- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Fourth of July in Washington brings to mind images of fireworks exploding against the backdrop of the nation’s grandest monuments. But the D.C. area offers much more than just the grand display on the national Mall, with parades, celebrations and festivals to honor Independence Day.

The National Independence Day Parade is the D.C. area’s largest and most extravagant Fourth of July parade. It begins at 11:45 a.m. and includes military units, marching bands and elaborate floats. The parade runs along Constitution Avenue in Northwest, starting at 7th Street and ending at 17th Street.

That’s not the only parade in the city. For a smaller town feel, the Capitol Hill Community 4th of July Parade begins at 10 a.m. Anyone who shows up to the staging area at 9:30 a.m. is welcome to march. The parade departs from 8th and I streets in Southeast and ends about four blocks away along Barracks Row at the Eastern Market Metro Plaza.


PHOTOS: The Fourth of July in Washington, D.C.


Another annual tradition, the 48th Palisades parade is a great place to mingle with local politicians in an election year or to march for a cause. That upper Northwest neighborhood event begins at 11 a.m. and welcomes anyone who lines up at the Whitehaven Parkway by 10:15 a.m. A picnic at the Palisades Recreation Center featuring hot dogs, live music and moon bounces comes after the parade.

In Northern Virginia, the Great Falls 4th of July Parade begins at 10 a.m. at the Great Falls Village Centre, while the Independence Day Parade in Fairfax begins at 10 a.m. at 10455 Armstrong Street, and the Independence Day parade in Leesburg kicks off at 10 a.m. at Ida Lee Park.

Those looking for food and drink experiences also have a wide variety of options. City Tap House in the District’s Penn Quarter will host a BeerBQ Brewery Battle on Friday from noon to 5 p.m. in which culinary teams from three local brewing companies will compete to determine the best beer. The event also includes a cornhole tournament on the restaurant’s outdoor patio.

The W Hotel near the White House in Northwest D.C. hosts an annual party on its rooftop called “Boom with a View.” Catching the fireworks from the hotel’s unparalleled view comes with a ticket price of $75 per person. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Another option for a rooftop view is the Graham Georgetown Observatory Rooftop Lounge in Georgetown, where guests can drink Graham punch cocktails, play with sparklers and munch on popcorn for a ticket price of $66.

For beer lovers, the Republic restaurant in Takoma Park is hosting a “Freedom Fest.” From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the Republic will feature its barbecue items along with 25 craft beers from local producers. Local bands will perform live at the event all day. Three-hour tickets cost $35, and full day passes are $50.

Trying to escape cover charges? Head to DNV Rooftop at the Donovan Hotel on 14th Street in Northwest for drinks and delectable Asian food, as well as red, white and blue boozy ice pops.

For a romantic getaway, take a Spirit Cruise leaving from Water Street in Southwest. Enjoy a four-hour boat ride that includes an open bar, dinner buffet, music, dancing and a great view of the fireworks for $169.

And then, of course, there’s the fireworks.

A Capitol Fourth, the biggest entertainment event of the weekend, will begin at 8 p.m. on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Hosted by Tom Bergeron, this year’s lineup includes musical performances by Frankie Valli, Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald as well as country music performer Sara Evans, American Idol winner Jordan Sparks and the National Symphony Orchestra. Admission begins at 3 p.m. with the fireworks display scheduled for 9:15 p.m.