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2016 Independence Day Celebrations Around DC

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What better place to celebrate Independence Day than in our nation’s capital? This is where the actual Declaration of Independence is housed (and will be read!), and celebrations take place among some of the country’s most iconic landmarks. But the excitement doesn’t stop there. From fireworks on the National Mall and concerts at the Capitol to special events at George Washington’s house to neighborhood parades and ballpark fun, there are loads of ways to revel on July 4th weekend in DC. Here are details on a bunch of them. Happy Independence Day!

National Independence Day Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue NW, 7th-17th Streets
When: July 4, 11:45am
Admission: Free

Many national holidays get a parade in DC, and July 4th is no exception. Scores of spectators are expected to line the Constitution Avenue sidewalks to watch the procession celebrating Independence Day make its way from 7th to 17th Streets. Marching bands, floats, giant balloons, equestrian groups, drill teams, and military units will be among the pageantry. Stake out your spot along the route early, as this event attracts hundreds of thousands of viewers every year.

Independence Day Celebration on the Mall
Where: National Mall
When: July 4, all day (and evening)
Admission: Free

After the parade (even earlier for some), the National Mall will begin filling up for a day of July 4th festivities — the Smithsonian Folklife Festival from 3rd to 4th Streets, Junior Ranger activities, concerts, and more. And the grand finale of it all: At 9:09pm, the sky above will explode with color when the amazing iconic fireworks display. Fireworks will be launched from the Reflecting Pool area, so plan accordingly.

A Capitol Fourth
Where: West Lawn on the Capitol
When: July 4, 8pm; gates open at 3pm
Admission: Free

Down past the other end of the Mall, A Capitol Fourth, the annual Independence Day concert that airs live on PBS, will feature even more musical pageantry. This year’s show will include performances by Smokey Robinson, Kenny Loggins, Gavin Degraw, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Choral Arts Society of Washington, the U.S. Army Ceremonial Band, and many more exciting acts. (KFDC tip: Enjoy the show with less crowds at the dress rehearsal on July 3 – same time and place!)

An American Celebration
Where: Mount Vernon
When: July 4, 8am – 5pm
Admission: $17/adults, $9/ages 6-11, free for ages 5 and under.

The home of George Washington salutes the first commander-in-chief with a dazzling display of made-for-daytime fireworks during its annual Independence Day event. Visitors will be treated to spectacular smoke fireworks in patriotic colors fired over the Potomac River. The event also includes an inspirational naturalization ceremony for 100 new citizens, military reenactments, a special wreathlaying ceremony, and a visit from the “first” first couple, “General and Mrs. Washington.” See the full schedule of events here.

Fourth of July at the National Archives
Where: National Archives
When: July 4, 8am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate July 4th at the National Archives Building with a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence. There will also be historical guests, patriotic music, and family activities from 11am – 4pm. The full schedule of events is available on the National Archives website.

America’s Pastime
Where: Nationals Park
When: July 4, 11:05am
Admission: Ticket prices vary

A day at the ballpark is about as all-American as it gets when it comes to sports, and you can experience it and celebrate the holiday at Nationals Park. Catch the July 4th game against the Milwaukee Brewers, which is part of the 2016 Patriotic Series honoring members of the military. And be sure to check this post about ways to save on a Nats game.

Falls Church 4th of July Celebration
Where: George Mason High School
When: July 4, 7pm
Admission: Free

The City of Falls Church Recreation and Parks Department will present its annual free July 4th Celebration at George Mason High School (7124 Leesburg Pike). Musical entertainment begins at 7pm with a live performance, with fireworks following at 9:20pm. Blankets and flat-based chairs are allowed for seating on the field. Food and drinks will be sold on site.

Neighborhood Parades
Where: Throughout the area
When: Most on July 4, times vary
Admission: Free

Keep it close to home at a community celebration. You likely are aware of July 4th events taking place in your neighborhood or nearby, but if you’re still looking for a hyperlocal fête, check out this list of parades around town. (And even though the list is from 2015, the information is largely the same, and all of the links lead to this year’s events.)

Star-Spangled Spectacular
Where: Oregon Ridge State Park
When: July 3 & 4
Admission: $9-18

For something a little different than the usual DC July 4th festivities, head north to Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, Md, on Friday or Saturday. You can spread out a blanket or set up chairs on the sloping green lawn amidst a gorgeous setting as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performs their Star-Spangled Spectacular, culminating with a magnificent fireworks display. The starbursts in the sky as a live symphony plays is truly magical. The park opens at 5pm, and the show begins at 8pm both days. Be sure to note these parking instructions, as on–site parking is $15, but you can park off site and take a shuttle for free.

