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No Memorial Day plans? No problem.

“Washingtonian” staffers’ tips on what to do while you’re stuck in town for the long weekend.

Watch the planes at Gravelly Point. Photograph by Flickr user Yogesh Mhatre.

According to this morning’s Washington Post, 875,000 Washingtonians plan to leave town this weekend, which is bad news for traffic but great news for those of us staying home. No need to hide in your air-conditioned apartment: We’ve rounded up our favorite things to do, see, and eat right here on Memorial Day weekend.

• Escape the Mall crowds by heading to the National Arboretum instead, where Chinese dogwoods, Southern magnolias, lilies, herbaceous peonies, and old garden roses are currently in full bloom.

• Head to a perch on an I-66 overpass and watch Rolling Thunder go by.

• Enjoy a cookout in Rock Creek Park.

• Take a picnic to Gravelly Point and watch the planes fly overhead.

• Catch the end of the roses in the United States Botanic Garden and see the recently restored Bartholdi Fountain in all its glory.

• Grab a Kingston sandwich—a baguette with jerk chicken, slaw, and pineapple salsa—at Sundevich and pretend you’re somewhere tropical.

• Take a mini road trip to find great barbecue at either Blues BBQ Truck in Frederick or the BBQ Joint in Easton.

• Get a crowd-free preview of the National Symphony Orchestra’s concert on the Capitol’s West Lawn the night before (Saturday), when they rehearse the entire show outdoors.

• Take a day trip to Annapolis, and walk down Main Street. Stop for ice cream at Storm Brothers, and have lunch at the Boatyard or a cocktail by the water at Pusser’s.

• Also in Annapolis, go for crabs at Cantler’s.

• Take a guided Gargoyle Tour at the National Cathedral (Sunday at 2 PM), and try to spot the Darth Vader grotesque. Ruminate and relax in the Bishop’s Garden and the rest of the cathedral’s grounds.

• Take a bike ride to Mount Vernon.

• Swim laps, picnic, or play putt-putt at East Potomac Park.

• Rent a kayak at Jack’s Boathouse, and try to spot Air Force One overhead while you paddle down the Potomac.

• Take advantage of the (slightly) shorter lines at Georgetown Cupcake.

• Head to Great Falls Park and hike one of the trails by the water, or take a picnic.

• If it’s intolerably hot outside, take shelter by the indoor fountain in the National Gallery’s air-conditioned West Building, and enjoy the newly revamped French Galleries. You can head via the underpass to the East Building to see the blockbuster Miró exhibit next door, and pick up gelato in the cafeteria on the way.

What are your favorite things to do in Washington on Memorial Day weekend? Let us know in the comments.

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  • AM Veteranscenter

    Or attend the 2012 National Memorial Day Parade on Monday the 28th at 2:00! This is the largest Memorial Day event in the nation, with hundreds of thousands of attendees and national television coverage

    The parade will feature celebrity veterans and veterans supporters, including:
    - Grand Marshal Chuck Yeager - Legendary Air Force test pilot.
    - Actors Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna
    - Buzz Aldrin - Famed Apollo 11 Astronaut
    - Musical performances by Kris Allen (American Idol winner), Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler, TSgt. Angie Johnson (contestant on this season of The Voice), acclaimed musical artist G. Love (of G. Love and Special Sauce)
    - Veterans of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American aviators in U.S. military history.
    - "Ace" pilots of the Korean War
    - Nearly 1,000 active duty service members from the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.
    - And much more!

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