Visitors to the National Mall watch fireworks over the Washington monument on Independence Day last year. (Bill O'Leary)

 If you’re staying in town for the holiday, check out the Going Out Guide’s list of best bets on the Mall, which includes the annual parade on Constitution Avenue, fireworks over the Lincoln Memorial and the “A Capitol Fourth” concert. If you aren’t interested in fighting the concert crowds on Monday, you can check out the rehearsal the night before, sans fireworks but still featuring Josh Groban, Steve Martin, Matthew Morrison and Jordin Sparks.

 If your definition of Fourth of July absolutely includes a gigantic, sky-splitting display of fireworks, then check out this map of options in and around the District.

 Since most people will have Monday off work, many D.C. bars and clubs are planning celebrations of their own for Sunday night. In honor of the holiday, many local hotspots are dishing out specials all weekend long. Some even have accompanying views of the fireworks.

 If you are planning to set off a few fireworks on your own, check the regulations for your community and then use this map to locate authorized dealers. Remember: some communities don’t allow fireworks at all.

 For many, the Fourth of July is synonymous with a big, saucy barbecue. Comedian Jim Gaffigan said it best when he said, "I usually don't have a burger, a brat, and a steak but, it is 4th of July.”


Spare ribs prepared by Smoked Signals columnist Jim Shahin earlier this week. (JUANA ARIAS/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)


Maybe you want to take a lighter approach to Fourth of July food? In that case, Food Network star Ellie Krieger’s healthier barbecue options will come in handy.

If you’re heading down to the Mall for the fireworks and find yourself working up an apetite, one of these suggestions should do nicely. You can even check out the Smithsonian Folklife Festival while you are around, which offers up culture with a heaping side of world cuisine.

 No matter what you are planning to cook up, the heat will be on this weekend. The Capital Weather Gang is predicting a scorcher for Monday, a perfect excuse for ice cold drinks poolside.

 If you’ve been in the District over the Fourth of July weekend before, you’ll know that traffic can be a nightmare. So bad, in fact, that more people are choosing air travel over cars this Independence Day weekend. Stick with Dr. Gridlock for updates on road closures and traffic conditions that could affect your travel plans. You can even check out one of his suggested route cheats to avoid the mass exodus.

But take heart, if you are driving, at least gas is cheaper than it was on Memorial Day. Just please be sure to drive safely, so you don’t end up on the wrong side of one of these.

In alternative transportation options, Capital Bikeshare plans to bring two extra bike corrals to the Mall on Monday, making it easier to park a rental. If you prefer mass transit, don’t forget to check Metro schedules first.

Turning your holiday into a long weekend or vacation? The Going Out Gurus have a guide on making the most out of your summer. And while you’re out there enjoying the holiday fun, send us your festive photos and share them in a big way: our summer fun photo gallery.

What are your plans for the holiday weekend? Let us know in the comments section below.