Things to Do

45 Best Things to Do in the DC Area This Weekend: Fireworks on the National Mall, National Independence Day Parade, and A Capitol Fourth Concert

Plus, Sawasdee DC Thai festival.

Photograph by Toshe_O/E+/Getty Images.

Happy holiday weekend, everyone!

You can celebrate America’s birthday with family, friends, and neighbors this weekend at the national parade, the annual Capitol Fourth Concert, or by watching the fireworks show over the National Mall.


Best Things to Do This Weekend

June 29-July 4

  1. Fireworks on the National Mall. Our favorite Fourth of July celebration returns to the National Mall on Tuesday at 9:09 PM. Spectators can view glowing fireworks up close as the sparkles launch from both sides of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. We recommend reviewing the National Park Service’s entry point locations to help navigate the usually crowded event (Tues, free, National Mall).
  2. National Independence Day Parade. Don your red, white, and blue, and head to Constitution Avenue for the annual National Independence Day Parade. The patriotic stroll will take place along Constitution Avenue from 7th Street, NW, to 17th Street, NW. You can expect to see parade floats, military units, fife and drum corps, marching bands, and drill teams (Tues, free, Downtown).
  3. A Capitol Fourth Concert. A star-studded lineup of musicians and artists will ring in the country’s birthday with an extravagant concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. This year’s guest performers are harmonizing legends Boyz II Men, theater soprano Renée Fleming, rock-and-roll veterans Chicago, and many more. You can attend the music showcase in-person, or watch the PBS broadcast or livestream (Tues, free, virtual, U.S. Capitol).
  4. Sawasdee DC festival. The Thai Embassy is hosting Sawasdee DC on the National Mall for the first time ever in celebration of 190 years of diplomatic relations between Thailand and the U.S. The festival features food vendors, New Orleans Jazz Music, and a mix of cultural activities ranging from professional Muay Thai demonstrations and Thai massages, to a fruit and vegetable carving show and traditional dance lessons (Sun, free, National Mall).
  5. “1776 the Musical.” Here’s a great way to celebrate Independence Day weekend: Tony Award–winning musical 1776 reimagines a pivotal moment in American history with a diverse cast and tunes. This revival show tells the story of America’s founding fathers and the events leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence (through July 16, $45+, Kennedy Center).

Celebrate the 4th of July at the National Archives followed by the Independence Day Parade. Photograph by Jeff Reed.
The Independence Day Parade. Photograph by Jeff Reed.

Want More Things to Do?

Budget friendly: Find your weekend Zen at Equinox’s outdoor yoga class (Sat, free, Northwest DC). Play trivia with Capital City Showcase to win a Atlas Brew Works gift card (Thurs, free, Ivy City).

Arts and culture: View Suchi Reddy’s new reflective Look Here installation at the National Building Museum (opens Sat, free, Penn Quarter). Watch the multi-verse movie Everything Everywhere All at Once at Franklin Park (Thurs, free, Downtown). Or, catch the Korean thriller Decision to Leave at Freer Gallery of Art as part of the Korean Film Festival DC (Fri, free, Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art)The Arts Club of Washington is presenting poetry readings from five poets in honor of Pride Month (Thurs, free, Northwest DC). Experience graffiti and roller skating at the How DC Moves summer party (Thurs, $10, Northeast DC).

Community and history: The Smithsonian Folklife Festival continues with cultural demonstrations, dance performances, and family fun (Thurs through July 9, free, National Mall). Learn about the scientific frontier of dark matter at a community lecture (Thurs, free, virtual, Northwest DC). See a screening of the Black history film Nationtime (Sat, free, National Gallery of Art). Celebrate the Democratic Republic of Congo independence day with music and food (Thurs, free, Georgetown).

Theater and shows: Catch the opening weekend of Tony-winning musical Fun Home at Studio Theatre (Wed through August 20, $55+, Logan Circle). Women and non-binary comics tell jokes at the DC Comedy Loft; there’s a burlesque show at intermission (Thurs, $15, Dupont). A Raisin in the Sun closes this weekend at Atlas Performing Arts Center (Thurs-Sun, $40+, H Street Corridor).

Music and concerts: Singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant sings pop melodies from her latest album Keep Your Courage with the National Symphony Orchestra (Fri-Sat, $59+, Kennedy Center). Folk string band the Ozark Highballers are in town (Fri, free, Kennedy Center). Justin Trawick and the Common Good are rockin’ at City Ridge (Fri, free, Northwest DC). Indie pop singer Alfred Jones hosts a concert at The Pocket (Thurs, $15+, Union Market). Local band Strangers That Clique is in concert at DC9 Nightclub (Fri, $15, U Street Corridor). Party with the Bey Hive at a Beyoncé Dance Night (Fri, $19+, Howard Theatre). Rare vinyls will be spinning at Neptune Room’s Uptown Disco (Fri, free, Georgia Avenue). The Eric Felten Quartet plays old school jazz at Blues Alley (Sat-Sun, $35, Georgetown). The National Orchestral Institute and Festival performs classical scores The Rite of Spring and Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 (Thurs, Sat, $10+, University of Maryland College Park). Get ready to sway your hips and move your feet to afro beats at AfroAmp Festival (Tues, $30+, Northeast DC).

Fourth of July: Kick Axe is throwing a patriot-themed bash (Fri-Tues, free, Northeast DC). The DC Comedy Clubhouse is giving us the Freedom to Laugh (Sat, Mon, $15, Northwest DC). Watch the fireworks on a Potomac River boat cruise (Tues, $140, Georgetown). Or, gaze at the fireworks show from Perch Rooftop with games and a DJ (Tues, $60+, Capitol Riverfront). Sip on drinks poolside at The Ridge Club (Mon-Tues, free admission, Northwest DC). In recognition of the holiday, the U.S. Navy Band’s jazz ensemble The Commodores are performing at at Yards Park (Mon, free, Navy Yard). Go to a Nationals baseball game and snag a complimentary pair of American Flag sunglasses (Tues, $18+, Nationals Park). Skip the National Mall crowd and celebrate Fourth at The Wharf (Tues, free entry, $60 for VIP, Wharf). Enjoy an outdoor concert and view lakefront fireworks at Merriweather Park (Tues, free, Columbia). Sit in on a live reading of the Declaration of Independence and see The Experience Band and Show perform at the National Archives (Tues, free, Downtown).

Bites and beverages: Indulge in culinary delights and listen to live music at Gateway Pavilion’s DC Black Food and Wine Festival (Sat, $40+, Southeast DC). There’s R&B tunes and a barbecue cookout spread at Sandlot Anacostia (Mon, $10+, Anacostia).

Things to do with kids: There are family-friendly outdoor activities at Carter Barron Mini Oasis (Thurs, free, Rock Creek Park). Take your kids to the National Gallery of Art for face painting fun (Sat, free, National Gallery of Art). Groovy Nate uses puppetry and comedy to get kids moving (Tues, free, National Harbor).

Get involved: Join the Rock Creek Conservancy and the National Park Service in removing invasive plants from Reservation 630 East (Sun, free, Rock Creek Park).

If you enjoyed these events, please don’t forget to share this post with a friend on social media, and sign up for our newsletter for more things to do.

Briana A. Thomas is a local journalist, historian, and tour guide who specializes in the research of D.C. history and culture. She is the author of the Black history book, Black Broadway in Washington, D.C., a story that was first published in Washingtonian in 2016.