It’s coming up to that time of year again, where we don our stars and stripes with pride and celebrate our national Independence Day here in the USA. No matter how you celebrate the 4th of July, you’ll find something breath-taking to view in Washington DC this Independence Day Weekend.
It doesn’t happen very often, but this year the 4th of July falls on a Saturday, which means even bigger and better celebrations than usual, with no work or school to get in the way the next day. If you’ve never experienced it, why not get involved in some of the big citywide festivities?
4th of July Parade
What better way to celebrate the occasion than heading down to watch the National Independence Day Parade. The parade features marching bands from far and wide, military units, VIPs and of course many patriotic floats. It’s a great way to start your day if you can get up and around for the 11.45am start. The parade commences from Constitution Avenue and 7th Street N.W at this time.
Star Spangled Banner
For something a bit more cultural and different, why not head to the National Museum of American History to see an exhibition which includes the flag that inspired composer Francis Scott Key to dream up what would become the country’s national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner. The huge flag is on display in a special chamber and comes as part of an interactive display which is well worth viewing.
Capitol Fourth Concert
One way to mark the occasion is by attending the free music extravaganza which takes place on the West Lawn of the Capitol grounds. The concert lasts for 90 minutes and features music from the National Symphony Orchestra, rounded off in style with live cannon fire from the US Army Presidential Salute Battery. The gates to this event open at 3pm but the music doesn’t begin until 8pm.
4th of July Fireworks
No Fourth of July celebration would be complete without a fireworks display. Even if you’re not particularly interested in classical music, it’s worth attending the Capitol Fourth Concert as the fireworks display takes place at the same location, before the concert ends. The fire show usually starts around or just after 9pm so it’s worth getting there in plenty of time to get a good view. Alternatively you can view the show from a different angle entirely by booking a boat cruise to view from the water, or visit one of the many hotels which offer a rooftop view over the area.
If you’ve recovered by the Sunday evening there’s one thing that’s sure to cement your patriotic weekend – a stunning tour of DC After Dark. GrayLine run a special evening tour of all of the city’s rich history, including memorial sites which are all illuminated beautifully in the dark. Take advantage of some fantastic photo opportunities at places like the Capitol Building and reflecting pool, Dr Martin Luther King Jr memorial, Lincoln Memorial, the White House, the Kennedy Centre and more. You can get off and explore at all stops with the exception of the White House which is a passing photo opportunity, so there’s not only fantastic views but the chance to learn more about this fair land too. This tour doesn’t run on the 4th of July itself, but it is something to certainly enjoy afterwards to cement your love of the great nation that is the USA.