A view of the 2011 Independence Day fireworks from Top of the Town in Arlington. (Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post)

With a thunderous boom and vivid colors streaking through the sky, fireworks leave their mark on our summer mermories long after the smoke has faded.

The Mall serves as the nation’s lawn and its send-up is always spectacular. This year is no exception, with Tom Bergeron hosting “A Capitol Fourth” along with headliners including Olympic athletes, actor Matthew Broderick and singer Megan Hilty. The show is followed by the largest fireworks show in the area. Want a sneak peek? Check out the rehearsal on July 3.

While being on the Mall on Independence Day is an experience everyone should have at least once, there is something especially American about watching the illumination of the night sky over your hometown. With that in mind, we have put a map together of all the local parades, fireworks and concerts that you won’t want to miss.

Don’t want to view the fireworks from the ground? If you pick the right rooftop, you can get an even better view of the pyrotechnics from several stories up. And after the fireworks end, the parties are just getting started: Fritz Hahn has a round-up of all your Fourth of July nightlife.


View Photo Gallery: Spend the evening with a drink and a view at one of these rooftop bars. Click the bold text in each item to get more details about that bar.

Read more from the Going Out Guide:

Best Fourth of July events

Best Fourth of July nightlife