4th of July in Washington DC

May 26, 2022

Dozens of monuments, dazzling firework displays, and plenty of founding fathers' fun make our nation’s capital the ideal place to ring in the fourth of July.

Follow along as we take you through every last 4th of July celebration in the Washington DC area.

Washington DC truly pulls out all the star-spangled stops, from the electrifying display of lights above the Potomac River to celebrity-studded concerts at the Capitol Building.

Travel back to colonial times at George Washington's country estate, or marvel at the majesty of the Lincoln Memorial. Over 700,000 people attend the city's patriotic parades, celebrations, and events each year.

However you celebrate Uncle Sam, the District City is here to make all of your 4th of July fantasies come true!

Close up shot of fireworks behind the White House in Washington, DC, USA

photo credit: INQUIRER.net via Facebook

Washington DC Attractions

Ready to don your red, white, and blue? Amp up your Federal City getaway when you explore even more of our Nation's monuments, landmarks, and museums. Before the Fourth of July festivities, sneak away for a spirited tour or guided journey through American History:

Wander through over 600 acres of hallowed ground and pay your respects to our country's military when you visit Arlington National Ceremony. Witness the ceremonial changing of the guard, glimpse at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and stop by JFK's final resting place. 

Related Post: 13 Absolute Must-See Washington DC Landmarks

Dive into the very best of DC when you spend 90 minutes soaking in the panoramic sights of the Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol Building, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, and more. Old Town Trolley Tours are ideal for enhancing your understanding of the District City. Listen up as your expert tour guide regales you with over 230 years of history, fascinating facts, and iconic stories. 

What pairs perfectly with some charbroiled Independence Day fun? Fuel up on our country's enthralling heritage and history when you stop by the Smithsonian National Museum. Gaze at Washington's sword, marvel at the Star-Spangled Banner, and swoon over First Ladies' fashion when you swing by their unparalleled collection of American artifacts.

Aerial view of DC at sunset with a cloudy sky in Washington, DC, USA4th of July Events

July 4th Fireworks on the National Mall

Vivid explosions of color and sound that streak through the night sky is one of the hallmarks of any DC 4th of July. Hundreds of thousands of locals and tourists alike swarm to the National Mall to watch a world-class fireworks show. Put on by the National Park Service; these pyrotechnics are launched from both sides of the Lincoln Memorial. The arresting visual display generally starts at 9:00 p.m. and makes for a most memorable evening. 

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Wondering where to watch the fireworks? Great spots for unhindered views include the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the National Mall, and the Washington Monument. Additionally, scenic vistas can be achieved by staking out a spot across the Potomac River in Arlington.

Be sure to stake out a viewing spot early. Due to the unwavering popularity of this public event and various road closures, the National Park Service recommends budgeting extra time to arrive at your destination.

photo credit: NBC Washington via Facebook

A Capitol Fourth Concert

Sing along to your favorite crooners, delight in the overtures of the National Symphony Orchestra, and brace yourself for live fireworks coverage when you tune into the Capitol Fourth Concert. Watch in-person or from the comfort of your own home as you commemorate 43 years of this broadcast. This free concert is held on the west lawn of the United States Capitol Building and features an eclectic mix of military fanfare, classical music, and pop/rock artists.

Festivities will kick off at 8:00 p.m., so secure a seat ahead of schedule. A shining symbol of America's Independence, this show is watched by millions of viewers, including troops abroad.

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Sit back and revel in the beauty of the illuminated Capitol Building as our country's most acclaimed entertainers perform. Past guests have included Jimmy Buffet, Gladys Knight, and Kermit the Frog.

Independence Day Parade

Flags, fife drums, and floats oh my! Prime yourself for the crowning jewel of the 4th of July Parades when you carve out time to observe the iconic Independence Day Parade. This ecstatic event kicks off on July 4th at 11:45 a.m. Ideal viewing can be obtained along Constitution Avenue between 7th and 17th streets. Scout the street with care, as you won't want to miss a moment of marching band madness, drill team dynamics, or celebrity participants.

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This patriotic spectacle is witnessed by hundreds of thousands of spectators each year. We suggest standing closer to the parade's end route at 17th St NW for optimal parade optics, where it is generally less crowded.

photo credit: Tian Guo Marching Band via Facebook

Independence Day at Mount Vernon

Calling all history buffs! Raise the roof for our Nation's birthday when you spend an idyllic day at George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate.

Just a thirty-minute drive from the city, this lush residence provides a serene backdrop for all iterations of Independence day activities. Watch in awe as colonial history comes to life.

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Witness moving Revolutionary War drills, wreath-laying ceremonies, and meet and greets with the man himself. Munch on freshly baked 18th-century style bread, or observe a moving Naturalization ceremony. Conclude your full day of Founding Father festivities with a special showing of daytime fireworks. This is a special event, so be sure to pre-purchase your tickets ahead of time. 

Watch the Washington Nationals Play

What's more American than baseball? Grab a hot dog, pop open a box of cracker jacks, and cheer on the Washington Nationals this Fourth of July. Sports fans will want to snag tickets for this especially significant game. As the home team Nationals battle it out with their division rivals, the Miami Marlins.

Related Post: 29 Totally Free Things to Do in Washington DC

Conveniently held at 11:05 a.m. This early morning hour makes it easy to participate in the rousing roster of 4th of July afternoon and evening events throughout the city. 

photo credit: Washington Nationals via Facebook

July 4th at the National Archives

Wondering how George Washington and Martha would have celebrated July 4th? Gather up the whole family for a full day of re-enactments, arts and crafts, and music at the National Archives. Starting on Constitution Avenue at 9 a.m., mini revelers can meet George and Martha. Grab a pen and sign the Declaration of Independence, or create their own patriotic necklace.

Snap a photo of the towering Uncle Sam Stilt Walker. Then, keep your eyes peeled for Ben Franklin's arrival or sway to the rhythmic beats of an all-women percussion band, Batala Washington. Although this is a free event, the National Archives requests advanced registration. 

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Psst.. rumor has it our National Birthday party is just around the corner, and we know just how to celebrate. From the statuesque majesty of the White House to the momentous Martin Luther King Monument, there is no better place to commemorate our Nation's founding than Washington DC.

photo credit: Mel Aldous via Facebook

Every July, the beating heart of our country is transformed into an oasis of red, white, and blue. Visitors and locals alike flock here to put their patriotism on display.

Cheer in tune to the drumming and drills of the Independence Day Parade. Or explore the verdant estate and farmland of our very first Forefather.

From electrifying displays of firecrackers to authentic re-enactments of colonial life, there are endless ways to embrace the glory of Independence Day in DC. 

Tell Us, What's Your Favorite Way to Spend the 4th of July in Washington DC?

Leave us a comment below!


isis with mural in background

Written By Isis Maya

A New York native, Isis-Maya spent most of her professional life working in TV production until a vacation whisked her away to Central America and her love o ...

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