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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.

Both President Biden and Mayor Muriel E. Bowser have invited Americans back to DC for a full-fledged celebration on the National Mall. However, please note that many of the locations detailed below may still have safety restrictions and/or limited hours.


Your ultimate guide to summer in Washington, DC


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’


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A Capitol Fourth, the star-studded concert that always precedes the epic fireworks show on the National Mall, will still air on PBS, but performances were pre-recorded for this year's rendition. Tune in to a talented lineup of performers, including Gladys Knight, Vanessa Williams, Alan Jackson, Jimmy Buffet and Train. Live shots and gorgeous scenery around the Capitol during the fireworks presentation will accompany the pre-recorded performances. 


Experience Independence Day at George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Capacity will be limited for this annual Independence Day celebration at Mount Vernon – make sure you read about the property’s safety protocols before purchasing a ticket. The day’s activities can include 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.


Safely explore the culinary capital

Numerous restaurants throughout DC have safety precautions in place. Check the status on outdoor dining spots, including beer gardenspatios and rooftop restaurantsTakeout and delivery service also remains a safe option for your Independence Day cravings. And of course, this blurb wouldn't be complete without a mention of the District's Michelin-starred and Bib Gourmand restaurants.


Explore DC parks, gardens and monuments


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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, have reopened with limited hours and capacity. National Park Service monuments and memorials around the National Mall are also open for exploring.


Catch daytime baseball at 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 defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers, meaning it's a meeting between Major League Baseball's two most recent champions. Check the Nats' website for ticket availability.



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 diningentertainment 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. Make sure to visit the Gallery's website for timed entry information and safety protocols for the museum.



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 reopens to the public on May 21. Observe the flag that inspired our national anthem, then take your young historians to Wegmans Wonderplace, an interactive and educational exhibit geared towards kids. There is also the dynamic Spark!Lab, where kids can experiment and invent on their own terms. And perhaps best of all, the museum is free to enter. Review details regarding timed entry and safety protocols on the museum's website.



Spend Independence Day with the animals of the National Zoo

Smithsonian’s National Zoo, which reopens on May 21, 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). For full details regarding the Zoo's reopening, timed entry and safety protocols, visit its website.



Take in DC’s wild side


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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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