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What you need to know for Memorial Day weekend 2017

Members of the Old Guard place flags in front of every headstone at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Thursday, May 26, 2016. Soldiers were to place nearly a quarter of a million U.S. flags at the cemetery as part of a Memorial Day tradition. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON — There are plenty of ways to mark Memorial Day, particularly in the D.C. area, and that makes it one of the busiest extended weekends of the year. Here’s an overview of what you need to know.

How’s the traffic looking?

If you’re heading for the Bay Bridge, the Maryland Department of Transportation says the usual best times to head out on Friday are before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m. On Saturday, start before 7 a.m. or wait until after 5 p.m.

If you’re using the I-95 Express Lanes, you’ll want to avoid the times between noon and 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday — that’s when toll operator Transurban says tolls will likely be the highest.

Headed elsewhere? Check the collective wisdom of WTOP’s traffic reporters, including the king of them all, Bob Marbourg. They can tell you what’s happened in previous years, though as Marbourg said, “As everybody resolves not to make the same travel mistake they did last year, we run the risk that everybody may make a new mistake all at the same time.” Not a bad observation on life, actually.

How about transit?

MARC and VRE trains are on a weekend schedule for Saturday and Sunday, but aren’t running Monday.

Metro is running on a Sunday schedule on Monday, and, in addition to the station closures on the Orange Line east of Minnesota Avenue (which goes through June 15), the Rhode Island Avenue station on the Red Line is also closed.

Metro buses are on a Sunday schedule. Other bus systems are on a Sunday schedule or not running; check out yours.

I’m not going anywhere. What is there to do in town?

Plenty! The big four events, in chronological order, are:

  • The Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally, which starts Sunday at noon;
  • The Memorial Day Concert, which features Five for Fighting, Vanessa Williams, Christopher Jackson (of “Hamilton”), Auli’I Cravalho (of “Moana”), Scotty McCreery, the National Symphony Orchestra and more. It’s Sunday at 8 p.m.
  • The wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in Arlington National Cemetery, Monday at 11 a.m.
  • The National Memorial Day Parade, at 2 p.m. Monday.

Each of these events has road closures and/or restrictions on what you can bring, so check the situation.

There’s also a parade in Falls Church on Monday, as well as a jazz festival in Alexandria (also Monday) and a three-day street festival in Rockville that features food and music Saturday and Sunday and a parade Monday.

No money?

No problem! All of the above events are free, and there are plenty of other free activities, as well as free food and drink, for the Memorial Day weekend.

What’s the weather looking like?

That’s the bad news. Storm Team 4 meteorologists Lauryn Ricketts and Matt Ritter say it’s not a washout — Friday should be fine — but there are pretty good chances of rain Saturday afternoon, Sunday afternoon and (less so) on Monday.

Even at the beach?

Especially at the beach: Saturday should be sunny, they say, but there’ll be clouds and a good chance of showers Sunday and Monday, with highs only in the 70s.

You can always get the latest updates on the area’s traffic and weather on WTOP.com.


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