Fourth of July fireworks at the National Mall
The fireworks show at the National Mall is one of the best Independence Day Fireworks shows in the country. It’s visible from many places in DC and across the river in Virginia. To do it right, make an afternoon of it and picnic on the National Mall starting in the evening, and stick around for the fireworks after sunset.
A fun way to see the sights of the city is a lunch or dinner cruise with Entertainment Cruises or Spirit of Washington Cruises, which provide stunning views of DC monuments and landmarks from on the water. Fourth of July dinner cruises also provide a spectacular view of the fireworks show, along with dinner and dancing on the boat. Another option, if you just want the sightseeing, is the Potomac Riverboat Company, which also runs a number of sightseeing tours.
Entertainment Cruises, 600 Water St SW B, Washington, DC, +1 866-404-8439
Spirit of Washington Cruises, 600 Water St SW, Washington, DC, +1 866-302-2469
Potomac Riverboat Company, 211 N Union St #250, Alexandria, VA, +1 703-684-0580
Smithsonian Folklife Festival
The annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival features new peoples and cultures each year, in a day-long celebration with cultural demonstrations, food and drink, arts and crafts, concerts, and more. This year’s 50th anniversary celebration focuses on “Circus Arts” and runs from June 29-July 4 and July 6-9, 2017.
Daytime fireworks at Mount Vernon
Go out to George Washington’s Mount Vernon for an all-day celebration with events including military re-enactments, cannon fire, and special daytime fireworks over the Potomac. Check out the full schedule here and get tickets in advance.
Hive at the National Building Museum
Opening on July 4, the National Building Museum’s Summer Block Party exhibit — the Hive — opens in the Great Hall. Hive is built entirely from more than 2,700 wound paper tubes, a construction material that is recyclable, lightweight, and renewable. After you are done checking out the exhibit, enjoy an all-American Backyard BBQ, featuring food, beverages, and live music outdoors on the West Lawn of the building.
Independence Day Parade
Line up along Constitution Avenue to watch the Independence Day Parade, which is an extravaganza of people, floats, bands, and more. The parade begins at 11:45 a.m. and is held between 7th and 17th streets.
Luxury at the Hay-Adams Hotel
For a luxury escape overlooking the White House, look no further than the Hay-Adams’ 4th of July package. It does not come cheap, but its an experience like no other. You get a luxurious guestroom, multi-course dinner with wine, and a prime spot on the rooftop for viewing the fireworks.
Reading of the Declaration of Independence
View original copies of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights at the National Archives, before watching a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence by special guests including Abigail Adams, John Adams, John Dunlap, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Ned Hector, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington.
Patriotic walking tour
To experience and learn about various aspects of American history an culture, take a walking tour with Washington Walks. A number of tours are offered, including special tours over the holiday weekend. Check out the tour of the U.S. Capitol and Houses of Congress (on July 1, 2017) or “Women Who Changed America” tour (on July 2, 2017).
Washington Walks, Washington, DC, +1 202-484-1565
Catch the action from a rooftop bar
If you want to avoid the crowds at the National Mall, get to a rooftop bar, from where you can see the fireworks displays. The rooftop bar at The Rosewood in Georgetown offers panoramic views of the city, making for a prime spot to see the fireworks while enjoying a cocktail or a glass of wine.