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. 

  • CrossFit Hero Workout - "The Murph" | Saturday, May 27: NVMM 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 27: Start your engines at 9 am for the National Ride for Freedom. Join in the fun as hundreds of motorcycles converge on the Museum grounds. Get tickets.

  • Ji Jitsu Seminar with Dustin Ware | Sunday, May 28: Dustin Ware a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu 3rd-Degree black belt is offering a free seminar at 9 am. Register to attend.

  • Memorial Run, Walk, Ruck and Roll 5k | Sunday, May 28: This family event honors America's lost heroes. Registration includes two complimentary Museum tickets, a beer from Taft's Brewporium, a t-shirt and a race challenge coin. 

  • Gold Star Family Candlelight Vigil | Sunday, May 28: Honor the sacrifices of Gold Star families who have lost a loved one in service. The featured guest speaker is Major General (Dr.) Sharon Bannister, U.S. Airforce (Retired), a Gold Star daughter. Register here.

  • Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony | Monday, May 29: Join NVMM in reflection at 10 am, in-person or online to hear from keynote speaker General Michael Garrett, U.S. Army (Retired). Register to attend.

Community Events

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

Field of Heroes & Hero Hike

Westerville | May 26-29

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+!), various ceremonies, bagpipe serenades, flag readings, a free concert, and more. Learn more here.

This year, Field of Heroes will put on their 5k Run/Walk for Heroes benefitting local projects commemorating Westerville's Civil War veterans. Register here.

Find all the other happenings in Westerville during Memorial Day Weekend, here

Grandview Heights Memorial Parade

Grandview Heights | May 27 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 goes along First Ave. to Oxley Rd. Learn more.

UACA Memorial Day Run

Upper Arlington | May 29 at 8 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

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 North Country Charcuterie or literally anything from Ray Ray's Hog Pit. Many places, like Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, are closed for Memorial Day to give their staff a much-needed respite, so be sure to check ahead of time!

Zoombezi Bay & Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Zoombezi Bay officially opens for the season on May 29 and there are so many new 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. Timed tickets are required through June 2 so reserve your spot here now. 

Golf the Day Away

If you're feeling inspired by the pros at the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday, then turn off the TV and test your own skills at one of these great golf spots in Columbus.