Rockville 4th of July Celebration
Where: Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park
When: July 4, 7-9:45pm
Admission: Free

Rockville’s Independence Day Celebration is hosted by the Mayor and Council of Rockville at Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park in King Farm. Join in a night of music, entertainment and fireworks. See the website for the lineup of entertainment and parking information.


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2015 Independence Day Celebrations

Capitol Hill's "little" neighborhood parade

Capitol Hill’s “little” neighborhood parade



What better place to celebrate Independence Day than in our nation’s capital? I mean, the actual Declaration of Independence is housed (and will be read!) here, and celebrations take place place among some of the country’s most iconic landmarks. And the excitement doesn’t stop there. From fireworks on the National Mall and concerts at the Capitol to special events at George Washington’s house to neighborhood parades and ballpark fun, there are loads of ways to revel on July 4th in DC. Here are details on a bunch of them. Happy Independence Day!

National Independence Day Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue NW, 7th-17th Streets
When: July 4, 11:45am
Admission: Free

Many national holidays get a parade in DC, and July 4th is no exception. Scores of spectators are expected to line the Constitution Avenue sidewalks to watch the procession celebrating Independence Day make its way from 7th to 17th Streets. Marching bands, floats, giant balloons, equestrian groups, drill teams, and military units will be among the pageantry. Stake out your spot along the route early, as this event attracts hundreds of thousands of viewers every year.

Independence Day Celebration on the Mall
Where: National Mall
When: July 4, all day (and evening)
Admission: Free

After the parade (even earlier for some), the National Mall will begin filling up for a day of July 4th festivities — the Smithsonian Folklife Festival from 3rd to 4th Streets, Junior Ranger activities, concerts, and more. And the grand finale of it all: At 9:09pm, the sky above will explode with color when the amazing iconic fireworks display. Fireworks will be launched from the Reflecting Pool area, so plan accordingly.

A Capitol Fourth
Where: West Lawn on the Capitol
When: July 4, 8pm; gates open at 3pm
Admission: Free

Down past the other end of the Mall, A Capitol Fourth, the annual Independence Day concert that airs live on PBS, will feature even more musical pageantry. Barry Manilow is headlining this year’s show, and there will also be appearances and performances by Alabama, KC and The Sunshine Band, Nicole Scherzinger, Hunter Hayes, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Choral Arts Society, the U.S. Army Band, and many more exciting acts. And Bradley Whiteford will be the new host. (KFDC tip: Enjoy the show with less crowds at the dress rehearsal on July 3 – same time and place!)

An American Celebration
Where: Mount Vernon
When: July 4, 8am – 5pm
Admission: $17/adults, $9/ages 6-11, free for ages 5 and under.

The home of George Washington salutes the first commander-in-chief with a dazzling display of made-for-daytime fireworks during its annual Independence Day event. Visitors will be treated to spectacular smoke fireworks in patriotic colors fired over the Potomac River. The event also includes an inspirational naturalization ceremony for 100 new citizens, military reenactments, a special wreathlaying ceremony, and a visit from the “first” first couple, “General and Mrs. Washington.” See the full schedule of events here.

America’s Pastime
Where: Nationals Park
When: July 4, 11:05am
Admission: Ticket prices vary

A day at the ballpark is about as all-American as it gets when it comes to sports, and you can experience it and celebrate the holiday at Nationals Park. Catch the July 4 game against the San Francisco Giants, which is part of the 2015 Patriotic Series which honors members of the military. And be sure to check this post about ways to save on a Nats game.

Falls Church 4th of July Celebration
Where: George Mason High School
When: July 4, 7pm
Admission: Free

The City of Falls Church Recreation and Parks Department will present its annual free July 4th Celebration at George Mason High School (7124 Leesburg Pike). Musical entertainment begins at 7pm with a live performance by the Beach Bumz, with fireworks following at 9:20pm. Blankets and flat-based chairs are allowed for seating on the field. Food and drinks will be sold on site.

Neighborhood Parades
Where: Throughout the area
When: Most on July 4, times vary
Admission: Free

Keep it close to home at a community celebration. You likely are aware of July 4th events taking place in your neighborhood or nearby, but if you’re still looking for a hyperlocal fête, check out this list of parades around town.

