This week Americans will be celebrating the Fourth of July all over the country, but we think there’s no better place to experience the anniversary of our country’s birth than our nation’s capital. Since Washington, D.C. is our home base, we’ve listed the top five can’t miss activities for this year’s celebration.
5. Walk around the Folklife Festival. The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is held every summer on the National Mall and typically draws more than a million visitors. This year’s festival has two themes: China: Tradition and the Art of Living, and Kenya: Mambo Poa. The festival will run July 2-6, and like the Smithsonian museums, it’s free.
4. Attend the National Independence Day Parade. Who doesn’t love a parade? America’s National Independence Day Parade consists of invited bands, fife and drum corps, floats, military and specialty units, giant balloons, equestrian, drill teams, VIP’s, national dignitaries, and celebrity participants. The parade route is on Constitution Avenue between 7th and 17th Streets and will kick off on July 4, at 11:45 a.m.
3. View the original Declaration of Independence at the National Archives. What could be more patriotic than viewing the document that started it all? The Archives holds a variety of Fourth of July festivities including a reading of Thomas Jefferson’s text.
2. Head over to the Willard for its annual Fourth of July Block Party. The Willard InterContinental Hotel is just steps from the White House and is one of the most historic hotels in Washington (President Ulysses S. Grant used to take meetings in the lobby, spawning the urban legend of the origin of the term “lobbying”). Each Independence Day, the hotel decks out its lobby and opens its doors for its annual Fourth of July block party. The hotel’s restaurant, Café du Parc, hosts live music and serves classic American fare.
1. 4th of July Fireworks on the National Mall. Washington is home to the nation’s largest Independence Day fireworks display. Kicking off at dark, the fireworks are launched from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and light up the sky over the Washington Monument. Best of all, the District has strict limitations on building height, meaning no skyscrapers block the view and the display can be viewed from many vantage points throughout the city. You can also enjoy them from the Potomac River by taking a Fireworks Cruise.