FFTC’s Guide to Memorial Day Weekend 2023

Red, White & Blue Guard House on a Beach: Text: "Memorial Day Weekend Family Fun. Family Fun Twin Cities."

When is Memorial Day This Year? 

Memorial Day always lands on the last Monday in May usually making the last weekend in May a three-day weekend for federal employees. This year, the United States celebrates Memorial Day on Monday, May 29, 2023. 

This day was designed to bring honor and remembrance to those who fought and gave their lives in defense of their country, who served our country, and who were proud Americans.  Many of us also use this day to recognize the service of veterans still living.  We also remember loved ones who have passed away by bringing flowers to their graves.

As a family, we take advantage of the 3-day weekend and spend time together on a camping trip or another short vacation. We have some ideas for you if that is your style.

What can we do on Memorial Day?

There are national cemeteries throughout the country–not just in Washington D.C.–and if you are overseas, you may find a US national cemetery as well. Did you know that there is a US national cemetery in Tunisia?  So even if you are out of the country, there are places you can go to be intentional about remembering our fallen soldiers.

Many Scout Troops help to honor veterans and soldiers by decorating gravesites with small American flags at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

However, if you would like to take advantage of this weekend for family time together, this is a fun weekend to go camping or go on a quick road trip to some of our favorite places in Minnesota.  Until this year, our family went camping annually on Memorial Day Weekend. We also have a Memorial Day Weekend birthday that we celebrate.  

So whether you decide to celebrate by remembering or by making new memories, this is the guide for your.

Recurring Memorial Day Ceremonies 

Lakewood Cemetery Annual Memorial Day Celebration
Lakewood Cemetery. Used with Permission.

Calvary Cemetery Memorial Day Mass

753 Front Ave. Saint Paul, MN 55103  | 10 am

Fort Snelling National Cemetery Ceremony

7601 34th Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55450 | All Weekend 10am-4pm
After the ceremony, take a moment to walk through the graves of soldiers you probably don’t know but who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. There are soldiers from World War II, the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War, Desert Storm.  I don’t know if there are Civil War soldiers, but my guess is there may be. This year learn how Minnesotans celebrated “Decoration Day” before it became “Memorial Day”. Admission $8-$12/pp. Learn more here.

Gethsemane Cemetery Memorial Day Mass

8151 42nd Ave. N. New Hope, MN  55427  | 10:00 am

Groveland Cemetery Memorial Day Celebration

3300 Woodlawn Avenue Wayzata, Minnesota  55391 | 9 am

Lakewood Cemetery Memorial Day Ceremony

3600 Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55408 | 10:30 am-11:30 am
Following the ceremony at the Soldier’s Memorial, guests can enjoy activities around the cemetery until 4pm. Music, refreshments, writing postcards to veterans, finding a grave, family genealogy, and more.  Lakewood Cemetery is like Minnesota’s own Arlington National Cemetery with former governors and senators buried there.

Resurrection Cemetery Memorial Day Mass

2101 Lexington Ave. S. Mendota Heights, MN  55120  | 10:00 am

St. Mary’s Cemetery Memorial Day Mass

4403 Chicago Ave. Minneapolis, MN  55407  | 10:00 am

More Events Around the Twin Cities

Chanhassen  Memorial Day Ceremony 

City Center Park, 7700 Market Blvd, Chanhassen, MN 55317 | Noon 
A ceremony to honor the fallen who have served our country. There will be services at three cemeteries preceding the event. Find more information here

Eden Prairie Memorial Day Ceremony 

Veterans Memorial – Purgatory Creek Park, 13001 Technology Drive, Eden Prairie, MN  55344 | 11:00 am 
Bring your own blankets or lawn chairs to this memorial ceremony. Find more information here

Hastings Memorial Day Activities

Levee Park, 20 Ramsey Street, Hastings, MN 55033 | 10 am

A Memorial Day program hosted by American Legion Post 47, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1210 and Ladies Auxiliaries of Hastings. There will also be a 10-mile march around the river trail loop beginning at 7:30am.

Richfield Memorial Day Ceremony

Veterans Memorial Park, 6429 Portland Avenue, Richfield, MN 55423 | 2pm
A public ceremony includes a flyover by T-6 Thunder, bugle music and speakers. 

