UPDATED: July 4, 2014 1:52 p.m.
Fourth of July fireworks, barbecues, parties galore — celebrating America’s birthday in style is a big affair.
Independence Day is here and we’ve got everything you need to make this year the best one since 1776. Whether you need a little help hosting your own Fourth of July party or are just trying to be as patriotic as possible, this guide has got you covered.
District of Columbia
• 4th of July Fireworks on the National Mall
Fireworks are launched at dark, usually around 9:15 p.m., from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and light up the sky over the Washington Monument.
• Washington, DC’s Independence Day Parade
The parade (Constitution Avenue and 7th to 17th Streets) begins at 11:45 a.m. and features marching bands, military and specialty units, floats and VIP’s. The parade draws a large crowd, so plan to arrive early to stake out a good viewing spot.
• A Capitol Fourth Concert
A live concert by the National Symphony Orchestra and several artists performing patriotic music begins at 8 p.m. on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building. Admittance begins at 3 p.m. The concert and show is followed by a spectacular display of fireworks over the Washington Monument. The concert is free and open to the public.
• Annapolis – The annual Annapolis Harbor fireworks show will begin around 9:15 p.m. The display will be launched from a barge in the Harbor and can be viewed from many locations in the area. A parade will take place earlier in the day.
• Baltimore – Live music and a fireworks show will be available in the heart of downtown Baltimore at the Ports America Chesapeake Fourth of July Celebration. Entertainment is provided by Top 40s bands Thunderball at 4 p.m. followed by the U.S. Naval Academy Band Electric Brigade at 7 p.m. Performances take place at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater, located at Pratt and Light streets. The fireworks show, choreographed to festive music, begins at 9:30 p.m.
• Bowie – The City of Bowie and the Bowie Baysox are partnering up to provide a free fireworks show at Prince George’s Stadium (4101 Crain Highway). The program, which includes live music, begins at 7:30 p.m. Fireworks are at 9:15 p.m.
• Bowie (Six Flags) – Six Flags America’s July 4th Fest will take place at the park (13710 Central Avenue) July 4 – 6. Fireworks and live entertainment will be available every night. Park entry tickets are required.
• College Park – The University of Maryland and the City of College Park are once again breaking out the red, white and blue for a fabulous July 4th celebration. A free concert and fireworks are on tap for Independence Day at the University of Maryland in Lot 1 adjacent to Campus Drive off Adelphi Road. Fireworks begin around 9 p.m.
• Cockeysville – Join the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Oregon Ridge Park (13401 Beaver Dam Road) for their Star-Spangled Spectacular. The annual celebration features Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever and many more classics, played over a dazzling display of fireworks. Tickets are required. Performances will begin at 8 p.m. on July 3 and July 4.
• Columbia – A fireworks display can be observed from Lake Kittamaquandi (10221 Wincopin Circle) starting at 9:30 p.m. Music and children’s activities begin at 5 p.m.
• District Heights – Fireworks begin at approximately 9 p.m. at 2000 Marbury Drive.
• Dundalk – Dundalk’s 4th of July fireworks will begin at 9:15 p.m. While the fireworks can be viewed from numerous sites throughout Dundalk, they are primarily centered around the North Point Government Center (1747 Merritt Boulevard).
• Frederick – “Frederick’s 4th,” an Independence Day celebration that begins at noon, will be held in Baker Park. There’s something for everyone at this festival, and it’s topped off with a fireworks display at dusk.
• Gaithersburg – Gates to the Montgomery County Agricultural Fairgrounds (16 Chestnut Street) open at 5 p.m. Friday for a celebration that includes food, live music and, of course, a fireworks display set to launch at dusk.
• Germantown – “Germantown Glory” will begin at the SoccerPlex in the South Germantown Recreational Park (18041 Central Park Circle, Boyds) at 7 p.m. Fireworks will begin at approximately 9:15 p.m. Low lawn chairs, blankets and coolers are welcome at both events. Food vendors will be on site. No alcoholic beverages are permitted.
• Greenbelt – A free fireworks display will begin at about 9 p.m. at Buddy Attick Lake Park (555 Crescent Road). Feel free to bring a picnic, walk the lake trail and enjoy the playground beforehand. There will also be a community drum circle and a concert.
• Kensington – “Mid-County Sparkles” will be held at Albert Einstein High School (11135 Newport Mill Road) beginning at 7:30 p.m. A fireworks display will begin at approximately 9:15 p.m. Since there will be no on-site parking at the school or at adjacent properties, except for handicapped parking, shuttle buses will pick up passengers, beginning at 6:15 p.m., at Westfield Wheaton and the Wheaton Metro Station. Low lawn chairs, blankets and coolers are welcome at both events. Food vendors will be on site. No alcoholic beverages are permitted.
• Lanham (July 3) – Fireworks begin at approximately 9 p.m. at the Trinity Assembly of God (7800 Good Luck Road).
• Laurel (July 5) – Laurel’s Independence Day celebration begins at Granville Gude Park (Laurel Lake) at 11 a.m. Fireworks begin at dusk.
• Morningside – Fireworks start at approximately 9:30 p.m. at 6901 Ames Street.
• Poolesville – Festivities begin at 6 p.m. at the Poolesville Polo Grounds (14660 Hughes Road). Fireworks begin at 9 p.m. The fun is free, but parking is $5 per vehicle.
• Rockville – Rockville’s Independence Day celebration will be hosted by Montgomery College’s Rockville Campus (51 Mannakee Street). A night of music, entertainment and fireworks begins at 7 p.m. Fireworks will begin at approximately 9:15 p.m.
