The National Memorial Day Concert is a free, annual concert performed on the west lawn of the United State Capitol Building in Washington D.C., in celebration of Memorial Day. It is held on the last Sunday in May. This multi-award-winning event is a way to honor the military service and sacrifice of all our men and women in uniform, their families and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
You can watch it live on PBS from the West Lawn of the US Capitol. But if you live in the DC area you might want to attend the event. At least once. And if you are planning on attending here are a few things you should know before you go.
The best way to attend this free event is to take the Metro into the city. Traffic will be heavy, streets will be closed, and parking is limited. The closest Metro stations to the concert are the Federal Center SW (Orange and Blue Line) and Union Station (Red Line). There are two public entrances located at the southwest corner of the Capitol grounds. The first being at Third Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue NW and the second being at Third Street SW and Maryland Avenue SW.
Be Prepared for Security
The Gates open at 5:00 PM and the concert begins at 8:00 PM and ends at 9:30 PM. The security is tight but efficient. All guest must go through a security checkpoint where their bags will be searched and they will go through a metal detector. Prohibited items include bicycles, alcoholic beverages, animals other than service animals, fireworks, firearms, knives, stun guns, oversized umbrellas, posters, pepper spray, and suitcases or duffle bags.
Watch the Weather
Dress and prepare for the weather. This is an outdoor event in the summer. It likely will be hot and the possibility of thunderstorms is always there. Make sure to bring water, light clothes, sunscreen, a rain jacket/small umbrella. Plastic ponchos are handed out if it is raining.
Picnic on the Lawn
There are no food vendors on site. You are welcome to bring your own snacks and nonalcoholic beverages. Bring a picnic blanket and chairs to sit on to enjoy the show. Don’t forget alcohol is prohibited as well as glass bottles.
Bonus tip: Want to avoid the crowds, but still see the show, dress rehearsal is on Saturday evening. And the best seats are on the steps of the Capitol if you are lucky enough to get them.
Have you attended the National Memorial Day Concert? What are your best tips?
Written by: Amanda Huffman