Ready for summertime, Philadelphia? Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to the summer season (the first day of summer is June 21), but a great time to welcome longer days and balmy weather.
A number of locations in Philadelphia and the countryside are hosting celebratory events in honor of the long weekend. Some of the city’s museums boast extended hours this weekend, too, so making a trip to one of the marquee exhibits is a perfect addition to your weekend plans.
Spend time with friends and family and be sure to commemorate our military men and women at any one of the Memorial Day Weekend events.
Read on for our top picks this Memorial Day Weekend.
Update: We’ve updated our 2013 Memorial Day roundup with a brand new guide for 2014, check out our Memorial Day weekend picks for 2014.
• 2013 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships at Lincoln Financial Field: Some of college lacrosse’s best and brightest are headed to Lincoln Financial Field for the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament. From May 25 to May 27, semi finals and championships fill the field. Purchase your tickets soon to join in the action and root for your favorite team’s victory. Outside of the stadium, the free LaXperience Fan Fest invites fans to show off their lacrosse skills, meet some of the tournament’s star athletes and enjoy food and drinks.
• Fireworks and Fountains at Longwood Gardens: On Saturday, May 25 at 9:15 p.m. fireworks illuminate the night sky at Longwood Gardens’ Fireworks and Fountains event. The Memorial Day event marks the first in the summer series of fireworks. The show is coordinated to music by Elton John including Philadelphia Freedom, appropriately. Tickets to the event are available online and also include all-day access to Longwood Gardens.
• Amistad at the Independence Seaport Museum: In accordance with the Independence Seaport Museum’s new exhibit Tides of Freedom: African Presence on the Delaware River, the historic Amistad Schooner will visit the museum’s docks for a multi-day run from May 24 to May 29. Deck and sail tours will be available for guests. The ship has traveled around the globe to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade.
• Memorial Day Programming at the National Constitution Center: From Saturday, May 25 to Monday, May 27 the National Constitution Center celebrates military heroes with a number of family-friendly activities for museum guests. Activities include a patriotic karaoke station from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., American pride-themed arts and crafts, a flag etiquette lesson and a giant flag folding exercise on the front lawn. Each activity is included in the price of museum admission. The museum also provides guests with extended hours on Sunday, May 26 when the museum will remain open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Hidden City Festival Block Party: It’s the kick off weekend for the second annual Hidden City Festival, and an epic block party is set to go down at 12th and Wood Streets in the Callowhill neighborhood. From 7 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, May 25, local bands and DJs provide music for folks to dance up a storm at the Reading Viaduct. Food trucks will be on site serving up a variety of sweet and savory fare, and craft beer will be available as well. Tickets are available online.
• Memorial Day Parade, Service and Reception at Laurel Hill Cemetery: Laurel Hill Cemetery is home to the burial plot of General George Gordon Meade, a war hero from the Battle of Gettysburg. On Sunday, May 26 honor the famed war hero, and all war heroes, at the cemetery which will host a service and wreath-laying followed by a reception with complimentary refreshments.
• Memorial Day Weekend at Franklin Square: The Old City attraction hosts a celebratory weekend this Memorial Day. From Saturday, May 25 to Monday, May 27, Franklin Square hosts family-friendly festivities for all to enjoy. Children are invited to hop aboard the Lightning Bolt Express for a train ride around the park. Be sure to grab a bite to eat at the popular SquareBurger restaurant, ride around and around on the Philadelphia Park Liberty Carousel and challenge friends and family to a game of mini golf.
• Memorial Day in Historic Philadelphia: The Historic Philadelphia Center raises its hat to Memorial Day with a slew of events from Saturday, May 25 to Monday, May 27. Each day at 3:45 p.m. listen to a live reading of the Declaration of Independence located behind Independence Hall. At 10 benches throughout the historic district, listen to stories about America’s history from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Children are invitied to march to a militant drum at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. where they will learn marching and musket etiquette at the Signers’ Garden. Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell will also be open all weekend long for visitors.
• Morris Arboretum’s Garden Railway Opens Memorial Day Weekend: Morris Arboretum’s garden railway opens to the public on Saturday, May 25 from 1 to 3 p.m. The train brings guests from continent to continent as part of this year’s theme features the 12 architectural wonders of the world. Guests are transported from The Great Wall of China to Machu Picchu to the Eiffel Tower to landmarks around Philadelphia and much, much more. Free ice cream will be available for those who arrive at the beginning of the excitement.
• Memorial Day Weekend at Chaddsford Winery: From Friday, May 24 to Sunday, May 27, Chaddsford Winery is ushering in live music, food and plenty of wine at its Memorial Day celebration. A $10 wine tasting is available for those looking to try a variety of sweet and dry wines. Sangria slushies are on the menu as well. The merriment lasts from noon to 6 p.m. each day of the festival.
• 40th Street Summer Series Presents Brooklyn Qawwali Party: On Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend, University City District presents the first performance in its series of free outdoor concerts known as the 40th Street Summer Series. On Saturday, May 25, at 6 p.m. Brooklyn Qawwali Party, an eleven piece brass band, performs classic Pakistani music with a modern twist for the audience.
• Memorial Day BBQ at The Trestle Inn: Beginning on Friday, May 24, The Trestle Inn hosts Friday night barbecues with happy hour specials and visiting food trucks from 5 to 9 p.m. The first one arrives just in time for your Memorial Day Weekend barbecue fix. Yumtown food truck stops by to serve guests tasty bites and a free whiskey sour happy hour runs from 5 to 7 p.m.
• Spy at The Franklin Institute: The Franklin Institute’s new marquee exhibit, Spy: The Secret World of Espionage, is open to the public all Memorial Day weekend long. The interactive exhibit is a hands-on adventure for the whole family. It boasts a digital disguise maker, more than 200 artifacts and real stories from some of the CIA’s finest.
• Philadelphia Museum of Art Remains Open on Memorial Day, Monday May 27: The Philadelphia Museum of Art keeps its doors open for the holiday weekend. Visit the museum on a Monday, a day that the PMA is normally closed. Explore some of its temporary exhibits along with its permanent collection. With the U.S. Open Championships at Merion Golf Club quickly approaching, take up the opportunity to visit the Art of Golf exhibit at the museum. Also check out the Journey to New Worlds and Great and Mighty Things exhibits while visiting the museum this holiday weekend.