Things to Do DC

The Weekend Scene: 10+ Things to Do in the DC Area Plus July 4 Celebrations

What to do on the weekend of Independence Day, plus a guide to The National Independence Day Parade, A Capitol Fourth concert and National Mall fireworks

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A hot, summery Fourth of July weekend is almost here.

D.C.'s bringing back all the traditions, including the big fireworks show, "A Capitol Fourth" concert, parade and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Plus, there are community celebrations abound, or some great theater shows if you're looking to escape the high heat.

Fireworks are one of our favorite things about Independence Day. Wherever you live, there’s a display nearby — here’s our roundup of fireworks displays in the D.C. area.

More Things to Do This Weekend

The Playhouse
July 1 to August 28
National Building Museum (401 F Street NW, Washington, D.C.)

The National Building Museum and the Folger Shakespeare Library partner to present The Playhouse, a festival venue that will feature events all summer. Events at The Playhouse include the “A Midsummer Forest” immersive installation, behind-the-scenes tours, sword-fighting demonstrations and a production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Adult tickets to the National Building Museum are $10, or $7 if you're eligible for a discount.

Concert Friday, July 1 at 8 p.m. at The Kennedy Center
Film Fest Saturday, July 2 at the Kennedy Center and Sunday, July 3 at Angelika Pop-up and the Eaton Cinema

Grammy Award winner India.Arie will collaborate with the National Symphony Orchestra in “a full-spirited, empowering celebration of Black Girl Magic,” the Kennedy Center says. Standard tickets to the show start at $89.

Companion show BLACK MEN ROCK! will be held at the 930 Club on Friday at 8:30 p.m., featuring Jay Electronica, Raheem DeVaughn, Bazaar Royale, Greg Banks and M-1.

The BGR Film Fest will span three venues over two days, highlighting short and feature movies.  

Free Pick
Volunteering at Rock Creek Conservancy
July 2 to 3, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Various locations

Spend the weekend surrounded by nature by partaking in a community volunteer event. Help remove invasive plant species at locations including Fort Slocum, Broad Branch, Normanstone and Reservation 630 East. Register for a clean-up event online.

Free Pick
We the Peoples Before
Thursday to Saturday
The Kennedy Center

Check out We The Peoples Before for programming including an outdoor film screening on Thursday and performances on the Millennium Stage on Saturday. It’s free to attend, but some events require tickets.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival
June 30 to July 4
National Mall

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival — a sprawling celebration of art, culture, language, food and ideas — is returning to the National Mall starting Thursday after going virtual the past two years.

Jewelry, origami and fragrance workshops, falconry demoshoney tastings, nightly concerts, performances, cooking demonstrations and speaker sessions are on the schedule. Talk burgers with D.C. chef Spike Mendelsohn, get an oyster-shucking and ecology lesson or dive into natural cures in the forest.

Bond 45 Speakeasy
July 1-31
Bond 45 National Harbor

This Italian restaurant at National Harbor is transforming into a speakeasy featuring a live performance that’s part circus, part burlesque and part mixology experience. Tickets start at $99 and include drinks and an appetizer.

Liberty Amendments Month
Vienna, Virginia
Events through July 19. A festival is scheduled on Saturday, July 2, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

 Vienna's Liberty Amendments Month Celebration highlights our Constitutional rights with exhibits, education events and a festival on Saturday that will include kid-friendly activities plus a concert.

13th Annual Z-Burger Independence Burger Eating Championships
Friday, July 1, 12 p.m.
Z-Burger in Tenleytown (4321 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, D.C.)

This 10-minute contest includes cash prizes for up to the sixth-place winner out of 16 participants. Visitors are welcome to a free burger after the contest until 2 p.m. Participants must pre-register by emailing

Free Pick
Craftism Circle
July 2, 2 to 4 p.m.
Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum, (1901 Fort PI, SE Washington, D.C.)

Meet up with other crafting enthusiasts for this crocheting, knitting and needlepoint workshop. The event includes discussions around D.C.’s social justice issues and the power of visual art to create change. Registration is required.

Independence Day: J’ouvert
Saturday, July 2, 2 p.m. 
Bowie Town Center (15606 Emerald Way, Bowie, Maryland)

Adults 18 and up can join in this J’ouvert, meaning a street party during a carnival in the Caribbean. The event celebrates independence through throwing paint and powder and face painting. Early bird general admission tickets start at $25.

