D.C.'s quintesstial July 4th event is, of course, A Capitol Fourth on the National Mall, with a free show on the Capitol lawn -- featuring actor Matthew Broderick, Tom Bergeron of "Dancing With the Stars, composer John Williams and more -- followed by an outstanding fireworks show. Arrive extra-early (bring blankets and a picnic), since this one always fills up. It'll also be broadcast live on PBS, just in case you’d rather see it from your TV screen. Free; 8 p.m.
Want to celebrate the Fourth in posh style? Grab your friends, don your fancypants, and jump on an elevator up to Boom with a View at the sensational P.O.V. rooftop lounge at the W Hotel (515 15th St. NW). The bar looks out over the Mall for a spectacular view of the fireworks. Enjoy delicious food, an open bar and a live performance by Burnt Siena. Now this how the celebs party! $75 per person; deluxe package for two $379; 6 p.m. doors.
During the daytime hours, check out the Smithsonian Folklife Festival along the National Mall. Catch performances by a Hawaiian, hip-hop and go-go dancers; learn about advances in sustainable agriculture, see the AIDS Quilt and more. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; free admission.
The annual National Independence Day Parade rolls down Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Street NW. Catch marching bands, fife and drum corps, floats, giant balloons and moer. 11:45 a.m.; free.
Relive an iconic moment in American history during the John Hancock Celebration at the White House (1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW). You’ll be able to dress the part of the historic delegates, and sign a giant copy of the Declaration of Independence with a quill pen. Right after the event, go head and listen to "John Adams," followed by a formal reading of the Declaration at 1 p.m. 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; free.
The Soldiers' Home (333 Rock Creek Chruch Road NW) in Petworth hosts a family-friendly celebration with a great vantage point to view the fireworsk downtown. You'll find local food vendors, soccer, kickball, touch football, tug of war games and more. Kids can enjoy catch-and-release fishing from 5 to 7 p.m. 4–9:30 p.m.; free admission.