Events

Your Guide to Memorial Day 2018 Events around Boston

From the Garden of Flags to the Campfire.festival, there's more than enough going on in Boston to keep you busy this holiday weekend.


Small American flags line Boston Common

Photo by Yiqing Shao

Dust off your white pants and get the grill going, Boston: It’s finally Memorial Day. After yet another Boston winter and what seemed to be infinite nor’easters, we’ve surely earned the sweetest peaches and sunniest skies summer has to offer. Monday, of course, is the official start to the season, and the Hub knows how to kick things off with gusto. From honoring our troops to taking advantage of free museums, here are some Boston-area events to enjoy this Memorial Day.

Garden of Flags

First and foremost, Memorial Day is about the military heroes who have given their lives for our freedom. More than 37,000 service members from Massachusetts have died fighting for the country since the Revolutionary War, and as is tradition in Boston, volunteers will plant a flag in honor of each and every one of them around the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. The sobering display will dot the Common from Wednesday afternoon through Monday evening.

May 23-May 28, all day starting at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Boston Common; 139 Tremont St.; Boston, massmilitaryheroes.org.

Free Admission Day at the MFA and the ICA

Monday is the perfect time to enjoy some work—artistic work, that is. If you’re lucky enough to have the day off, take a gander at some of the tremendous art on display at the Museum of Fine Arts and the Institute of Contemporary Art for the price of the air we breathe ($0). From Kevin Beasley’s sculptures exploring the intersection of sound and clothing at the ICA, to the curtain calls for the MFA’s Gustav Klimt and M.C. Escher exhibitions, there’s more than enough thought-provoking work to take in for the day. And there will be several art-making activities, talks, and guided tours at the MFA to keep youngsters engaged, too.

May 28, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Museum of Fine Arts; 465 Huntington Ave., Boston; mfa.org

May 28, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Institute of Contemporary Art; 25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston; icaboston.org.

Memorial Day Parades

It’s not a holiday if there’s not a parade, and greater Boston has processions in spades this weekend. From Newton and Cambridge to Medford and Watertown, veterans, elected officials, first responders, and others will gather to honor fallen service members. Following a cannon salute at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, participants in Cambridge will make their way from the city’s common to the Cambridge Cemetery on Coolidge Ave. for an observance.

Various times, check your community’s official website.

Free Ferry Day

Don’t miss this chance to explore the Harbor Islands for free. Hop on the ferry to Georges Island to explore the Civil War-era Fort Warren and take in stunning views of the Boston skyline, or head to Spectacle Island for some quality hiking and beaches. Boats will be running between Boston’s Long Wharf North and the islands starting at 10 a.m.

May 26, various times; Long Wharf, Boston; bostonharborislands.org.

Boston Calling

Eminem, The Killers, and Jack White are headlining Boston’s biggest music festival, which will take over the Harvard Athletic Complex from Friday through Sunday. With esteemed local musical acts, fan-favorite podcasters, and mouth-watering food, there’s a lot to take in all weekend. And we’ll be covering it all—check back here at the site over the weekend for our live blog and all the other festival coverage you need.

May 25-May 27, Friday starting at 2:45, all day Saturday and Sunday, Harvard Athletic Complex; 65 N. Harvard St., Boston; bostoncalling.com.

Campfire.festival

If you’re hoping for a more low-key musical experience this Memorial Day, look no further than the Campfire.festival. Created to help artists fill what’s typically a sparse weekend for show bookings, the four-day event captures the spirit of musicians strumming around a campfire—and encourages audience members to sing along, too.

May 25-May 28, Friday 6 p.m.-12 a.m., Saturday and Sunday 12 p.m.-12 a.m., Monday 12 p.m.-11 p.m., Club Passim; 47 Palmer St., Cambridge; passim.org.

Honoring our Heroes at the USS Constitution Museum

Get a feel for what life was like aboard “Old Ironsides” for crewmembers during the War of 1812 this Memorial Day. In conjunction with Operation Gratitude, a nonprofit that sends care packages to service members, museum visitors will have the chance to make special bracelets for the troops and write them thank you notes throughout the weekend.

May 26-May 28, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., USS Constitution Museum; Charlestown Navy Yard, Building 22, Charlestown; ussconstitutionmuseum.org.