fb-pixel Skip to main content
AROUND RI

What to do in Rhode Island this Memorial Day weekend

From parades and displays to boat rides and beer gardens, here are some ways to commemorate and celebrate this weekend

Army Sgt. Dennis P. Weichel, Jr. of Providence was killed in 2012 in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2016, Operation Stand Down RI launched the Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial which presented almost 7,000 combat boots adorned with flags and placards. Each boot represents the life of a U.S. service member killed in action post 9-11 in the Global War on Terror.
Army Sgt. Dennis P. Weichel, Jr. of Providence was killed in 2012 in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2016, Operation Stand Down RI launched the Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial which presented almost 7,000 combat boots adorned with flags and placards. Each boot represents the life of a U.S. service member killed in action post 9-11 in the Global War on Terror.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

PROVIDENCE — It’s been a week since Rhode Island fully reopened, and Memorial Day weekend is the first celebration since “The Before Times” where people can gather without limits and, for most businesses, capacity caps are a thing of the past. Here are some options if you’re looking for things to do or places to go this weekend.

What can I do near Newport?

  • Morning Mimosas on a boat: Rise and shine and fill those champagne flutes on a sleek (and comfortable) 80-foot schooner. The ship will depart Bowen’s Wharf once on Friday morning, two times will be available each morning on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday so that you can explore the waters in Newport Harbor and on Narragansett Bay. Each ride will last for about 90 minutes. Complimentary mimosas are included, but you can bring your own brunch. Buy tickets online.
  • Sunset Sailing: Hop on a legendary 70-foot America’s Cup yachts for two hours to explore the local coastline. Packages are available throughout the weekend at various times. Buy tickets online.
  • Take a tour on a bike rail: Think of a ride where the train tracks meet your bike pedals. Rail Explorers, founded in 2012, allows you to ride the train tracks using pedal-powered carts. They operate in four locations throughout the US, including along Rhode Island’s coastline where the Old Colony Railroad, built in 1862, still stands. The rails meander alongside Narragansett Bay with views of Jamestown, the Mount Hope Bridge, Hog Island Lighthouse, and coastal woodlands. Book here.
Operation Stand Down Rhode Island hosts an annual memorial event at Fort Adams in Newport, Rhode Island that presents the thousands of service member lives lost in action post-9/11 in the Global War on Terror.
Operation Stand Down Rhode Island hosts an annual memorial event at Fort Adams in Newport, Rhode Island that presents the thousands of service member lives lost in action post-9/11 in the Global War on Terror. Operation Stand Down Rhode Island
  • Remember the fallen: Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial will honor the more than 7,000 American service members who have lost their lives while serving in US military forces in the Global War on Terror after September 11, 2001— including 29 veterans from Rhode Island. Read more about the Memorial that will be at Fort Adams this weekend here. Tickets are not required and to view the memorial is free to the public.
  • Art gallery on Thames: The Coastal Contemporary Gallery is celebrating its third year of business, and a new exhibition will feature a selection of work will bring a “unique and edgy vibe” to the historic sea town of Newport with artists that are both new and emerging, as well as those already established. Some will have regional connections, as others will be from all over the US. The gallery is free to view from 12 to 5 p.m. every day at 491 Thames Street, Newport RI 02840. Visit the gallery’s website for more information.
  • Comedy for charity. With beer, of course: Curbside Comedy wants to raise $10,000 for charity by delivering live, socially-distanced stand up comedy. Go to Newport Craft Brewing & Distillery on Friday at 7:30 p.m. to watch New York City comedians Lukas Arnold and Debankur with Curbside Comedy co-founder Connor Kwiecien. And 50 percent of the ticket purchase will go to Comedy Gives Back and Newport Mental Health. Buy tickets here.
  • DJ Nook at Gurney’s Newport: DJ Nook will be playing at Gurney’s Newport at The Pineapple Club. Their show runs from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. For an ideal place to sip, swim and listen to tunes, book a table on OpenTable.
  • Join local foodies: Newport Foodies Stroll, one of the city’s latest food tours and attractions, will take you through the historic streets of Newport and take you to five restaurants that focus on a variety of dishes. Book tickets here.
  • Bringing the 80s back: Break out the AquaNet and your old fishnet stockings. On Saturday, Coastal Queen will be boarding all who still love hair bands as they cruise along Newport Harbor and the Jamestown shoreline. You’ll spot historic landmarks like the Newport Bridge, Hammersmith Farm, Horsehead, and Rose Island Lighthouse. Masks will be required, along with a valid ID. And being able to listen to Journey’s greatest hits will probably be a prerequisite. Book tickets here.

What can I do near Portsmouth?

  • The Porsche Exhibit: Not up for the outdoors? Check out this pop-up Porsche exhibit that adds nine new acquisitions to the Newport Car Museum’s private collection of more than 80 exotic and rare cars. Additional galleries will display “cars as art,” which will include Ford’s Shelby, Corvettes, Fin Cars, Mopars and Muscle Cars. The museum is open daily in Portsmouth from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Purchase tickets here.
  • Pop-up market with local artisans: Head to Flos Clam Shack in Portsmouth for a pop-up market from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday. Get more details here.

What can I do near Bristol?

  • A parade, of course: Finally. After over a year without any mass gatherings, you can go check out a Memorial Day parade for an ultimate celebration. The Bristol Memorial Day parade, hosted by the VFW Post 237 will begin at 9:00 a.m., starting at Colt State Park and ending at Burnside Memorial Building. See more details here.
  • Tea and Scones: Catch up with friends outside on one of Blithewold’s porches for a cup of hot or iced tea and freshly baked scones with clotted cream. You’ll also have a view of the Bay and Blithwold’s gardens. Seating is still available for Friday. Buy tickets here.

What can I do near Providence?

  • Bubbles on a boat: Providence River Boat is offering their Twilight River Cruises on weekend nights starting at 8 p.m. where complimentary wine and prosecco will be offered. Buy tickets here.
  • Asian Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo: Take a journey through illuminated larger-than-life lanterns with a zoo-wide walk through. This event will occur in the rain or shine. Tickets are only available in advance. Purchase them here.
  • Providence GPub Beer Garden opens: Orange Street is officially off limits to cars and officially on for all craft beer lovers as of Friday. Live entertainment will be available on Saturday nights from 6 to 9 p.m. See more here.
  • Providence Ghost Tour: Take a lantern-lit walking tour through the historic East Side of Providence over the course of 90 minutes on Friday night. Purchase tickets and find more information here.

What can I do near Warwick?

  • Outdoor marketplace: Shop more than 80 vendors, crafters, and food trucks on the grounds of the Crown Plaza Hotel in Warwick from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Food trucks will also be available. Find more information here.
  • Music on the Hill: Enjoy tunes with the Narragansett Brass Quintet on Sunday at 3 p.m. on the lawn at the Clouds Hill Victorian House Museum. Find more information here.

What can I do near East Greenwich?

  • Another parade: The parade will step off from the Academy Field at 10 a.m. and conclude at 11 a.m. at the World War II Memorial on the corner of Cliff Street. There is no rain date. In the event of inclement weather, a ceremony will be held inside the Swift Community Center at 121 Peirce Street. More information is available here.

What can I do near Johnston?

  • Annual car show: Check out an array of classic cars at Johnston Memorial Park on Monday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hot dogs, sausage and peppers will be available for sale to benefit the Johnston Little League. Find more information here.




Alexa Gagosz can be reached at alexa.gagosz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz. Carlos Muñoz can be reached at carlos.munoz@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @ReadCarlos.