Things to Do

Rolling Thunder

This one-day motorcycle event is the largest in the world.

Why you might roll your eyes:

If you’ve been around over Memorial Day weekend, you’ve seen all the motorcyclists in town for this event. Everywhere.

Why you’ll love it:

Instead of just catching glimpses of bikers throughout the weekend, make your way on that Sunday to the Pentagon’s north parking lot by noon (on foot from the Arlington Cemetery Metro stop—roads are closed to traffic) to hear more than 400,000 motorcycle engines start up, and you’ll understand why it’s called Rolling Thunder. From there, riders begin a slow procession along Route 27, over Memorial Bridge, and around the Mall. (If you can’t make it to the parking lot, stake out a viewing spot between the Pentagon and Memorial Bridge—the Virginia side tends to be less crowded.) Rolling Thunder, this year on May 24, began in 1987 to raise awareness about those who may have been prisoners of war or missing in action in Southeast Asia. Now seen by many participants more as a show of patriotism, it’s the largest one-day motorcycle event in the world.

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