Enjoy independence day 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. And stay tuned for ways to celebrate America's 250th through July 4, 2026.
Watch the fireworks against the DC skyline of monuments and memorials
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, 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
Explore the culinary capital
Check out DC's outdoor dining spots, including beer gardens and patios, or celebrate the stars (and stripes) at the District's Michelin-starred and Bib Gourmand restaurants. Enjoy brunch specials at Brasserie Liberté, Dirty Habit and The Pembroke. Plan a picnic with curated baskets from Ellington Park Bistro, choose from all-American selections at Yardbird and District Winery or indulge in themed macarons from Olivia Macaron.
Party in the USA with panoramic views
There are plenty of great rooftop bars that offer the ideal setting for watching the fireworks in the District. In the past, VUE Rooftop Lounge and Terrace at Hotel Washington, the Conrad Hotel's Summit Rooftop, La Vie, Top of the Gate at the Watergate Hotel, Hotel Hive, Lady Bird at Kimpton Banneker Hotel, L'Ardente, CityBar at Hyatt Place Washington DC/National Mall and Tag Rooftop Bar at The Ven at Embassy Row have offered special events that make for great Independence Day (or should we say night) revelry.
Visit DC parks, gardens and monuments
Catch daytime baseball at Nationals Park
Snag a hotel deal while in town
Many hotels in DC offer special discounts and packages in honor of Independence Day, from luxurious experiences to budget-friendly options. Some only-in-DC deals allow you to enjoy convenient access to the National Mall, where you can witness the spectacular fireworks display on July 4th.
Chill out at the Capitol Riverfront
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 dining, entertainment and exciting waterfront activities.
Enjoy a delicious dinner and riverside views at the 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
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
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
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
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
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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