Annapolis, the state capital of Maryland, is one of the prime places in the region to celebrate the Fourth of July. Patriotic and family-friendly events include an Independence Day parade, concerts, and fireworks. The City Dock area, along with the historic seaport, is a popular destination for pedestrians and boaters to watch the fireworks.
In 2020, the parade and fireworks display has been canceled.
Independence Day Parade and Fireworks
The parade in Annapolis usually begins in the evening around 6:30 p.m. It starts at Amos Garret Boulevard and finishes in front of the Market House, after winding its way along West Street, Church Circle, and down Main Street. You should be able to get a great view wherever you stand on the parade route.
After the parade—usually, just after 9 p.m.—the fireworks will be launched from a barge in Annapolis Harbor. The best viewing areas include public spaces Northeast of the Severn River, along with the Naval Academy Bridge, any of the street-end parks facing Spa Creek, and aboard a boat in the Annapolis harbor. The Spa Creek Bridge will close to traffic beginning at 9 p.m. to create a spectator pier with an unobstructed view of the fireworks. It typically remains closed until the conclusion of the fireworks at approximately 10 p.m. Local radio station WRNR will start playing its annual Fourth of July playlist at 8 p.m. and the song "Stars and Stripes Forever" will signal the start of the fireworks.
Before you pack your picnic basket for the event, be aware that the consumption of alcoholic beverages on the streets and sidewalks of the City of Annapolis is prohibited. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed on the grounds of the United States Naval Academy. And if you are worried about having somewhere to go when you need to go, restrooms are available in the Annapolis Harbor Master's building at the City Dock, located at 1 Dock Street.
Parking and Transportation
Parking will be restricted from 4 to 10:30 p.m. in many areas and parking in residential areas is not suggested. Instead, you can park in Park Place Garage or Knighton Garage or take the free-of-charge trolly service—the Circulator—down to City Dock. Both garages are right on the parade route, so you can step out of the garage and onto a great viewing spot for the parade. Due to heavy traffic and large attendance, local garages may fill up early. Therefore, the city usually also provides a low-cost shuttle service from the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium to Lawyers Mall from 5 p.m. to midnight.
If you plan to watch the fireworks from the water, know that boaters must avoid the 1,000-foot safety zone around the fireworks firing area which will be established and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. The draw span of the Eastport Bridge will be closed to boat traffic from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.