Memorial Day Guide for Chicago Families

We’ve put together a full day itinerary to help your family celebrate Memorial Day.

Memorial Day is more than just a three-day weekend that kicks off the summer season. It’s also a time to remember all the military men and women who have made this country what it is.

If you’re planning to head to a parade, you might be able to catch one this year or you can simply attend a virtual event to teach your kids about patriotism. Then end your day with some great food with an easy summertime grill.

We’ve put together a full day itinerary to help you family celebrate Memorial Day, from parades to patriotic desserts. Have a great Memorial Day weekend! If you’re looking for more kid-friendly activities, check out our summer family guide.


Many Memorial Day parades and ceremonies have been canceled in 2021 due to the pandemic. You can see some of our family-friendly picks below and find more Memorial Day events listed in our calendar. 

Chicago Memorial Day Wreath Laying Ceremony and Parade

May 28, 2022

The wreath laying ceremony will begin at 11 the Richard J. Daley Center Plaza. The parade kicks off at noon and proceeds south on State Street from Lake Street to Van Buren Street.

Aurora Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022

The parade route will begin at the intersection of Benton Street and River Street. Then, it will head east on Benton, north on Broadway, west on Downer Place and end at River Street.

Park Ridge Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022

This annual parade in Park Ridge honors the fallen soldiers that fought for our country.


After spending the day out, head home to enjoy a good meal. Having a small Memorial Day get together with your bubble? We rounded up grilling and other great recipes to enjoy with the entire family.

Kid-Friendly Recipes for the Grill (Epicurious)

 You can’t leave out the grill when cooking for Memorial Day weekend. Epicurious cobbled together kid-friendly recipes (besides hot dogs) to make on the grill. You can try grilling campfire potatoes, sliders, quesadillas and more. 

No-Cook Meals for Hot Summer Days

Want a quick dinner that won’t heat up your kitchen? These no-cook recipes are quick, simple and packed with flavor. Our personal favorite on the list is the BBQ chicken salad. Plus, you can grab pre-cooked chicken from the grocery store to make it super easy.   

DIY Popsicle Recipes

Even if the temps aren’t that high yet, popsicles still make a yummy treat. Make it a fun Memorial Day activity with one of these homemade popsicle recipes. Flavors include cookie dough, fresh berry and more.   

More Activities

Memorial Day Crafts

 It wouldn’t be a Memorial Day celebration without red, white and blue decorations. If you don’t have a flag currently, you can try painted lawn stars or patriotic painted rocks. Learn how to make these crafts.

Pritzker Military Museum and Library

 Located in Downtown Chicago, learn about military history from the past and present. The museum recently opened a new exhibit, Drawn to Combat: Bill Mauldin & The Art of War, featuring nearly 150 of the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist’s drawings. Admission is always free on Memorial Day, though reserve spots early for your family.

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This article originally published on May 17, 2011. It has been updated with the most recent information. 

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