For America's finest Fourth of July birthday party, the place to be is in its capital city. The day begins with a rousing dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence, followed by a parade complete with Marine Corps, Army, Navy, and Air Force bands; drill teams and marching groups representing all parts of the United States; VIPs; floats; and giant balloons. The parade winds down ten blocks of Constitution Avenue beside the National Mall, the capital's hub of activity.
After the parade, head into the Mall to check out the Smithsonian's National Folklife Festival, a dazzling display of music, song, dance, crafts, foods, and storytelling that celebrates the nation's traditions. Visitors are encouraged to join in with singing and dancing. Several events geared toward children are always a part of the festival.
At 8:00 p.m. the National Symphony Orchestra and other top-rate guest performers get the crowd in a patriotic mood with favorites such as John Philip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" and the "1812 Overture" in front of the U.S. Capitol. The grand finale is an amazing fireworks display against the picturesque backdrops of the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument.
Fourth of July Festivities Information
Address: Parade on Constitution Ave. NW from 7th to 17th Streets, Washington, DC
Hours of Operation: 4th of July, All Day
To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:
- Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
- Washington D.C. City Guide: Find out where to stay, what to do, and where to eat when you visit the Capital City.
- Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Laura Sutherland is a widely acknowledged authority on family travel and has published several books on the topic, including Best Family Ski Vacations In North America and Tropical Family Vacations.