Washington DC Stages a Spectacular 4th of July Celebration

Planning to celebrate the Fourth of July in Washington DC? The fireworks and festivals are hard to beat when America throws a party for its own 237th birthday. Here are some of the highlights of Washington DC’s 4th of July activities in 2013.

Be at Constitution Ave. and 7th Street NW for the 11:45 a.m. start of America’s National Independence Day Parade among the sea of red, white, and blue of flag waving spectators numbering in the hundreds of thousands along the route. Hear patriotic, toe-tapping tunes and marches from fife and drum corps and the tooting trumpets, tubas, and trombones of top-notch military bands. This is quite a 4th of July parade.

Head for the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for a 90-minute free concert by the National Symphony Orchestra, “A Capitol Fourth.” An all-time audience favorite is the live cannon fire accompaniment to the crowd-pleasing, rousing Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” finale. Gates open at 3 p.m. At 8 p.m. the orchestra conductor will lift his baton just before sunset. 

Meantime, the National Mall is filling up for the 9 p.m. spectacular fireworks show lighting up the skies over the capital. Some spectators come well before sunset to stake out a spot for their picnic blanket and to enjoy the global bazaar set out on the mall, complete with music, dance, arts and crafts.

There’s lots more to see and do, including a 10 a.m. reading of the Declaration of Independence by a costumed Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin at the National Archives. A free Annual Independence Day Organ Concert is given at the Washington National Cathedral at 11 a.m. There’s a block party near the White House and baseball games at the park. Visitors can expect museums and monuments to be free of charge, as usual, and open all day with normal hours.        


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