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.
National Veterans Memorial and Museum
We are 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.
Exclusive Film Premiere of “A Rendezvous with Destiny” documentary
NVMM is proud to host the exclusive premiere of Emmy Award-winning director Tracie Hunter’s World War II documentary, “A Rendezvous with Destiny” on Mya 29 at 6 p.m., based on the book, “Three of the Last Screaming Eagles,” by Jos Groen. One or more of the WWII, 101st Airborne Veterans from the film, who parachuted into Normandy the night before D-Day and fought their way to Hitler’s Eagles Nest, will be present. Purchase tickets here to witness heroism and bravery as they share their stories in their own words.
Many communities across Central Ohio are celebrating Memorial Day with parades, 5K races and more.
Field of Heroes & Hero Hike
Westerville | May 28-31
This annual tradition returns to the park across from the Westerville Community Center, once again offering both walk- and drive-thru opportunities. Learn more here.
This year, Field of Heroes has modified the annual 5k to the “Hero Hike” to allow people to purchase an exclusive package that includes an official Field of Heroes t-shirt featuring the 2021 theme of Dignity & Duty, a limited-edition commemorative challenge coin, flag coupon, and other goodies in a Field of Heroes recyclable tote. Routes are one, two or three miles and each participant can choose one to complete at their leisure anytime throughout the weekend. All routes will start/finish within the 3,000 full size American flags. Register here.
Grandview Heights Memorial Parade
Grandview Heights | May 29 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. Both Participants and Spectators will are expected to follow guidelines set by the State of Ohio.
UACA Memorial Day Run
Upper Arlington | May 31 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.
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.
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 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.