Memorial Day Weekend Family Fun in the Twin Cities

Fort Snelling

“We are What We Drink:” Mississippi River Pearl Workshop

Mill City Museum, 704 South 2nd St. Minneapolis, MN 55401

This FREE workshop explores the origins of our drinking water with discovery stations, activities and experiments. Best for ages 8+. FREE, but Registration is Required. Sunday, May 28, 2023; 1-4pm.

 Learn more about Mill City Museum.

Cars & Caves – Salute to Military

Chanhassen Autoplex, 8150 Audubon Road, Chanhassen, MN 55317

May’s Cars & Caves event will feature a salute to the military with a special presentation, featuring a flyover by a T6 Thunder Flight Team, anthem sung by James Bohn and taps performed by Gary Marquardt. And of course classic cars will be on display. Family-friendly and all ages. FREE. Saturday, May 27, 2023; 9am-1pm.

 Learn more about Cars and Caves and other fun for car-crazy kids.

Flags for Fort Snelling Honor Roll

Begins at Richfield Ice Arena, 636 E 66th St, Richfield, MN 55423
Watch as a motorcade of motorcyclists kicks off their ride to Fort Snelling. The group will return via 66th street, and the public is encouraged to line the road to salute the riders and the veterans they honor. FREE. Saturday, May 27, 2023; 3pm.

Memorial Day on Como Harriet Streetcar

Minnesota Streetcar Museum – Como Harriet Streetcar Line, 2330 W 42nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55410

Ride the Como Harriet Streetcar to Lakewood Cemetery and around the Linden Hills neighborhood. Fare is $3/pp. Weather Dependent. Monday, May 29, 2023; 9:30am-8:30pm. Learn more about the Como Harriet Streetcar Line.

Decoration Day at Historic Fort Snelling

Historic Fort Snelling, 200 Tower Ave, St Paul, MN 55111
Interact with costumed actors dressed in 1890s military clothing. Watch speeches that reflected on past conflicts, especially the American Civil War, commonly heard during the late 1800s. Admission $8-$12/pp. Monday, May 29, 2023; 10am-4pm. Learn more about Historic Fort Snelling.

More Ideas:

  1. Pay Your Respect to Those Who Gave All for Our Freedom at one of these Dedicated Memorial Parks in the Twin Cities
  2. Military Families can Visit Minnesota Blue Star Museums For Free!
  3. Go on a Picnic at one of these 10 Places for the Perfect Picnic in Minneapolis
  4. Find a FREE Outdoor Movie
  5. Enjoy an Outdoor Concert
  6. Visit one of our Favorite Beaches, Pools, Water Parks or Splash Pads
  7. Take a Kid-Friendly Hike (One Mile or Less)
  8. Have Some Frisbee Fun Playing Disc Golf
  9. Stock up for your backyard barbecue at one of these Family-Friendly Twin Cities Farmers Markets.
  10. Go for a Family Bike Ride:

Memorial Day Weekend Trips

Memorial Day Camping

Memorial Day at Home 

summer at home
Fun in the Backyard

Here are 8 ways to celebrate Memorial Day at home with your family.  

  1. Host an opening ceremony to welcome in the unofficial start of summer.  Make some sandwiches and lemonade, pick up some festive cupcakes from your grocery store (you could order through Buncha) or favorite bakery, grab a blanket and your kids and head outside to a park or even your yard.  Eat your food, run around, lay on your back and listen to the sounds of summer. Of course all this is very dependent on the weather.  So keep your eye on the sky!  And on the thermometer.
  2. Do some fun learning.  You could learn about Decoration Day –what ended up becoming Memorial Day.  Discover the significance of the red poppy.  Where is the birthplace of Memorial Day?
  3. Honor a Veteran. There is probably a good chance you may know a military veteran. You could invite them to your house for iced tea and/or coffee and ask them what  Memorial Day means to them.
  4. Host a community-wide event like a parade. Invite the neighborhood kids to form a line, give them each a small flag, and march with them around the neighborhood.  Or invite your neighbors out to the ends of their driveways–like we did during the Covid lockdown– and lead everyone in a national moment of remembrance.
  5. Make bouquets of flowers to decorate gravesites like the members of the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) did on the first decoration day and through the declaration of President Lyndon Johnson that Waterloo, New York was the official birthplace of Memorial Day.
  6. Enjoy Fun Outdoor Activities and Yard Games: 60 Fun Outdoor Games for Kids
  7. Throw a Family Pizza Party with our Homemade White Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
  8. Make Gourmet S’mores with North Mallow Artisan Made Marshmallows

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