Vietnam veterans monument and mural in South Chicago. (Provided by Ald. Peter Chico’s office)

Whether laying wreaths, flying American flags or donning red poppies, Chicagoans unite over Memorial Day weekend to honor veterans who served in the U.S. military.

A member of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, also known as The Old Guard, places flags in front of each headstone for "Flags-In" at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Thursday, May 25, 2023, to honor the Nation's fallen military heroes ahead of Memorial Day. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Memorial Day is supposed to be about mourning the nation’s fallen service members, but it’s come to anchor the unofficial start of summer and a long weekend of discounts on anything from mattresses to lawn mowers.

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“I feel confident in the plan that we have for this weekend, and really for the summer," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Friday.

(Courtesy of Special Events Management)

Street fests, live music, craft brews and beach season usher in the weekend. Here are 12 things to do in and around Chicago this weekend.

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Full-capacity block parties will return to the city’s streets starting July 5 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wane — but bounce houses will not be allowed, officials announced Thursday. Applications for the street gatherings will be accepted starting June 6.

Chicago is home to an armory of art created by members of our armed forces. With Veterans Day in mind, we bring you another look at a visit to the National Veterans Art Museum for a virtual tour.

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Chicago saw its most violent Memorial Day weekend in five years, despite a stay-at-home order meant to keep people inside during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Memorial Day is traditionally a time to honor dead members of the armed forces. But this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has emerged as a new war for many veterans.

U.S. Army veteran Joseph Lesniak of Colver, Pa., salutes during the playing of Taps at a Memorial Day ceremony at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Park, in Ebensburg, Pa., Monday, May 25. 2020. (John Rucosky / The Tribune-Democrat via AP)

Americans marked a Memorial Day like no other Monday as the coronavirus pandemic upended traditional commemorations. In Chicago, a neighborhood group that’s been holding a parade for more than a half century moved its event online.

New York City Parks officials work at an empty Orchard Beach Saturday, May 23, 2020, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo / Frank Franklin II)

President Donald Trump played golf at one of his courses Saturday during the Memorial Day weekend as he urged U.S. states to reopen after coronavirus-related lockdowns. Yet many Americans remained cautious.

Beachgoers relax on the shore at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, Mass., Friday, May 22, 2020. Beaches in Gloucester reopened with restrictions on Friday after being closed two months ago due to the pandemic. (AP Photo / Charles Krupa)

Medical experts warn that the virus won’t take a holiday for the unofficial start of summer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people stay home, avoid crowds and connect with family and friends by phone or video chat.

President Donald Trump speaks during a “Rolling to Remember Ceremony,” to honor the nation’s veterans and POW/MIA, from the Truman Balcony of the White House, Friday, May 22, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo / Alex Brandon)

President Donald Trump on Friday turned an early Memorial Day remembrance of fallen U.S. service members into a quasi reelection campaign rally with bikers on the White House lawn.

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Chicago police Superintendent David Brown said officers will be “visible and present” in neighborhoods throughout the summer and will be “on the lookout” for large gatherings.

Too many visitors are flocking to the most popular forest preserves and ignoring social distancing rules. (Raed Mansour / Flickr)

Memorial Day is traditionally one of the busiest weekends in the Forest Preserves, but because of COVID-19, people are being encouraged to hold cookouts, picnics and other holiday activities at home this year.

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In the latest sign that the coronavirus pandemic will reshape summer in Chicago, city officials informed aldermen Tuesday that no permits will be issued for block parties through May 31 — banning the popular parties on Memorial Day weekend.

2017 Chicago Blues Festival in Millennium Park (Photo credit: City of Chicago, DCASE)

The annual Grant Park Music Festival kicks off Wednesday. The free concert series is just one way to see music under the stars in Pritzker Pavilion. See the full summer 2019 concert lineup.