Leesburg, Virginia, celebrates the Fourth of July with a patriotic Independence Day parade, live music, and a spectacular fireworks display. If you're in the Capital Region this Independence Day and want to avoid the crowds of the city, head out to this historic town for a day full of entertainment.
Leesburg, the county seat of Loudoun County, was a center for business for the region during the days of early settlement. Today, Leesburg's quaint historic district is popular for restaurants, antiquing, shopping, and recreation.
What to Expect on Independence Day
Festivities in 2019 kick off with a parade on Thursday, July 4 at 10 a.m., which starts in Downtown Leesburg's Ida Lee Park before continuing down King Street to Fairfax Street. The popular American Originals Fife and Drum Corps is a favorite among parade viewers and will perform at the intersection of King and Market Street as a prelude to the parade. Plan to arrive downtown by 9:45 am to hear the fife and drums.
That evening, activities continue at the park with a live music concert beginning at 6 p.m., followed by a fireworks show.
Whether you plan to spend the holiday week staying in one of the Leesburg area's many hotels, inns, or resorts or you want to take a day trip from Washington, D.C. for some patriotic fun, this Virginia town is a great place to enjoy Independence Day with your family.
Getting to Leesburg From D.C.
Located about 33 miles west of Washington, D.C., the town of Leesburg is home to a number of historic sites. You'll find the only remaining ferry over the Potomac River, which has been in operation since 1828, and the Marshall House, once owned by the U.S. general and Nobel Peace Prize winner George Marshall.
Getting to Leesburg from Washington, D.C. is a fairly straight shot once you leave the metro area. From downtown, simply take the I-66 West for about eight miles, then keep right to continue onto VA-267 W toward Dulles Airport and Baltimore. Stay in the right two lanes (to continue on VA-267) for about five miles before taking exit 19 to merge onto VA-7 West, known as the Leesburg Pike.
After about 20 miles, continue onto East Market Street, which runs directly through the center of downtown Leesburg. Parking is available for Ida Lee Park at the park itself as well as in the lacrosse field, at the Loudoun County Garage, at the Town of Leesburg Garage, and at a limited number of street-parking spots scattered throughout the downtown area.
Parade and Daytime Activities
If you want to enjoy the most out of your trip to Leesburg for the Fourth of July, plan to get to the city earlier than the parade start-time at 10 a.m.
Since streets will begin closing down for the annual event at 9:30 a.m., it's advisable to find parking before then to avoid any confusion or delays on the road and catch the American Originals Fife and Drum Corps performing at 9:45 a.m.
The parade should end around 11 to 11:30 a.m., leaving plenty of time to explore the area, take in a few sights, and grab a quick meal or picnic before the night's festivities begin. Many locals spend the entire day at the Ida Lee Park, but history buffs might also enjoy visiting White's Ferry, the Oatlands House and Garden, or the Ball's Bluff Battlefield. The Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets offer plenty of shopping, and the local wineries, vineyards, and breweries are open for tasting and for relaxing with a glass of beer or wine.
Concert and Fireworks
At 6 p.m., the gates at Ida Lee Park Recreation Center open for a special Independence Day Celebration headlined by The Free, a party band that blends "modern style and rootsy charm." The concert will begin at 6:30 p.m., and there will also be a full food court with funnel cakes, ice cream, barbecue, and other goodies throughout the event.
The big draw of the night, though, is the annual fireworks show that launches at 9:30 p.m. over Ida Lee Park. Choreographed to patriotic music, the display lasts between 15 and 30 minutes, but guests are encouraged to show up a little early and stay a little late to help with traffic into and out of the parking lots. Bring blankets or lawn chairs so you can settle in.
Alternatively, you can become a member of Morven Park, a historic 1000-acre estate once occupied by state representatives, where they'll be offering a special "Sparks at the Park" event for members and their families. Sparks at the Park allows guests an even less crowded view of the fireworks display as well as access to the grounds (which are closed to non-members).