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The Complete Guide: 4th of July Weekend in RVA

Tuesday marks the the 241st anniversary of American independence, and there’s a ton of ways to celebrate in the River City. Here are our top picks, recommendations, and some advice




RVAHub’s four tips for the 4th

Further down the page, you’ll find out where to go and what to do, but here are our top four tips for getting the most out of the 4th:

1. Get the Meats – Go this weekend to one of our great local butchers and stock up on quality sausages, hamburger and steak, if you’re a big spender. While there, ask the folks behind the counter the best way to cook the particular cut you purchased. Listen to and obey their advice. They know a ton more than you do. Our favorite butchers in town include: JM Stock Provisions, Belmont Butchery, and The Butcher at Bon Air. If you choose to ignore this sage wisdom and are buying store-bought hot dogs, read this New York Times article on the 10 Best Hot Dogs.

2. Pool Time is Cool Time – There are many great pools in this area. If your apartment doesn’t have one or you don’t belong to a local association, find someone who does! Spend your daylight hours half-submerged like an urban alligator rising from the depths only for restroom and adult beverage breaks. Be warned–screaming children may interrupt your relaxation, but chill. If solitude is what you need, head to the river and wander far from the popular spots.

3. Hollywood – Nothing is more American than sitting in the dark watching movies. In no particular order, here are our Patriotic Binge Watch Fest-O-Rama recommendations: Patton (Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.), Glory (Give ’em Hell, 54!), Band of Brothers (We’re paratroopers, Lieutenant. We’re supposed to be surrounded.), Turn: Washington’s Spies (You lying, lascivious wench.),  Top Gun (Tower, this is Ghost Rider requesting a flyby.), Rocky IV (He is not human, he is a piece of iron.), and Red Dawn (Wolverines!).

4. Reason for the Season  The Virginia Historical Society helps remind us why we’re donning our red, white, and blue with their Independence Day Celebration. With extended hours, a large-scale citizenship naturalization ceremony, the opening of a new exhibition, a community concert, and much more, the VHS is definitely worth visiting on the 4th. The new exhibit couldn’t be more timely. Washington: The Myths and the Man, will feature paintings and items of our first president.

Flying Squirrels do it all

Seriously, the Flying Squirrels have something for everyone over the 4th of July and through the 6th, actually.

The Richmond Flying Squirrels, the local boys of our nation’s supposed past-time, have decided that the 4th of July celebrations should continue on until Thursday and have announced additional promotions to highlight the upcoming July 4th – 6th homestand at The Diamond. Limited seating for Independence Day is still available as well as tickets to the Thursday, July 6th fireworks show. The Squirrels have also announced that fans who show their Military ID will receive a $5 ticket to the Wednesday, July 5th game at The Diamond for $1 hot dog night. A full rundown of the Squirrels’ patriotic promotions for July 4th – 6th can be found below:

Tuesday, July 4th
Independence Day at The Diamond is a time-honored tradition. The largest fireworks show of the season will blast off following the Flying Squirrels game against the Erie SeaWolves presented by Fas Mart, Chick-fil-A Richmond and the Virginia Birth Father Registry. Tickets for July 4 are going fast, with general admission seats still available. Come celebrate freedom, history and America with the Flying Squirrels on Independence Day. Gates open at 5 p.m. With first pitch set for 6:35 p.m. Get your tickets here

Wednesday, July 5th
Let the Independence Day party continue as we “Salute to the No. 5”. Expect a lot of high-fives on a Wine Up Wednesday and Bark in the Park at The Diamond. Fans who show their Military ID at the box office will receive a $5 tickets offer. Hot dogs will cost just $1 throughout the game and wine and wine slushy specials run from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The first 250 dogs through the gates will take home a Flying Squirrels leash presented by City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. with first pitch at 6:35 p.m.Get your tickets here. 

Thursday, July 6th
Fireworks, take two! Celebrate summer with In-Your-Face fireworks presented by Steak ’n Shake. Students along with school administrators and teachers will receive a $5 general admission ticket to the game (must show ID or report card). Thursday is also Burger Night. All burgers will be $5 throughout the contest! Gates open at 5:30 p.m. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. Get your tickets here. 

Where to watch things go BOOM

Innsbrook’s Second Annual Taste of Virginia – July 1st, Innsbrook, 4901 Lake Brook Dr, Glen Allen – One of Innsbrook’s largest family-friendly events, Presented By Capital Ale House, Benefiting MS, with a Culinary Competition sponsored by Whole Foods Market, complete with a grand finale of fireworks. 3:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Dogwood Dell – July 4th, Dogwood Dell, 1300 Blanton Avenue, Byrd Park – This is the granddaddy of all Richmond Fireworks displays. The Carillon serves as a perfect backdrop for this show that is accompanied by Richmond Concert Band. The theme this year is “Music in the Key of America.” Music starts at 7:30, but there will be lots to see and hear including a carillon concert, the reading of the Declaration of Independence and a performance by the City Dance Theater. All of this starts at 6:15. It’s all free but get there early if you want a prime spot.

Chesterfield County Fairgrounds  – July 4th, 10300 Courthouse Road, Chesterfield – Celebrate Independence Day with a spectacular fireworks display at dark! The event, held at the Chesterfield County Fairgrounds (across from L.C. Bird High School), includes an activity area for children, food vendors and special entertainment. No alcohol, glass bottles, pets or personal fireworks are allowed. Blankets or lawn chairs are recommended. The parking is limited and the roads leading to the fairgrounds will be closed when the parking lots are full. Help us restock the shelves at the Chesterfield County Food Bank! Donations of non-perishable food items will be collected at the gates! Free! Gates open at 5 p.m. and the fireworks begin at dark.

Colonial Heights – July 4th, Off Charles Dimmock Parkway – The City of Colonial Heights will sponsor a fireworks display on Tuesday, July 4th in the vicinity of Charles Dimmock Parkway in Colonial Heights. Fireworks will start at approximately 9:15 pm. Viewing for the fireworks will be off Interstate 95, Exit 53 or 54 in the Southgate Square/Wal-Mart Area. Bring blankets and/or lawn chairs.Please note that Roslyn Landing Park will be closed from sunrise on the day of the fireworks display until the following day. No vehicles or people are allowed in the park during this time.

Fort Lee – July 4th, Williams Stadium – Celebrate your independence at Fort Lee’s annual Fourth at the Fort celebration on Tuesday, July 4 at Williams Stadium. The events begins at 5 p.m., with music, food and the KidZone (inflatables and games for the kids). The 392d Army Band will perform a rousing set of patriotic standards at 5:15 p.m, followed by country music singer/songwriter, Jackie Lee at 6:45 p.m. Maddie & Tae, the country music duo behind the chart-topping hit, “Girl In A Country Song,” will take the stage at 8:00 p.m. Our spectacular firework show will begin at 9:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. Personal pyrotechnics, tailgating, glass bottles, smoking, backpacks, coolers and pets are not permitted in or around the event area. Plastic and mesh see-thru bags allowed.

Goochland – July 4th, Goochland Courthouse – Park and watch the fireworks from Goochland County Administration building, Goochland Elementary, Middle, and High School. This event is free! No alcohol allowed.

Meadow Farm Museum – July 4th, 3400 Mountain Road, Glen Allen – Join Meadow Farm for a spectacular evening celebrating independence and honoring America’s veterans. Wear your red, white, and blue and enjoy the holiday at the park with patriotic activities for the whole family, food trucks, and performance by the Richmond Symphony with a laser light show finale. The show will “end with a bang” this year – a short fireworks display will accompany the music and lasers! Event is sponsored by Henrico County & Genworth. