For alternative fireworks locations around the region, see page 2 for Maryland and page 3 for Virginia events.
The 4th of July celebrations in Washington, DC are among the most attended events of the year and many people arrive early to stake out a seat on the lawn. There are plenty of activities scheduled throughout the day to keep the whole family busy.
Getting to the National MallThe best way to get to the National Mall is to take the Metro. Stations nearby include Smithsonian, Metro Center, Gallery Place-Chinatown, Judiciary Square, Federal Triangle and L'Enfant Plaza.The Smithsonian Metro station will be open all day! Please note that due to construction this year, the grass panels on the Mall between 3rd and 7th Streets are closed to the public. It typically takes 1 ½ to 2 hours to clear the Mall after the fireworks.
Public access to the National Mall begins at 10:00 a.m., with all visitors required to enter via a security checkpoint. Read more about getting to the National Mall, public transportation, parking, security and road closures.
Washington, DC’s Independence Day Parade
Parade Start Time: 11:45 a.m.
Parade Route: Constitution Avenue and 7th to 17th Sts.
See a map of the parade route
Washington, DC’s 4th of July Parade features marching bands, military and specialty units, floats, and VIP's. The parade draws a large crowd, so plan to arrive early to stake out a good viewing spot. Read more about the National Independence Day Parade
Smithsonian Folklife Festival
The annual event includes daily and evening music and dance performances, crafts and cooking demonstrations, storytelling and discussions of cultural issues. The themes of the 2012 program will be: Campus and Community, Citified: Arts and Creativity East of the Anacostia River and Creativity and Crisis: Unfolding The AIDS Memorial Quilt. The hours on the 4th of July are 11 a.m to 5 p.m. Read more about the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
4th of July at the National Archives
The National Archives celebrates the 4th of July with special family programming celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Visit the National Archives Building for this special birthday party from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. See the schedule of events.
Concert on the Washington Monument Grounds
The traditional concert will not be held this year due to budget cuts. However, Navy Bands are attempting to schedule performances at other venues on the Mall. The TENTATIVE plans are as follows:
- Navy Band Commodores Jazz Ensemble at the WWII Memorial at 10:30 a.m.
- Navy Band Country Current at the Lincoln Memorial at 5:00 p.m.
Time: 8 - 9:30 p.m. (Admittance begins at 3 p.m.)
Location: West Lawn of the U. S. Capitol
A 4th of July tradition in the nation's capital includes a live concert by the National Symphony Orchestra and several pop artists performing patriotic music on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building. The concert and show is followed by a spectacular display of fireworks over the Washington Monument. The concert is free and open to the public. No tickets are necessary. The annual event will be broadcast live on WETA TV 26 with a repeat airing at 10:00 p.m. See photos of A Capitol Fourth
4th of July Fireworks on the National Mall
Fireworks Time: At dark, usually around 9:15 p.m. Rain Date: July 5th
Launch Location: The fireworks are launched from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and light up the sky over the Washington Monument. See Photos of the Fireworks
Best Places to View the National Mall Fireworks
- U.S. Capitol
- Lincoln Memorial
- Jefferson Memorial
- FDR Memorial
- East Potomac Park
- Rooftop Bars in Washington DC
- Rooftop of the W Hotel (tickets required)
- Anywhere along the National Mall between 14th Street and the Capitol
- Aboard a cruise along the Potomac River (tickets required)
If you’d prefer to avoid the crowds of the city, there are plenty of alternative places to watch fireworks. See suggestions on pages 2 and 3.
For Fireworks in Maryland, See Page 2
For Fireworks in Virginia, See Page 3
See also, 4th of July Parades in Washington, DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia