Tag Archives: Washington DC

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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Where to Play on the Weekdays: October 27-31

Fall is an ideal time to visit Brookside Gardens

Fall is an ideal time to visit Brookside Gardens



Monday – Wander around the beautiful grounds, play in the Children’s Garden, and enjoy a nice fall day outdoors at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Md. The park is open sunrise to sunset, the Visitor Center 9am – 5pm. Admission is free.

Tuesday – Let the kids romp on the playgrounds, go roller skating, visit the Education Center, play some ball on the expansive fields, and/or relax with a picnic by the river at Anacostia Park. This was a recent weekdays recommendation, but since I just posted about it, and it’s supposed to be great weather for a day outdoors, it seemed deserving of a mention again. Hours are dawn to dusk, 11am – 5:45pm for skating, and 10am – 2pm at the Education Center. Admission for all, including skate rentals, is free.

Wednesday – Head to the National Geographic Museum to experience two interactive exhibits recommended for all ages. “Spinosaurus” and “Food: Our Global Kitchen” are currently there, and adults can get a discount on admission to visit them. Entry is regularly $11/adult, but it’s $6.50 + service fees with the deal. Entry is $7/ages 5-12, free for 5 and under. Museum hours are 10am – 6pm.

Thursday – Catch a performance of The 3 Billy Goats Gruff at The Puppet Co. Stay at Glen Echo Park after the 40-minute show for some fun on the playground and a picnic lunch. Showtime is 10am. Tickets are $10.

Friday – Enjoy some fall fun on the farm! Visit the animals, take a tractor-pulled wagon ride, play on kid-sized tractors and playgrounds, and much more at Frying Pan Farm Park. The locale in Herndon is a guaranteed hit with kids (and parents always rave about it, too). The park is open daily from dawn to dusk, the farm is open 9am – 5pm, wagon rides 10am – 4pm. Admission is free, though the wagon rides cost a little extra. Later in the afternoon, put a little history in your family’s Halloween at Mount Vernon. Guests are invited to George Washington’s old estate to trick or treat in the historic area and enjoy other games and fun on the grounds from 3:30-6:30pm. Admission is $10/adults, $5/children.


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Where to Play on the Weekdays: October 20-24

She digs the Washington Youth Garden at the National Arboretum

She digs the Washington Youth Garden at the National Arboretum



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Monday – Visit the National Arboretum on one of the two weekdays it’s open to the public (it’s closed Tuesday – Thursday). Tour the plant collections, check out the Washington Youth Garden and play in the natural playground, romp at the old Capitol columns, see the details of the bonzais. There are acres upon acres to explore! Hours are 8am – 5pm, and admission is free.

Tuesday – Attend Mommy & Me (& Daddy Too!), the Rockville Town Square’s free monthly program for kids. Storytime, interactive movement, arts & crafts, and merchant sponsored activities are part of the active learning and creative play. The session will meet on the Square, and the program runs 10am – 12pm on the third Tuesday of every month. Admission is free, but you are asked to register in advance.

Wednesday – Enjoy a musical morning with the Boogie Babes as they bring kiddie entertainment to Union Market at 10:30am. Admission is $5/child, and siblings 6 months and under are free. Get there early for coffee and a snack or stay after for a bite — the vendors offer plenty of great lunch options! (FYI: You can also catch a Boogie Babes show at Eastern Market on Thursdays and the Atlas Performing Arts Center on Fridays.)

Thursday – Take a hike at Turkey Run Park. Located right off the GW Parkway near 495, it contains nearly 700 acres of woods, easy trails that ramble along the Potomac, streams that flow down from the woods to the river, great views from the shoreline, and a variety of wildlife (though sightings aren’t guaranteed). Hours are 6am -10pm. Admission is free.

Friday – Get creative at a National Portrait Gallery Open Studio Friday session. All ages are welcome to explore a different art medium each week with all kinds of fun projects. Drop in anytime from 1-4pm. Admission is free.


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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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The Weekend Round-Up: April 12-13

blossoms_monument

Explore-the-Universe300x250

It’s a peak time to be in DC! The city is beautiful this time of year, and there are loads of ways to enjoy it — Cherry Blossom events, museum programs, live entertainment, spring celebrations, and more. And be sure to check the outdoor and indoor lists for activities beyond this round-up. Happy Weekend!

