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4th of July Fireworks in DC | © mo1229/Flickr
4th of July Fireworks in DC | © mo1229/Flickr
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10 Things to Do Over Fourth of July Weekend 2017 in Washington, DC

Picture of Aparna Krishnamoorthy
Updated: 12 June 2017
Washington, DC celebrates summer’s biggest holiday — the Fourth of July — with a bang. There are a number of places to celebrate and a variety of ways to do it. If you are in DC this year for the Fourth of July, here are some ways to experience the fun and spirit of Independence Day in the capital.
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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.

National Mall, Washington DC

Fireworks over the National Mall | © mo1229/Flickr

Monuments Cruise

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

Courtesy of Potomac Riverboat Company
Courtesy of Potomac Riverboat Company
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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.

Smithsonian Castle,

Courtesy of The Smithsonian Folklife Festival

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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.

Mount Vernon – 3200 Mount Vernon Hwy, Mt Vernon, VA 22121

Courtesy of Mount Vernon

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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.

National Building Museum – 401 F St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Hive – Courtesy of the National Building Museum

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.

4th of July Parade
4th of July Parade | © S Pakhrin/Flickr
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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.

The Hay Adams – 800 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20006

View from the Hay Adams | Courtesy of The Hay Adams

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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.

National Archives – 700 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20408

Front of the Declaration of Independence | Courtesy of the National Archives

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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,

Memorials | Courtesy of Washington Walks

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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.

The Rosewood – 1050 31st St NW, Washington, DC 20007

Rooftop at the Rosewood | Courtesy of The Rosewood