While Memorial Day now gets celebrated as the unofficial first weekend of summer, it was created to honor those who died while serving in the U.S. military. Many retailers use it as an excuse to launch big sales and special offers meant to thank veterans and active-duty members of the military, as well as free food and big discounts for anyone who has served. (And, at some chains, there are deals for everyone.)
Here's a roundup of all the freebies available over Memorial Day weekend—including several that are available to all, no military ID required.
Friday, May 26
Teavana: Show this invitation on a mobile device from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday at a Teavana store and you can get a free 24-ounce ice tea in a choice of Beach Bellini, Strawberry Daiquiri, or Piña Colada flavors. The offer is open to all customers.
Sunday, May 28
Bareburger: In honor of National Burger Day on May 28, the Bareburger organic restaurant chain is giving out one free burger to each dine-in customer from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, while supplies last.
Monday, May 29: Memorial Day
The Hickory Tavern: Show military ID and you'll get a choice of the signature burgers for free at this pub chain, which has 27 locations in the Southeast.
Hooters: Guests with military ID can enjoy a free entrée on Memorial Day at participating Hooters locations. The options include a 10-piece of traditional or boneless wings, buffalo chicken salad, or the Hooters burger.
McCormick & Schmick's: Veterans and active-duty members of the military get complimentary lunch or dinner on Memorial Day. Show military ID and pick a free entrée, including choices such as salmon rigatoni, blackened chicken fettuccine, and tender beef medallions.
Ninety Nine Restaurant & Pub: Buy one meal at the regular price and your table will get a $9.99 entrée for free with military ID, on Memorial Day.
Memorial Day Weekend
IKEA: Whether you're a service member or not, your entire family can eat for free on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday—provided you are planning on doing some shopping there. Customers must be members of the free IKEA Family program to take advantage of the deal. You must pay for your meal at an IKEA restaurant, and you'll be given a coupon with your receipt. The food total will be deducted from any home furnishings purchase of $100 or more.
Other Free Stuff
Veterans also can take advantage of other freebies this weekend and beyond.
Blue Star Museums: The special program, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, grants free admission to roughly 2,000 museums around the country for military families from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends.
Cedar Point: Guests with military ID get free admission throughout the weekend, plus discounted tickets for up to six other family members. Similar offers are available at other theme parks owned by the same company, including Knott's Berry Farm and Kings Dominion.
Colonial Williamsburg: Free admission for guests with military ID and their families from May 26 to 29.
SeaWorld: Active-duty military can get free admission to SeaWorld and sister parks Busch Gardens and Sesame Place throughout the year by ordering them in advance. Veterans get specially discounted tickets too. Admissions must be purchased ahead of time here; they cannot be picked up at the gate.
G&M Oil: Drivers with military ID in the San Diego area can pump up to $20 worth of free gas on Thursday, May 25, at a G&M location on the North Pacific Coast Highway. The "Tank Takeover" offer is the result of a partnership with GasBuddy, and to take advantage you must download the gas-tracking service's app and show proof of military status.