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What happens in DC on the Fourth of July?

The Fourth of July is an exciting time to be in Washington, DC. There are festivities throughout the day, leading up to a spectacular fireworks display at night.

During the afternoon, you'll find many interesting activities taking place on and near the National Mall. The Fourth of July Parade travels down Constitution Avenue between 11th and 17ths Streets, beginning at noon. The National Archives' family-friendly programming includes a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence and special appearances by costumed historical characters like Ben Franklin and Martha Washington. The Smithsonian Folklife Festival will also be in full swing, with music, performances, crafts and cuisine. You can also enjoy the the Downtown/Penn Quarter/Chinatown neighborhood, full of attractions, retail and dining options.

A Capitol Fourth, an evening concert featuring an all-star cast, takes place on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The National Symphony Orchestra also performs during the spectacular fireworks show, which begins just after 9 p.m. No alcohol is permitted on the Mall, and guests must to pass through security checkpoints. The celebration takes place rain or shine.

To get to the National Mall, take Metro to the Smithsonian station on the blue or orange lines. You can also exit a stop or two earlier to avoid some of the crowds.

You might also consider taking advantage of a spectacular city view by dining at a restaurant with a rooftop terrace like The Roof Terrace at the Kennedy Center, The Reef in Adams Morgan or P.O.V Rooftop Lounge & Terrace at the W Hotel near The White House.

For more fun ideas, be sure to check out our 10 Ways to Celebrate Independence Day in Washington, DC