What to know about DC-area July Fourth celebrations

The coronavirus pandemic has halted many professional fireworks displays and Fourth of July celebrations, but there are still a number of ways to enjoy the holiday.

The National Independence Day Parade has been canceled, along with fireworks shows in several D.C.-area counties. With social distancing measures still in place and a strict limit on crowd sizes, the following options are still available.

Virtual celebrations

The National Archives will do its annual July Fourth reading of the Declaration of Independence online, the museum’s first-ever virtual Fourth of July celebration. Click here for the full schedule of events.

The Capitol Hill Community Fourth of July Parade will take place online, featuring short videos from organizations that usually participate. Click here for submission guidelines.

More Fourth of July News


Many local fireworks shows have been canceled, but the only live component of the 40th annual broadcast of “A Capitol Fourth” in D.C. will be the fireworks. This year, the event hosted by John Stamos and Vanessa Williams will be a pretaped, 90-minute special, which PBS will air starting at 8 p.m. Saturday.

There is expected to be a tribute to frontline workers during the pandemic and the country’s Black heroes, with performances from Yolanda Adams, Trace Adkins, John Fogerty, Patti LaBelle and The Temptations, among others.

Though D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser urged residents to stay home, the city will still have its annual fireworks display near the monuments.

Salute to America

Get the complete details here.

For the second straight year, President Donald Trump will host “Salute to America.” The event will have an estimated 1,700 service members participating nationwide and feature flyovers in Washington, D.C., Baltimore and other cities relevant to the American Revolution.

The broadcast schedule and exact times of the flyovers will be announced at a later date.

Last week, Metro announced its service plans for July Fourth. Metrorail opens at 8 a.m. on a “COVID-19 weekend schedule” during the day, and more frequent service will begin on all lines at approximately 4 p.m. to accommodate the “Salute to America” event.

Motorists should expect street closures around the National Mall.

Stay tuned to WTOP Traffic for details.

View a National Park Service map here

‘Outside the box’ options

Though the National Arboretum will be closed Saturday in observance of July Fourth, the National Park Service monuments and memorials are open, with some exceptions.

An American Celebration at Mount Vernon will take place all day July Fourth, including military demonstrations and addresses from Gen. Washington. Reading the estate’s safety measures is suggested before buying tickets.

Phase Two reopening in D.C. could mean a busy weekend for the Georgetown waterfront. Those who still deem restaurants too risky could find water activities more suitable.

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Rob Woodfork

Rob Woodfork is WTOP's Senior Sports Content Producer, which includes duties as producer and host of the DC Sports Huddle, nightside sports anchor and sports columnist on WTOP.com.

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