Opening + Performances: Sarah Hughes, Corey Thuro, David Greenfieldboyce
Saturday July 2, 7 p.m.
Rhizome DC (6950 Maple St NW, Washington, D.C.)

Join Rhizome DC in celebrating the opening of art exhibits by D.C. performing artist Sarah Hughes and Baltimore musician and artist Corey Thuro. The night will include solo performances by Hughes and Thuro and an interactive installation by David Greenfieldboyce. This is a pay-what-you-can event with tickets starting at $10.

Dope Poetry Jam
Sunday, July 3, 3:30 p.m.
Tribe Hive (Royal Palace), (7525 Landover Road, Hyattsville, Maryland)

Enjoy a Sunday afternoon poetry open mic featuring a DJ, DMV vendors and creatives and food and drink specials. Tickets start at $15.

The Biggest Cookout Ever 2022
Sunday, July 3, 3 to 11 p.m.                 
Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods (10431 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Columbia, MD)

Bring a cooler and some chairs to join in on this festival. Participants can bring their own food or purchase it from the festival’s food trucks and cashless bars. The event includes celebrity DJs, field games, trivia and giveaways, photo booths and more. Ticket prices start at $40.

Free Pick
Indie Rock Karaoke
July 3, 8 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.
DC9 Nightclub (1940 9th St NW, Washington, D.C.)

Participants ages 21 and up can sing along to an extensive list of classic and contemporary indie rock jams. Proof of vaccination is required.

“Potted Potter”
Through July 17
Shakespeare Theatre Company

The Shakespeare Theater Company hosts “Potted Potter,” a humorous twist on the “Harry Potter” saga that covers all seven books in a single stage show. 

Things to Do in Washington, D.C., on July 4

Free Pick
July 4th at the National Archives
Monday, July 4, 9 a.m.
National Archives Museum (701 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.)

Spend the day at the steps of the National Archives with a reading of the Declaration of Independence, live music and a presentation of colors. Enter the museum for crafting and activities. The event is open to the public.

Free Pick
Capitol Hill Community 4th of July Parade
July 4 at 10 a.m.
Barracks Row, Capitol Hill (8th St. SE, Washington, D.C.)

All are welcome to join this local tradition. Visitors can register a group to march in the parade or spectate on the sidelines.

Free Pick
Palisades July 4th Parade
July 4, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Whitehaven Pkwy NW, Washington, D.C.

Line-up begins at Whitehaven Parkway at 10 a.m. and the parade continues to the Palisades Recreation Center with a free picnic for all. The parade does not require registration and parade-goers are encouraged to play music, create a float and walk along the route.

Free Pick
Frederick Douglass Speech Reenactment
July 4, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
1500 Anacostia Drive SE, Washington, D.C.

Join the National Park Service for a re-enactment of Frederick Douglass’ speech, “What to the Slave is the 4th of July?” The performance will be followed by hands-on activities and a “walk with Frederick Douglass," organizers say. The event is free and open to the public.

Free Pick
The National Independence Day Parade
Monday, July 4th, 11:45 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Street

Celebrate this holiday weekend with the return of “America’s biggest and best Independence Day parade.” This one-mile-long parade will feature bands, floats, military and specialty units, giant balloons, celebrity participants and more. 

Here are some things to know if you’re going:

  • Limited seating is available on the steps of the National Archives Building. 
  • Generally, it's less crowded and easier to see the parade toward the end of the route at 17th Street NW.
  • If you can’t get a spot in-person, tune in here to livestream the parade.
  • Want to volunteer? Apply here.

DMV Musicians and Singers Fellowship Backyard Barbecue
July 4, 12 to 4 p.m.
Southern Friendship Missionary Baptist Church (4444 Branch Ave., Temple Hills, MD)

This outdoor event will feature food, fellowship and music from DMV artists. Tickets are $5 per person.

Free Pick
A Capitol Fourth
July 4, 8 p.m., public access opens at 3 p.m.
West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building, Washington, D.C.

The concert venue on the West Lawn is finally open to the public for “A Capitol Fourth” after two years of virtual presentations. The show will feature musical stars and a performance by the National Symphony Orchestra. The event is free and open to the public and livestreaming will be available online.

National Mall Fireworks
July 4, 9:09 p.m.

D.C.’s big fireworks show on July 4 fires from both sides of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. Enjoy from the National Mall, the Iwo Jima Memorial in Virginia or the Spirit of Washington fireworks cruise.

Rooftop viewing parties will be held at the Watergate HotelHotel HiveHotel Washington's Vue Rooftop and the United Soldiers and Sailors of America office.

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