Fun Ideas for a Bang-Up Fourth

There’s lots to do on the Fourth of July beyond the fireworks on the Mall. Here are some great events in Washington to help you celebrate.

By: Emily Leaman

Fourth of July Fireworks
Fourth of July Events
Dining Specials for July Fourth
Host a Cookout for $15
Great Local Hot Dogs
Put Together a Great Picnic

Know of an event not listed here? E-mail eleaman@washingtonian.com.

Midtown Liberty Bar Tour
On July 2, Dupont Circle bars will host a patriotic bar crawl featuring food and drink specials such as $2 Coors Light, $3 Blue Moon, and half-price burgers, wings, and more. The event starts at Mackey's Public House at 5 PM and continues to Rumors, Singapore Bistro, Recessions, Black Rooster Pub, James Hoban's Irish Bar, Madhatter, the Front Page, Ozio, Steve's Bar Room, and Public Bar. The event costs $13 or $10 if you bring two cans of food, which will be donated to Manna Food Center. You can also pay in advance online for discounted tickets of $9. All the information is here

Block Party at the Willard
Café du Parc, next door to the Willard InterContinental hotel, hosts a Fourth of July celebration featuring live music by the Virginia rockabilly band Jumpin’ Jupiter. The band will play during dinner (5 to 9), which features a special menu item: the Paris-Washington hamburger ($20.95)—a beef patty topped with Ossau-Irraty cheese, pancetta, and tomato. Plus there’ll be an outdoor crepe station and grill offering barbecue classics ($8 to $15) to go. Call 202-942-7000 for reservations.

Gaylord National’s July 3 Celebration
On July 3, head to the Gaylord National Resort at the National Harbor for an Independence Day-themed street festival featuring live music, food by Lefty’s Barbecue, kids’ rides and activities, a wine garden, and fireworks. Admission to the festival, which runs from 4:30 to 9:30, is $5 (under age 5 free). For more information or to purchase tickets online, click here.

Adult Swim: Washington's Patriotic Pool Party
Lindy Promotions is sponsoring an all-day pool extravaganza at the Capitol Skyline Hotel, with food, drinks and games, on July 3. Baseball tickets and other giveaways will be raffled. The party starts at noon.

Fourth of July at the National Archives
The National Archives, which houses America’s founding documents, goes all out on the Fourth. The celebration gets under way at 10 AM with a reading of the Declaration of Independence on the Constitution Avenue steps. From 11 to 2, there are family activities, such as meet-and-greets with Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson impersonators and a treasure hunt inside the museum. Don’t miss the exhibit “Big!,” which celebrates the Archives’ 75th anniversary. It features giant printouts of the Articles of Confederation, a map of the Gettysburg battlefield, and the Declaration of Independence. Just for fun, Shaquille O’Neal’s size-22 sneakers and a dinosaur footprint are also part of the exhibit. The National Archives will close at 9 PM July 3 through 5.

White House Visitor Center Events
The White House Visitor Center hosts family events on July 4 staring at 9 AM. Activities include games, crafts, and more celebrating America’s independence.

Independence Day Organ Concert
At 11 AM on July 4, Washington National Cathedral hosts an annual organ concert, with cathedral organists Scott Dettra and Christopher Jacobson play an all-American recital of classical and popular music. This year’s program, marking the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln, features a performance of Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait,” complete with a narrator reading excerpts from the former President’s speeches and letters. General-admission seating is free, but tickets to sit in the Great Choir are $40. Everyone is encouraged to RSVP here. (Note: There’s a $2 online service fee to RSVP, even for free tickets.)

An American Celebration at Mount Vernon
George Washington’s estate holds a daylong celebration on the Fourth. The jam-packed schedule includes a reading of the Declaration of Independence by Revolutionary War reenactors (9:30 AM), a wreath-laying ceremony at Washington’s tomb (10 AM), a patriotic concert (noon), and Revolutionary War demonstrations (2:30). New this year are a smoke-fireworks show at 12:45 and a naturalization ceremony for a hundred new citizens at 11. Admission to the estate is $15 for adults, $7 for kids ages 6 to 11, free for kids 5 and under.

Summer Camp Fourth of July Edition: Fat Camp
The folks of Brightest Young Things are hosting a special pool party at the Capitol Skyline Hotel to celebrate Independence Day. The day-long event will feature food, music by Fatback DJs, a pig roast, and costume contests. For tIckets ($10) and more information, click here.