Guide to the 4th of July Weekend in DC

This summer’s Program Advisors put together a guide for YOUR 4th of July in our nation’s capital! Whether it’s fireworks, food, festivals or Fourth Tips, we’ve got you covered.4th of july 2

Friday, July 1st

  • Head to the Marine Barracks for The Evening Parade which starts at 8:45pm, beginning with a concert by the Marine Band.

Saturday, July 2nd

  • Check out the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the Mall. There will be a variety of cultural performances, demonstrations, workshops and food to experience.

Sunday, July 3rd 

  • If you’re serious about brunching, go to Ted’s Bulletin, a bustling eatery and a DC classic. The “walk-of-shame” breakfast burritos and home-made pop tarts are a must.
  • Go to the “A Capitol Fourth” full dress rehearsal concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol from 8:00pm-10:00pm.

Monday, July 4th


  • Do visit The National Archives from 10:00am-11:00am before the parade to listen to a reading of The Declaration of Independence.
  • Do attend the Independence Day parade at 11:45am on Constitution Ave. & 7th.
  • Don’t waste your time trying to find a rooftop – unless your spot is guaranteed.
  • Do spend 4th of July on the Mall (facing Lincoln), get there early and bring a blanket. *this is a must*
  • Don’t get to the Mall right before the fireworks – they stop letting people in.
  • Do Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Keep in mind that alcohol is NOT allowed through security.
  • Don’t think about taking the metro after the firework show.
  • Do take all the photos with your friends.
  • Don’t watch the fireworks through your phone screen (ie. Trying to take photos of them)
  • Do have a safety plan.

So you’re planning to stake out a spot on the National Mall? 4th of july 1

What to bring:

  • A Blanket
  • Camera
  • Bug Spray
  • Sunscreen
  • An umbrella just in case (or to use for shade)
  • Snacks! (also lunch and dinner depending on how long you will be there)
  • Hand sanitizer and your own toilet paper for the port-a-potties

Not planning to be on the Mall? Check out the fireworks from any number of locations. Here are some of the best.

No matter where you are or what your plans are for the 4th of July weekend, the most important thing is that you are in good company. Have fun and be safe!

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