Since 1776, the 4th of July has been a day of commemoration and celebration in the United States. Located just across the river from the nation’s capital, this is especially true in Arlington County.
From unparalleled views of the fireworks on the National Mall to neighborhood parades, Arlington is the perfect place to celebrate Independence Day, whether you’re a lifelong resident or visiting for the weekend. Here now is your Guide to a Fun & Festive 4th in Arlington.
View the National Fireworks from Arlington
Looking for a spot to watch the National Fireworks? Look no further than Arlington, which is home to some of the best views of the Independence Day display. Favorite viewing spots have perches for savvy photographers, plenty of green space for picnickers, and many unobstructed views of iconic monuments.
From Long Bridge Park to Gravelly Point, there are plenty of places local insiders go to every year. (Note: In 2019, the fireworks display will be launched from West Potomac Park, behind the Lincoln Memorial, starting at approximately 9:07 p.m.)
Long Bridge Park
Watch the national fireworks at Arlington’s Long Bridge Park, located on the north end of Crystal City. It’s easy to get there by bicycle, with a connection to the Mount Vernon Trail nearby. It is also accessible from Metrorail (Crystal City station, Blue Line), and Metrobus.
Please note that, current construction will close off the north end of the esplanade. Make time for crowds and to go through security checkpoints. No alcohol allowed in the park. No food, fireworks or spiked chairs allowed on the fields.
Air Force Memorial
The Air Force Memorial (1 Air Force Memorial Dr) is a great viewing location and features a free show, with The Concert Band and Singing Sergeants performing at 8 p.m. Stay at the Air Force Memorial afterward to view the fireworks display over the National Mall. This concert is FREE and open to the public, no tickets required! Learn more about visiting the Air Force Memorial and find the best transportation option.
TRAFFIC ALERT: July 4th Road Closures
Gateway Park in Rosslyn
Take Metro’s Orange line to the Rosslyn Metro station. Gateway Park in Rosslyn is a short walk from the Metro.
Part of the National Park Service’s George Washington Memorial Parkway, this part of Arlington sits directly on the bank of the Potomac River, making it an ideal spot for viewing the national fireworks.
US Marine Corps War Memorial
Located in Rosslyn, Iwo Jima provides a panoramic view of fireworks and National Mall monuments and memorials! The site is a short walk from the Rosslyn Metro station.
The Key Bridge crosses the Potomac River, connecting Georgetown and Arlington. A short stroll from the Rosslyn Metro station, the Key Bridge offers a standing-room-only view of the fireworks.
With the 4th of July comes outdoor fun — fireworks and grilling have become synonymous with the celebration of independence. However, with those activities comes inherent risks. Take the steps to ensure your 4th of July weekend is as safe as it is festive with these helpful reminders and tips from the Arlington County Fire Department.
Fireworks Safety Tips
On average, 280 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries around the July 4th holiday. The Arlington County Fire Prevention Office wants everyone to enjoy the 4th of July holiday this year by keeping it safe. Fireworks are dangerous and the lighting of fireworks should be left to the experts. If you plan to use fireworks outside your home, know the limitations and prohibitions (including which fireworks are illegal), and follow these safety tips:
- Keep a minimum clearance of 25 feet from people and buildings.
- Wet down the area before shooting fireworks.
- Follow the label directions carefully and use good sense.
- Buy fireworks only from established retail outlets displaying a valid permit issued by the Arlington County Fire Department Fire Prevention Office.
- A responsible adult, whom is not under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, must supervise fireworks activities at all times.
- Never allow young children to handle fireworks.
- Use fireworks outdoors only, in a clear area, away from buildings and vehicles.
- Light only one a time and then move away.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a garden hose nearby or a bucket of water to place used fireworks in. Let them soak to ensure extinguishment before placing in regular trash for pickup.
According to the US Fire Administration, over half of home grill fires start on patios, terraces, screened-in and unenclosed porches, balconies, and courtyards. In the interest of everyone having a safe and enjoyable outdoor grilling season, the Arlington County Fire Department is sharing information on open flame cooking devices. highlighting the most important things you can do to prevent grill fires:
- Never grill on on the second floor or higher and never grill on an enclosed porch or patio.
- Position the grill 15 feet away from siding, deck railings, other combustibles, and out from under eaves or overhanging vegetation.
- Only use grills outdoors, away from siding and deck railings.
- Clean grills often and remove grease or fat build-up.
- Make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting.
- Have a 3-foot safe-zone around grills and keep kids and pets away from the area.
- Dispose of coals after they have cooled in a metal can.
- Never leave grills, fire pits and patio torches unattended.
And when you’re done grilling, don’t overlook the importance of cleaning-up. Backyard cookouts and gatherings can generate more waste than you might think. By planning properly, you can make eco-friendly choices that reduce waste and your impact on the environment.
Celebrate the 4th in Your Neighborhood
More than just fireworks, the 4th of July is a fun day throughout Arlington. A number of neighborhoods host community celebrations, including parades in Barcroft, Douglas Park, Lee Heights, and more!
- Barcroft’s annual Fourth of July Parade and Barbecue
- Bluemont’s Bell: the Bluemont neighborhood holds a ceremonial ringing of its historic bell on July 4 at 12 noon; it’s located at the corner of George Mason Drive and Wilson Blvd.
- Country Club Hills July 4th Celebration Block Party
- Douglas Park 37th Annual July 4th Parade and Picnic
- Fairlington Villages Parade
- Lee Heights Parade and Celebration
- Lyon Village’s parade and celebration, a neighborhood tradition dating to 1971
- Old Dominion July 4th Parade & Picnic
- Penrose Park Kids July 4th Bike Parade (new event for 2019!)
- Waycroft- Woodlawn July 4th Neighborhood Parade
All summer long, the whole family is invited to join in the County’s weekly campfires for lots of old fashioned fun. You’ll hear campfire stories, play games, sing songs, maybe meet some animal guests and, of course, enjoy s’mores!
Spraygrounds: OPEN on July 4th, from 10 a.m.—8 p.m.
What’s Open, What’s Closed
Arlington County Government offices, courts, libraries & facilities will be CLOSED on Thursday, July 4, 2019. Additionally, all Arlington Public Library locations, human services and DMV & DMV select will be closed. (DMV Select will also be closed Friday, July 5.) All community centers are closed on Thursday, but County parks are open for you to enjoy.
Parking meters will not be enforced, and trash pickup & recycling will remain on a regular schedule. See the complete info on the County’s holiday schedule.
Last updated: July 1, 2019