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2019 Independence Day Celebrations Around DC


What better place to celebrate Independence Day than in our nation’s capital? This is where the actual Declaration of Independence is housed (and will be read!), and celebrations take place among some of the country’s most iconic landmarks. But the excitement doesn’t stop there. From fireworks over the city and concerts at the Capitol to special events at George Washington’s house to neighborhood parades and ballpark fun, there are loads of ways to revel on July 4th (and 3rd!). Here are details on a bunch of them. Happy Independence Day!

National Independence Day Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue NW, 7th-17th Streets | DC
When: July 4, 11:45am
Admission: Free

Many national holidays get a parade in DC, and July 4th is no exception. Scores of spectators are expected to line the Constitution Avenue sidewalks to watch the procession celebrating Independence Day make its way from 7th to 17th Streets. Marching bands, floats, giant balloons, equestrian groups, drill teams, and military units will be among the pageantry. Stake out your spot along the route early, as this event attracts hundreds of thousands of viewers every year.

An American Celebration
Where: Mount Vernon | Mount Vernon, VA
When: July 4, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $18-20/adult, $11-12/age 6-11, free/5 & under

The home of George Washington salutes the first commander-in-chief with a dazzling display of made-for-daytime fireworks during its annual Independence Day event. Visitors will be treated to spectacular smoke fireworks in patriotic colors fired over the Potomac River. The event also includes an inspirational naturalization ceremony for 100 new citizens, military reenactments, a special wreathlaying ceremony, and a visit from the “first” first couple, “General and Mrs. Washington.” See the full schedule of events here.

A Capitol Fourth
Where: West Lawn on the Capitol | Capitol Hill, DC
When: July 4, 8pm; gates open at 3pm
Admission: Free

The annual Independence Day concert airing live on PBS, A Capitol Fourth will feature great musical pageantry. John Stamos will be back to host this year’s show, which will include performances by Carole King, Vanessa Carlton, Vanessa Williams, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Choral Arts Society of Washington, MusiCorps, and many more exciting acts. A special treat for the entire family will be Big Bird, Abby Cadabby, Rosita, Elmo, Grover, Bert & Ernie from Sesame Street on hand to celebrate America’s birthday, as the Sesame Street Muppets perform a musical medley of patriotic favorites and iconic songs from the groundbreaking children’s television series. Get there early to stake out a spot! (KFDC tip: You can also enjoy the show with less crowds at the dress rehearsal on July 3 – same time and place!)

Fourth of July Musical Salute
Where: The District Wharf | Southwest DC
When: July 4, 12-8pm
Admission: Free

It’s a star-spangled day at The Wharf. There will be live music throughout the day on the Pearl Street, Fish Market, and Transit Pier stages. Let the kids splash in the fountains, rock on bench swings by the water, enjoy an afternoon lunch at the waterfront, then snag a spot on one of the piers or rooftop bars for some of the best fireworks viewing the city has to offer. Read more about The Wharf in this KFDC post.

Salute to America and Fireworks
Where: Lincoln Memorial & West Potomac Park, DC
When: July 4, 6:30 – 9:30
Admission: Free

Festivities on the National Mall will be a bit different from previous years. Instead of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival going on all day and a concert and fireworks happening in the evening, there will be a Salute to America by the President honoring America’s armed forces with music, military demonstrations, flyovers and much more (tickets required). Later, fireworks will take place at West Potomac Park.

America’s Pastime
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: July 3, 6:05pm & July 4, 11:05am
Admission: Ticket prices vary

A day at the ballpark is about as all-American as it gets when it comes to sports, and you can experience it and celebrate the holiday at Nationals Park. Kick off Independence Day on July 3rd, when the Nats play the Marlins and enjoy a postgame fireworks show. The July 4th game is all part of the Patriotic Series. Before you go, be sure to check this post for tips to save on a Nats game.

Fourth of July at the National Archives
Where: National Archives | National Mall, DC
When: July 4, 8am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Catch the annual dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence. It starts at 10am, but doors open an 8am am, and the first 1,000 guests will receive a special T-shirt. After that, celebrate like it it’s 1776! Enjoy family activities, story time, crafts, and more! Meet John and Abigail Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Ned Hector, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington.

