Heard on the Hill

8 Different Ways to Spend the Fourth in D.C.

HOH’s annual list of things to do in the DMV

HOH offers some options for staying in, going outside, or leaving the District this July Fourth holiday weekend. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Happy Fourth of July in advance! Here are HOH’s picks of eight things to do for Independence Day in D.C. and the surrounding area.

This year, we’ve decided to include some atypical things you can do in the nation’s capital.

The Fourth falls on a Tuesday, so you have all weekend to complete the list.

[2016′s 10 Ways to Spend the Fourth in D.C.]

The Washington Nationals play their National League East rival New York Mets at Nationals Park at dsfadf on the Fourth. (WashingtonNationals.com)
The Washington Nationals play their National League East rival New York Mets at Nationals Park at 6:05 p.m. on the Fourth and fireworks follow. (Courtesy WashingtonNationals.com)

1. Take yourself out to the ball game

There are few things more patriotic than going to a baseball game. The Washington Nationals play the New York Mets at home at 6:05 p.m. Monday, with a Freedom Fireworks show to follow the game at Nationals Park. D.C.’s team then plays the Mets again at home Tuesday at 11:05 a.m. There will be special appearances by the Army parachute, team a.k.a. the Golden Knights, who will parachute onto the field before the game, and The Rockettes, who will perform in centerfield before the game.

Boating in DC operates several boathouses on the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. (Courtesy Boating in DC via Facebook)
Boating in DC operates several boathouses on the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. (Courtesy Boating in DC via Facebook)

2. Spend time on the water

We had this suggestion in last year’s lineup, but some Washingtonians still haven’t experienced Boating in DC. Their various boathouses in the area have kayaks, canoes and paddleboards you can rent. It’s a great way to see the Kennedy Center, monuments, or to just check out the other boats on the river. You can stay out until 8 p.m. in the summer, and later on July Fourth, when you can watch the fireworks display from the water.

Guests watch the last presidential debate in 2016 at Capitol Lounge on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Guests watch the last presidential debate in 2016 at Capitol Lounge on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

3. Spend your weekend in a bar

For the less active crew, there are bars offering specials this weekend. On Capitol Hill, Barrel, Union Pub and 201 Bar are offering a free Budweiser or Freedom Isn’t Free IPA to veterans and active military members all weekend, as well as specials on the Fourth for everyone. In Dupont Circle, Mission is having an open bar event, “Red, White and Fuego 2011,” on Tuesday with live music from 2 to 6 p.m. It will be open for lunch and brunch on Monday. On U Street, Hawthorn will have $5 Bud, Bud Light and Fireball shots from open to midnight, Friday through Monday, and on Tuesday, specials and no cover for viewing fireworks from its rooftop.

Jimmy Stewart stars in the 1939 classic “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”
Jimmy Stewart stars in the 1939 classic “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”

4. Rainy day movie

There’s a chance of rain this weekend, which sounds like a great opportunity to catch up on patriotic movies. To be completely literal, watch the 1989 film “Born on the Fourth of July” and 1996’s “Independence Day.” To embrace your inner Washingtonian, watch the 1939 film “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” or 1976’s, “All the President’s Men.” HBO’s “Veep” aired its season six finale on Sunday, so catch up with the season or dive into binge-watching Netflix’s “House of Cards” Season 5, if you haven’t already.

A collection of memorabilia illustrating the life of President John F. Kennedy is on exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum through September. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)
A collection of memorabilia illustrating the life of President John F. Kennedy is on exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum through September. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

5. Catch up with JFK

Last year, we told you to check out the Star-Spangled Banner in the National Museum of American History. This year, there’s another patriotic — and temporary — exhibit you should go see. An exhibition of 77 photographs of President John F. Kennedy’s life, ranging from his early years to his assassination, is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The exhibit, whose opening we covered last month, commemorates the late president’s 100th birthday and runs until Sept. 17.

Cultural Tourism D.C.
Washington, D.C., embassies put their best foot forward during the annual Embassy Row tours, but you can check them out yourself with a stroll down Massachusetts Avenue Northwest. (Courtesy Cultural Tourism D.C.)

6. Explore Embassy Row

It’s America’s holiday but that doesn’t mean you can’t explore other cultures. Start at the Naval Observatory on Massachusetts Avenue, (give Mike Pence a wave!), and work your way down Embassy Row. Take in the architecture and setup of the various embassies. From the vice president’s home to the Embassy of Columbia in Dupont Circle, it’s just about two miles. You’ll see the embassies of tons of other countries in between and it’s mostly downhill.

Calvert Cliffs State Park on the western side of Chesapeake Bay is a treasure trove of fossils. (Courtesy YourChesapeake.com)
Calvert Cliffs State Park on the western side of Chesapeake Bay is a treasure trove of fossils. (Courtesy YourChesapeake.com)

7. Take an out-of-town beach trip

The notoriously crowded Chesapeake Bay Bridge, which takes you to the Delaware beaches, is actually avoidable this weekend. An easy day trip is just an hour out of the city to the Maryland beaches such as Chesapeake Beach and Dares Beach. Calvert Cliffs State Park is a little farther. The public recreation area runs about a quarter-mile along cliffs that extend on the west side of the Chesapeake Bay. The main attraction are fossils that can be found on the shoreline.

winery
There are wineries all over Virginia, a number of them within an hour or two of D.C. (Courtesy Potomac Point Winery and Vineyard via Facebook)

8. Take an out-of-town country trip

If you’re trying to get out of D.C., try going the other way into Virginia. While there’s hiking and small towns to explore, there are also wineries all over the state. Some nearby options are Potomac Point Winery and Vineyard in Stafford, a little more than an hour away. Oak Crest Vineyard & Winery in King George, are under two hours away. (Pro tip: look on Groupon before going to see if you can save a couple bucks on a nearby wine-tasting.)

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