12 Ways to Celebrate American Independence This Week
Support wounded warriors, catch fireworks displays and revel in these patriotic parades and outings.
When: June 29, 3-6 p.m.
Where: Iwo Jima Memorial (Marine Corps War Memorial), at N. Marshal Drive and Marine Corps War Memorial Access Road, Arlington (roughly 3-5 p.m.); Walter Reed Sensory Garden, 2909 16th St S. at S. Walter Reed Drive, Arlington (roughly 4-5 p.m.); Finish point at the welcome sign of Arlington National Cemetery on Roosevelt Drive (5-6 p.m.)
Support more than 150 athletes with disabilities participating in the inaugural Achilles Resilience Relay, a 650-mile, sunrise-to-sunset relay up the East Coast that will pass through Arlington en route to New York City’s Central Park. The athletes, many of whom are previously wounded veterans, will reach Arlington on June 29 between 3-6 p.m. Head to designated race locations to cheer them on.
When: July 2, 5-10 p.m.
Where: 9518 Workhouse Way, Lorton
Workhouse Arts Center is putting on quite a spectacle roughly 20 minutes away from Arlington—and there are still a few VIP tickets available for purchase. The $90-$110 per-person ticket price includes reserved parking, early access (5 p.m. versus 6 p.m.), Rizer Pavilion seating, live entertainment and unlimited drinks, too. Artists and vendors include the U.S. Navy Band, DJ Nose, the Great Zucchini, Julia the Balloon Twister, Bites by Sam, Chez Dee Breads and more.
When: July 3, 10 a.m.-noon & July 4, 6:30-10:30 p.m.
Where: Parade starts at 4100 Chain Bridge Road. Evening show at Fairfax High School, 3501 Lion Run, Fairfax.
The City of Fairfax is hosting a two-part celebration of Independence Day this year. It starts on July 3 with a parade of nine marching bands and an assortment of floats and balloons looping around downtown Fairfax (see route here). The party culminates on July 4 with a free evening show by the tribute band 70’s Flashback (think Queen, Zeppelin, Three Dog Night), plus dancers, followed by fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
When: July 4, 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
Where: Cherry Hill Park, 312 Park Ave., Falls Church
Falls Church won’t be putting on a fireworks show this year because of construction at the new Meridian (formerly George Mason) High School. However, The Little City is still honoring our nation’s (and local!) history with a go-at-your-own-pace scavenger hunt for historical markers. Upon completion, participants will receive a Declaration Celebration T-shirt. Those who finish by 4 p.m. will be just in time to hear a free, live performance by Sudden M Pac Band, which ends around 6 p.m.
When: July 4, 9-5 p.m.
Where: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon
Mt. Vernon’s annual Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza was a little earlier than usual this year (it took place this past weekend). But if you missed it, you can still experience daytime fireworks at the historic estate, along with Revolutionary War music, a hot air balloon demonstration, a citizenship ceremony and a chance to meet the nation’s first president. Masks are required for nonvaccinated visitors and are included in the admission price ($13-$26).
When: July 4, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: 1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean
Our nation’s birthday is usually pretty hot. What better way to celebrate than with a frozen treat in a cone or cup? Grab a free one while listening to music and scoring some patriotic items at this free McLean Community Center event. Registration is required.
When: July 4, 2 p.m.
Where: Livestreamed from Washington National Cathedral (register to receive a link)
Still not quite ready for crowds? The Washington National Cathedral is offering a free option for folks who’d rather celebrate Independence Day at home. Once registered, viewers of this themed concert will receive a link to see the Washington Symphonic Brass perform patriotic tunes, including works by American composers Aaron Copeland and John Philip Sousa.
When: July 4, 7:30 p.m.
Where: George C. Yeonas Park, 1319 Ross Drive SW, Vienna
If you want to catch the free 7:30 p.m. performance by the nine-piece Big Bad JuJu band, plus a fireworks show around 9:30 p.m. at Vienna’s George C. Yeonas Park, head on over when the park opens at 7 p.m. to grab a good seat. Alcohol and pets are not permitted, social distancing is encouraged and masks are required for nonvaccinated attendees.
When: July 4, 8 p.m.
If the Fourth of July falling on Sunday means you’d rather chill at home before the start of the work week, this free event has you covered. Tune into PBS for a celebratory concert starring Jimmy Buffett, Gladys Knight, Alan Jackson and more—all before the Capitol fireworks show kicks off around 9 p.m. WETA has even put together a watch party toolkit with recipes, games, trivia and more.
When: July 4, 8-10 p.m.
Where: Alexandria City Marina, Cameron St., Alexandria
Ready to celebrate our nation’s birthday in a big way? You can do so on the water and under the stars, thanks to the Potomac Water Taxi. Boarding will begin at 8 p.m. and the cruise takes off at 8:15. $125 per person.
When: July 4, 9:09 p.m.
Where: Launch will take place on both sides of Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool
Arlington offers multiple vantage points for taking in the free, 17-minute fireworks show put on by the National Park Service. You’ll find good spots along the George Washington Memorial Parkway and the Mount Vernon Trail (between the 14th Street Bridge and Theodore Roosevelt Island), and also at the US Marine Corps War Memorial, the Netherlands Carillon grounds, the LBJ Memorial Grove on the Potomac and at Gravelly Point Park. Be sure to check on parking restrictions ahead of time.
When: July 5, 11 a.m.
Where: Key Blvd, turning left at Edgewood and ending at Lyon Village Park
If you live in or near Lyon Village, consider stopping by to celebrate America’s birthday with a free parade of antique cars, police care and firetrucks, too, culminating in a picnic where the parade ends at Lyon Village Park. Bonus points if you live along the route and decorate your house for the occasion.