Neighborhood Parades
Where: Throughout the DMV
When: Most on July 4, times vary
Admission: Free

Keep it close to home at a community celebration. You likely are aware of July 4th events taking place in your neighborhood or nearby, but if you’re still looking for a hyperlocal fête, check out this list of parades around town.

Hang out on the LAWN
Where: National Building Museum | Judiciary Square, DC
When: July 4 (through September 3)
Admission: $16/adult, $13/child

It’s not an Independence Day celebration per se, but the Building Museum’s big annual Summer Block Party installation opens July 4th and will make for a fun and unique to do that day. Lawn will feature a vast, sloping green space set on a graceful incline and dotted with clusters of communal lounging areas. Visitors can enjoy refreshments and lawn games like croquet, bocce ball, and dominoes. A scaffolding tower that reaches the height of the Museum’s third floor will offer never-before-seen views of the Great Hall, column capitals, and sculptural busts lining the roof.

Visionary Pets on Parade
Where: American Visionary Arts Museum | Baltimore, MD
When: July 4, 9-10am
Admission: Free

Dress your pet & strut your stuff — or just go to watch the animal fun. Trophies awarded for Best Costume, Most Patriotic, Most Visionary Pet, Owner & Pet look-alikes, Least likely to succeed as a Pet, Visionary Pet Tricks and more! Friendly pets of ALL kinds are welcome to this best dog-gone parade in town. It will be followed by the Pet Talent (Or Not) Show! Pets must be leashed or carried. H20, pet cooling station, and baggies provided. Free and open to the public, and no advanced registration is required to participate or watch.

July 4th Celebration
Where: Armed Forces Retirement Home | Petworth, DC
When: 4-9:30pm
Admission: Free

All are welcome to join the 8th annual July 4th Celebration at the Armed Forces Retirement Home. Enjoy live entertainment, catch and release fishing, face painting, bouncy fun, an obstacle course, and crafts. Concessions will also be for sale and plentiful.

Family Fireworks Cruise
Where: Washington Marina | Southwest DC
When: July 4, 6:45pm
Admission: $159 (look for a discount)

View the breathtaking Independence Day fireworks display from the comfort of the boat, FREEDOM. This relaxing, family-friendly cruise with the National Ferry Corporation along the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers offers front row seats to the stunning display in the sky, fun raffles, and complimentary hot dogs, chips, and an array of cookies & brownies for desert. There will also be a complimentary champagne toast for the adults during the fireworks show, plus a full bar with beverages available for purchase. Last year’s fireworks cruise sold out, so book your cruise soon.

Summer Rooftop BBQ
Where: The Eaton Hotel | Downtown DC
When: July 4, 4-8pm
Admission: $22/adult, $10/child

Wild Days, The Eaton Hotel’s indoor/outdoor rooftop music venue, is hosting a BBQ with a special menu for the holiday — and kids are welcome, too. The gathering aims to bring together members of the community around a selection of DJs, tasty food, and cocktails overlooking all of K street, inspired by the diversity and originality of DC.

Falls Church 4th of July Celebration
Where: George Mason High School | Fairfax, VA
When: July 4, 6-10pm
Admission: Free

The City of Falls Church Recreation and Parks Department will present its annual free July 4th Celebration at George Mason High School (7124 Leesburg Pike). Grab a bit fro food trucks starting at 6pm. Musical entertainment begins at 7pm with a live performance, and fireworks follow at 9:20pm. Blankets and flat-based chairs are allowed for seating on the field. Food and drinks will be sold on site.

McLean 4th of July Fireworks
Where: Langley High School | McLean, VA
When: July 4
Admission: Free

McLean’s annual Independence Day Celebration is at Langley High School this year. Gates open at 6pm, and the fireworks show begins at sunset, approximately 9:15pm. In addition to the large fireworks display, patrons can come early to enjoy musical entertainment by a local disc jockey, as well as food trucks selling a variety of entrees and snacks.


