By Kylee Toland
With the holiday known for fireworks, grill outs and overall independence just around the corner, the wider D.C. metropolitan area is preparing for a busy Fourth of July, an especially honored holiday here because of its role as the nation’s capital. Fortunately, it won’t be hard for locals and tourists to find something to do while celebrating the holiday, as the DMV area offers a variety of activities and places for people to enjoy.
According to Destination D.C.’s President and CEO Elliot L. Ferguson II, there is “no better destination to honor Independence Day than in the nation’s capital.” “We know cost is top of mind for everyone these days and DC is the “Capital of Free,” continued Ferguson in his statement while also stating that D.C. has more than “100 things to do” during the holiday weekend. Just last year, domestic visitation during July 4th weekend was 18.8 million, with visitors to DC spending up to $5.1 billion and supporting 57,933 local jobs.
For most people, Fourth of July mainly focuses on the bright fireworks that light up the night sky. D.C. is well-known for its fireworks at the National Mall, which has been described as “the most crowded place to watch the celebration.” For those looking for a low-key experience or a quiet, “sensory-friendly” evening, watching the fireworks from the National Cathedral or Cardozo Education Campus — both located in northwestern D.C. — is the best option, as the National Cathedral has been called the “highest point in the city.”
At 8 p.m., before the fireworks show at the National Mall, A Capitol Fourth — a concert featuring a variety of artists — will take place in-person as well as being aired on PBS for those not able to attend. Hosted by four-time Grammy nominee Mickey Guyton, this year’s concert will feature musical artists such as Rachel Platten, Jake Owen, U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, Gloria Gaynor and many more. For more information, visit pbs.org.
For the first time in three years, the National Independence Day parade will be making its way on Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th street at 11:45 a.m. on July 4th. The parade consists of invited bands, fife and drum corps, floats, giant balloons and many more. Described on its website as a “patriotic, flag-waving, red white and blue celebration of America’s birthday,” the goal of the parade is to “include representation from all parts of the United States.”
Smaller parades celebrating the holiday include the Capitol Hill Community 4th of July Parade and the 74th Annual Pacific Palisades July 4th Celebration. Both of these parades feature local little league teams, girl scouts, council members and neighborhood people. For sports fans, the Washington Nationals are playing the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park. Starting at 11 a.m. on July the 4th, this gives people a head-start in celebrating Independence day while also leaving time for other activities in the evening.
When it comes time to satisfy your stomach, D.C. provides a number of restaurants and eateries for locals and tourists alike to enjoy. With beer gardens, patios and rooftop restaurants, the D.C. area offers popular dining spots such as Founding Farmers, The Rooftop DC, Le Diplomate and many more. For a fun night involving food, drinks, music and views of fireworks, The Wharf is offering a free celebration on July 4th called “Fourth at the Wharf.” This event is welcome to all ages and offers attendees a “historically’’ great view of the fireworks. For more information, visit wharfdc.com.
While visiting the D.C. area for the holiday weekend, this could be a perfect time for both tourists and locals to visit the monuments, parks and museums. Monuments and memorials such as the Vietnam Veterans memorial and the Washington Monument are great sites to see when spending a day in the nation’s capital. One can visit the reopened National Portrait Gallery’s America’s Presidents exhibit, which displays images of past presidents through sculptures and paintings.
The National Museum of American History can allow visitors to observe a variety of historical artifacts, such as the flag that inspired the national anthem. For those who opt for an outdoor experience, DC offers public parks and gardens, as well as national parks such as the National Mall and Memorial Parks.