• Solomons – Riverwalk, Solomons, Maryland. The waterfront community hosts an afternoon street fair and fireworks. Street Fair begins at 3 p.m. Fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
• Takoma Park – This year is Takoma Park’s 125th Independence Day celebration. A parade is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., and an evening program that ends with fireworks will begin at 7 p.m. at Takoma Park Middle School (7611 Piney Branch Road).
• Waldorf – Celebrate Charles is a family-friendly Independence Day event with live music, food and fireworks. It will begin at Regency Furniture Stadium (11765 St. Linus Drive) at 4:30 p.m. Fireworks are scheduled for 9:30 p.m.
• Alexandria (July 12) – Celebrate the United States and the City of Alexandria’s birthdays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Oronoco Bay Park (100 Madison Street). Enjoy a concert by the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra at 9 and fireworks at 9:30 p.m. More info.
• Doswell (King’s Dominion)- Independence Day celebrations and fireworks. 804-876-5000.
• Fairfax – An Independence Day Parade through the downtown Fairfax City area begins at 10 a.m. Musical entertainment begins at 7 p.m. at Fairfax High School with a spectacular fireworks display at dark. More info.
• Falls Church – The city sponsors an annual July 4th Independence Day celebration at George Mason High School (7124 Leesburg Pike). Live music will start at 7 p.m. followed by fireworks at 9:20 p.m.
• Herndon – Join the Town of Herndon for a family-fun July 4th event featuring games, patriotic arts and craft activities, bingo, food, face painting, balloon artists and more at the Herndon Community Center (814 Ferndale Avenue). Events begin at 6:30 p.m., fireworks accompanied by music begin at 9:30 p.m.
• Leesburg – Start the holiday by showing your patriotic spirit at Leesburg’s annual Independence Day Parade, held downtown beginning at 10 a.m. The parade will start at Ida Lee Park, travel down King Street and conclude at Fairfax Street. Nighttime events begin at Ida Lee Park at 6 p.m., fireworks start at 9:30 p.m. More info.
• Manassas – Enjoy live music, children’s activities, food and fireworks in the historic downtown area for the annual Celebrate America event. Entertainment begins at 4 p.m. Fireworks at 9:15 p.m.
• McLean – Grounds at Langley High School (6520 Georgetown Pike) open at 8 p.m., fireworks begin at 9:15 p.m. Admission and parking are free. Shuttle buses will be available from St. John’s Lutheran Church (on Douglass St. and Georgetown Pike) and the McLean Community Center.
• Reston – Visit Lake Fairfax Park (1400 Lake Fairfax Drive, Reston) for a day of fun before a fireworks show with a special performance of the U.S. Army Field Band begins at 9:15 p.m. More info.
• Vienna – Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry Street Southeast) will host Independence Day arts and crafts, food, music, vendors and games. Celebration begins at 11 a.m. Fireworks begin at 9:15 p.m. at Southside Park on Ross Drive. More info.
Best Fourth of July Parties in D.C.
In the nation’s capital, there is a lot more activity than just fireworks on the 4th of July. Lots of bars and restaurants have food and drink specials, as well as great parties for you to join. Here is a list of five great 4th of July party options in the District. Each one is sure to make your Independence Day all the more fun, especially since the 4th is on a Friday this year.
Best Places in America to Celebrate the 4th of July
In celebration of Independence Day, several cities across the nation are hosting fun-filled activities by day and then concluding with spectacular pyrotechnic shows that can be viewed from miles away. Here are five of the best places in America to celebrate the Fourth of July.
Fourth of July Party Essentials
Little things like poking mini flags in everyone’s drinking straw can really add a lot to your party. Keep things simple and hassle free with these All-American essentials.
10 Red, White & Blue Food Ideas
Ever tried a Red, White & Bleu Burger? What about an All-American Cocktail? All of these menu items are easy to make, taste delicious and sure to please!
Fourth of July Fireworks Safety Checklist
Fireworks displays are an American tradition, one that comes with a lot of caution, but a tradition nonetheless. It’s always a lot of fun to set off some fireworks for the big holiday, and many families take pride in following these annual traditions. However, fireworks can also be very dangerous, so it’s so important to follow some simple common-sense guidelines when setting off any type of fireworks. Here are a few ways to make sure your family stays safe this Fourth of July.
Best Stores in D.C. for Fourth of July Paraphernalia
Fourth of July brings millions of people to Washington, D.C. to celebrate the nation’s independence. There are hundreds of events going on around the holiday for everyone to enjoy. Whether you are throwing your own event or want to look patriotic at an event you are attending, there are many stores that have what you need. Theses stores will get you into the red, white and blue spirit.
Do It Yourself July 4th Crafts For Your Backyard Party
Looking for ways to keep friends and family busy at your Fourth of July get-together? These simple craft projects are a great way to pass the time and can be enjoyed by guests of all ages.
Creative 4th of July Parade Float Ideas
Fourth of July parades take place all across the country and signify not only our collective patriotism, but also local pride. Homemade floats abound and are as unique and individual as the spirit that carved out our country. A red, white and blue motif is clearly de rigueur, but imaginative themes and creative touches can make any float stand apart from the rest. Here are three ideas to help spark your imagination this Fourth.
Easy 4th of July Recipes
Independence Day is for commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, fireworks, carnivals and delicious barbecue. Forget going to the barbecue joint down the road. Try these easy 4th of July recipes and enjoy a scrumptious meal without the hassle of waiting for a table.
Fourth of July Cocktail Recipes
Make great food, invite your friends over and, most importantly, serve a few holiday-themed cocktails. Here are two recipes for drinks crafted by well-known D.C. mixologists Ari and Micah Wilder. These recipes epitomize the 4th of July, and are easy enough for you to make at home.
With more than 41 million people expected to travel this holiday weekend, officials are asking travelers to prepare in advance to prevent traffic delays on the road and long lines at airports.