My name is Christine Connally and I have been an Au Pair in America Community Counselor since 2003, serving Takoma Park, Silver Spring, Prince George's Co. and Southern Anne Arundel Co., Maryland.
Washington DC is a spectacular place to celebrate July 4th! The National Mall is the center of all of the Independence Day Celebrations in DC. There are events all day, beginning with a parade along Constitution Avenue and ending with a fireworks display over the Washington Monument.
Washington, DC’s Independence Day Parade
Parade Start Time: 11:45 a.m.
Parade Route: Constitution Avenue and 7th to 17th Sts.
See a map of the parade route
Washington, DC’s 4th of July Parade features marching bands, military and specialty units, floats, and VIP’s. The parade draws a large crowd, so plan to arrive early to stake out a good viewing spot. Read more about the National Independence Day Parade
4th of July Fireworks on the National Mall
Fireworks Time: At dark, usually around 9:15 p.m. Rain Date: July 5th
Launch Location: The fireworks are launched from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and light up the sky over the Washington Monument.
Getting to the National Mall
The best way to get to the National Mall is to take the Metro. Stations nearby include Metro Center, Gallery Place-Chinatown, Judiciary Square, Federal Triangle and L’Enfant Plaza. It typically takes 1 ½ to 2 hours to clear the Mall after the fireworks.
Public access to the National Mall begins at 10:00 a.m., with all visitors required to enter via a security checkpoint.
Information above is from About.com. Visit their website HERE for much more information about the DC July 4th celebrations, including the best places to view the fireworks.
The Newseum offers everything from the Berlin Wall and Pulitzer Prize-winning photos to interactive games and presidential pets. And this summer, there’s one more great reason to visit — kids get in free! July 1 through Labor Day, the Newseum waives admission for youth visitors age 18 and younger. Up to four kids visit for free with each paid adult or senior admission, or Press Pass membership.
Whether you have just a few hours or want to spend all day, you’ll find something for everyone in the Newseum’s 15 theaters and 15 galleries. See “JFK,” an exploration of the life and legacy of president John F. Kennedy, watch “I-Witness” and take a 4-D adventure through time and journalism history, or test your reporting skills in the NBC News Interactive Newsroom.
Time running short? Remember to save your admission ticket and come back the next day for free!
Adults (19 to 64)
$21.95 plus tax
$17.95 plus tax
Youth (7 to 18)
Children (6 and younger)
Visit your local zoo or aquarium or set up a pretend zoo with play animals and blocks. Invite the host parents to visit your pretend zoo. Read One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish or If I Ran the Zoo, both by Dr. Seuss. Encourage the children to make up their own animals and draw them. Think of all the animal sounds you can and play a game guessing what animal you are. You may find that the same animal says one thing in America and something quite different in your own country!
Here are links to our local zoo & aquariums.
National Zoo – Washington, DC
National Aquarium - Washington, DC
Maryland Zoo – Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore Aquarium – Maryland
Photo: Joseph Bylund
Last weekend we had a cluster meeting enjoying the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade and going paddle boating on the Tidal Basin. As a lifetime resident of the DC area, this was my first time doing either of those things! We had a beautiful day.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual event that celebrates springtime in Washington, DC as well as the 1912 gift of the cherry blossom trees and the enduring friendship between the people of the United States and Japan. This year’s festival will be MARCH 20-APRIL 14!
The predicted peak blooming period of the cherry blossoms for this year is – MARCH 26–30.
Family Day - Saturday & Sunday, March 23-24, 2013
National Building Museum
401 F Street, NW
Metro Judiciary Square, Red Line
Sat – 10 am-4 pm & Sun- 11 am-4 pm
Smithsonian Kite Festival – Saturday, March 30, 2013
Washington Monument Grounds
10 am-4:30 pm
Fireworks Festival - Saturday, April 6, 2013
Waterfront Park – 600-900 Water Street, SW
Fireworks at 8-9 pm
Cherry Blossom Parade – Saturday, April 13, 2013
Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Streets, NW
10 am- 12 pm
There are many more great events, visit the festival website for more information.
Cherry Blossom Festival Website
National Park Service Bloom Watch
Metro Website (use the trip planner feature on this website to find the metro options, taking metro is much better than driving for the festival events)
Here is a list from About.com of local places with beautiful Christmas light displays:
ZooLights at the National Zoo
Rock Creek Park. Washington, DC. November 23-December 9, Friday, Saturday and Sunday only. Open nightly December 14–January 1 (except Dec. 24, 25 and 31). The National Zoo presents a seasonal display of thousands of sparkling animated lights, winter-themed crafts, ice sculpting demonstrations, choral groups, and storytellers. See Photos of ZooLights
Festival of Lights at the Mormon Temple
9900 Stoneybrook Dr., Kensington, Maryland. (301) 587-0144. November 30, 2012 – January 1, 2013. Dusk to 10 p.m. nightly. Nativity scene is open each evening from 6 to 9 p.m. Live musical performances begin at 7 and 8 p.m. See Photos of the Mormon Temple Festival of Lights
Winter Festival of Lights at Watkins Regional Park
301 Watkins Park Drive, Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Friday, November 23, 2012 through Tuesday, January 1, 2013. HOURS: 5-9:30 p.m. daily. $5 per car; $10 for multi-visit passes for cars and vans (good for three visits). The festival is FREE on December 25. You may bring canned food items to donate to local food banks for the holidays. Winter Festival of Lights is Prince George’s County, Maryland’s spectacular drive-through Christmas light display featuring more than a million twinkling lights. See Photos of Winter Festival of Lights at Watkins Regional Park
Symphony of Lights in Columbia
Symphony Woods, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, Maryland. (410) 740-7840. November 19, 2012 – January 6, 2013. Hours: Open 7 days a week from 6-10 p.m., including holidays except CLOSED December 31st for the Midnight at 7 event. $20 per car. Symphony of Lights is a spectacular drive-through display of more than 75 animated and stationary holiday lights. All proceeds from the Symphony of Lights benefit the services of Howard County General Hospital. See Photos of the Columbia Symphony of Lights
Lights on the Bay at Sandy Point State Park
Route 50, Annapolis, Maryland. (410) 481-3161. November 19, 2012 through January 1, 2013, 5-10 p.m., 5-10 p.m. An annual scenic drive through holiday lights show sponsored by the Anne Arundel Medical Center. Drive along the shore of the Chesapeake Bay and see more than 60 animated and stationary displays illuminating the roadway. $14 per car. See Photos of Lights on the Bay
Please vote for your favorite Washington Monument photo. You may vote every day between now and November 25. The winner will be announced on November 26. The winner will receive an I Love DC Prize Pack.
Click HERE or on your favorite picture, to vote.
The Folklife Festival will take place June 27-July 1 and July 4-8.
The Annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival is an international exhibition of living cultural heritage. Attracting more than one million visitors yearly, the two-week long celebration is the largest annual cultural event in the United States.
The Festival is held outdoors on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between the Smithsonian museums. There is no admission charge. Visitors should dress for hot and humid weather. Parking around the Mall is extremely limited, so visitors are advised to use Metrorail. The Smithsonian station (Mall exit) is at the Festival site. Federal Triangle and National Archives stations are close by. For general Smithsonian visitor information, call 202.633.1000.
Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with special events taking place most evenings.
I highly recommend that you visit their website to plan your visit http://www.festival.si.edu/