Monday, May 2, 2016

Fun things to do in Washington DC on July 4

Summer in Washington is a sizzling time, and not just for the seasonally warm temperatures we typically see. Every year people head to the U.S. Capital to see the sights and experience all there is to offer in this historic city. 

The District 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. There are a number of wonderful celebrations commemorating America's birthday.

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

This parade is something to see. You definitely want to arrive early to get a good spot! The streets get very crowded for this one. 

National Archives ceremony

Every year crowds gather at the National Archives to celebrate the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence's adoption. 2018 marks its 242nd year. To commemorate this significant event, on the morning of July 4, there is a reading of the Declaration of Independence by historical reenactors, accompanied by patriotic music. This event begins at 8 a.m. and runs until 11 a.m. when visitors can then turn their attention to 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 have 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 baseball is your thing, a day at Nationals' Park is another option. Home games for the Nats are traditionally scheduled on Independence Day, usually with an 11:05 a.m. start time

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. To be honest, I've always left downtown after the daytime activities as it is crowded and seems to get even more so as the day goes on, so I don't have advice here, however, 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 is typically very warm, so dress appropriately, wear comfortable shoes and plan to drink lots of water.

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