Memorial Day in Boston - 2016 Events

10 Fun Things to Do in Boston on Memorial Day Weekend

Garden of Flag on Memorial Day weekend in Boston, MA
Garden of Flags on Boston Common on Memorial Day

Memorial Day falls on May 30 in 2016 and marks the unofficial beginning of summer in Boston.

Patio dining at local restaurants, warm weather, and lots to do make Memorial Day weedent a perfect time to visit.

Many Boston locals head to Cape Cod, the Vineyard, or the New Hampshire mountains for the long weekend.

So for Boston tourists, that means attractive hotel rates, restaurant reservations, show and cruise tickets, and even Red Sox tickets will be easier to get than usual.

You'll also find lots of fun activities, holiday sales, and free events.  For half price and discount tickets for Memorial Day Weekend, check Goldstar:

- Tequila & Taco Tuesday Sunset Cruise @ Boston Harbor - Full price $55; Goldstar $39
- Pier Pressure: Memorial Day Weekend Yacht Party @ Spirit of Boston on Boston Harbor - Full price $30; Goldstar $15
- BadaBingo Murder Mystery Dinner Theater @ Elephant & Castle Pub and Restaurant - Full price $55; Goldstar $39
- Boston Harbor Sunset Cruise - Full price $25-$29; Goldstar $12-$17
- Back Bay Chocolate Tour @ Westin Copley Place Hotel - Full price $48, Goldstar $24
- Blue Man Group @ Charles Playhouse - Full price $58-$103; Goldstar $31-$72
- Huzzah! Tavern Nights @ Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum - Full price $45; Goldstar $34
- Frost Ice Loft @ Faneuil Hall Marketplace - Full price $12; Goldstar $6
- New England Revolution @ Gillette Stadium - Full price $25-$45; Goldstar $25-$45
- Nick's Comedy Stop - Boston Theatre District - Full price $20, Goldstar $0 - $10
- Legoland Discovery Center @ Somerville, MA - Full price $23; Goldstar $16
- Boston Duck Tours @ Museum of Science - Full price $39; Goldstar $26

Here are 10 suggestions for ceremonies, events, plus fun things to do in Boston during this first long summer weekend.

1.  Massachusetts Military Heroes Garden of Flags, Memorial Day Services, Concerts -  May, 2016

Garden of Flags on Boston Common - Memorial Day weekendMemorial Day honors those who died in wars defending our country and our freedom.

Every year, the Massachusetts Military Heroes organization plants a Garden of Flags - 37,000 of them - in front of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Boston Common to commemorate each of the Massachusetts service members who have given his or her lives to defend the United States and our freedom since the Revolutionary War.

Flags will be put in place on Wednesday, May 25 starting at 1pm (date and time to be confirmed) and remain through sundown on Monday, May 30.  A ceremony to honor Massachusetts service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan by reading their names will be held in front of the flag display on the Common on Thursday, May 26 at 10:30am (to be confirmed)  

2016 also marks the 70th Annual Memorial Day services to be held on Saturday, May 28, 11am (time to be confirmed) at the Veterans Memorial Park in the Back Bay Fens in Boston's Fenway neighborhood.  Veterans Memorial Park (sometimes called the Sergeant Charles Andrew MacGillivary Memorial to honor a local hero), a tranquill green area with monuments commemorating those who fought in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, can be found near the Kelleher Rose Gardens.

Additionally, Honor & Tribute: Memorial Day Concert will be held at 5pm (time to be confirmed) on Monday, May 30 at the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common and will feature the Boston City Singers and the Metropolitan Wind Symphony Orchestra.  The concert is free.

16 more Boston War Memorials for you to visit


2.  Cirque du Soleil, Boston Calling Music Fest, & More Memorial Day Weekend Entertainment - 2016

Red Sox playing at Fenway Park - Memorial Day weekendWith Cirque du Soleil performing under the big striped tent at Suffolk Downs, the exciting Boston Calling Music Festival going on for 3 days at Boston City Hall Plaza, Blue Man Group making everyone laugh, and a couple of cool concerts at House of Blues, there are plenty of events going on over Memorial Day weekend to keep you enteratined! 

Unfortunately, the Red Sox are playing out of town (but we'll list their games just in case you're in Toronto). 

Plan your weekend and get your tickets now!

Friday, May 27

Performances on Friday:

Momorial Day Weekend events in Boston, MA

Saturday, May 28

Performances on Saturday:

Momorial Day Weekend events in Boston, MA

Sunday, May 29

Performances on Sunday:

Momorial Day Weekend events in Boston, MA

Monday (Memorial Day), May 30

Performances on Monday:

Momorial Day Weekend events in Boston, MA


3.  Shop the Memorial Day Sales

Newbury St Boutiques - Boston shopping destinationsIf you love to shop, don't miss Boston's Memorial Day Weekend deals - you can easily save enough to pay for your weekend in a nice hotel.   Because Boston's hot weather really only lasts for about 2 months, summer things get put on deep discount sale early - yes, by this weekend! 

