For Your Weekend: What to Do in DC for the Fourth of July

Here's what to do for the holiday weekend, July 3-7, including all the Fourth festivities on the National Mall

What to Know

  • The Fourth of July is looking to be hot and humid. Strong afternoon storms are possible
  • Keep an eye to the skies during your Independence Day celebrations. Storms impacting fireworks shows can't be ruled out
  • Friday is also looking hot, humid and partly sunny with storm chances

The Fourth of July in the nation's capital is always an event to behold, with fireworks, parades, concerts and more.

Here's everything you need to know for Fourth of July weekend in D.C.

But first...

Top 10 Beaches Near the DC Area

Ongoing Activities

Jane Austen Film Festival
July 3 - 31
Dumbarton House, 2715 Q St, NW (Georgetown)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that, beginning this Wednesday at 8:30 p.m., the Dumbarton House will be hosting its annual Jane Austen Film Festival. Tickets for individual films are $6 each, while a full series pass for all 5 films costs $25. The first film in the series is 1995's "Sense and Sensibility." Gates open at 7:30, there will be refreshments and concessions available for sale, and the Dumbarton House encourages blankets and picnics. It's a good idea to buy tickets early. Get more information here.

The Lawn at the National Building Museum
July 4-Sept. 2

The National Building Museum's latest summer installation will showcase a sloping indoor lawn made from sugarcane and soybean, with lounging areas and a mural of the sky. Hammocks will be suspended from the 100-foot-tall ceiling and will have audio playing from "prominent American storytellers," the museum says. Kids can catch augmented reality fireflies on the lawn, and the museum will also host yoga, meditation and movie events at the space. Tickets are $13 for kids and $16 for adults. You can buy them here.

Capital Fringe Festival
July 5-28
Various locations

This year is the 14th Capital Fringe Festival, which celebrates "self-made performing arts" in the DC area. The festival starts on Friday at 8 p.m. with a performance of "A People's History" at the Arena Stage, but there are productions and performances going all the way into the end of the month. Ticket prices vary depending on which event you want to see, but tickets to "A People's History" are $35, while a 50 show pass (the maximum you can get) costs $500. Find out more information and see the full event schedule here.

Road Trip! 10 Places to Cool Off Within 100 Miles of DC

Fourth of July on the National Mall

For a full schedule of the official festivities and information about security, go here.

National Independence Day Parade
11:45 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Constitution Avenue NW from 7th Street NW to 17th Street NW 

The National Independence Day Parade has all the patriotic fixings, and it's free to attend. Arrive early and head to the end of the route for a better chance to beat the crowds.

Baby Trump Balloon
July 4, 2-6 p.m.
Washington Monument Grounds

The protest balloon that has made sensational appearances in London and other American cities is making it's Washington, D.C., debut on Independence Day. Organizers Code Pink say they want to counter-balance President Donald Trump's extravaganza on the other end of the National Mall. Expect protest signs and chanting.

A Capitol Fourth
July 4, 8-9:30 p.m.
West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol

Carole King, Vanessa Williams, Colbie Caillat and Vanessa Carlton just a few performers set to take the stage in honor of America's 243rd birthday. John Stamos will host "A Capitol Fourth" and even the Sesame Street Muppets will make a special appearance.

The concert is free and open to the public. General Admission gates usually open at 3 p.m., organizers say. You'll have to pass through security to enter. Food and drink are allowed, but alcohol is prohibited.

A Salute to America
July 4, Gates open at 3:30 p.m. Event goes 6:30-7:30 p.m.
The Lincoln Memorial

President Donald Trump's pet project in the capital's Fourth festivities is "A Salute to America," which honors the armed forces. Expect music, military demonstrations, flyovers and more, the National Park Service says. The U.S. Army Band, U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Team and the Old Guard Fire and Drum corps are a few scheduled participants.

