Memorial Day is observed on Monday, May 29th, which means a three-day weekend. While it is a day to remember the sacrifices of the men and women who gave their lives in service to their country, Memorial Day Weekend is also thought by many to be the Unofficial Start of Summer!
With that in mind, we’ve compiled this list for you. You’ll find there are so many things to do, so many things to see, so many places to go!
Scroll down the the section for events happening on Monday, May 29th, to find official observances of Memorial Day, with parades, ceremonies, and other events around Southern California, that honor our American Service Men and Women.
We are grateful for their service.
Memorial Day Events Happening Friday, May 26th through Monday, May 29th
L.A. County Fair
1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona, CA 91768
If you haven’t yet been, Memorial Day weekend is a great time to check out the L.A. County Fair! This year’s theme is “Spring into Fair,” and it’s rooted in every corner of the Fair — “sprouting learning in agriculture, planting thrills in the carnival, filling bags from the shopping harvest and cultivating palates for the best in Fair foods.” Check the website for more information about tickets and schedule of events. Don’t miss out – the last day of the Fair is Monday, May 29th.
LA Fleet Week
250 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro, CA
LA Fleet Week is “an annual, multi-day celebration of our nation’s Sea Services.” The event is being held over the extended Memorial Day Weekend from Friday, May 26th through Monday, May 29th. The free event includes tours of active duty ships, live entertainment, aircraft flyovers, military displays and equipment demonstrations, and much more. Check the website for details and information regarding parking and shuttle options.
63rd Annual Garden Grove Strawberry Festival
Village Green – between Euclid & Main St., Garden Grove, CA
The 63rd Annual Garden Grove Strawberry Festival is happening all weekend long, from Friday, May 26th through Monday, May 29th. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Kindness.” The fun includes a Parade (on Saturday, May 27th), rides, vendor booths, live musical performances, strawberries, and lots more! Details are available on the website.
Memorial Day Events Happening Friday, May 26th and Saturday, May 27th
LA State Historic Park
1245 N. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90012
Cinespia is showing two outdoor movies Memorial Day weekend. On Friday, May 26th there is an 8:30 pm showing of Mrs. Doubtfire (rated PG-13) starring Robin Williams. And on Saturday, May 27th there is a screening of 10 Things I Hate About You (rated PG-13) starring Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger. On both nights doors open at 7:00 pm, and the movie starts at 8:30 pm. A free photobooth will be on-site, and snacks and refreshments will be available for purchase. Tickets are available online.
Memorial Day Events Happening Saturday, May 27th and Sunday, May 28th
OC Fair and Event Center
88 Fair Dr., Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Scottish Fest is happening on Saturday, May 27th and Sunday, May 28th. You’ll find lots of “family fun with bagpipes, drums, Highland dancing, Scottish clans and genealogy, Scottish athletics, shopping, food and so much more.” Details, as well as ticket information, are available online.
Memorial Day Events Happening Saturday, May 27th through Monday, May 29th
Downtown Hermosa Beach
Fiesta Hermosa, the annual special event, is happening Memorial Day weekend – Saturday, May 27th through Monday, May 29th. “For over 50 years, this unique blend of art and entertainment has been a staple in the South Bay community.” The fun includes live musical performances, big rides, food, games, Makers Mercado featuring more than 200 vendors, and much more. Check the website for all the details.
48th Annual Topanga Days Country Fair
1440 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA
The 48th Annual Topanga Days Country Fair is happening Memorial Day weekend – Saturday, May 27th through Monday, May 29th from 10 am to 7 pm each day. A Parade is scheduled for Monday, May 29th. The fun includes live entertainment, a variety of vendors, food, games, and more. This special event is a fundraiser for the Topanga Community Center. Details, including information on parking and shuttles as well as ticket information, are available online.
Multiple locations in La Cañada Flintridge
Over Memorial Day Weekend, residents and visitors to La Cañada Flintridge gather to “celebrate, remember, and respect.” This special event honors veterans and the city’s Spanish heritage. Fiesta Days include a parade, car show, outdoor movie, farmers market, and more. Check the website for all the details. Activities are planned for Saturday, May 27th through Monday, May 29th.
Annual Memorial Weekend Carnival
Santa Anita Park
285 W. Huntington Dr., Arcadia, CA 91007
The Annual Memorial Weekend Carnival at Santa Anita Park is scheduled for Saturday, May 27th through Monday, May 29th. The fun includes inflatable jumpers, carnival games and rides, pony rides, arts and crafts, face painting, and more. Carnival tickets are required for certain attractions; however, children 17 and younger are admitted for free. Details and ticket information are available online.
Memorial Day Events Happening Saturday, May 27th
25th Annual Tribute to Veterans and Military Families
Arcadia County Park
405 S. Santa Anita Ave., Arcadia, CA 91006
The 25th Annual Tribute to Veterans and Military Families is happening on Saturday, May 27th from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger is hosting this special event. Exhibitors will be on-hand to highlight a variety of wellness programs, veteran and military family resources, military history, and more. This is a free event and open to the public. No RSVP is required.
