What to do on July 4th in Washington DC?

Whether you are a local or a visitor to Washington DC, you may be asking yourself what to do on July 4th in Washington DC?

What is open in Washington DC?  Happily, almost everything is open on July 4th. Restaurants will be at full capacity, all museums will  be open, and the fireworks will be very spectacular.

Where to Watch the Fireworks in Washington DC on July 4th, 2023?

The fireworks in Washington, DC are some of the most spectacular anywhere.  With the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial as the backdrop, tens of thousands of people turn out to enjoy the fireworks every year.

YouTube video

The best spot to enjoy the fireworks up close is on the National Mall on the grounds of the Washington Monument or on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. You will not be able to drive to the National Mall. Much of downtown is car-free on July 4th. On July 4th, there is a security entrance to get onto the National Mall.  If you want to sit on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, you will have to arrive early. But, you can get onto the grounds of the Washington Monument even last minute before the fireworks actually start.

Another great spot to view the fireworks would be along Constitution Avenue between 14th and 21st Streets.  Constitution Avenue is closed to motor vehicles on July 4th, and you can stand in the street to watch the fireworks.  14th Street is another street that is a good spot to watch.  You don’t need to pass the security barrier to watch from these streets. The National Park Service has a site on what to do on July 4th in Washington DC? And, Washington.org also has a website on what to do on July 4th in Washington DC as well.

Washington DC Monuments and Memorials

All of the memorials in Washington DC are open every day year round 24 hours.  The only exceptions are: 1) the elevator to the top of the Washington Monument closes early on July 4; and 2) the WWII Memorial closes at 4:00 PM on July 4th due to preparations for fireworks launch.  Also, on July 4th, special security procedures are in place that mean that you must go through a security gate to get to some of the monuments

If you want to see all the monuments and memorials on the National Mall in Washington DC, your best bet is to do so on July 3rd or July 5th when they all have easy access.  You can take a private DC Monuments and Memorials Tour and see all the memorials in 2-4 hours.


DC Monuments and Memorials Tour

US Capitol Concert

A Capitol Fourth concert will be held live on the grounds of the US Capitol on July 4th, 2023. During Covid, the Capitol Fourth concerts were virtual. This year, there will be a live concert on the grounds of the US Capitol, which starts at 8:00 PM. The culmination of the concert comes a little after 9:00 PM, and the fireworks are timed to start as the concert ends. For information on performers, check the website for the Capitol concert

July 4th Parade in Washington DC

There is a July 4th parade in Washington DC down Constitution Avenue every year.  In 2023, the parade starts at about 11:45 AM and continues until about 2:00 PM. One great thing to do is to go wander around the staging area for the July 4th Parade. They stage on 7th Street between Constitution Avenue and Jefferson Drive.

July 4th Washington DC

Smithsonian Museums

All Smithsonian and other museums are now fully open again. Check out the excellent page What’s Open in Washington DC for more information. July 4th is a busy day, so expect to wait on a security line to get into the most popular museums.

Twilight tour at Smithsonian African American Museum

Is There Access for Handicapped and Disabled People on July 4th in Washington DC?

Well, yes and no. There is no obstacle for handicapped people to access the security perimeter for the July 4th celebrations in Washington DC.  But, all the streets surrounding the National Mall are closed to vehicular traffic on July 4th, too. There are no buses and the National Park Service doesn’t provide any services either.

Your best bet is to look for a pedicab on July 4th and flag the driver down.  You can ask the price for a short ride around the National Mall, which might generally be between $20-$50. Pedicabs frequently take elderly or disabled passengers. We can also accept folding wheelchairs and other devices. You can attempt to call the Nonpartisan Pedicab phone line at 703-231-9882 but July 4th is such a busy day that we cannot assure you that we will even be able to pick up the phone that day.

Washington DC Tours for Handicapped and Disabled visitors is a great way to see all the memorials in 2-4 hours at your own pace and on your own schedule. On July 4th, we typically do not offer memorial tours, but you can reserve for July 3rd or July 5th or any other day.

Handicap Accessible Tour of Washington DC

How to Get to the National Mall on July 4th?

Driving is possible, of course. Much of downtown DC is closed to motor vehicles on July 4th. The best option for parking is at the Ronald Reagan Building underground parking garage.

You can also take the Metro. The nearest Metro stations are Smithsonian Metro, Federal Triangle, L’Enfant Plaza, Metro Center and Foggy Bottom (for the Lincoln Memorial).

Can I Take My Dog to the Fireworks?

Yes, of course. Some dogs might be afraid of the noise and smoke. There are lots of people about. Only take friendly dogs. Expect lots of kids to want to pet them. You can also take your dog with you on a tour of the monuments with a dog friendly tour of Washington DC. We aren’t able to do tours on July 4th because there are too many restrictions, but we can take you and your canine friend on a tour any other day.

Dog Friendly Tours of Washington DC