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Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Monuments & Memorials, Music, Outdoor, Parade, Seasonal, Special Event, Sports, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays

Independence Day Celebrations Around DC



What better place to celebrate Independence Day than in our nation’s capital? This is where the actual Declaration of Independence is housed (and will be read!), and celebrations take place among some of the country’s most iconic landmarks. But the excitement doesn’t stop there. From fireworks on the National Mall and concerts at the Capitol to special events at George Washington’s house to neighborhood parades and ballpark fun, there are loads of ways to revel on July 4th (and 3rd!). Here are details on a bunch of them. Happy Independence Day!

National Independence Day Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue NW, 7th-17th Streets | DC
When: July 4, 11:45am
Admission: Free

Many national holidays get a parade in DC, and July 4th is no exception. Scores of spectators are expected to line the Constitution Avenue sidewalks to watch the procession celebrating Independence Day make its way from 7th to 17th Streets. Marching bands, floats, giant balloons, equestrian groups, drill teams, and military units will be among the pageantry. Stake out your spot along the route early, as this event attracts hundreds of thousands of viewers every year.

Independence Day Celebration on the Mall
Where: National Mall, DC
When: July 4, all day (and evening)
Admission: Free

After the parade (even earlier for some), the National Mall will begin filling up for a day of July 4th festivities — the Smithsonian Folklife Festival from 7th to 12th Streets, Junior Ranger activities, concerts, and more. And the grand finale of it all: At 9:09pm, the sky above will explode with color when the amazing iconic fireworks display. Fireworks will be launched from the Reflecting Pool area, so plan accordingly. *If you want to view the fireworks without having to head to the Mall, see these suggestions from WTOP for other vantage points to view the display.

A Capitol Fourth
Where: West Lawn on the Capitol | Capitol Hill, DC
When: July 4, 8pm; gates open at 3pm
Admission: Free

Down past the other end of the Mall, A Capitol Fourth, the annual Independence Day concert that airs live on PBS, will feature even more musical pageantry. John Stamos will be back to host this year’s show, which will include performances by The Beach Boys, Pentatonix, Jimmy Buffet, Andy Grammer, The Temptations, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Choral Arts Society of Washington, the U.S. Army Ceremonial Band, and many more exciting acts. (KFDC tip: Enjoy the show with less crowds at the dress rehearsal on July 3 – same time and place!)

An American Celebration
Where: Mount Vernon | Mount Vernon, VA
When: July 4, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $18-20/adult, $11-12/age 6-11, free/5 & under

The home of George Washington salutes the first commander-in-chief with a dazzling display of made-for-daytime fireworks during its annual Independence Day event. Visitors will be treated to spectacular smoke fireworks in patriotic colors fired over the Potomac River. The event also includes an inspirational naturalization ceremony for 100 new citizens, military reenactments, a special wreathlaying ceremony, and a visit from the “first” first couple, “General and Mrs. Washington.” See the full schedule of events here.

4th of July Summer Party
Where: The District Wharf | Southwest DC
When: July 4, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

The Wharf is ringing in 242 years of American independence with a kid-friendly party on Transit Pier. The celebration starts at 12pm with live music from local kids’ band Rocknoceros that will have little ones rolling with laughter. Listen and watch, or queue up for face painting, games, and a waterslide on the pier. For the adults in the crowd, the Waterfront Beer and Wine Garden opens at 1pm for drinks and snacks, and Thongband will play live, patriotic music at 2pm!

Fourth of July at the National Archives
Where: National Archives | National Mall, DC
When: June 30 – July 4
Admission: Free

The celebration starts early at the National Archives with special activities everyday starting this Saturday — see the schedule for details. On the July 4th holiday, catch the annual dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence. There will also be historical guests, patriotic music, and family activities before and after that.

America’s Pastime
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: July 3, 6:05pm & July 4, 11:05am
Admission: Ticket prices vary

A day at the ballpark is about as all-American as it gets when it comes to sports, and you can experience it and celebrate the holiday at Nationals Park. Kick off Independence Day on July 3rd, when the Nats play the Red Sox and enjoy a postgame fireworks show. The July 4th game is all part of the Patriotic Series. Before you go, be sure to check this post for tips to save on a Nats game.