Community Day of Play
Southern California Children’s Museum
459 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91101
Southern California Children’s Museum is hosting a Community Day of Play on Saturday, May 27th from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. “In celebration of our 10th anniversary, we are inviting everyone to engage with the power of play through arts-based activities, musical performances, and social services information from community service tabling partners.”
8th Annual MAINopoly: A Taste of Main Street
Santa Monica, CA
Participate in MAINopoly in Santa Monica on Saturday, May 27th from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. This fun, all-ages event is “a fun take on the classic board game, giving players access to tastings at over 20 participating locations. Stop at every location for a chance to win a Taste of Main Street Prize Package. Monopoly themed attire is encouraged.” All the details, including ticket information, are available online.
Rooftop Cinema Club Arts District: Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania
777 S. Alameda St., Los Angeles, CA
Rooftop Cinema Club Arts District is screening Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania on Saturday, May 27th at 4:15 pm. Refreshments and concession stand favorites are available for purchase on-site. Tickets are available online. (The movie is rated PG-13.)
Memorial Day Events Happening Sunday, May 28th
Street Food Cinema: SFC x D23 Present: Mulan 25th Anniversary
LA State Historic Park
1245 N. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90012
Visit LA State Historic Park on Sunday, May 28th for an outdoor showing of the Disney film Mulan. Doors open at 5:30 pm, and the movie starts at 8:00 pm. But come early because there is plenty to see and do. There will be live musical performances and multiple food trucks on-site. This is a dog-friendly event. Tickets are available online.
Marina Culture Jam
Burton Chace Park
13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey, CA 90292
On Sunday, May 28th visit Burton Chace Park for Marina Culture Jam. This special event features “live performances, arts and crafts, cultural learning activities, and much more.” Korean Classical Music and Dance Company will perform at 11:30 am and Kayamanan Ng Lahi will perform at 1:30 pm. The cultural workshop is scheduled for 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. RSVP online for this free event.
Memorial Day Events Happening Monday, May 29th
Memorial Day: A Day to Remember
Multiple Locations including
6300 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90068
All six Southern California Forest Lawn locations are hosting special Memorial Day commemorations. The Hollywood Hills event is the featured commemoration this year and features keynote speakers, patriotic music, presentation and retiring of the flag, and more. Events at the Hollywood Hills location begin at 10:00 am; however, families are encouraged to arrive one hour earlier to allow enough time to find parking and leisurely stroll through the grounds before the events begin. Admission and parking are free. Details are available online.
2023 Memorial Day Ceremony
Colonel Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park
4 Civic Center Plaza, Irvine, CA 92606
The City of Irvine is hosting its annual Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday, May 29th at 10:00 am. “Attendees can memorialize our troops’ sacrifice by writing down a brief remembrance that will be posted on a memory board at the event.” In addition, families can fill out cards to send a “message of appreciation and support to members of Irvine’s adopted 2/11 Marine Battalion.”
Memorial Day Observance
100 N. Calle Seville, San Clemente, CA 92672
The City of San Clemente is hosting a Memorial Day Observance on Monday, May 29th from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm. This free, outdoor program commemorates fallen veterans. Seating is limited; families are encouraged to come early to allow for plenty of time to find parking.
Annual Memorial Day Air Fair and Flower Drop
Palm Springs Air Museum
745 N. Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs, CA 92262
Celebrate Memorial Day at the Palm Springs Air Museum at their Annual Memorial Day Air Fair and Flower Drop. To honor “fallen comrades who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms,” there is a special flyover and flower drop of over 3,000 red and white carnations from a B-25 Mitchell bomber. Visitors are welcome to pick up a flower to take home. Flight exhibitions and activities are scheduled throughout the day. The Memorial Ceremony and Flower Drop is scheduled for 1:00 pm.
The History of Memorial Day
Memorial Day is a Federal holiday in the United States that is observed on the last Monday of May each year. It is a day to honor and remember the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. The holiday has its roots in the aftermath of the Civil War, which ended in 1865. In the years following the war, communities across the country began holding ceremonies to honor the soldiers who had died in the conflict.
The first official observance of Memorial Day was held on May 30, 1868, when General John A. Logan, the commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued a proclamation calling for a national day of remembrance for the Union soldiers who had died in the Civil War. The day was originally called Decoration Day, and it was designated as a time for decorating the graves of the fallen soldiers with flowers and other decorations.
Over time, Memorial Day came to honor all Americans who had died while serving in the military, not just those who had died in the Civil War. In 1971, Congress passed the National Holiday Act, which made Memorial Day a Federal holiday and moved its observance to the last Monday in May.
We hope you enjoy and celebrate the memories of those who’ve served our country this Memorial Day.
Wendy Kennar is a mother, writer, and former teacher who has lived her entire life in the same Los Angeles zip code. You can read more from Wendy at her website WendyKennar.com where she writes about books, boys, and bodies (living with an invisible disability).
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