Your Fourth of July Holiday Guide
Independence Day is Wednesday, and what is more American that fireworks? A Capitol Fourth on the National Mall is always a great time, but it is always packed and you have to stake out your spot by noon. But if fighting the crowds is your idea of a festive celebration, check out other shows around the DMV. All are free unless otherwise noted.
Alexandria’s Birthday Celebration doesn’t actually happen on July 4. This year, the city will hold its combined Independence Day/birthday celebration on Saturday, July 7 from 6-10 p.m. celebrating America’s 242nd birthday and Alexandria’s 269th birthday on the same day. The party is held along the Potomac Riverfront at Oronoco Bay Park, 100 Madison St.. Take lawn chairs, blankets and a picnic and enjoy live music by the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra and the U.S. Navy Band Commodores. There will be food vendors, a patriotic birthday cake at 8 p.m. and fireworks over the waterfront at 9:30 p.m.
The city’s 4th of July celebration begins with a parade with marching bands, fire engines, cars and scouts stepping off at 6:30 p.m. at Amos Garrett Boulevard and West Street then moving the wrong way around Church Circle, down Main Street, left on Randall Street and ending in front of the Market House about 8 p.m. Fireworks launch at 9:15 p.m. from a barge in Annapolis Harbor. From 8 p.m. until the fireworks at 9:15 p.m., there will be music from radio station WRNR. The Spa Creek Bridge will be closed from Eastport into Annapolis from 6 p.m. to about 10 p.m. There will also be street closures and limited parking. From 5 p.m.-midnight, a $1 shuttle will transport people from the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (Gate 5) to Lawyers Mall and free buses will run from 4 p.m. to midnight from the state parking garage on Calvert Street to the Department of Natural Resources parking lot off Taylor Avenue on Herbert Sachs Boulevard and then dropping off at Lawyer’s Mall in front of the State House. Two free Circulators will run from Park Place (Westin Hotel) along West Street and around Church Circle, dropping riders at the top of Main Street from 9 a.m. until midnight.
Fall Church’s free July 4th Celebration is held at George Mason High School, 7124 Leesburg Pike, on July 4. Gates open at 6 p.m. and the rock band Turtle Recall takes the stage at 7 p.m. Fireworks begin at 9:20 p.m., with seating available at Jack Gambill Athletic Field and the UVA/Virginia Tech Northern Virginia Graduate Center parking lot. Food trucks will be on-site, including Margaret’s Soul Food, Los Wingeez and more including cotton candy, ice cream and shaved ice. Visitors should park at the West Falls Church Metro station parking garage, which is free on holidays. Only event personnel and people with a handicapped parking placard may park at the high school.
The City of Fairfax celebrates the holiday by hosting its annual Independence Day Celebration, with a parade from 10 a.m.-noon in downtown Fairfax; free guided tours at the Ratcliffe-Allison-Pozer House, 10385 Main St., from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.; an open house at the Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center, 10209 Main Street, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; a superhero fest from noon-1 p.m. in the SunTrust parking lot across from fire station No. 3; and an Old Fashioned Fireman’s Day beginning at 12:30 p.m. at 4081 University Dr., with a firefighter competition, food and beverages and fun for the kids. The evening show and fireworks are from 5:30-10:30 p.m. at Fairfax High School, 3501 Rebel Run, with children’s activities from 5:30-9:30 p.m., live music from The Rockest at 6, 8:20 and 9:40 p.m., the City of Fairfax Band at 7 p.m. the city band will also play the 1812 Overture at 9:20 p.m. along with the fireworks., which begin at 9:30 p.m. The rain date for the fireworks is July 5.
Germantown Glory will feature live music beginning at 7 p.m. at South Germantown Recreation Park, 14501 Schaeffer Road, Boyds. The band Gringo Jingo will be performing the best of Santana followed by fireworks at 9:15 p.m. Take a picnic or purchase food from several food trucks located throughout the parking lot.
