Ten Things to Do at a Cemetery besides Mourn
As some of the largest, most well-tended parklands this country has to offer, cemeteries are not just for families of the deceased. While every visit to a cemetery should be taken with reverence and respect in mind, you do not have to know someone buried there to make the most of it.
Here are ten cemetery activities that allow you to enjoy the setting without infringing on anyone else’s grief.
- Jogging/Walking/Exercise: With well-tended pathways and good lighting, cemeteries can be very safe places to get your daily exercise. As long as they do not have any regulations against joggers, you might find the serenity and quiet perfect for a short run.
- Historical Survey: One of the best ways to learn about an area’s history is to explore the historical part of a cemetery. Not only might you find the graves of notable figures, but the architecture and engravings can cast a light on past burial practices and culture.
- Headstone Rubbings: Although some cemeteries prohibit gravestone rubbings (because it damages the integrity of the stone), it is still allowed in some areas. This practice is a hobby for many people and can provide beautiful pieces of artwork to hang in your home.
- Take Photographs: If you are taking a photography class or simply want to get some great images for your walls, a cemetery is an ideal setting. With good lighting, open spaces, and interesting subjects, the photos you take here might be some of your best. (However, a good rule of thumb is to never take pictures of mourners without their permission.)
- Bird Watching: Cemeteries aren’t just nice, green spaces for humans—they are nice, green spaces for animals, as well. Bird watching is a common cemetery practice. (This is also a good way to explore other types of urban wildlife.)
- Star Gazing: Although many cemeteries are wooded, they almost all have large open spaces and fields that can be difficult to come by in city centers. If the cemetery offers nighttime hours, you might be able to stop by and use the area as a base for looking at and studying the stars.
- Military Commemorations: If you want a place to celebrate Memorial Day or any other important military dates, a cemetery is an ideal place to do it. Pay your respects to fallen soldiers and enjoy the sight of people coming together to commemorate our nation’s heroes.
- Have a Picnic: Some cemeteries set up picnic tables and gazebos where you can sit down and enjoy a meal. If you are not put off the idea of eating in a setting like this, you might enjoy the occasional lunchtime retreat.
- Ancestry Research: Many people are interested in their personal genealogy, and cemeteries are a go-to choice for getting primary research. Famous graves can also be of interest, and are often set up as tourist sites to encourage visitors.
- Take Flowers: Not everyone buried in a cemetery gets regular visits. Take flowers and show your respect for a grave that catches your eye. Showing you care is always an acceptable way to spend an afternoon in a graveyard.