Best places to look?  If you want to pick just one spot among all Boston shopping areas and malls, focus on Back Bay, where you'll find lots of different options - Prudential Center for upscale stores, Copley Place for international designer boutiques, and Newbury Street/Boylston Street for more designer boutiques, unique local stores, and Nike and the other big athletic gear stores.

For even bigger adventure (and possibly bigger savings), Wrentham Village discount outlets and Assembly Row Outlets (5 minutes from downtown on the T) can't be beat! -  Save 60% or More on Boston Restaurants


4.  Free Admission at Museum of Fine Arts on Memorial Day

Boston's Museum of Fine Arts - Fenway EntranceBoston's Museum of Fine Arts offers you free admission on Memorial Day (Monday) from 10am - 4:45.

Lots of special family activities will be on display, as well as plenty of special exhibits, including a quilt display, the last few days of a popular Impressionism exhibition, and an exciting display of 60 contemporary Latin American works.

If you decide to visit on another day, remember that you can get free admission when you have either a GoBoston or a Boston CityPASS discount card.


5.  Explore Boston - Take a Walking Tour

Boston by Foot, a non-profit organization, features a knowledgeable and enthusiastic group of 200+ volunteer guides who offer some of the most interesting walking tours in town at very reasonable prices - tickets generally run about $8-$15.  Tours on Memorial Day typically include walks around the historic Beacon Hill neighborhood, the Victorian Back Bay neighborhood, and along the Freedom Trail.  No reservations necessary; pay your guide in cash when you arrive at the meet-up point.  Check out times and other details on the Boston By Foot Website.

Another option - try this self-guided Memorial Day walking tour from Boston Common to Fenway Park to Faneuil Markeplace and the Waterfront (the Red Sox aren't playing on Memorial Day weekend this year, so this will be a great opportunity to go on a Fenway Park Tour).


6.  Go to a Show

Street Performers - Memorial Day Weekend at Faneuil MarketplaceMost Boston theaters are closed on Mondays - but if you're coming to Boston for Memorial Day weekend, you'll find plenty of shows and performances on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 

Check Boston theatre listings.

For free entertainment, head to Faneuil Hall Marketplace, where Street Performers will be out in force from Saturday through Monday.  Mimes, jugglers, puppeteers, musicians, magicians, and comedians will mesmerize you with their talents.


7.  Explore the City by Bike

With so many Bostonians (in other words, crazy Boston drivers) out of town, Memorial Day weekend presents a great opportunity to explore Boston by bike safely.  Join a group tour - offerings typically include tours of the Freedom Trail, Beacon Hill, and Back Bay. 

More about Boston bike tours, rentals, and paths


8. Head to the Beach  . . . In or Near the City

Carson Beach in South BostonAlthough Boston itself is on a harbor, real beaches - yes, with sand and places to lie in the sun or buy a hot dog and slush - are closer than you might think. 

True, these beaches aren't quite as magnificent as the Cape, but you can get to them on public transportation without being stuck for hours in traffic. 

So throw your swimsuit and towel into a bag, slather on some sunscreen, and check out beaches in Boston and local favorite, Castle Island.  

But if you're committed to going to the Cape, avoid the traffic by taking the ferry to Provincetown from Boston.


9.  Cruise out to the Harbor Islands

Boston's largest park is actually offshore:  the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area.  Although the park includes 32 island and 2 peninsulas, only a few of the islands are open to the public and accessible by ferry - but they provide plenty of recreation, places to picnic, and spectacular scenery.  Best of all, you can get to the closest one in only 15 minutes, and it's like being in a different world. 

Get discount tickets from Goldstar for these special Harbor Island tours:

- 2-hour Harbor Island Cruise - Boston Harbor
- Boston Harbor Islands Picnic Sail on Tall Ship Adirondack III

Find out more about Boston Harbor Islands


10.  Visit America's First Garden Cemetery

Magnolias blooming in Mt Auburn Cemetery in MayAlthough Memorial Day started as a remembrance of those who died in military service, it is also an occasion for remembering others who have departed, and one of the most beautiful spots in the Boston area for doing this is Mount Auburn Cemetery. 

Flowering trees and flowers, exquisite statuary and sculptures, and a gently rolling landscape complete with ponds and resident ducks fill the 175 beautifully landscaped acres. 

Directions to Mount Auburn Cemetery (580 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge) by public transportation:  From Boston, take the Red Line to Harvard Square.  At the station, take either the Watertown Square or Waverley Square trolley (#71 or #73). Get off on Mount Auburn Street at Aberdeen Avenue.  Mount Auburn is across the street - you'll see the entrance gate.  Cross Mount Auburn at the light.  Free admission.

You may also like . . .

Boston's subway - Red Line Italian Pastries on display at Modern Pastry in Boston's North End Freedom Trail in Boston

Don't forget that with so many people out of town, restaurant reservations will be easier than usual to get.  Use our guide to Boston restaurants to choose where to go.


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