Independence Day is almost here, and with it, the rush for the best spot to watch the fireworks.
A Capitol Fourth — a star-studded concert held each year on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol — and D.C.'s fireworks are always a great time ... and they're always packed. However, you can also find several other great spots from which to view them.
And if fighting the crowds is still not your cup of tea, check out local shows in Maryland or Virginia.
A Capitol Fourth: This year's Independence Day concert will feature host John Stamos and performances by Carole King and the Broadway cast of "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical," Keala Settle, Lee Brice, Gone West featuring Colbie Caillat, Yolanda Adams and more.
D.C.'s Fireworks Show: Expect even more fireworks in D.C. this year as a result of President Donald Trump's "Salute to America" celebration. Fireworks will launch from behind the Lincoln Memorial at 9:07 p.m. and the big finale will launch at 9:22 p.m. from West Potomac Park.
President Trump will also give a speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
You should be able to catch the fireworks from many vantage points around the Tidal Basin and National Mall, as well as as rooftop bars or a Spirit of Washington cruise. Local parks are another option for those who want to picnic and watch fireworks.
Alexandria: This fest is actually not on the Fourth. The city will hold its Independence Day celebration on July 13 to celebrate America's 243rd birthday and Alexandria's 270th birthday on the same day. The event will be held from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. along the Potomac River Waterfront at Oronoco Bay Park (100 Madison St., Alexandria). With live music, food vendors, patriotic birthday cake and a dazzling fireworks display over the waterfront at 9:30 p.m., this free event is a good way to celebrate two birthdays in one.
Colonial Williamsburg: The 9 p.m. July 4 fireworks show is free and open to the public, but if you want to make sure you have a good view on the Palace Green, you can buy premium seating at $25 per chair. Guests will also enjoy public readings of the Declaration of Independence, musical performances, hands-on activities for kids and more.
Falls Church: ;Festivities will be held at George Mason High School (7124 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church) on July 4, with gates opening at 6 p.m. and the rock band Turtle Recall taking the stage at 7 p.m. The fireworks show begins at 9:20 p.m., with seating available at Jack Gambill Athletic Fields and the Northern Virginia Graduate Center Parking Lot. Food trucks will be on-site, including Margaret's Soul Food, Los Wingeez and more. Visitors are encouraged to take advantage of free parking at the West Falls Church Metro station parking garage, although parking at the high school is available to event personnel and visitors with handicap placards.
Fairfax: The City of Fairfax kicks off its Independence Day celebrations with a parade in downtown Fairfax from 10 a.m. to noon (rain or shine), followed by an Old Fashioned Fireman's Day at 4081 University Drive, and live performances and fireworks. The evening show begins at 6:30 p.m. with music by the Darby Brothers, and fireworks start at 9:30 p.m. (with a rain date of July 5).
Herndon: An Independence Day celebration will be held at Bready Park softball field at the Herndon Community Center (814 Ferndale Ave., Herndon) on July 4. Free games and other activities begin at 6:30 p.m., with festival food available for sale. A live performance by Guys In Thin Ties starts at 7:15 p.m., all leading up to the fireworks show at 9:30 p.m. Parking is available at Herndon Middle School, Herndon Centennial Golf Course and Herndon Community Center. Drivers should expect detours for up to an hour after the fireworks show ends, and those parked at the Herndon Community Center may not exit until given permission by the Fire Marshal. Personal fireworks, glass containers and pets are not allowed. The rain date is July 5.
Leesburg: After an Independence Day parade in historic downtown Leesburg at 10 a.m., a fireworks show choreographed to patriotic music will be held at Ida Lee Park (60 Ida Lee Drive NW, Leesburg) at 9:30 p.m. on July 4 (or July 5 if it rains). Gates open at 6 p.m. and music starts at 6:30 p.m. A full food court will be on-site with funnel cakes, ice cream, burgers and more. Parking is available at the interior lots off Ida Lee Drive and the festival field parking off King Street. Pets, alcohol, glass bottles and personal fireworks are not permitted.
Mount Vernon: George Washington's historic estate will host a variety of celebrations on and leading up to Independence Day. On June 29 and June 30 from 6 p.m. to 9:45 p.m., guests are invited to enjoy a patriotic evening filled with fireworks (which start at about 9:30 p.m.), mansion tours, musical performances, old-fashioned ice cream and more. Concessions will be available from the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant. Tickets for the fireworks show plus the mansion tour are $36 for adults and $26 for children ages 6 to 11. Tickets for the fireworks show only are $30 for adults and $20 for children ages 6 to 11.
On July 4 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., guests can watch daytime fireworks over the Potomac, military reenactments, a National Concert Band performance and more. Free birthday cake will be available while supplies last. The price of the celebration is included in the admission ticket, which is $20 for adults, $12 for children ages 6-11, and free for children ages 0-5. View the schedule here.
