Parades, Places, Events to Celebrate the July 4th Weekend

Jonathan (age 10) and Jazmin (age 12) | Jeff Malet

There’s no grander party in Washington, D.C., than the fourth of July. Cookouts, fireworks, and parades are annual staples of the holiday, and there is no shortage of them in D.C. From the firework spectacular and Capitol Fourth concert on the National Mall to modern rooftop bars, there is something for everyone this holiday weekend.

Families can trek to the National Independence Day Parade as it makes its way down Constitution Avenue. The parade features a plethora of marching bands, colonial fife and drum corps, dignitaries and military members. Starting at 11:45 a.m., this is the show that kicks off America’s birthday in style.

Nearby, the National Mall is the place to be to experience the true patriotism of the holiday. Daytime festivities include a reading of the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives. Beginning at 10 a.m., the reading will place Americans back to 1776, as our Founding Fathers and other key historical figures are channeled. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Archives hosts family-friendly activities like crafts and storytelling.

Situated between Third and Fourth streets along the Mall, the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival continues through July 5. Saturday’s festivities run until 5:30 p.m. and feature traditional Peruvian culture on display, including a dance performance 4 p.m. The event is free and ideal for those looking to spend their Independence Day with an exotic twist.

Before America’s most impressive firework display begins, the 35th annual Capitol Fourth concert kicks off at 8 p.m. from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Hosted by “The West Wing” actor Bradley Whitford, the event features performances by Hunter Hayes, Barry Manilow, KC and the Sunshine Band, Alabama, and more. The National Symphony Orchestra provides the patriotic score of John Philip Sousa while the fireworks boom.

For those looking to avoid the crowds of the Mall, rooftop venues can provide phenomenal views. DNV Rooftop is open from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., offering a selection of beer, wine and cocktails for the party. 1905 Restaurant will host a rooftop barbecue from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., highlighting $5 beers provided through Atlas Brew Works. Tickets are $20 and first come, first serve.

One of the more popular hometown parades is the 49th annual July 4th Parade & Picnic.  The parade starts at 11 a.m., rain or shine, on Saturday, July 4, at the foot of Whitehaven Parkway and MacArthur Boulevard.  Line-up begins on Whitehaven at 10 a.m. in the order in which people appear. No registration is necessary.

Another crowd-pleaser is the Barracks Row-Capitol Hill Fourth of July parade. Line up begins 10 a.m. at 8th & I Streets, SE; parade starts 10 a.m.
For the evening’s fireworks, the Georgetown waterfront offers views of the Potomac River and the sky above the western side of the National Mall. Washington Harbour is right on the river with restaurants, such as Tony and Joe’s Seafood Place, Fiola Mare and Nick’s Riverside Grille, that offer outdoor dining. Also, on the river is Key Bridge Boat, where adventurous kayakers get to see the fireworks from the middle of the Potomac.

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