Awesome Independence Day Celebration in Washington, D.C.

The Fourth of July celebration is the biggest breathtaking party in DC.  Plan a trip to the National Mall for a festive display of our nation’s patriotism. The Independence Day Parade runs right down Constitution Avenue between 7th and 17th Streets, starting at 11:45AM. This always draws a big crowd, so stake your claim on the curb early or you might miss it.

After the parade, there’s plenty of entertainment to be found at the Folklife Festival on the Mall until 5:00PM. Afterwards, you can take in a concert on the Washington Monument grounds, and listen to the US Navy Concert band.

The big event is the Capitol Fourth Concert on the West lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) and contemporary artists perform patriotic music, while the fireworks light up the sky. You don’t need tickets to attend this event but the “doors” open at 3:00PM and the best seats go fast, so get there early. Jimmy Smits will host this year’s event, and the performers include Reba McIntire, Gladys Knight, Darius Rucker, David Archuleta, and John Schneider. Plan for intense heat by dressing appropriately and drinking lots of fluids.

The fireworks launch from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. If you wish for an up close view, you must arrive early and gather near the Reflecting Pool, staying outside of the fenced safety zones. Those in close proximity to this area are advised to wear protective eye and ear products. Following the fireworks, clean-up crews will need to clear the area around the Pool’s perimeter of debris. Guests will need to avoid these areas until all clean-up is complete. This may cause delays in exiting following the fireworks display.

Most visitors will want to view the fireworks at a distance from the launch site. The best viewing areas are the U.S. Capitol area, the Lincoln, Roosevelt, or Jefferson Memorials, or the National Mall between 14th Street and 3rd Streets. Other great viewing areas include the White House Ellipse, the West Potomac Park, Benjamin Banneker Park, Anacostia Park, or U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial). The East Potomac Park is ideal for families with young children as there is ample space for kids to run around. Many hikers and cyclists gather along the Mount Vernon trail for views of the fireworks.

Area restaurants offer great sights of the show while enjoying dinner. Check out Beacon Bar and Grill on Rhode Island Ave, NW or Charlie Palmer Steak on Constitution Avenue. Diners at Indigo Landing, in Arlington Virginia, can enjoy an all-you-can eat buffet while overlooking the July 4th fireworks over the river.

Other Fireworks Events Near Washington DC

Check out a rare display of daytime fireworks at Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington. Mr. and Mrs. Washington visit while guests are treated to smoke fireworks in patriotic colors. An added bonus is the opportunity to watch the naturalization ceremony as 100 people become new US citizens. Open from 8 am to 5 pm, visitors to Mount Vernon on July 4th can also expect military reenactments and a wreath laying ceremony. There is a fee for admission.

A Fourth of July dinner cruise on-board the Odyssey provides stunning views of Washington DC during the night time fireworks show. Live entertainment, dinner and an open bar are part of this adult-only three hour cruise. The Spirit of Washington is another option for an adults only July 4th dinner cruise. Families are welcome aboard for a lunchtime Independence Day cruise.

Expect large crowds in the Washington DC vicinity for the July 4th celebration. Reservations are needed for restaurants, hotels and cruises around the area. Arrive early (3-4 pm) to claim a spot for the evening fireworks show, taking care to avoid areas where trees or the large tents may block the view. Check the National Park Service site for the most up-to-date information on the celebration in the nation’s capital.

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