4th of julyFor many years, I have spent Fourth of July in Chincoteague, VA at the beach. This year, my family decided to stay home and enjoy the festivities around DC. I polled the writers here at TheDCMoms to see what they’d be doing – and their list of favorites is below. Feel free to add to it in the comments! All of the below events come recommended for families.

Arlington – After a bit of research, my own family has settled on Long Bridge Park in South Arlington. The official address is 475 Long Bridge Drive. The park is easily accessible via the Crystal City metro – and there’s a lot of free parking garages in the area. Complimentary shuttles will run from 2:30-10:30 PM from the Crystal City Metro at Bus Bays C & D located on Bell Street and the Pentagon City Metro at ART Bus Stop 74 & 84 located on 12th Street. Festivities start at 3:00 and include games, crafts, a few vendors, and live music. Food trucks will be there, and there are plenty of great restaurants in the area.

Arlington – In the years before we started our beach tradition, my family used to regularly bring out-of-town guests to Iwo Jima. The fireworks viewing is great. However, be aware of what’s happening on the trains! One year, we hopped on a train that would normally be bound for Crystal City – where we were living at the time – but instead it went straight into the District – and more people than my family from Kansas has ever seen gathered in one place. We almost lost my mom on the platform when we had to switch trains and head back to Virginia!

Washington, DC – Interested in a Fourth of July parade complete with an old-time firetruck? If so, head over to MacArthur Blvd around 11:00 AM. Parade begins at the corner of Whitehaven Parkway and MacArthur Boulevard and ending at the entrance to the Palisades Recreation Center. There is a free picnic afterwards with moon bounces, pony rides and live music. This place gets nutty, but oh, so fun!

Washington, DC: Welcome Bryce Harper back and enjoy fireworks after the Nationals game. Last time I visited, I caught two balls thrown into the stands (one for each of my children), so I have a lot of good feelings about this place right now. The fireworks are sure to be spectacular – although the metro ride afterwards may be a wee bit crowded.

Woodbridge – If you’re up for combining fireworks and baseball, Potomac Nationals does a July 4th game followed by a good fireworks show. As of this writing, tickets to the game are still available. Game time is 6:35 PM and they’ll be taking on the Wilmington Blue Rocks.

Fairfax – Fairfax High School, located at 3500 Old Lee Highway has great fireworks. You can park in the nearby shopping center to avoid the crowds at the school. Music starts at 7:00 PM with the fireworks following at dark.

Germantown – Crowds pour into the Germantown Soccerplex, but there’s always room for more. Past even goers note that it’s a huge space so it never feels too densely crowded, even though millions of people are there. The complex is located at South Germantown Recreational Park. The event begins at 6:00 PM.

Howard County – The Columbia Town Center fireworks allow a view where you can watch fireworks shoot up over the water. Festivities start at 5:00. Note: Little Patuxent Parkway is closed at approximately 7:00 PM and is not be reopened until the conclusion of the fireworks.

Rockville – The Montgomery College campus in Rockville hosts Rockville’s fireworks. No insider tips for this one, just a thumbs up!

Greenbelt – If you’re in Greenbelt, pack a picnic and head up to the Buddy Attick Park. Entertainment is scheduled to begin at 4:00 PM with the fireworks starting at dusk.

Takoma Park – If you live on the DC/Takoma Park border, you should head to the Takoma Park Independence Day Fireworks Display at Takoma Park Middle School, 7611 Piney Branch Road. The fireworks start at approximately 9:30 PM. The town also has an annual Fourth of July parade earlier in the day (10-12 noon) along Carroll and Maple Avenues.

If you’re pressed for what to bring to any of these events, and your sweet tooth is lighting up – here’s an insider tip! Whole Foods is celebrating pie this month with 9 inch pies priced at $9.99. Yum! I plan to buy one and pass it off as a creation of my own making on my way home from work today!

Any other family gems you want to recommend in the comments?

Elaine will be watching the fireworks from Crystal City, all the while hoping her kids sleep in on the 5th of July. This is probably a crazy dream of hers. If they do sleep in, she’ll post about it at Connor and Helen Grow Up.

Photo used with permission from Thrift Store Mama.