Star-Spangled Spectacular
Where: Oregon Ridge State Park
When: July 3 & 4
Admission: $9-18

For something a little different than the usual DC July 4th festivities, head north to Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, Md, on Friday or Saturday. You can spread out a blanket or set up chairs on the sloping green lawn amidst a gorgeous setting as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performs their Star-Spangled Spectacular, culminating with a magnificent fireworks display. The starbursts in the sky as a live symphony plays is truly magical. The park opens at 5pm, and the show begins at 8pm both days. Be sure to note these parking instructions, as on–site parking is $15, but you can park off site and take a shuttle for free.

Fourth of July at the National Archives
Where: National Archives
When: July 4, 8am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate July 4th at the National Archives Building with a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence. There will also be historical guests, patriotic music, and family activities from 11am – 4pm. The full schedule of events is available on the National Archives website.

Rockville 4th of July Celebration
Where: Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park
When: July 4, 7-9:45pm
Admission: Free

Rockville’s Independence Day Celebration is hosted by the Mayor and Council of Rockville at Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park in King Farm. Join in a night of music, entertainment and fireworks. See the website for the lineup of entertainment and parking information.


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Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Parade, Seasonal, Summer, Virginia, Weekend

2014 Independence Day Celebrations

july4

Our lovely city is one of the most exciting places to be this time of year, as people from all over the world to celebrate America’s birthday. And from fireworks on the National Mall and concerts at the Capitol to special events at George Washington’s house and the home of the Declaration of Independence to neighborhood parades and ballpark fun, they (and you!) won’t be let down. Here are details on the many ways to celebrate July 4th in DC. Happy Independence Day!

National Independence Day Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue NW, 7th-17th Streets
When: July 4, 11:45am
Admission: Free

Many national holidays get a parade in DC, and July 4th is no exception. Scores of spectators are expected to line the Constitution Avenue sidewalks to watch the procession celebrating Independence Day make its way from 7th to 17th Streets. Marching bands, floats, giant balloons, equestrian groups, drill teams, and military units will be among the pageantry. Stake out your spot along the route early, as this event attracts hundreds of thousands of viewers every year.

Independence Day Celebration on the Mall
Where: National Mall
When: July 4, all day (and evening)
Admission: Free

After the parade (even earlier for some), the National Mall will begin filling up for a day of July 4th festivities — the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Junior Ranger activities, concerts, picnics, and more. And the grand finale of it all: At 9:10pm, the sky above will explode with color when the amazing iconic fireworks display.

A Capitol Fourth
Where: West Lawn on the Capitol
When: July 4, 8pm; gates open at 3pm
Admission: Free

Down past the other end of the Mall, A Capitol Fourth, the annual Independence Day concert that airs live on PBS, will feature even more musical pageantry. Patti LaBelle is headlining the show, and there will also be appearances and performances by Frankie Valli, Phillip Phillips, Jordin Sparks, The Muppets, the National Symphony Orchestra and many more exciting acts. And Tom Bergeron of “Dancing with the Stars” is hosting once again. (KFDC tip: Enjoy the show with less crowds at the dress rehearsal on July 3 – same time and place!)

An American Celebration
Where: Mount Vernon
When: July 4, 8am – 5pm
Admission: $17/adults, $8/ages 6-11, free for ages 5 and under.

The home of George Washington salutes the first commander-in-chief with a dazzling display of made-for-daytime fireworks during its annual Independence Day event. Visitors will be treated to spectacular smoke fireworks in patriotic colors fired over the Potomac River. The event also includes an inspirational naturalization ceremony for 100 new citizens, military reenactments, a special wreathlaying ceremony, and a visit from the “first” first couple, “General and Mrs. Washington.” See the full schedule of events here.

America’s Pastime
Where: Nationals Park
When: July 4, 11:05am
Admission: Ticket prices vary

A day at the ballpark is about as all-American as it gets when it comes to sports, and you can experience it and celebrate the holiday at Nationals Park. Catch the July 4 game against the Chicago Cubs, which is part of the 2014 Patriotic Series which honors members of the military.

Falls Church 4th of July Celebration
Where: George Mason High School
When: July 4, 7pm
Admission: Free

The City of Falls Church Recreation and Parks Department will present its annual free July 4th Celebration at George Mason High School (7124 Leesburg Pike). Musical entertainment begins at 7pm with a live performance by The Original Moonlights, with fireworks following at 9:20pm. Blankets and flat-based chairs are allowed for seating on the field. Food and drinks will be sold on site.

Neighborhood Parades
Where: Throughout the area
When: Most on July 4, times vary
Admission: Free

Keep it mellow and close to home at a community celebration. You likely are aware of July 4th events taking place in your neighborhood or nearby, but if you’re still looking for a hyperlocal fête, check out this list of parades around town.

