Heard on the Hill

10 Ways to Spend the Fourth in D.C.

HOH has your lineup of things to do

Fireworks over the National Mall for Fourth of July celebrations in 2015. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

1. Fireworks on the Mall

Where else would you want to see fireworks besides the nation’s capital? On Monday, the National Park Service will launch fireworks from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool at 9:09 p.m. for 17 ½ minutes. You can spot them from several places in the District and we suggest you find a rooftop nearby because the Mall gets extremely crowded.

2. A Capitol Fourth

Congress is gone but the Capitol is still celebrating. The annual ‘A Capitol Fourth ’ is a concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol from 8 to 9:30 p.m. on Monday. This year, Tom Bergeron from ABC’s "Dancing with the Stars" is the host and performers include Smokey Robinson, Gavin DeGraw and Amber Riley. Special guests include former Secretary of state and retired Gen. Colin Powell, the National Symphony Orchestra and the U.S. Army Band. You can either go see the concert in person or watch it live on PBS.

3. Show your colors at the parade

There are Fourth of July parades all over the country but none like the one in D.C. At 11:45 a.m. on Monday, the National Independence Day Parade starts at Constitution Avenue and 7th Street. Arrive early enough to get a good spot — every year hundreds of thousands of spectators are expected. Bands, floats, celebrities and celebrations of the military make up the flag-waving fun.

4. See the Star-Spangled Banner

How much more patriotic can you get? The flag raised at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry in 1814 to celebrate the victory over British forces in the War of 1812 is at the Smithsonian’s American History Museum . Take time out of your weekend to join the crowds at the Mall and see the Star-Spangled Banner in person. And remember, the Smithsonian Museums are free.

5. Take you out to the ballpark

Might as well spend America’s favorite holiday doing America’s favorite pastime — a baseball game. The Washington Nationals are playing their daytime Fourth of July home game on Monday against the Milwaukee Brewers. The game starts at 11:05 a.m. and tickets are currently as low as $25 . There is a chance of rain on Monday, so you could also see the Nats play the Cincinnati Reds at 7:15 p.m. on Saturday or 1:35 p.m. on Sunday.  

UNITED STATES - JULY 4: The statue of Gen. James McPherson, in McPherson Square near the White House, is silhouetted by the Independence Day fireworks on the National Mall on July 4, 2015.(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
The statue of Gen. James McPherson, in McPherson Square near the White House, is silhouetted by the Independence Day fireworks in 2015.(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

6. Celebrate independence old-school

Remind yourself on why we get to celebrate on Monday by going back centuries. The Declaration of Independence, which dates to 1776, of course, is on display at the National Archives . The original signed copy by our founding fathers, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, and adopted on July 4, is in D.C. for you to see.

7. Paddle the Potomac

For those of you who are active, Boating in D.C. provides kayak, canoe and paddle board rentals at the Key Bridge Boathouse, Ballpark Boathouse, Fletcher’s Boathouse and other locations. Rent your boat right along the Potomac and cruise on the river. You can stay out until 8 p.m. in the summer and rentals range from $16 an hour for a single kayak to $25 an hour for a canoe for two.

8. Or party on it

Down on K Street in Georgetown, boats are constantly picking up groups to create a party on the Potomac. With cash bars and upper deck dancing, these boats take riders up and down the river. Top companies to book from are Boomerang Tours and D.C. Cruises , which both have daytime, sunset and moonlight tours.

9. Play tourist

Even if you’ve seen them a million times, what better time to sightsee than the fourth of July? It could ran Monday, so on Saturday or Sunday, walk around the Tidal Basin. You can take out the paddle boats or see the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial up close. Have you taken photographs in front of the columns of your favorite states yet at the World War II memorial? This weekend’s your chance.

10. Toast to politics

Everyone's favorite Capitol Hill bars are having drink specials on Monday, and if you're in town, you might as well take advantage. Capitol Lounge , the watering hole for House staffers, opens at 11 a.m. on Monday and will have $3 American pints of Budweiser. 201 Bar , Senate staffers' favorite spot, will have $5 Red & Blue Cocktails all night.

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