Independence Day Parade
Join hundreds of thousands of spectators to watch the country’s biggest and best Independence Day Parade, symbolically set against DC’s historic monuments. Admire the marching bands, fife-and-drum corps, floats, military units, giant balloons, equestrians, drill teams, national dignitaries and celebrity participants in this flag-waving, red-white-and-blue event. The mile-long parade marches along Constitution Avenue.
Capitol Fourth Concert
Then gather on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for a patriotic evening of music. The televised Capitol Fourth Concert, which precedes the fireworks, presents an all-star salute of American entertainers from pop, country, R&B, classical and Broadway featuring the National Symphony Orchestra.
Conclude America’s birthday at the National Mall with a bang — a display of eye-popping fireworks, whose dazzling bursts of color and light illuminate the skyline. The nation’s most important civic space, the National Mall is home to more than a dozen monuments and memorials that commemorate great Americans and significant events in American history.
Want to skip the crowds on the mall? Savvy insiders head instead to five locations on the Arlington side of the Potomac River for prime viewing spots. They are:
- Gravelly Point, a park area just north of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, which is famous for plane spotting.
- The Mount Vernon Trail that winds alongside the Potomac River, whose uninterrupted views of the DC skyline are perfect for watching the fireworks.
- The Francis Scott Key Bridge, which connects Arlington’s Rosslyn and DC’s Georgetown neighborhoods, offers stunning views of the capital. Stroll over from the Rosslyn Metro station and catch the fireworks from the bridge.
- Arlington’s Long Bridge Park offers great fireworks views along with room to spread a picnic blanket. It’s located at the north end of the Crystal City neighborhood, accessible from the Crystal City Metro station.
- From the famous Iwo Jima statue in Rosslyn, you’ll get a panoramic view of the fireworks, the national monuments and memorials, and the iconic statue of Marines raising the flag. What could be more patriotic than that.
Washington Monument Activities
Other activities draw visitors throughout the day. Did you know the cornerstone of the Washington Monument was laid on Independence Day in 1848? Commemorate it by visiting the Sylvan Theater Family Activity Area on the grounds for activities about the history of the city’s most famous monument. Kids can complete their Independence Day Junior Ranger booklet full of fun activities to earn a special Junior Ranger badge.
Mount Vernon Event
Salute the first U.S. president, George Washington, at his Virginia estate during Mount Vernon's Independence Day event. Watch daytime fireworks shoot off over the Potomac River while viewing special military re-enactments, including a musical performance by the National Concert Band. Witness new citizens take the oath at a moving naturalization ceremony.
Memorials and Parks
Visit the nation's memorials dedicated to those who served our country, many of which are located in Arlington, such as the Air Force Memorial, Marine Corps War Memorial, National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial and Military Women’s Memorial. Or enjoy recreational opportunities in one of the many DC area national parks, some of which have July 4th ranger programs.