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4th of July in DC

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This summer, we are taking our 9 and 7 year old boys to Washington DC, Wiliamsburg, Gettysburg, and a few other civil war/historical sites. We are going to be in Gettysburg July 1, for the 150th anniversary, and I'm trying to decide if we should then head directly to DC afterwards (breaking up my rental car period) so that we can be there for the 4th of July.

My husband is concerned (understatement) about the crowds, and thinks it would be better to continue our travels down to Antietam, Harpers Ferry, Shenandoah, Williamsburg, before ending in DC. The idea of being on the National Mall, for the symphony and fireworks, is highly appealing to me. It also seems kind of crazy to me to be in this area of the world on the 4th and not do it. But... the crowds are a concern. Has anyone ever been in DC for the 4th, and gone to the Mall for the fireworks? Is it crazy hot and crowded, and you wish you hadn't done it? We're from Texas, so used to the heat. But my husband grew up outside NYC and has bad memories of Times Square at New Years and thinks this would be like that. Any insight?

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