4th of July Events in DC

Jun 20th, 1999, 12:23 PM
  #1  
Greg
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4th of July Events in DC

Will be in D.C. for the 4th of July with children ages 9 and 13. Is there a parade worth seeing? Vendors, exhibits, etc. on the Mall? Please advise as to what special events to take in and what time we should arrive. What time do fireworks start and when do we need to park the blanket? Also, does the Metro handle the crowd well or should we plan on being out extremely late. Thanks for your thoughts. Greg.
 
Jun 20th, 1999, 07:49 PM
  #2  
Bob Brown
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The fireworks display is usally preceded by a concert on the mall close to the capitol building. The crowds gather well before hand and they are huge.
The Metro handles the mob, but expect delays. How long is hard to say, but an hour is not at all out of the question.
I would anticipate longer. A lot depends on the weather. The fireworks usually start well after sunset so people can see.
Someone else will have to comment on a parade.
 
Jun 21st, 1999, 05:48 AM
  #3  
Neal Sanders
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Greg, I'm puzzled about what parade you're talking about. The Mall, however, will be filled with a few hundred thousand people. There's always a rock concert by some superannuated group (Chicago and the Beach Boys are the two most frequent names), the Smithsonian American Folk Life Festival will be n full swing, and all museums are open. It is a wonderful, day-long event that is capped by fieworks at about 9 p.m.
Ground zero for the fireworks is the Reflecting Pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial, but the fireworks can be seen from basically anywhere you can see the Washington Monument. Crowded? Certainly. Will your kids love it? Definitely.

Metro handles the crowds very well, but don't plan on using the Smithsonian station (the closest to the center of the action), as it is usually closed about 7 p.m to prevent people from being crushed by the crowds.
 
Jun 21st, 1999, 09:02 AM
  #4  
Cecilia
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Hi Greg,
I live here in DC so thought I check out what the Washington Post has to say:

"4 FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION Independence Day is celebrated in Washington with a parade, with more than 100 marching units stepping out at noon along Constitution Avenue NW from Seventh to 17th streets. Popular music groups will entertain at the Sylvan Theater, from mid-afternoon until the fireworks show. The National Symphony
Orchestra, with guest stars and soloists, performs at 8 on the West Lawn
of the Capitol. The Fourth of July fireworks show erupts around 9:20 p.m.
over the Washington Monument grounds. 202/619-7222."

Park the blanket WELL in advance. I usually watch the fireworks from across the river, over at the Iwo Jima memorial due to the crowds; even over there, we're blanket-parked by about 5pm. Over at the Mall, you could probably wait another hour or so before parking it though, due to the sheer size of the Mall.

As for the Metro, I advise walking back eastward and get on the Capitol South Metro stop or Union Station Metro stop. A longer walk, but there aren't as many people at those stations. I guess it all depends on where in town you're staying.....the key is, as Neal said, stay away from the Smithsonian stop. And, as both Bob and Neal said - there will be delays, upwards of an hour. You may even be able to walk home depending on where you are staying.

Hope this helps,
Cecilia
 
Jun 21st, 1999, 09:30 AM
  #5  
ilisa
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4th of July in DC is a wonderful experience. The fireworks are some of the best around. I wouldn't miss them for anything. But as everyone said, get to the Mall very early. There is no shortage of things to do; the Folk Life Festival is always worth seeing. Last year, we had a friend from Holland staying with us and took her downtown. She was so enthralled with the experience and thought it just wonderful to see so many people in one place proudly displaying the American flag. She couldn't get enough of it. Definitely plan on staying out late, even if you are able to walk back to your hotel. It has been our experience that everyone chooses to leave the Mall area at the same time, so even walking is a slow process. And, whatever you do, don't be foolish like my husband. We are fortunate enough to be able to watch the fireworks from the White House lawn. However, every year, my normally intelligent husband insists on driving and parking somewhere near the WH (we argue about this every year). Try to find parking and then maneuver the car after the show. Take metro, and just be patient.
 
Jun 22nd, 1999, 07:18 AM
  #6  
cheryl
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I just wanted to add that we travel to DC for the 4th as many years as it is feasible, and it is a great time to be there. If you are going to be in the city for more than just a day, try to see the most popular (Air & Space, Natural History, and American History) museums on days besides the 4th. That day they are very, very crowded, but the 3rd and 5th are usually fine. The Folk Life Festival is a great way to spend part of the day, I don't know what cultures they are focusing on this year, but there are lots of performances, dance, music, etc. And food. Try to get the the Mall early and take a picnic with you, we usually get there at about 5:00. We usually walk back to our hotel to avoid the crowds at the Metro. With kids, this may not be possible for you, depending on where you are staying. Do not drive downtown on the 4th, it will be a nightmare.

I think you had asked about seeing the monuments at night, you can see them the evening of the fourth, since you will be at the Mall already. In fact, that is my favorite time to see the Vietnam memorial, since so many people leave momentos that day.
 
Jun 22nd, 1999, 07:18 AM
  #7  
cheryl
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I just wanted to add that we travel to DC for the 4th as many years as it is feasible, and it is a great time to be there. If you are going to be in the city for more than just a day, try to see the most popular (Air & Space, Natural History, and American History) museums on days besides the 4th. That day they are very, very crowded, but the 3rd and 5th are usually fine. The Folk Life Festival is a great way to spend part of the day, I don't know what cultures they are focusing on this year, but there are lots of performances, dance, music, etc. And food. Try to get the the Mall early and take a picnic with you, we usually get there at about 5:00. We usually walk back to our hotel to avoid the crowds at the Metro. With kids, this may not be possible for you, depending on where you are staying. Do not drive downtown on the 4th, it will be a nightmare.

I think you had asked about seeing the monuments at night, you can see them the evening of the fourth, since you will be at the Mall already. In fact, that is my favorite time to see the Vietnam memorial, since so many people leave momentos that day.
 
Jun 22nd, 1999, 09:14 AM
  #8  
Jcameron
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Fireworks on the Mall begin at 9:30 p.m. or a few minutes later, and last about 30 minutes. And they are worth seeing. Great viewing: S.E. side of the Washington Monument (get there about 7 p.m. and spread your blanket). Picnics are great, but the Park service has banned all alcohol (except for the beer you have to line up with the mob to buy). Avoid the Smithsonial Station (Metro) after the concert - a dangerous, crowded mob that gets worse every year. I cannot emphasize that enough. Stay away from Independence Avenue after the fireworks end. Instead walk across the mall and head uptown to Metro Center, using 11th, 12th or 13th streets, and be patient. If you're going to be in D.C. before the 4th, see the REHEARSAL of the Capitol show (west side), not the show itself on the 4th, and you will see the same thing but without the 100,000 plus crowd - that's how we do it and we live 3 blocks away. The Folk Life Festival is a mere shadow of itself in the 1980's, but okay for a short visit. It's very commercial now, the food's expensive and second rate, and there are only limited attractions. The fact that the Park service and Smithsonian have allowed this formerly wonderful event to become degraded is a disgrace, and it really saddens those of us who live here. By the way, food: avoid Hard Rock, Post Office Pavillion and Planet Hollywood like the plague - tourist traps supreme. Get a Zagat's and look through the bargain places up front. If you want more details, send me an e-mail. And try WashingtonPost.com.
 

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