Celebrate Independence Day!
We’re lucky to live so close to Washington DC, and being in DC for the big National Fourth of July parade and A Capitol Fourth concert and fireworks is something you definitely need to experience at least a few times. But if you want to be “closer to home,” we also have many fun options for Fourth of July celebrations in Fairfax County or right on the border to us. From huge daylong festivals with parades and fireworks to smaller, quieter celebrations, there really is something for everyone! Our list below includes more than 20 events in Northern Virginia and the “can’t-miss” celebrations in DC. As always, check directly with the official websites (linked below) for other details such a rain dates and other policies.
Friday, July 1
Star-spangled South Riding (parade and fireworks): South Riding in neighboring Loudoun County kicks off the holiday with the Star Spangled Parade at 5 pm, followed by a free concert 6-9 pm and fireworks at 9:30 pm. You may bring a picnic (no outside alcohol) or buy food and drinks onsite. The music will be by ’80s tribute band The Reagan Years!
Saturday, July 2
Workhouse Fireworks: Enjoy art exhibits, food trucks, local craft beer and wine, live music, and a spectacular fireworks show! Live music begins at 7 pm and fireworks start at dusk, typically 9 pm. Admission is free and you can bring blankets and lawn chairs; parking is $10.
Lansdowne Celebrates America: Kick off Independence Day weekend at the Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg. The celebration starts at 3:30 pm with food from local food trucks, local Virginia wineries and breweries, DJ music, and games for kids and adults, followed by a 6 pm concert by Gonzo’s Nose. After the concert, enjoy a fireworks display and more entertainment. Ticket information coming soon.
Sunday, July 3
BBQ and Fireworks at Chantilly National Golf & Country Club: Annual event the day before independence day features a full spread, along with children’s activities including a petting zoo, and fireworks at dark; $45 adults and $25 kids 5-12, (Note: to enter the country club grounds you must pay admission… some people choose to park along Braddock Road and just watch from there!)
A Capitol Fourth Dress Rehearsal: If you want to get a “taste” of the big celebration in DC on July 4, “A Capitol Fourth,” you can attend a dress rehearsal the night before (this year, July 3 is a Sunday). There are no fireworks and not all the artists may show up, but you never know!
Monday, July 4 and beyond… (scroll below)
Monday, July 4
National Independence Day Parade: What a more perfect place than Constitution Avenue to celebrate Independence Day? This annual parade has giant balloons, bands, fife and drum corps, floats, military and specialty units, equestrian teams, drill teams, dignitaries, and celebrities. It starts at 11:45 am. (Also check out the Smithsonian Folklife Festival taking place around that time!).
4th of July Festivities at the National Archives: The National Archives in Washington, DC, will celebrate the 240th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence with a daylong festival. From 10 am to 4 pm, enjoy patriotic music, a dramatic reading of the Declaration by historical reenactors, and family activities and entertainment for all ages; you also can visit Archives exhibits until 5:30 pm. Free admission.
Firecracker 5K at Reston Town Center: Kick off your 4th of July with a 5k at 8 am! Join Potomac River Running Store for the 7th annual Firecracker 5k For the Troops to benefit the USO of Metropolitan Washington. Experience live music, face painting, waving flags and free massages, and root for your favorite military branch in the “Battle of the Branches” competition.
Freedom 5K and 1K Fun Run at Fairfax Corner: The second annual Freedom 5K and 1K Fun Run also features a free “tot trot” at 8:50 am. Please note that no strollers or dogs are allowed on the course.
Town of Clifton July 4th Parade and Picnic: Annual community celebration with a small parade in Clifton.
Independence Day at Gunston Hall: Celebrate the Fourth at the home of founding father George Mason in Lorton! Chat with Col. Mason, have a mansion tour, enjoy the grounds, and bring a picnic lunch. Admission is free to all today!
Celebrate Great Falls 4th of July Hometown Celebration and Parade: Celebrate Great Falls presents a daytime 4th of July Hometown Celebration that starts with a 5K walk/run at 8 am, a Little Patriot Parade at 9 am for babies and toddlers up to age 5, and the main parade at 10 am. Afterward, enjoy food and music, field games, and festivities on the Village Centre Green. Return in the evening to Turner Farm Park for more fun beginning at 6 pm: music, games, contests and food trucks, followed by fireworks just after dusk.
City of Fairfax Independence Day Parade: The City of Fairfax hosts its 50th annual Independence Day celebration with a big parade (10 am-noon), tours of the Ratcliffe-Allison House (11:30 am-1 pm), and at 12:30 pm, a Superhero Fest (noon-1 pm), and an Old-Fashioned Fireman’s Day with a firefigher competition, food and beverages, and games. All day long (9 am-4 pm) tour the Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center during the Open House. At night (7-10 pm), head to Fairfax High School for the evening show featuring live music and a fireworks display. Free admission.
An American Celebration at Mount Vernon: Mount Vernon salutes our first commander in chief with an annual display of daytime “fireworks!” The celebration also includes military reenactments, a special wreath-laying ceremony, free birthday cake for all (while supplies last), and a visit from the “first” first couple, “General and Mrs. Washington.” Admission prices are $17-20 adults, $9-10 kids 6-11, free to kids 5 and under.