Mid-County Sparkles at Albert Einstein High School, 11135 Newport Mill Road, features a concert by Quiet Fire covering hits of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s beginning at 7:30 p.m. Take a picnic or purchase food from vendors. Fireworks begin at 9:15 p.m. with a raindate of July 5. Only handicapped parking is available on-site. Free parking and shuttles will be available at Westfield Wheaton mall beginning at 6 p.m.
The city of Laurel will celebrate its 40th annual Independence Celebration on July 7. The day features a parade at 11 a.m. starting at Fourth and Montgomery Streets, a car show from noon-3 p.m. in Granville Gude Park at Laurel Lakes, field events from 3-5 p.m. at the park including a giant rainbow parachute, corn hole, bubbles, Minute-to-Win-It style games, a hot dog eating contest at 4 p.m. and music by Oracle at 5:15 and 7 p.m. The fireworks display begins at 9:15 p.m. from a barge in the lake. Food and craft vendors will be at the park from 11 a.m. until the end of the fireworks.
George Washington’s historic estate will host An American Celebration from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on July 4. Watch daytime fireworks over the Potomac at 1 p.m., military reenactments all day and a wreath-laying ceremony at 10 a.m. There will also be a visit from General and Mrs. Washington, a National Concert Band performance at noon and a naturalization ceremony at 11 a.m. in which 101 people from 50 countries will become citizens. Free birthday cake will be available at 1:15 p.m. while supplies last. Discounted tickets available online for the event are $18 for adults, $17 for seniors and $11 for youth ages 6-11. Children 5 and younger are free.
The city’s Independence Day Celebration features live music from The Nighthawks beginning at 7 p.m. followed by fireworks at 9:15 p.m. at Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park, 1800 Piccard Drive in King Farm. Pack a picnic and beverages or buy them from vendors. Don’t forget to take lawn chairs and blankets. The farm has great views and convenient parking in lots along Piccard Drive and Shady Grove Road. There is no parking at the park.
Takoma Park’s 129th Independence Day celebration begins with a parade at 10 a.m. starting at the intersection of Carroll and Ethan Allen Avenues then traveling south on Carroll Avenue then west on Maple Avenue to the finish at Ritchie Avenue. Evening festivities begin at 7 p.m. at Takoma Park Middle School, 7611 Piney Branch Road, Silver Spring. There will be live music from Elena & Los Fulanos, a bilingual folk-rock band, the AcroAirs from Washington Adventist University and the Takoma Park Community Band. Fireworks begin about 9:30 p.m. Food, drink, t-shirt and novelty vendors will be along the fence at the Piney Branch Road end of the field, at the top of the hill by the school.
Vienna’s July 4th Celebration kicks off with Sprinklers & Sparklers from 2-4 p.m. on the Vienna Community Center grounds, 120 Cherry St. SE. The event for the entire family includes giant water slides, slip ‘n slides, sprinklers, water games, sno-cones, music, magic shows and balloon twisting. Then take chairs and blankets and head out to Yeonas Park, 1319 Ross Drive SW, at 7 p.m. for a concert by Mars Rodeo performing rock originals and covers leading up to the fireworks at dark, about 9:30 p.m. show. Food and drinks will be available at the Little League concession stand. Alcohol and pets are not allowed.
Festivities for A Capitol Fourth begin with a free concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol hosted by John Stamos and featuring Pentonix, Jimmy Buffet, the Beach Boys, CeCe Winana, The Temptations, Joshua Bell, the National Symphony Orchestra, the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” and more, followed by the fireworks display. Gates, located at Third Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW and Third Street and Maryland Avenue SW, open at 3 p.m., the concert begins at 8 p.m. followed by the fireworks about 9 p.m. Take a picnic, chairs and blankets to pass the time. There is also a full dress rehearsal on July 3 at 8 p.m. with gates opening at 3 p.m.
If you don’t want to fight the crowds on the Mall, consider watching the fireworks from the area around the Southwest Waterfront near The Wharf, 1100 Maine Ave. SW; Georgetown Waterfront Park, 3303 Water St. NW; Meridian Hill Park, 16th and W Streets NW; the Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW; Cardozo High School, 1200 Clifton St. NW; or on a Potomac Riverboat Co. fireworks cruise, which departs from Alexandria City Marina or The Wharf.