday, many families attend their local town parades and memorial services (the one in Chatham is quite a beautiful, moving event). We've rounded up some other family-friendly (and mostly free) events happening in and around Boston during Memorial Day weekend.
Garden of Flags - Boston Common Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Boston
Thurs 5/26/2016 - Mon 5/30/2016
The mass Military Heroes Fund creates a garden of flags on Boston Common for Memorial Day weekend. The organization plants tens of thousands of flags, each representing a brave Massachusetts service member who gave his or her life defending our country since the Civil War. The completed garden is a breathtaking tribute to the true meaning of Memorial Day and a powerful message of community support to the families of these fallen heroes that their sacrifices will never be forgotten.
Remembering Our Heroes: Honor, Courage, Commitment - USS Constitution Museum, Boston
Sat 5/28/2016 - Mon 5/30/2016
Admission by donation
The USS Constitution Museum has special programs for Memorial Day weekend. Visitors can experience the everyday struggles of those who served in 1812 and then meet and go on a tour of USS Constitution with a current Navy sailor. A special performance of Tales from the Forgotten Kingdom by the Guy Mendilow Ensemble, with special guest, the Boston City Singers takes place on Sunday at 3pm.
Newburyport Springfest - Downtown Newburyport
Sun 5/29/2016 - Mon 5/30/2016
Every Memorial Day weekend, Newburyport buzzes with great live music, art, fine crafts, and food from Newburyport's best restaurants. There is entertainment especially for kids from 10:30 to 11:30am in Market Square on both Sunday and Monday.
MFA Memorial Day Open House - Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The Museum of Fine Arts offers free admission on Memorial Day. Enjoy special exhibitions, art making, gallery tours, and family activities.
Boston's Annual Memorial Day Concert - Christopher Columbus Park, Boston
The City of Boston Veterans' Services hosts a sunset concert; a musical tribute to honor our fallen military service members.
Blue Star Museums - Statewide
5/30/2016 - 9/5/2016
Blue Star Museums offers free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day, May 30, through Labor Day, September 5, 2016. Participating museums include The Discovery Museums, the ICA, the MFA, JFK Library and Museum, HMNH, the MIT Museum, and more; see the website for a complete list of Massachusetts museums participating this summer.
Post originally published in May 2013; updated May 2014, 2015, and 2016