A Peek at the Peak
Where: Tidal Basin & National Mall
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

You may be able to catch the final days of the cherry blossom peak. The blooms have been spectacular this week and will, hopefully, still wow this weekend. Expect crowds and be prepared — this post has tips for families viewing the blossoms.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th Streets NW
When: Saturday, April 13, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

The pinnacle of cherry blossom festivities is, hands-down, the parade. Thousands of people line Constitution Avenue every year to watch the spectacle of lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and a variety of performers travel through the city. Tickets for grandstand seats are available for $20, but you can stake out a spot along the curb for free. Plan to arrive early to get a good view — the crowds come out for this one, especially if it’s a pretty spring day like we’re expected to get on Saturday.

Sakura Matsuri
Where: 12th Street & Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: $10/ages 13 and up

Immediately following the Cherry Blossom parade, many folks head right over to Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival that is America’s largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture. Stretching down six city blocks from 9th to 14th Streets on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, there will be live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, Japanese art, and more. Be prepared for a crowd.

Explore the Universe
Where: National Air & Space Museum
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Understand how different cultures see the sky at this annual event at the Museum on the Mall. Learn about telescopes and do some daytime observations (weather permitting). Other hands-on activities around the museum include a chance to make a solar clock and build an astrolab. Go here for the complete schedule of activities.

Lantern Making Family Day
Where: Yards Park
When: Sunday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

The Capitol Riverfront BID is hosting its 4th Annual Lantern Making Family Day as part of National Cherry Blossom festivities.  Guests are invited to create paper lanterns, and all supplies will be included. There will also be martial arts performances by Hapmudo, a moonbounce, and games for children. Grab a bite to eat at nearby – there’s a Nando’s and everal other restaurants for a family-friendly meal.

Eggcellent Celebrations
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Many places around the area are hosting egg hunts, Easter bunny visits, and more spring fun to celebrate Easter and the season. Even if you’re not big on the holiday, there are attractions beyond bunnies and candy-filled eggs that will have the whole family hopping with joy. See this post for a list of them.

Cherry Blossom Family Day
Where: American Art Museum
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Spring has arrived! Celebrate D.C.’s famous cherry blossom season at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Craft activities include: tissue paper blossoms, drawing your own cherry blossom tree, coloring sheets, folded Japanese screen painting, and origami! Learn how to “invite” birds into a garden with SI Gardens and make an origami passenger pigeon. Get your face painted and then watch a kimono dressing demonstration on stage. Enjoy performances of traditional Japanese music, dance and taiko drumming, and explore how Japanese art and culture have influenced American artists for decades with a scavenger hunt in the galleries.

Show Time
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

* Catch a performance of The Jungle Book at Adventure Theatre
* Cinderella: The Remix just opened at Imagination Stage
* Enjoy theatre on strings at The Puppet Co., where Hansel & Gretel is on the main stage and Baby Bear’s Birthday is the featured Tiny Tots show.
* See Once on this Island at Olney Theatre
* TreeHouse Shakers-Hatched, BlackRock Center for the Arts first-ever show for very young children, will be presented at 10am and 1pm on Saturday
* One Mic: Fresh Noise: A Mashup of Youth Voices–Game On! is at the Kennedy Center this weekend only
* Gustafer Yellowgold is playing the Saturday morning show at Jammin’ Java.
* The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is at Ford’s Theatre through May 17.

World Health Day Family Program
Where: National Museum of Health & Medicine
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

If your babe is a budding doctor or scientist, then this Family Program will surely fascinate. In honor of World Health Day, the Museum is hosting a special event to showcase how the Department of Defense is working to combat vector-borne diseases around the world. How do conditions such as malaria, dengue, and yellow fever affect your health? Hands-on activities will demonstrate just that.

Marmalade at House of Sweden
Where: House of Sweden
When: Sunday, 12pm & 2pm
Admission: Free

Marmalade is delicious & sensory performance about meeting, mixing and moving for ages 2 and up. Mira and Viktor taste and feel in poetic movements and circus actions in an exquisite and visual experience together with the audience. Marmelade looks at the world through body, eye, feeling and taste. Upside down, behind and in front of you. Register to attend here.

Enchanted Cherrybration Weekend
Where: Clark’s Elioak Farm
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10a, – 5pm
Admission: $5 (rides cost extra)

Let your little princesses dress up for this visit to the storybook-themed farm (you can read more about it in this list about outdoor outings). Clark’s Elioak will be celebrating Howard County’s “Cherrybration” Days with treats fit for young royalty and plenty of pink pizzazz. Children in a family will get a free hay ride if at least one person in the family is dressed as a pink princess. Kids can also dress up in gowns on hand at the farm for a photo opportunity with “Princess Cherrybella.” A Truly Pink Treasure Hunt in the Enchanted Forest Maze will round out the weekend activities.

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