Independence Day in the District

Written by Dylan Reed, Institute on Economics and International Affairs Program Advisor 

Perhaps the greatest perk of being a summer intern in DC is celebrating Independence Day in our nation’s capital. There are many events going on throughout the day so be prepared for a packed schedule. These events also share a common and much appreciated characteristic: they’re FREE! So check out the schedule below, hydrate with plenty of water, and enjoy the holiday.

Independence Day Parade

The National Independence Day Parade takes place annually on July 4th at 11:45am. The parade route runs along Constitution Avenue starting on 7th Street and ending on 17th Street. The National Park Service strives to bring a glorious parade each year that proudly celebrates the real meaning of the Fourth of July. This event features bands from across the country, members from each branch of the military, floats, and perhaps a few celebrities. Be sure to bring a camera!

Celebrate the 4th with the National Archives

The Archives will host events throughout the day, starting with an opening ceremony at 10:00am on their Constitution Avenue steps. Don’t miss the dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence by historical re-enactors portraying Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Edward “Ned” Hector.

You can meet several historical figures such as Abigail and John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, and George Washington between 11:00am and 2:00pm inside the Archives in the Boeing Learning Center. There will also be family friendly activities between 11:00am and 4:00pm.

Memorial Concerts by the Navy

The Navy will proudly put on two concerts to celebrate Independence Day. The tentative schedule is as follows: Navy Band Commodores Jazz Ensemble at the WWII Memorial at 10:30am and the Navy Band Country Current at the Lincoln Memorial at 5:00pm.

SONY DSCA Capital Fourth Concert

Join Tom Bergeron as he hosts an annual concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol. Performances this year will include Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond, and American Idol Candice Glover, among others. This is a very popular event so be sure to arrive early in order to get a good seat. PBS broadcasts the concert so tell friends and family to look for you in the crowd!


You can’t have Independence Day without fireworks. The DC fireworks show will commence at around 9:15pm. The best seats are on the mall, but it can get very crowded so be sure to arrive early with a blanket or chairs to claim your spot. The fireworks are launched from the reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial, and you can see the show from many other areas around the city. Finish your night off by enjoying a spectacular display of lights in the sky.

Capture the Moment Photo Contest

The Fund for American Studies wants to remind all TFAS students that the photo contest deadline is Monday, July 22. Each entry must be accompanied by a short caption identifying those photographed as well as the name of the photographer. Independence Day will offer a wide variety of fantastic photo opportunities so get your camera ready!

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