What better way to celebrate America’s independence than in the nation’s capital? On the 4th of July, Washingtonians gather from near and far to enjoy fireworks and all things Americana. Here are some of the best parties around to celebrate our nation’s Declaration of Independence.

Boom with a View
W Hotel – POV Terrace
515 15th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 661-2400

Date: July 4 at 6 p.m., fireworks at 9:15 p.m.

The POV Terrace is one of Washington’s hottest bars with views overlooking the White House and spanning the mall and even into Virginia. Perched atop the W Hotel in the heart of DC, the Boom with a View party provides you with a view of fireworks without all the crowds and access to signature cocktails at the cash bar with a party to follow. Tickets are $60 in advance, $80 on the day, but for a real treat, go for the room and two tickets starting at $389 so you don’t have to worry about making it home until check out the next day.

A Capital Fourth
West Lawn, U.S. Capitol Building
Washington, DC

Date: July 4 at 8 p.m.

The event to remember, PBS puts on one of the finest concerts in conjunction with the fireworks. While the concert starts at 8 p.m., be sure to come early and lay down a blanket for the show as the National Mall is filled with revelers ready to watch the most dazzling display of fireworks in the nation. Find a spot between the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol Building for a view of the fireworks beyond the gorgeously lit Washington Monument, or for a little more room, the part of the lawn in front of the Lincoln Memorial. The display of lights is carefully choreographed with beautiful music played live by the U.S. military bands. The capstone is Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” with real cannons.

National Independence Day Parade
Constitution Ave. & 7th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20001

Date: July 4 at 11:45 a.m.

Starting at 11:45 a.m., a parade of the finest in the nation takes place. With marching bands, police brigades, military in their finest and everything in between, the Independence Day parade is one of the most attended and celebrated activities on the 4th of July. Crowds gather the length of Constitution Avenue Northwest from 7th to 17th street to experience the fun, listen to the music and salute our troops. The parade is free, so be sure to line up early to get a good view.

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Smithsonian Folklife Festival
National Mall
Washington, DC
(202) 633-1000

Date: June 26-30 and July 3-7

As a nation that embraced millions of immigrants, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival celebrates the heritage and culture of many lands. Held annually on the National Mall, this year’s festival is June 26 to 30 and July 3 to 7. With the U.S. nicknamed a “mixing pot” of cultures, many languages and cultures are beginning to fade as the world adopts more of a Western culture. This year’s theme of “One World, Many Voices” celebrates the language and cultural identity of people from around the globe. Through crafts, seminars, music, stories, food and dance, each culture tells its own tale. There is also a special feature on Hungarian Heritage and “The Will to Adorn,” which particularly looks at African Americans’ creative expression through dress.

Spirit of Washington
600 Water St. S.W., Pier 4
Washington, DC 20024

Date: July 4 at 6:30 p.m.

Celebrate 4th of July by sailing the Potomac like our forefather George Washington. The Spirit of Washington offers a five-hour cruise experience with stunning views of the fireworks from the water. Packages start at $149.90 and include the cruise, a buffet dinner, DJ entertainment, a view of the fireworks and an open bar. There are two other options that will give you better tables. This event is exclusively for adults 21 and older.

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Jamie Hardin is the counter-culture Washingtonian in the know. Inspired by food, sustainability issues, and public health, she prides herself on finding DC’s off-the-beaten path treasures. When she isnt enjoying organic food or reducing her carbon footprint, Jamie’s traveling on her scooter or walking her two pit bulls. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.