Reston: Fireworks begin at about 9:15 p.m. June 29 (or June 30 in case of rain) at Lake Fairfax Park (1400 Lake Fairfax Drive, Reston). Parking is $10 per car. The park opens at 8 a.m. with several activities leading up to the fireworks, including boat rentals available for a fee at 11 a.m., live music starting at 3:30 p.m., food vendors and more. Water Mine Water Park is also open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., but Fairfax County recommends arriving early as Water Mine reaches capacity quickly.
Vienna: On July 4, guests can enjoy a day of Sprinklers and Sparklers at the Vienna Community Center Grounds (120 Cherry Street SE, Vienna) with giant water slides, sprinklers, water games, food trucks and more. There will also be fireworks after dark (around 9:30 p.m.) at Yeonas Park (1319 Ross Drive SW, Vienna). The evening kicks off at 7:15 p.m. with the Josh Christina band providing old-time boogie woogie and rock and roll music. Food and drinks will be available at the Little League concession stand. Alcohol, pets and glass bottles are not allowed at this event.
The Plains: Held annually at historic Great Meadow, the 2019 Wegmans Great Meadow Independence Celebration features a full day of family fun concluding with a massive fireworks display. Gates open at 4:00 PM, with all day free activities, including moon bounces, rock wall, laser tag, petting zoo, obstacle courses, the rain machine and more. Additional entertainment comes from shows and demonstrations, including live music from up and coming country music artist Eric Burgett, the U.S. Polo Assn. Polo Exhibition, high powered rocket launches, and more. As soon as the sun goes down, the sky will light up with a firework display set to music. General Admission car passes (includes entry for all occupants of the vehicle) are $35 in advance or $40 at the gate. Tailgates, reserved spaces and corporate tents are available.
Annapolis: The celebration begins with a parade from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., with the parade route going down West Street, wrong way around Church Circle, down Main Street, left on Randall Street, and ending in front of the Market House. Fireworks will launch at 9:15 p.m. from the Annapolis Harbor. This year, WRNR is hosting the fireworks display, with the station broadcasting live from their mobile, 30-foot-high WRNR Sky Box studios and airing a special holiday playlist. 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. Children 12 and under can ride this shuttle free of charge.
Bowie: On July 2, the City of Bowie will host a free concert and fireworks display at Prince George's Stadium. Attendees can expect songs by Billy Joel, Benny Goodman, Elvis, Tina Turner, Frank Sinatra and the Beach Boys. Music by The Fabulous Hubcaps starts at 7:30 p.m., and fireworks begin around 9:15 p.m.
Columbia: Howard County's Department of Recreation will host a free Fourth of July festival from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Columbia Lakefront. There will be live music by the Columbia Big Band, and fireworks will begin at dark, around 9:30 p.m. depending on the weather. Bring your own picnic food or purchase food on-site from vendors. Parking is free in parking lots at the mall or off of Wincopin Circle. The rain date is July 5. Full information and a fireworks soundtrack can be accessed through the free festival app "HoCo July4th."
Gaithersburg: The city is holding its SummerFest at Bohrer Park (512 S. Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg) on June 29, featuring live music, food and kids' activities. Dogs are allowed at the festival but the city of Gaithersburg strongly suggests leaving them at home. The day starts at 5 p.m. and will be capped off with fireworks after dark and a SummerGlo after party. If there is rain, select activities will be moved into the Activity Center at Bohrer Park and the fireworks only will be moved to June 30.
Laurel: The city of Laurel will celebrate its 41st annual Independence Celebration on July 6. The event features an Independence Day Parade at 11 a.m., a car show at noon and a fireworks show starting 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. There will also be fun events on the 4th at the Splash Playground & Mini Golf from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., rides on the Miniature Trains at Cabin John Regional Park and/or Wheaton Regional Park from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and a live butterfly and caterpillar exhibit at Brookside Gardens from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The rain date is July 5.
Rockville: The city's Independence Day event will be held 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 7 p.m., followed by fireworks at 9:15 p.m. Guests can bring their own food or purchase the food and beverages available at the event.
Six Flags America: The theme park will host Independence Day festivities from July 3 through July 6. The park is open from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Hurricane Harbor is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Catch the fireworks near the park's Gotham City area. Tickets are required to watch the show inside Six Flags.
Takoma Park: This year is Takoma Park's 130th Independence Day celebration. A parade will begin at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Carroll and Ethan Allen avenues. Evening festivities such as musical performers and activities for children and families start at 7 p.m. in front of the Takoma Park Community Center. Due to construction at Takoma Park Middle School, there will not be fireworks in Takoma Park this year.