There isn’t a place in the country that truly beats 4th of July in D.C. One of the most festive days in the area, the entire city shows up for patriotic concerts, festivals and fireworks for the whole family to enjoy the anniversary of the country’s independence. Expect celebrations all around the metro area, but these are the best bets for beautiful 4th of July fireworks and festivities to boot.
Constitution Street between 7th and 17th Street
Washington, DC 20024
Hours: July 4 – 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Independence Day at the National Mall is the end all, be all in 4th of July celebrations. The mall features spectacular views of the Washington Monument and The United States Capitol. Plan to arrive early to pass through security and save your seat on the lawn. Don’t miss the Independence Day Parade featuring marching bands, military groups, patriotic floats and important dignitaries. The parade route starts at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 7th Street and continues down Constitution Avenue to 17th Street. Have lunch and listen to the United States Navy Band as it performs at the WW II Memorial for a noon concert. Throughout the day, the various museums will have special events for visitors to explore. Don’t miss the Annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival taking place on the mall July 4 as well. The festival celebrates cultures from every region of the United States and 90 other countries through song, dance and food. Look for the ever-expansive Native American heritage section featuring re-creations of Indian villages and other presentations from respective time periods. After learning about United States and world culture during the day, sit back and enjoy the Capitol Fourth Concert which begins at 8 p.m. Visitors should expect to hear patriotic music from The National Symphony Orchestra and popular musical artists. After the concert, end the night with watching the marvelous and exciting fireworks beginning at 9:15 p.m.
Related: Top 5 Patriotic Movies
Great American Festival
201 Waterfront St.
National Harbor, MD 20745
Price: $19.99 general admission/$59.99 VIP admission
Hours: June 30 – 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The fabulous Gaylord National Harbor will celebrate this year in high fashion. Situated on the Potomac, this is prime location for watching several area fireworks shows including Great American’s own. Start the 4th of July early with a bang at the Great American Festival, which combines two of D.C.’s largest holiday celebrations: FreedomFest and Uncle Sam Jam. This 21 and older event — perfect for adult families getting together for the holiday — will be better than ever as the event planners have taken over the waterfront, piers, pavilion and beach areas. Highlight performers include renowned recording artist, Eve 6 and popular latin fusion group, Ozomatli. This year’s festival will feature three stages of live music provided by local bands such as Lost in Paris, The Dance Party and reggae group, See-I. Party goers are encouraged to dance and have fun with enthusiastic DJs, Skratch and Sniff, and Pat Premier. There will be plenty of drinking stations with beer, wine and other summertime specialty drinks and delicious gourmet food to enjoy. After sundown, expect to see fireworks with musical accompaniment. Plan ahead, book a room at the Gaylord at discounted rates.
Frederick, MD 21701
Hours: July 4 – 8:30 a.m. to dusk
Anyone celebrating Independence Day at Frederick’s 4th is guaranteed a great time. These festivities will feature three stages of live music and entertainment representing local and national performers. Headlining this year’s event is the national renowned Smithereens, which will be performing two sets of its most popular songs on the 4th Main Stage. Lead guitarist Mark Bryan from Hootie and the Blowfish will be performing with The Spire Brass Band on the Bandshell Stage. On the third stage, WFRE Free Country Stage will feature country music from local musicians and singers. Kids should take advantage of the many free activities, such as pony rides, petting zoo, scavenger hunts, moon bounces and games. Plan on watching the 30th Annual 4th of July Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Grass Doubles Volleyball Tournament at 9 a.m. For those interested in a little competition, enter in the Great Frederick Bathtub Races or the Weis Market WFMD Chili Cook-off at 8:30 a.m; winners will get prizes and bragging rights for one year. Delicious food will be available for purchase at everything from fine eateries to carnival food vendors. For a nominal fee, adults may stop by the beer garden, then top the evening off with an exciting display of fireworks.
Celebrate Great Falls – Fourth of July Hometown Celebration
776 Walker Road
Great Falls, VA 22066
Hours: July 4 – 7:30 a.m. to dusk
Venture to Great Falls for a day filled with patriotic events and family fun. Start the day running in the Great Falls annual 5KRun/Walk. Register young children for the Little Patriot Parade at the Village Green at which children will show their patriotic spirit by walking or riding their bikes or scooters in their own parade. After the Little Patriots, stake your place for watching the main parade. Local dignitaries will march and ride in classic cars and decorative floats will line the parade route. Following the parade, stay for the festivities in the Village Green area to enjoy delicious food, great music and life-long memories. Stop by Turner Farm for the evening celebration for moon bounces and other kids’ activities sponsored by local community groups. Beginning at dusk, marvelous fireworks will be on display.
Related: 10 Red, White & Blue Food Ideas
City Of Fairfax Independence Day Celebration
Downtown Fairfax Historic District
Fairfax City, VA 22030
(703) 385- 7949
Hours: July 4 – 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Celebrating Independence Day in Old Town Fairfax City promises one of the most historic holidays this area has to offer. This year’s theme is “A Star Spangled Celebration.” Before or after the parade, stop by The Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center Open House for its 18th birthday celebration. A delicious birthday cake and lemonade will be served along with lawn activities celebrating Independence Day. The parade starts at 10 a.m. going through the historic area of the City of Fairfax. This year’s Grand Marshal is George Mason’s University President Dr. Merten, who will be retiring in July. This popular parade draws more than 15,000 people every year. Visitors should expect to see wonderfully decorated floats, large helium balloons, such as The Hungry Caterpillar and patriotic characters throughout the parade. Local school marching bands, color guards, military and service organization will also participate in the parade. Between activities, visit the Radcliffe – Allison House, the oldest building in town, for a docent-led tour, or go to the Old Fashioned Firemen’s Day for a great laugh as the firefighters compete against each other. Food vendors will be located throughout the area for delicious holiday fare. The evening festivities will begin at 7 p.m. at Fairfax High School, featuring music from the ’60s and ’80s. At the end of the night, relax and enjoy Virginia’s largest musical choreographed fireworks.
Carly Mannava is a freelance writer living in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.