Passionate About the Portland area
and the Moms Who Live Here

Staycation: 7 Things To Do On Memorial Day Weekend

Historically, Memorial Day is a holiday to honor military personnel who have given their lives in the line of duty. Since many employers and almost all schools have a three-day weekend, a lot of people choose to celebrate this weekend with sale-hopping, camp-outs or barbecues. Whichever suits your fancy, here are some last-minute ideas for spending your Memorial Day Weekend around Portland.

memorial day

  1. Rose Festival

  • City Fair on the waterfront opens Friday, May 27 at 5 p.m. and goes through Memorial Day evening with rides, vendors, and family fun
  • Fireworks over the Willamette mark the start of the annual festivities Friday, May 27 at 8 p.m. (or dusk)
  1. Camping

While it’s rarely dry on this weekend in Portland (but looks like it’s gonna be nice this year!), Memorial Day weekend is very popular with the campers. Didn’t reserve ahead of time? No problem! Many state and privately-owned campgrounds allow first-come-first-served reservations. But, get there early on Friday, or better yet, Thursday!

  1. Memorial Day Veteran Celebrations (May 30)

  • Willamette National Cemetery has their annual Memorial Day Program with patriotic music, flag displays, a rifle salute and fly-over at 10 a.m.
  • Memorial Day program at the Oregon Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Reading of names, fly-over, and guest speaker starting at 10 a.m.
  • Washington County Memorial Day ceremony honors veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice. 2-3 p.m.
  • Celebrate Memorial Day at the Rose Festival with a commemorative ceremony at 2:15 p.m., followed by an Oregon Guard jet fly-over, moment of silence, and 21-gun salute at 3:00.
  1. Shop ‘Til You Drop

Feel like shopping? Many stores have fantastic Memorial Day sales with some of the best discounts of the year online or in store, many of which have already begun!

  1. Barbecue

Who doesn’t love a Memorial Day barbecue with grilled meats, the first fresh veggies of the season, beer, and of course all-American favorite strawberry shortcake! Go shopping on Friday and take advantage of Memorial Day grocery store sales, too!

  1. “Flags In”

I grew up putting flags on the area graves with my war veteran father and grandfather. While you will certainly see flags covering the cemeteries of military veterans, it’s also a nice time to visit and place flags or flowers on the graves of other loved ones. Here are some of the bigger cemeteries around town:

  1. Road Trip

It’s the last long weekend before school’s out; why not head out of town for a pre-summer road trip? Pack up and stay at the beach, Mt. Hood, wine country, Central/Eastern/Southern Oregon, or Mount St. Helens. We live in a great place with lots of stuff nearby, the possibilities are endless!

What are your plans for this Memorial Day Weekend?

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