Weekend Family Fun (July 3-5) Ride the Capital Wheel, schmooze with George Washington and other ways to celebrate the 4th of July around D.C.

How to celebrate 4th of July around D.C.
Photo: Vivek Kumar/Unsplash

National Harbor has been quiet for months, but as of this week, the Capital Wheel and the Carousel are once again welcoming guests—with restrictions, of course. For example, tickets for both attractions must be purchased online in advance. 

The opening celebration at National Harbor continues with a family-friendly sidewalk sale on Friday from 1-6 p.m. Catch live demonstrations, pick up paint to-go kits from Muse Paintbar, munch on candy apples from Savannah Candy Kitchen and shop other retailers. Just don’t forget your masks.

Plus, it’s a long weekend! While Independence Day will look a bit different this year, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate the 4th of July around D.C. Keep reading for our list of family-friendly things to do.  

Friday, July 3

Field Trip Friday

Who will be the next professional performing artist sharing a video for children on Wolf Trap Field Trip Fridays? You’ll have to visit the website tomorrow to find out! Designed to feel like a live arts experience for kids in preschool through elementary school, each interactive performance is posted with an educational handout to enhance your child’s experiences.

 Saturday, July 4 

July 4th with the National Archives

Celebrate your patriotism from the safety of your home with the National Archives. Their online, all-day event will have “discussions” from a bevy of historical figures, such as Thomas Jefferson and Abigail Adams. At 3 p.m. catch children’s author Brad Meltzer and illustrator Chris Eliopoulos talk about their book series, Ordinary People Change the World, and share some fun drawing activities. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A Tribute to the American Spirit

While “live” music is currently on pause, tune in to stream the sounds of violinist Joshua Bell, singer Larisa Martinez and the United States Air Force Band to celebrate this July 4th. NBC4 anchor Aaron Gilchrist will host the event at the National Harbor. 4 p.m.

 Virtual July 4 Parade and Singalong

The best thing about virtual singalongs is that it doesn’t matter whether you can carry a tune! Join the Silver Spring nonprofit The Civic Circle for a patriotic singalong on YouTube and let the kids parade around the house. But first, visit their website to print song lyrics and find more games and activities to keep the party going. 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

 An American Celebration

While many landmarks and attractions are still closed due to the pandemic, Mount Vernon will thankfully be open to celebrate America’s independence. Rub shoulders with George Washington and watch Revolutionary War military demonstrations throughout the day. And don’t forget to enjoy the view from the piazza or try a bite from their Executive Orders food truck. $12-$20; children five and under are free. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 Hometown Wave Parade

If you’re eager for an in-person celebration this holiday weekend, the city of Fairfax has a socially-distant solution for you. This annual event features a traditional flyover, a motorcycle drive-by and Uncle Sam on stilts. Wave to local heroes and action heroes including Captain America, Black Panther, Spiderman and Wonder Woman. Show up decked out in your best patriotic grabs, but make sure to abide by proper social distancing guidelines! 5-8 p.m.

Sunday, July 5

 Love Letter to My Younger Self

Although Pride Month is officially over, there’s never a bad time to celebrate Pride. Led by actors from Adventure Theatre MTC, the digital presentation is a celebration of affirmation for young queer people. Some of the artists in attendance will be RJ Pavel, Aria Velz and Jon Jon Johnson. 2-3 p.m.

 Bedtime Yoga

After a jam-packed weekend of outdoor (and socially-distanced) fun, help your kids fall into a slumber with a session of virtual bedtime yoga from Blooming Breath Yoga For Kids & Teens. After 20 minutes of easy yoga poses to soft music and a short relaxation guide, kids of all ages will be ready to drift off to sleep. 7:30-8 p.m.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

About Jason Fontelieu

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