Top Five Things to Do in Washington, D.C., on Independence Day

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There is much to see and do year-round in Washington, D.C., but Independence Day is really special in our nation’s capital. Here are our recommendations on how to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Visit the National Archives

Inside the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, you can view our nation’s most treasured documents: the original copies of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Make sure to also take a look at the Magna Carta, a 1297 document that inspired our Founding Fathers. Admission is free.

The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving Day and December 25th). For more information visit the website

National Independence Day Parade

Inside the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom view our nation’s most treasured documents; the original copies of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Make sure to also view the Magna Carta, a 1297 document that inspired our Founding Fathers. Admission is free. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., expect on Thanksgiving Day and December 25th. Check out details here

Honor our First President at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate

Pay your respects to George Washington, our first commander in chief, at his former home, located only 30 minutes outside of Washington, D.C.

Independence Day

Events include military reenactments; a Red, White, and Blue concert; a daytime fireworks show over the Potomac River; and a wreath-laying ceremony at George Washington’s Tomb. The enslaved servants of Mount Vernon are also remembered and honored in a special ceremony, as they are every day throughout the year. Visitors participation is encouraged.

July 4th is also one of two days when Mount Vernon is the backdrop of a moving naturalization ceremony honoring new citizens. And while supplies last, there is free birthday cake for all!

For a complete schedule of events, visit the website of George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Visit with America’s Presidents at the National Portrait Gallery

Independence Day

The National Portrait Gallery tells the story of America through the stories of those who have shaped it. 

Independence Day

The exhibit is divided into six historical sections and features George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and, finally, the more recent history of the United States presidency.

Did you know that the National Portrait Gallery is the only place outside of the White House that holds portraits of all our past Presidents?

There is, of course, much more to see at the National Portrait Gallery. The museum is also the home of the portraits of our First Ladies, as well as musicians, scientists, film stars, and many more who have shaped our nation. Check out all there is to see at the National Portrait Gallery.

End the Night with Music or Fireworks

The West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol is the place to be for a star-studded concert featuring legendary Carole King and the Broadway Cast of Beautiful. Another highlight will be the performances of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture by the National Symphony Orchestra. On a lighter note, there will be a tribute to the 50thAnniversary of Sesame Street.

Independence Day

The concert starts at 8 p.m. End your night by watching the spectacular fireworks over our nation’s capital. There are plenty of options, including fireworks cruises on the Potomac River, rooftop bars, and hotels that offer stunning views of the fireworks. However, the National Mall (anywhere from the Washington Monument to the plaza in front of the Jefferson Memorial) is the perfect spot for you to bring your blanket and picnic basket. Here are more suggestions of spots to watch the fireworks. Get ready for the show to start about 9 p.m. 

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