Memorial Day is a federally recognized holiday in the U.S., designated as a time to honor and mourn those brave men and women who lost their lives while serving our country. The holiday is always observed on the last Monday of May, a time when most schools and offices are closed. This three-day weekend is also seen as the unofficial start of summer in many places. There are plenty of things to do on Memorial Day Weekend in Columbus, whether you seek opportunities to honor our nation's heroes or spend quality time with the family.


Veteran images at the National Veterans Memorial and Museum in Columbus, Ohio

National Veterans Memorial and Museum.


National Veterans Memorial and Museum

Columbus is lucky to have the incredible National Veterans Memorial and Museum (NVMM) in our community, whose sole mission is to honor all veterans and their families, from all eras of conflict and branches of service. In addition to offering free admission on Memorial Day, NVMM has some incredible programming lined up to honor our nation's heroes. 

  • Ghost Army Exhibition Opening | Friday, May 24: This special exhibition examines the U.S. Army's 23rd Headquarters Special Troops who used deception tactics, like false radio messages, inflatable tanks and other disinformation to help the Allied Forces in WWII. Learn more.

  • CrossFit Hero Workout - "The Murph" | Saturday, May 25: NVMM, Rogue and CrossFit Clintonville are putting on a series of three workouts in honor of Medal of Honor recipient and Navy SEAL, Lieutenant Michael Murphy. Register here.

  • The Memorial Day Ride | Saturday, May 25: Start your engines for the National Ride for Freedom. Join in the fun as hundreds of motorcycles converge on the Museum grounds. Get tickets.

  • Gold Star Family Candlelight Vigil | Sunday, May 26: Honor the sacrifices of Gold Star families who have lost a loved one in service. The featured guest speaker is Tara Harris, eldest daughter of First Sergeant Glenn Harris of B Company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, who was killed in a training accident barely a year after returning home from the Battle of Mogadishu, Somalia, in October 1993. Register here.

  • Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony | Monday, May 27: Join NVMM in reflection at 10 am, in-person or online to hear from keynote speaker Secretary Patrick J. Murphy, America’s first Iraq War Veteran elected to the U.S. Congress and the 32nd Under Secretary of the U.S. Army. Register to attend.

Community Events

Many communities across Central Ohio are celebrating Memorial Day with parades, 5K races and more.

Field of Heroes & 5k

Westerville | May 24-27

This annual tradition returns to the Westerville Sports Complex (325 N. Cleveland Ave) once again offering a weekend of commemoration events including the traditional field of flags (3,000+!). Learn more.

This year, Field of Heroes will put on their 5k Run/Walk for Heroes. Register here.

Dublin Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony

Dublin | May 27 at 11:30 a.m.

The City of Dublin and the Wesley G. Davids Dublin Post 800 of the American Legion will host an event to commemorate those who lost their lives in service at the Grounds of Remembrance in Dublin Veterans Park. Learn more.

Grandview Heights Memorial Parade

Grandview Heights | May 25 at 10 a.m.

Show your support for those who serve during the Memorial Parade, which will begin at First Ave. and Cambridge Ave. and go along First Ave. to Oxley Rd. Learn more.

UACA Memorial Day Run

Upper Arlington | May 27 at 8:30 a.m.

The Upper Arlington Civic Association Memorial Day Run dates back to 1971! This five-mile course races through the streets of UA for serious and casual runners. And there is also a one-mile run which is open to adults and children. Learn more and register here.

Family Time

Memorial Day weekend is always seen as the unofficial start of summer, and there are plenty of opportunities to get outside with friends and family.

Bicentennial Park Picnic

Make a Splash at Bicentennial Park

After being closed for renovation, the Bicentennial Park fountain will reopen on Friday, May 24. Celebrate its return by attending Fountain Fest, two days full of food trucks, live music and free ice cream. Learn more.

Picnic in the Park

Step out of the kitchen and treat yourself and your family to a picnic at one of these picturesque spots. Columbus has so many great options for picnics, like a charcuterie kit from Foris Extraordinary Meats or literally anything from Pecan Penny's. Many places are closed for Memorial Day to give their staff a much-needed rest, so be sure to check ahead of time!

Zoombezi Bay & Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Zoombezi Bay officially opens for the season on May 25 and there are so many things to look forward to this year including ZOOMpass bands and adults-only premium loungers, as well as the return of favorites like basketball activities at Baboon Lagoon and Sand Dollar Shores, the Baboon Lagoon tipping bucket and wave pool waves. Get tickets.