Dale City Independence Day Parade: One of the biggest Virginia parades takes place down Dale Boulevard starting at 9 am on Fourth of July Monday.
Warrenton Children’s and Pets Parade: Old-fashioned, patriotic family affair starting at 10 am. Kids decorate their bicycles, their wagons and pets in red, white and blue to join Uncle Sam, marching bands, and community groups down Main Street. Presented by the Warrenton Civitans.
Leesburg Independence Day Parade and Fireworks: The annual celebration features bands and performers, including the American Originals Fife and Drum Corps at 9:45 am before the parade in downtown Leesburg kicks off at 10 am. At night, head to Ida Lee Park to enjoy live music and food starting at 6 pm, followed by a huge fireworks show at 9:30 pm. Admission to the daytime and evening events is free.
Vienna Fourth of July Festival and Fireworks: The Town of Vienna hosts a full day of fun and fireworks! Activities begin at 4 pm at Yeonas Park with the Vienna Inn Chili Dog Eating Contest at 4 pm, followed by entertainment with the Old Bay Circus Company with stunts and surprises and the band Fat Chance. There also will be kids’ games and moon bounces and food for sale. The festival ends with a fireworks show around 9:30 pm at Southside Park.
A Capitol Fourth: Headliners and music icons including Barry Manilow, Alabama, KC and the Sunshine Band join the celebrated National Symphony Orchestra, the U.S. Army Band Downrange, and others to celebrate our nation’ birth and freedoms in a free show open to all. A Capitol Fourth is the annual celebration broadcast live on PBS and which includes a spectacular fireworks show. Get there a few hours early (show starts at 8) to secure a spot!
Lake Fairfax July Fourth Festivities and Fireworks: Celebrate all day at Lake Fairfax Park! The grounds open at 7 am, with The Water Mine (water park) open 10 am-8 pm and the carousel and marina open 10 am-5 pm. At night, enjoy fireworks, shot over the lake to be seen from almost anywhere in the park. Bring a picnic or buy food from one of the vendors. You can even reserve a spot on the campground (spots fill quickly!) and spend the night! Admission to the park is free; there is a fee for water park, carousel, tours, camping, and other activities.
Town of Herndon Fourth of July: The Town of Herndon celebrates the Fourth with a free night of family fun starting at 7 pm with games, patriotic arts and crafts, bingo, food, balloon artists, and more. Fireworks set to music begin at 9:30 pm. Parking will be very limited so check the event site for information. Events take place at Bready Park, Herndon Community Center, 814 Ferndale Avenue.
McLean 4th of July Fireworks Celebration: Arrive early (grounds open at 6:30 pm) to enjoy music and food before the fireworks show at 9:15 pm. Shuttle buses will be available from St. John’s Episcopal Church and the McLean Community Center to Churchill Road Elementary School, the new event site. The rain date is July 5. Free admission.
City of Falls Church Celebration and Fireworks: The City sponsors an annual July 4th Independence Day Celebration at George Mason High School. Live music starts at 7 p.m. and the fireworks begin at 9:20 p.m. The event is free to the public.
Celebrate America in Manassas: Celebrate America this Independence Day with one of the largest fireworks displays in Northern Virginia! It’s an all-American party in Historic Downtown Manassas that begins with kids’ activities and food at 3 pm concert and a fireworks show at 9:15 pm. Basic admission is free; there’s also a VIP option for a rooftop party.
Fireworks at Signal Hill Park: The City of Manassas Park will have a fireworks display beginning at dusk by the Manassas Park Community Center; free admission. Free shuttles from VRE and City Hall starting at 6 p.m. $5 parking starting at 5 p.m. On-site parking is handicap only.
Independence Day in Arlington: Long Bridge Park in Arlington hosts a fun evening with a food truck rally, drop-in kickball games and contests, drop-in lawn games, free face painting, moon bounces (weather permitting) and balloon art, and live music. Plus, you’re close enough to DC to see the fireworks from the National Mall right there! Free event.
Fireworks beyond the Fourth and worth the drive (see below)
Saturday, July 9
Alexandria & USA Birthday Celebration: The City of Alexandria celebrates the country’s and its own (267th) birthdays from 7 to 10 pm. Come early for the live music by the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, patriotic birthday cake, and food vendors, and stay for the dazzling fireworks display performed to Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” with cannon support by the United States Marine Corps. Bring lawn chairs and a picnic or buy food from vendors. Free admission.
Other big Independence Day events worth the drive from Fairfax include:
- Baltimore Fourth of July, Baltimore, MD (1 hour away): Baltimore’s big celebration starts with music at 7 pm and a big fireworks show (at 9:30 pm) that is visible from several locations in downtown and nearby, including Federal Hill, Locust Point, Fell’s Point, Canton and Harbor East.
- Kings Dominion, Doswell, VA (2 hours away): The popular theme park hosts a “Star-spangled Celebration” July 2-4 with music and nightly fireworks; all active and retired military personnel get free admission.
- Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsburg, VA (2.5 hours away): Colonial Williamsburg celebrates with a full day of festivities including music, demonstrations, and fireworks at multiple locations.
List compiled by FairfaxFamilyFun.com