You'll need to enter the secure area to attend this event. VIP tickets have already been handed out, but spectators can catch a glimpse from around the Reflecting Pool.

Watch the Fireworks
After sunset, about 9:20 p.m., pending the weather

What's promised to be the biggest fireworks display D.C. has seen will be shot off from West Potomac Park, thus visible from much of the city and Northern Virginia.

We've rounded up the best fireworks watching spots and events, from free gatherings to fancy parties, here. If the National Mall crowds aren't your thing, check out our fireworks finder to see where the local celebrations are

Stormy weather is expected in the 2-9 p.m. hours. Download the NBC Washington app for the latest weather alert updates.

Thursday, July 4

Marlins vs. Nationals at Nationals Park

July 4, 11 a.m.
Nationals Park, 1500 S Capitol St. SE

The baseball fun continues with an America-themed twist, as the Nats take on the Miami Marlins for the third game in the series between the two teams. The Fourth of July game is part of the team's Patriotic Series, which features on-field programming, themed giveaways, and patriotic uniforms. Tickets start at $16.

Free Pick
Independence Day Concert at the Air and Space Museum
July 4, 11 a.m., 12 p.m., and 1 p.m.
National Air and Space Museum

The United States Air Force Band's Ceremonial Brass Quintet will be performing at the National Air and Space Museum to celebrate the Fourth. There will be three 20 minute concerts in the Space Race Gallery on the first floor, and they are all free to the public upon entering the museum.

What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?
July 4, 11 a.m. - 12 a.m.
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, 1141 W St SE

Frederick Douglass famously asked "What to the slave is the Fourth of July?" to an audience in 1852, during a speech about the irony of celebrating freedom in a country full of legal slaves. This July 4, a professional actor portraying Frederick Douglass will deliver excerpts from the same speech on the front porch of Douglass's home in Anacostia. The event is outdoors, and seating will be available but limited. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets, chairs and water bottles. On-site parking will be available for free.

Free Pick
NoMa 4th of July Bash
July 4, 12 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Lot on First and Pierce, 1150 First St NE

The NoMa Business Improvement District is hosting a Fourth of July block party, and it's completely free — including the food. There will be hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and drinks, as well as '90s cover band, a moon bounce and face painting. Plus, if you ever wanted to learn how to double-dutch, now's your chance. Register here.

An American Celebration at Mount Vernon
July 4, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, VA

If you consider yourself a particularly patriotic fan of the nation's first President, the Fourth of July is your ideal chance to visit Mount Vernon. The home of George Washington is celebrating America's birthday with fireworks, military re-enactments, a naturalization ceremony honoring new citizens and a wreath laying ceremony. There will also be free birthday cake and a performance by the National Concert Band. The celebration will take place rain or shine, and tickets range from $12 for children ages six to eleven, to $20 for adults (anyone age 12 or older). Get tickets and more information on pricing here.

Fourth of July at the Anthem
July 4, 6 p.m.
The Anthem, 901 Wharf St SW

This celebration at The Anthem on the Wharf promises a great view of the fireworks, an all-American buffet with hamburgers and hot dogs, a bar and a DJ. Worried about the chance of storms on Indepdence Day? This event is indoors, at the glass-windowed Marquee Bar. Tickets start at $40.

Fourth of July at Ferry Farm
July 4, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
1201 Washington Avenue, Fredericksburg, Virginia

This is your chance to celebrate the Fourth of July at George Washington's boyhood home. There will be dramatic performances, military drills, dancing and more. It costs $1 per person.

Can't bear to brave the Bay Bridge? Here's where to go instead when you want a dose of nature in summer.

Friday, July 5

A League of Their Own at the Union Market Drive-In
July 5, 6 p.m.
Union Market, 1309 5th Street NE

Union Market's drive-in theater is back for its seventh season this summer, and on July 5th you can go there to watch the 1992 movie "A League of Their Own." The lot opens at 6 p.m., but the movie starts at 8:55 and goes until 11. There's a $15 parking fee per car, but there's also food from market vendors and pre-show activities for movie lovers of all ages.

