Memorial Day weekend in D.C. presents a special commuting challenge for hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors who plan to visit Washington to honor America’s war dead, but we’re here to help. Let’s ensure you know everything that’s going on.
Friday features a 5 p.m. “Blessing of the Bikes” for Rolling Thunder participants and a 9 p.m. candlelight vigil at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. At Nationals Park, the Nats host the San Diego Padres at 7:05 p.m. Friday. Up the road from Nats Park, the Marine Barracks at 8th and I Streets will host the Evening Parade at 8:45-10 p.m.
On Saturday, Rolling Thunder’s “Thunder Alley” vendor site takes place from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and the Padres-Nats game starts at 4:05 p.m. at Nats Park.
Sunday features several huge gatherings. The 30th annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally starts at 8 a.m. at the Pentagon North Parking Lot, followed by a ride around the National Mall that concludes at West Potomac Park. The Padres-Nats game starts at 1:35 p.m., while the National Memorial Day Parade begins at 2 p.m. along Constitution Avenue, starting at 17th Street NW and ending at 7th Street NW. Several hours later, the PBS National Memorial Day Concert is scheduled from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.
There are fewer mass gatherings on Memorial Day, but there are numerous wreath-laying ceremonies — 9 a.m. at the World War II Memorial, 11 a.m. at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery and 1 p.m. at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
The mad rush will begin at noon Friday — hundreds of thousands of D.C. motorists will fill roads and highways to get out of town, while hundreds of thousands more will be coming into town via I-66, I-95 and U.S. 50. Motorists should plan ahead, schedule trips around the peak driving times and identify alternate routes leading to their D.C. destinations.
Despite the disruptions brought by SafeTrack #15 maintenance, Metrorail provides the best option for people trying to get around the city. Be wary of the shuttered stations on the far eastern end of the Orange Line beyond Stadium-Armory — particularly in light of reports about delays and no-shows for the Metro X-line buses that are supposed to take people from the Minnesota Avenue stations to downtown D.C.