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Thomas Jefferson Memorial with Fireworks in the night sky

How to Celebrate Independence Day in Washington, DC

Enjoy the Fourth of July in the nation’s capital with fantastic fireworks and all-American activities

Each year, Washington, DC celebrates the Fourth of July with a bang, meaning there are plenty of DC-flavored ways to honor Independence Day. Read below for some of our favorite selections and make sure to check out other summer activities in DC, including where to watch the fireworks on the Fourth.


Your ultimate guide to summer in Washington, DC


Watch the fireworks against the DC skyline of monuments and memorials

Fireworks across the Potomac River

Watching the fireworks is one of the highlights of Independence Day in Washington, DC and fortunately, the city and the surrounding area offer a plethora of scenic viewing options. Find the spot that works best for you and create a memorable evening.


Tune In to 'A Capitol Fourth’

A Capitol Fourth

A Capitol Fourth, the star-studded concert that always precedes the epic fireworks show on the National Mall, will air on PBS and can also be enjoyed in-person; just make sure to get there early. The star-spangled birthday party begins at 8 p.m. Visit the event website for more details as the holiday draws closer.


Experience Independence Day at George Washington’s Mount Vernon

The annual Independence Day celebration at Mount Vernon includes visiting the estate's museums, enjoying gorgeous views from the mansion's piazza, strolling through the gardens, visiting the final resting place of George and Martha Washington and much more. Tickets are available now.


Explore the culinary capital

Osteria Morini patio

Check out DC's outdoor dining spots, including beer gardenspatios and rooftop restaurants. This blurb wouldn't be complete without a mention of the District's Michelin-starred and Bib Gourmand restaurants.


Visit DC parks, gardens and monuments

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

Some of the city’s best spots for outdoor recreation, including the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden and the U.S. National Arboretum, make for awesome Fourth of July destinations. Monuments and memorials around the National Mall are also ripe for exploring on Independence Day.


Catch daytime baseball at Nationals Park

Nationals Park

The Washington Nationals annually play at Nationals Park on Independence Day, holding an 11:05 a.m. game to accommodate the activities throughout the city the rest of the day. This year, the Nats will take on the Cincinnati Reds. Check the Nats' website for ticket availability.


Chill out at the Capitol Riverfront

Family at Capitol Riverfront eating ice cream

Set along nearly two miles of the beautiful Anacostia River, the booming Capitol Riverfront neighborhood is the ideal setting to share the outdoors with friends and family while celebrating summer's biggest holiday. The possibilities are seemingly endless here, so be sure to discover all of the neighborhood's diningentertainment and exciting waterfront activities.


Enjoy a delicious dinner and riverside views at the Georgetown waterfront

Georgetown waterfront

The Washington Harbour on Georgetown's waterfront is an ideal location for a full day of on-the-water fun or a celebratory dinner before or after watching the fireworks. The restaurants in this waterfront plaza provide convenient access to a fireworks viewing spot, as well as simple riverside relaxation. Make sure to make a reservation at Farmers Fishers Bakers, Sequoia, Nick's Riverside Grill or Tony and Joe’s Seafood Place.


Pay homage to America’s Presidents at the National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery

The reopened National Portrait Gallery's America’s Presidents exhibit is ideal for an Independence Day visit for obvious reasons. The collection displays images of past presidents, as well as beautiful sculptures and famous paintings. The exhibit also features interactive elements to make your experience that much more presidential. 


Have fun with history at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History

National Museum of American History

Dig deep into our country’s history at the fascinating National Museum of American History, which is free to enter. Observe the flag that inspired our national anthem, explore the Civil Rights movement, see essential artifacts, enjoy interactive displays and so much more. 


Spend Independence Day with the animals of the National Zoo

National Zoo

Smithsonian’s National Zoo is a great family-friendly spot to spend an Independence Day afternoon. Observe elephants in training, help to feed the fish, meet a Great Ape keeper or explore a rainforest habitat. You can also visit everyone's favorite pandas at the Panda House (we recommend getting there early in the day).


Take in DC’s wild side

US National Arboretum

There is no shortage of outdoor recreation options in Washington, DC. You can bring the entire family to any of its gorgeous public parks and gardens, many of which are free to enter. The city and the surrounding area also feature numerous national parks, which give you and your fam even more space to run free in honor of the national holiday.


Spend July 4th on the steps of the National Archives

National Archives outside building

Join the National Archives for a one-of-a-kind July 4th celebration. Get ready to be greeted by George and Martha Washington re-enactors, enjoy family-fun activities, sign a facsimile of the Declaration of Independence, and more at this party hosted on the steps of the National Archives.

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