Watergate Break-In/All the President's Men Guided Walking Tour
July 5, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Foggy Bottom-GWU, 2301 I Street NW

The 47th anniversary of the Watergate break-in is on July 17th, and this Friday, Robert Kellman (founder of the nonprofit Washington, DC History & Culture) is leading a program to commemorate the event. History buffs and fans of the 1976 movie starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman can now walk around Washington DC on a guided tour to see exactly where history took place. Tickets are $8, and the tour starts near the Foggy Bottom Metro Station.

Apollo at Nationals Park
July 5, 7:05 p.m.
Nationals Park, Navy Yard

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing with a space-themed night of Nationals baseball. Stargaze and snap photos with a life-sized replica of Neil Armstrong's space suit while watching the Nationals and the Royals face off. Tickets start at $11, and you can learn more and buy online here.

OOPS... I Did It Again! 2000s Dance Party
10 p.m. July 5 to late
DC9 Nightclub, 1940 9th St NW

Flash back to the early 2000s, when velour tracksuits ruled and your phone flipped open and still had buttons, with this event at DC9. The party is 21+, and will feature songs by Britney Spears, the Black Eyed Peas, NSYNC, Ke$ha and more. The event is free if you register ahead of time here, or $5 if you show up at the door.

Saturday, July 6

Washington DC's Immigrant & Refugee Music Festival
July 6, 4 p.m. - 12 a.m.
Echostage, 2135 Queens Chapel Road NE

2135 Queens Chapel Road Northeast
Washington, DC 20018
Echostage2135 Queens Chapel Road Northeast

Echostage is taking the opportunity to amplify the voices of immigrant and refugee artists, including tabi Bonney, Chief Obi, Martha Afework and more. Tickets start at $40.

2019 Jollof Festival
July 6, 3 p.m. - 8 p.m.
UDC ASCE Student Chapter, 4200 Connecticut Ave NW

Jollof rice is a one-pot dish native to many countries in West Africa, considered by some to be the predecessor to jambalaya, and now the University of D.C.'s Student Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers is putting on a day-long celebration of the meal. Visitors will get to enjoy the food, vote to determine the winner of the "Jollof Wars," watch special performances and join a dance party. The event is open to all ages, and ticket prices range from $20 to $90. Get them here.

Late Night Grown-Up Takeover at Sandy Spring Adventure Park
July 6, 6-9 p.m.
Sandy Spring Adventure Park, 16701 Norwood Rd, Sandy Spring MD

This after-hours experience is adults-only, and gives you the chance to return to your playground days. Sandy Spring Adventure Park will provide a harness and equipment, teach you how to safely climb and zipline in the park, and then set you free to explore at your own pace. The park features 13 trails consisting of "bridges" between tree platforms made of rope, cable, and wood. The event is 18+, and there are 6 different 20 minute sessions you can register for here. Tickets are $34.

Story District's Out/Spoken
July 6, 8 p.m.
9:30 Club, 815 V St NW

Pride month may be officially over, but this event showcasing funny and true stories that amplify LGBTQ+ voices continues to celebrate DC Pride. The show is hosted by Rayceen Perdavis, and tickets are $25.

Sunday, July 7

Free Pick
DC Art Book Fair

July 7, 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.
National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Ave NW

For the last three years, the DC Art Book Collective has put on the DC Art Book Fair to help artists sell their books, zines, comics, and other forms of art. This year, the event will go from noon until 5 p.m. outside the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and there will be 40+ tablers participating. The event is free and kid-friendly.

National Museum of Women in the Arts Free Day
July 7, noon to 5 p.m.
1250 New York Ave NW, Washington, D.C.

Beyond the Art Book Fair, you can also enter this museum for free this Sunday — And every first Sunday of the month.

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