Sunday, June 8, 2014

Things to do in Washington D.C. on the Fourth of July

Summer in Washington is a sizzling time, and not just for the seasonally warm temperatures. Every year people head to the nation's capital city to see the sights and experience all there is to offer in this historic city. In the summertime, many people go to Washington D.C. to take part in the large celebrations commemorating America's birthday. The city offers many things to see and do at any given time of the year, but come Fourth of July, special events are planned throughout the day.

Float in July 4 parade in Washington DC


National Independence Day Parade


Every year on July 4, the National Independence Day Parade takes place. All along Constitution Ave., between 7th to 17th Street, thousands of people line up to watch the parade. The parade commences at 11:45 a.m. each year, and spectators watch bands, military units, floats, balloons, VIPs and other celebrity participants, in a wide display of red, white and blue.

National Independence Day Parade

National Independence Day Parade

National Archives ceremony

Every year crowds gather at the National Archives to celebrate the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence's adoption. 2014 marked its 238th year. To commemorate this significant event, on the morning of July 4 there is a reading of the Declaration of Independence by historical reenactors and patriotic music. This event begins at 8 a.m. and runs until 11 a.m. when visitors can then watch the parade.

After the ceremony there are family fun activities planned from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors to the National Archives can also get an opportunity to view the original copy of the historic document. The National Archives building is located on Constitution Ave. NW, between 7th and 9th Streets. Seating for the event is first come, first serve basis.

Baseball Game at Nationals Park

If sports is your thing, a day at the ballpark might be a good choice. Washington D.C. has a home team and home games are often scheduled during the Fourth of July. (In previous years there have been fireworks for night games - usually July 3 - if there is a game scheduled on that date). 

Nationals Park Stars and Stripes Series


After the day events come to a close, the city continues to celebrate with an annual concert and fireworks show. This show is typically a televised broadcast across the nation. The concerts always feature popular celebrities and the fireworks are spectacular. I'll be honest, I've always left downtown after the day activities as it is crowded and seems to get more so as the day goes on, but the National Park Service offers some tips for attending.  

Of course, most, if not all, of the year-round and summer attractions are always an option, many of them free of charge. The District has plenty to offer including the monuments, many museums, river cruises, water sports and other events.

It is important to note that due to heightened security, getting into the National Mall for any of the events will require going through a security check. Additionally, July in Washington can be very warm, so dress appropriately, wear comfy shoes and plan to drink lots of water.

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