Independence Day approaches, and with it, the rush for the best spot to watch the fireworks.
A Capitol Fourth on the National Mall is likely to be crowded, but the good news is there are plenty of other great spots inside the Beltway to view it.
If fighting the crowds is still not your cup of tea, check out the local shows in Maryland and Virginia we've compiled below and on the map above.
A Capitol Fourth: The festivities begin with a concert featuring the Beach Boys, the Four Tops, Yolanda Adams and more, hosted by John Stamos, followed by a stunning fireworks show around 9 p.m.
You can catch them from many vantage points around the National Mall, as well as as rooftop bars, the Lincoln Memorial steps or a Spirit of Washington cruise. Local parks will also be available for those who want to picnic and watch fireworks.
Here are a few places to see the National Mall Celebration away from the mall crowds:
- Washington National Cathedral: 3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW
- Georgetown Waterfront Park: 3303 Water St. NW
- Spirit of Washington: departs from 600 Water St. SW
Alexandria: The city will hold its Independence Day celebration on July 8 to celebrate America's 241st birthday and Alexandria's 268th birthday on the same day. The event will be held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. along the Potomac River Waterfront at Oronoco Bay Park (100 Madison St., Alexandria). The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra will play live music; patriotic birthday cake will be provided, and the event will culminate in a fireworks display over the waterfront.
Colonial Williamsburg: The evening July Fourth fireworks show is free and open to the public, but if you want to experience the full range of activities, you'll need to buy a ticket. A variety of ticketing options offer extras such as a reading of the Declaration of Independence, a performance by a drum-and-fife group, children's games and meals.
Falls Church: Festivities will be held at George Mason High School (7124 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church) starting at 7 p.m. Classic rock ballads will be performed by the Darby Brothers, followed by a fireworks show at 9:20 p.m. Seating is available at Jack Gambill Athletic Fields or the Northern Virginia Graduate Center Parking Lot. The event is free to the public, and food and drinks will be available for purchase. Parking will be available on campus on a first-come, first-served basis.
Fairfax: The City of Fairfax celebrates the Fourth by hosting its annual Independence Day Celebration, featuring a parade at 10 a.m., free cake and lemonade, historic house tours, a superhero fest and more, followed by live music and fireworks. See the full schedule and event locations online here.
Herndon: An Independence Day celebration will be held at Bready Park at the Herndon Community Center (814 Ferndale Ave., Herndon) on July 4. Free games, bingo and children's arts and crafts begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by fireworks at 9:30 p.m., choreographed to music. Rain date is July 5.
Leesburg: After an Independence Day Parade at 10 a.m., a firework show will be held at Ida Lee Park (60 Ida Lee Drive NW, Leesburg). The gates open at 5:45 p.m. and music by the Robbie Limon Band and others will start at 6 p.m. Fireworks begin at around 9:45 p.m.
Mount Vernon: George Washington's historical estate will host a variety of celebrations on and leading up to Independence Day. Go June 30 or July 1 for evening fireworks and ice cream making. Tickets for the evening event are $34 for adults and $24 for children. On the Fourth of July, visitors can see daytime fireworks, war reenactments and several other patriotic events. Tickets for the daytime event are $18 for adults and $9 for children when purchased online.
Reston: Fireworks will be held on July 1 (or July 2 in case of rain), at Lake Fairfax Park (1400 Lake Fairfax Drive, Reston). Parking is $10 per car. The park opens at 7 a.m. Boat rentals are available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. A puppet show will begin at 1:30 p.m., followed by live music from 3 p.m. until fireworks begin at 9:15 p.m. Food vendors will be set up at the park's main office, and campgrounds are available for overnight reservations. Call the Fairfax County Park Authority at 703-471-5415 to reserve a space.
Vienna: On July 4, residents can enjoy fireworks after dark (approximately 9:30 p.m.) at Southside Park (1315 Ross Drive SW, Vienna). Little League Concession will be open. Some seats will be available near the playground at Southside Park, but the majority of seating will be at Yeonas Park, which is located immediately to the east.
Annapolis: The celebration begins with a parade, a performance by the U.S. Naval Academy Band and a fireworks cruise for a closer view. Fireworks will launch at 9:15 p.m. from the Annapolis Harbor. There are many places around the harbor available to view the show and park, with parking available at multiple locations around Annapolis. From 5 p.m. to midnight, a $1 shuttle provided by the city will transport people from the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium to Lawyers Mall.
Bowie: The Prince George's Stadium (4101 Crain Highway, Bowie), home of the Bowie Baysox, will begin their Independence Day Celebration at 6:35 p.m. with the Baysox vs. Hartford Yard Goats game. Food is available for purchase, but it must be ordered by June 28. The fireworks display begins after the game. Tickets are $25.
Columbia: Howard County's Department of Recreation will host a free 4th of July festival from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fireworks will begin at dark. Bring your own picnic food or purchase food on-site from vendors. Parking is free. Rain date is July 5.
Gaithersburg: The city is holding its SummerFest at Bohrer Park (512 S. Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg) on July 1, featuring live music, food and kids' activities. The evening will be capped off with fireworks after dusk, around 9:45 p.m.
Laurel: On July 1, there will be an Independence Day Parade at 11 am., and fireworks will start at 9:15 p.m. at the lake.
Germantown: This Fourth of July celebration at South Germantown Recreation Park (14501 Schaeffer Road, Boyds) will offer live music starting at 7 p.m. featuring the band Quiet Fire, followed by fireworks at 9:15 p.m.
Rockville:The city's Independence Day event is celebrating its second year at Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park (1800 Piccard Drive, Rockville) in King Farm. The farm has great views and plenty of parking. Live music begins at 6 p.m., followed by fireworks at 9:15 p.m.
Six Flags America: The theme park will host Independence Day festivities from July 2 through July 4. Catch the fireworks pre-show at Hurricane Harbor at 8:45 p.m. each night, followed by fireworks at 9:15 p.m. Tickets are required to watch the show inside Six Flags.
Takoma Park: A parade will begin at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Carroll and Ethan Allen Avenues. By 7 p.m. at Takoma Park Middle School (7611 Piney Branch Road, Silver Spring), catch live music by Elena & Los Fulanos, a bilingual folk-rock band, and the Takoma Park Community Band. Fireworks will begin at 9:30 p.m.
CORRECTION (June 27, 2017, 4:28 p.m. EST): Fireworks at Six Flags America were initially listed as beginning at 9:45 p.m. They will begin at 9:15 p.m.