We don’t get many holidays here in the US. In fact, unless you work for the government, there’s a wide gap of over five months from New Year’s Day to Memorial Day before a regular working employee gets another three-day weekend. Fortunately for me, since I’m no longer part of the normal office working community, I am free to make any weekend a long one, but it doesn’t make Memorial Day any less exciting. It remains my favorite holiday of the year because of these seven best Memorial Day events.
7 Best Memorial Day Events and Reasons Why It’s My Favorite Holiday
It Signals the Beginning of Summer
Memorial Day in the United States will always occur on the last Monday of May. In our country, that usually means warmer temperatures (a much needed relief particularly after a long and cold winter), the end of the school year for most states, and swimming pool re-openings. You’ll start to unpack all those tank tops, shorts, and summer dresses in your closet. You’ll also start to wear sandals and open-toe shoes. The waters on the northern shores from Maryland to Maine are starting to warm up and outdoor events and festivals that will go on all summer long like Jazz in the Garden here in Washington, D.C., are starting their seasons. In short, it marks the beginning of summer.
Most Hotels Still Have Their Cheaper Spring Rates
If you book early enough, you would have likely gotten cheaper hotel rates in May compared to June, July, or August, which are considered the peak travel months in the US. In my experience, hotel room rates generally start to increase slightly in May, and then significantly after Memorial Day weekend. According to Statista, there’s a continuous 5% increase on daily hotel room rates after the Memorial Day holiday every month from June to August. Perhaps Memorial Day weekend serves as the travel industry’s vacation barometer.
Airlines Start to Advertise their Summer Airfare Deals
The average domestic airline price in the United States reaches its peak in June but then the prices decrease drastically in July and August. This decrease is caused by a couple of factors. First, air travel is competing with land travel. Some families take on the road rather than fly for their summer holidays. Second, there’s a significant decrease in business travel during the summer months since most of these road warriors are on holiday themselves. With that in mind, you’ll start to see airfare deals for the months of July and August, even up to early fall, right after Memorial Day. So take advantage.
The Weather is Still Nice and Cool
In many areas of the United States, temperatures in May and June are generally pleasant and bearable in comparison to July and August. In Dallas, Texas, where I lived for over a decade, you can see the temperatures begin to rise after the Memorial Day weekend, and if you’ve ever been or lived there, you know that it can get really hot enough to warrant a stay indoors. With that in mind, if you ever wanted a near perfect weather forecast for a long weekend in summer, you’ll likely get it during Memorial Day weekend.
The French Open Begins
The French Open or Roland-Garros, is one of the four Grand Slam tournaments in tennis, a sport that I’ve love watching ever since I was a teenager. Though it isn’t my favorite (that designation will always belong to Wimbledon), I still enjoy watching it, mostly because the tournament’s held in Paris and the French radio commentating gives me the opportunity to practice my French comprehension. Plus it’s entertaining to watch players get down and dirty (literally) on clay.
It’s a Day of Remembrance
It’s a holiday that remembers those who died serving the United States and unlike any other holiday, makes us reflect upon the ultimate sacrifices made by soldiers since the Revolutionary War. It’s a time when people flock to cemeteries and memorials to observe dedications made to those who perished. There’s also something about soldier’s graves decorated with spring flowers and American flags that make them look more poignant.
It’s Also Fleet Week in New York City
I’m not ashamed to admit that Fleet Week in New York City is one of the main reasons why Memorial Day is my favorite holiday. It’s also one of the best Memorial Day events! In addition to the thousands of United States Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard service men and women who pay New York City a visit in their crisps uniforms, there are also plenty of concerts, events, and activities unique to this occasion including the Parade of Ships, aviation demonstrations, and opening up the navy and coast guard ships to the public.