Star-Spangled Spectacular
Where: Oregon Ridge State Park
When: July 3 & 4
Admission: $9-18

For something a little different than the usual DC July 4th festivities, head north to Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, Md, on Thrusday or Friday. There, you can spread out a blanket or set up chairs on the sloping green lawn amidst a gorgeous setting as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performs their Star-Spangled Spectacular, culminating with a magnificent fireworks display. The starbursts in the sky as a live symphony plays is truly magical. The park opens at 5pm, and the show begins at 8pm both days. Be sure to note these parking instructions, as on–site parking is $15, but you can park off site and take a shuttle for free.

Reading of the Declaration of Independence
Where: National Archives
When: July 4, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate July 4th at the National Archives Building with a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence. There will also be historical guests, patriotic music, and family activities from 11am – 4pm. The full schedule of events is available on the National Archives website.

Rockville 4th of July Celebration
Where: Montgomery College – Rockville Campus
When: July 4, 7-9:45pm
Admission: Free

Rockville’s Independence Day Celebration is hosted by the Mayor and Council of Rockville at Montgomery College’s Rockville Campus located at 51 Mannakee Street. Join in a night of music, entertainment and fireworks. See the website for the lineup of entertainment and parking information.


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Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Festival, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Parade, Seasonal, Summer, Virginia

Where to Play on the Weekdays: October 15-18

Taking in the autumn scenery at Brookside Gardens

Taking in the autumn scenery at Brookside Gardens



Tuesday – Visit the digs of first POTUS George Washington at Mount Vernon. Special tours are available throughout the day, or you can roam the grounds on your own. The estate and gardens are open daily 9am – 5pm. Admission is $17/adult, $8/ages 6-11, free for children 5 and under.

Wednesday – Get a nature fix, indoors and out, at Long Branch Nature Center. Peek inside terrariums for a close look at snakes, turtles, frogs, and toads, and see fish swim in a small indoor pond. If weather permits, continue your viewing outdoors at the larger pond and hike the nearby trails. Hours are 10am – 5pm (Tuesday – Saturday, 1-5pm Sunday), and admission is free.

Thursday – Wander around the beautiful grounds, play in the newly renovated Children’s Garden, and enjoy the start of fall foliage at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Md. The park is open sunrise to sunset, the Visitor Center 9am – 5pm. The conservatories are closed right now as they get ready for new exhibits. Admission is free.

Friday – Catch a performance of From Here to There at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. The show for the youngest theatre-goers is all about the joy of building bridges. (And knocking them down, too!) A free-play session at the end of the performance invites the children to explore the show’s props. Showtime is 10am .Tickets are $8. (If you can’t make it Friday, see it another day during its October 16-21 run.)

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Filed under All ages, Animals, DC, Fall, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays

Open House Weekend at Historic DC Sites

The inspiration for Sousa Palooza at Congressional Cemetery this weekend

The inspiration for Sousa Palooza at Congressional Cemetery this weekend



Last week I blogged about Partners in Preservation, a community-based initiative by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to raise awareness of the importance of historic places. Twenty-four of those sites in the Washington, DC, area have been chosen to compete for $1 million in grant funding to help support their maintenance, renovations, and/or programming.

To help get the public excited about the initiative, all of the sites will be participating in an Open House weekend this coming Saturday and Sunday, May 4-5. Each place will be doing something special — it might be free admission, a behind-the-scenes tour, food, a performance, etc. — to encourage people to come out and vote for their site at partnersinpreservation.com.

KidFriendly DC is helping support Mount Vernon, where they will be hosting special Preservation Weekend activities. There will be exclusive behind-the-scenes tours led by archaeology, preservation, and collections staff. Inside the Mansion, you’ll get to see conservation in action as experts tackle Mount Vernon’s most extensive preservation project to date, the restoration of Washington’s Large Dining Room, or “New Room.” Children can enjoy preservation-themed activities in the Hands-On-History room inside the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center.

Another great family event will take place at Congressional Cemetery. On Saturday, from 10am – 4pm, Sousa Palooza will include an all-day Scavenger Hunt, performances, wine and cheese, tours pointing out some of the famous “residents,” and even a spaghetti sauce judging contest.

To see what other sites are participating in the Open House weekend and other activities taking place, visit the Partners in Preservation website. And don’t forget you can help the sites earn points by voting online and mentioning them via social media. So, even if you can’t make it to any of the sites this weekend, you can still help your favorite historic DC locale win the $1 million grant!

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Filed under All ages, DC, Educational, Free, Live Entertainment, Outdoor, Spring, Weekend