Better than fireworks may be the looks of awe and joy as kids watch them

Neighborhood Parades
Where: Throughout the DMV
When: Most on July 4, times vary
Admission: Free

Keep it close to home at a community celebration. You likely are aware of July 4th events taking place in your neighborhood or nearby, but if you’re still looking for a hyperlocal fête, check out this list of parades around town. (Note that the list is from 2016, but the information is largely the same, and all of the links lead to this year’s events.)

Fourth of July at Cedar Hill
Where: Frederick Douglass National Historic Site | Anacostia, DC
When: July 4, 9am – 9:30pm
Admission: Free

Join the National Park Service to honor history and to celebrate 200 years of the life and legacy of Frederick Douglass and celebrate Independence Day with special activities. See living history actors recreate Douglass giving his famous speech “What to the slave is the Fourth of July?”, where he challenged America’s celebration of freedom while many people still remained enslaved. Earn a limited edition bicentennial Jr. Ranger badge, enjoy live musical performances, and tour Douglass’ home. Visitors can also experience the power of place by viewing the fireworks on the National Mall from Cedar Hill, just like Douglass would have.

July 4th Climb & Celebration
Where: Adventure Park at Sandy Spring | Sandy Spring, MD
When: July 4
Admission: $56/age 12+, $47/age 7-11, $12/age 5-6

Spend the holiday in the trees and enjoy a day of climbing, zip lining, and American spirit before you head out to see fireworks. They’ll have an All-American playlist to keep you in the patriotic mood. Don’t forget to wear your red, white and blue!

Falls Church 4th of July Celebration
Where: George Mason High School | Fairfax, VA
When: July 4, 7pm
Admission: Free

The City of Falls Church Recreation and Parks Department will present its annual free July 4th Celebration at George Mason High School (7124 Leesburg Pike). Musical entertainment begins at 7pm with a live performance, and fireworks follow at 9:20pm. Blankets and flat-based chairs are allowed for seating on the field. Food and drinks will be sold on site.

Star-Spangled Spectacular
Where: Oregon Ridge State Park | Cockeysville, MD
When: July 3
Admission: $22-25/adult, $11-15/child

For something a little different than the usual DC July 4th festivities, head north to Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, MD, on Tuesday. You can spread out a blanket or set up chairs on the sloping green lawn amidst a gorgeous setting as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performs their Star-Spangled Spectacular, culminating with a magnificent fireworks display. The starbursts in the sky as a live symphony plays is truly magical. The park opens at 5pm, and the show begins at 8pm both days. Be sure to note these parking instructions, as on–site parking is $15, but you can park off site and take a shuttle for free.

McLean 4th of July Fireworks
Where: Churchill Road Elementary School | McLean, VA
When: July 4
Admission: Free

McLean’s annual Independence Day Celebration returns to Churchill Road Elementary School. The fireworks show begins at sunset, approximately 9:15pm. In addition to the large fireworks display, patrons can come early to enjoy musical entertainment by a local disc jockey, as well as food trucks selling a variety of entrees and snacks.

Crabs & Ice Cream
Where: Brookland’s Finest | Brookland, DC
When: July 4
Admission: The cost of your eats & treats

Brookland’s Finest will be celebrating the holiday with a crab feast and a local ice cream pop-up. The restaurant will serve Maryland blue crabs with sweet corn, red potatoes, and andouille sausage in a spicy Old Bay broth with flights of Right Proper Brewery beers for from 11am – 10:30pm. Top it off with some ice cream! Bri’s Brookland Creamery will serve $4 scoops of ice cream ($3 for kids scoop) on the patio from 12-5pm, featuring brown sugar vanilla, strawberry, cookies & cream, chocolate brownie, and mint chocolate chunk flavors.

