Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday in May. However, the festivities in Los Angeles extend over a weekend—three busy days full of events, starting from traditional commemorating ceremonies of service men and women who gave their lives for their country, and ending with community fairs and beach events.
Memorial Day ceremony at Santa Monica Pier (canceled in 2020)
The most iconic Memorial Day ceremony in the Los Angeles area is held at Santa Monica where the sandy beach just north of the famous Santa Monica Pier transforms into a military cemetery. The memorial known as Arlington West honors American soldiers who sacrificed their lives while fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. This project was created by the Los Angeles chapter of Veterans for Peace.
Virtual Memorial Day Celebration at Forest Lawn (May 25, 2020, LIVE on Forest Lawn Facebook page)
Another memorial service takes place at the Forest Lawn cemetery. It includes patriotic music, a rifle salute, a color guard procession, and more.
Other celebrations in the neighborhood
The Sky Rose Chapel at Rose Hills in Whittier features a special concert with the participation of Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, and the American Heritage Ensemble. One more popular location to pay your respects is Battleship USS Iowa in San Pedro. The USS Iowa is a battleship that participated in World War II. The ship is now a museum that offers educational exhibits and public tours. The annual Memorial Day Parade can be seen in Canoga Park, San Fernando Valley. It features military units, marching bands, floats, antique cars, flyovers by the military, and equestrian demonstrations.
Simi Valley Cajun and Blues Festival (canceled in 2020)
Add some more music to your Memorial Day weekend at the Simi Valley Cajun and Blues Festival focusing on Cajun-Creole music. A scenic Simi Valley hosts a few musical stages with Creole, Cajun, zydeco, and blues music. Over 150 booths offer crafts and Louisiana food favorites like jambalaya, po' boy, cornbread, or alligator sausage. A vast kids area has bouncers, carnival rides, rock walls, and talent shows.
Memorial Day Fiesta Hermosa in Hermosa Beach (canceled in 2020 | may be rescheduled to the Labor Day weekend)
Other popular events of the Memorial Day weekend include Fiesta Hermosa held at downtown Hermosa Beach. Over 400 stalls offer arts, crafts, fine foods, and beverages. Entertainment includes live music and a beautiful beach just a few steps away.
Topanga Days at Topanga Canyon (May 23–25, 2020 canceled | May 29–31, 2021)
At last, Topanga Days Festival attracts thousands of visitors to the beautiful Topanga Canyon. Live music, food, arts, and ‘60s hippie spirit make this event one of a kind.