Things to Do

10 Things to Do (Online and Around Town) to Celebrate the Fourth of July This Weekend

BBQ, fireworks, virtual concerts, and more.

Photograph via iStock.

There’s still a bit of confusion about events in DC this weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July, namely around the President’s Fyre Fest-like “Salute to America” on the Mall. But if that’s not your vibe (whose vibe is it, really), you might consider some alternative programming in town and online.

First, food: This might be the most important part of your plans. If so, read no further (I won’t be offended) and check out these 10 great spots with BBQ specials like grill packs, rib racks, and more.

The thing you’re already talking about: The Hamilton film is dropping on Disney+ at 3 AM Eastern time on July 3. The streaming platform reportedly spent $75 million to not throw away its shot (I had to say it) at buying the film rights. Featuring the original cast, the film is a live recording of three different 2016 performances edited into one. Oh, and it’s about Alexander Hamilton.

The thing you’ve been wondering about: We finally have details on the Fourth of July fireworks show on the National Mall. There will be more than 10,000 fireworks that will start launching at 9:07 PM. If you’re planning to join the crowd, bring a mask.

Where to watch the all of the lights: Rooftop bars are some of the best places to catch the fireworks display around town. Here’s a useful roundup of restaurants and bars where you can reserve a prime spot.

Hear the words from 1776: The National Archives’s annual celebration of July 4th includes the tradition of reading the Declaration of Independence aloud. This year, the Archives is hosting various virtual Q&As and discussions on July 4 to mark the holiday. Soledad O’Brien will narrate the reading ceremony at 4 PM.

On TV: A (pre-taped) Capitol Fourth concert and show will air on PBS with hosts Vanessa Williams and John Stamos. Featured performers include Patti LaBelle, the Temptations, John Fogerty, and the National Symphony Orchestra led by Jack Everly. If you can’t get enough Hamilton this weekend, look out for actor/singer Mandy Gonzalez (Angelica Schuyler) among the show’s Broadway guest stars. See it on July 4 at 8 PM.

More John Stamos: The USO will have an online Fourth of July concert featuring country headliner Clint Black with appearances from comedian Iliza Shlesinger, actor Craig Robinson, and America’s Got Talent winner Shin Lim. One part of the show will specifically highlight American surf music (you read that right) with the Beach Boys—and this is where John Stamos comes in, as a special guest. World’s busiest man? The concert will stream on the USO’s social media on July 4 at 12 AM and 12 PM.

Stay classy, DC: Enjoy the live-streamed classical concert “A Tribute to the American Spirit,” organized by the U.S. Air Force Band, Washington Performing Arts, and National Harbor. The Air Force Band will perform with violinist Joshua Bell and vocalists Larisa Martinez and Soloman Howard. Local NBC4 anchor Aaron Gilchrist will host. The show will air on the National Harbor website on July 4 at 4 PM.

One more concert: Another virtual show to see is Washington National Cathedral’s July 4th concert and tribute featuring “The President’s Own” United States Marine Orchestra as well as singers Denyce Graves (opera) and Michael W. Smith (gospel). The event is also a tribute to health care workers and first responders. Register here by July 2 to receive the link in an email; July 4 at 11 AM.

If you want to brave the outdoors: The Bullpen is hosting an all-day Fourth of July bash with bottomless brunch and BBQ from Due South’s food truck. At sundown, there will be a screening of Independence Day. The event will be first come, first served and there can be no more than six people at a table; as per DC health guidelines, the Bullpen is asking attendees to make sure to wear their masks between bites and sips.

Rosa is a senior editor at Bitch Magazine. She’s written for Washingtonian and Smithsonian magazine.