Picnic Baskets to Celebrate
Where: Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken | DC & VA
When: Pick Up July 4
Cost: $55

More like a how to celebrate than a where, Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken is offering a special summer picnic basket at their DC and Virginia locations. Each basket includes Astro’s signature fried chicken, cole slaw, cheddar biscuits, and, of course, doughnuts. Astro’s ‘USA doughnuts’ are included in the package along with Peach Cobbler and Creme Brûlée Doughnuts. It will be available for pick up on July 4 from 8am – 5pm at G Street and from 8am – 8pm at Falls Church. Pre-orders must be placed online by 3pm on July 3. Limited quantities of baskets will be available for walk-ins.


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Filed under 2018, All ages, Annual, DC, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Outdoor, Parade, Special Event, Summer, Virginia

Where to Play on the Weekdays: October 10-13

Be sure to include the Sculpture Garden on your visit to the National Gallery of Art



Tuesday – Get an art fix at the National Gallery! The East Building is full of contemporary works with bold colors and captivating designs. Be sure to stop in the Alexander Calder room on the 4th floor, where mobiles of all shapes and sizes will dazzle, and head to the roof to see the giant blue rooster along with great city views. The West Building houses more classical pieces, the collections featuring many of the masters, including the only Leonardo da Vinci painting on public view in the U.S. And don’t miss the Sculpture Garden outside, where big, quirky works will wow kiddos. Hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free.

Wednesday – Go paleo for National Fossil Day! Join the National Park Service and partnering organizations on the National Mall in front of the National Museum of Natural History for all kinds of fossil related fun. The event runs 10am – 2pm, and admission is free.

Thursday – Celebrate the grand opening of The Wharf in Southwest DC! The opening ceremony begins at 11am, and after that there will be daytime fireworks, live entertainment, art activities, paddling opportunities, and more fun through the evening. Admission is free. (PS: This is just the first day…the kickoff celebration will go through the weekend!)

Friday – Embrace the season at a fall festival! Weekdays are a great time to go, when crowds thin out, and admission prices are often lower. Take a hayride, pick out a pumpkin, jump and slide, visit farm animals, and lots more. This post has details on farms around the area offering seasonal fun.

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Farm, Festival, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Outdoor, Seasonal, Special Event, Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: October 2-6

Exploring the FDR Memorial along the Tidal Basin



Monday – Take a walk in the woods and explore the grounds of Woodend Nature Sanctuary in Chevy Chase. The home of the Audubon Naturalist Society is perfect for hiking with little ones. The trails are mellow, there are several small exhibits like bees nests and bird feeding areas, and wildlife sightings are practically guaranteed. Open dawn to dusk. Admission is free.

Tuesday – Head to the National Building Museum for all kinds of kid fun. The monthly Little Builders Storytime takes place at 10:30am & 11:30am in the Building Zone, where children can also enjoy areas that encourage pretend play with dress up and props inspired by some of the displays. The PLAY WORK BUILD exhibit upstairs is always fun for kids as well. You can also hang out in and marvel at the grandeur of the Great Hall. Grab lunch at the Firehook Bakery located there and have an indoor picnic, too! Museum hours are 10am – 5pm. Exhibit admission is $10/adult, $7/child, free for members. I highly recommend checking out membership options if you frequent the museum a few times per year.

Wednesday – Stroll around the Tidal Basin to visit some of DC’s memorials — Franklin D. Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Thomas Jefferson are all honored there. Visitors are welcome 24 hours a day, and park rangers are on hand to answer questions from 9:30am – 10pm. Admission is free.

Thursday – Go to Great Falls! Weekdays are an excellent time to visit when the park is less crowded. Whether you opt for the Maryland or Virginia side, you really can’t go wrong. Enjoy gorgeous views of the falls and rapids from several overlooks, hike easy trails along the river or through the woods, and stop in the Visitor Center — there’s one on each side — to learn more about the area’s history and wildlife. One visit there and you’ll understand why it’s such a popular spot.

Friday – See Drumming with Dishes, Arts on the Horizon’s adorable interactive play geared toward children ages 1-5. Showtime is 10:30am, and performances take place at The Lab Theatre at Convergence in Alexandria through October 21. Tickets are $9 and can purchased in advance online.

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Filed under 2017, All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays