When is Memorial Day 2011?
Memorial Day is the American holiday that honors those who have given their lives in military service. Patriotic celebrations are popular, especially in Washington DC, with special ceremonies all over the city. On Sunday evening, PBS sponsors a free concert on the West Lawn of the US Capitol, featuring popular entertainers and the National Symphony Orchestra. On Monday, you can witness memorial ceremonies at national cemeteries and memorials, and attend the National Memorial Day Parade down Constitution Avenue.
Historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is another great place to spend a patriotic Memorial Day. This year, there will be a parade followed by the annual Memorial Day service at Soldiers National Monument in the Gettysburg National Cemetery.
In addition to patriotic observances, Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer. Memorial Day will begin this year's peak season in beach travel all over the country – if you're looking to kick off the summer by kicking off your shoes in the sand, start looking early or you'll find a lot of beach destinations all booked up. Because almost everyone in the country gets a long weekend for the holiday, it's a very popular time to travel. Be prepared for congested highways and crowded airports, as well as premium prices – but you can find deals at some hot travel destinations. For example, Southernmost Hotel Collection in Key West is offering 10% off a 3-night stay or 15% off a 4-night stay between May 22 and June 2 when you book your Memorial Day getaway by March 31.
Another long-standing Memorial Day tradition is the Indianapolis 500, the 500-mile IndyCar race held on the Sunday before Memorial Day in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition to the most famous auto race of the year, events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Memorial Day weekend include opportunities to meet the drivers and entertainment all weekend long.
Even if you don't make a major travel weekend out of the Memorial Day 2011 holiday, there are still plenty of traditions you can enjoy at home. Picnics, a trip to the pool, your first BBQ of the year – and don't miss out on all the shopping. Memorial Day is one of the biggest sales events of the year. If your favorite beach resort is all booked up before you can grab a reservation, maybe you want to check out the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN instead?