Things to Do

The 5 Best 4th of July Parades Around Washington

Concordia Lutheran School Marching Cougars in the annual National Independence Day Parade 2015. Photograph by Png-Studio/iStock.

So you’re feeling festive this Independence Day, but aren’t up for a night on the crowded mall, fending off mosquitoes with the rest of America? We get it.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to celebrate while the sun is still up. These are some of the best parades in the Washington area, including when they start and where to stand.

National Independence Day Parade

The country’s “biggest and best” annual parade will kick-off at 11:45 AM on Constitution Avenue, traveling from 7th to 17th streets. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to come watch the drill teams, floats and VIP guests. And the music is sure to be good: high school marching bands from around the country are carefully chosen each year by the Parade National Selection Committee. Be sure to arrive early to snag a good view.

Capitol Hill Community 4th of July Parade

The Capitol Hill parade runs from 8th and I Street, SE, to 8th and D Street, SE. Starting at 10 AM, the Eastern High Marching Band, Junior Miss America contestants and the Marine Drum and Bugle Corps will walk the streets and toss candy, beads and other treats to parade-goers. Ward 6 council member Charles Allen will take the helm as the grand marshal. 

Takoma Park Independence Day Parade

The theme for the Takoma Park parade this year is youth activism and members of local groups like the Young Activist Club and Making A New United People will be serving as marshals. The community-funded event will feature musical acts, dancers, veterans, politicians and over 80 floats. The festivities begin at 10 AM at Carroll and Ethan Allen Avenues and continue to Maple and Ritchie Avenues. If you decide to stay around for the evening fireworks, pick up a raffle ticket at Takoma Ace Hardware for a chance to win some local goodies.

Palisades Fourth of July Parade

The neighborhood’s 50th annual parade will begin at 11 AM at Whitehaven Parkway and MacArthur Boulevard, NW. The event, which is a favorite for local politicians, will include clowns, a bagpipe band, dancers, city officials and appearances from Miss Teen DC and Mrs. DC America. If you’re feeling extra patriotic, just join the walk (no need to register). The parade ends at Palisades Recreation Center, where there will be a free picnic of hotdogs and watermelon.

City of Fairfax’s Independence Day Parade

Fairfax has plenty of celebrations for America’s big day, including the biggest parade in Northern Virginia. Starting at 10 AM, spectators can enjoy marching bands, floats, horses, clowns and plenty of superheroes, who will be posing for pictures at the end. Don’t forget to look up: In honor of the parade’s 50th anniversary there will be a fly-over circus and banner in the sky. The route begins at the Massey Building and continues down to Chain Bridge and Armstrong Roads.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Ms. USA, DC’s Deshauna Barber, would be attending the Palisades Fourth of July Parade. Barber is no longer able to attend. 

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Marisa H. Dunn
Editorial Fellow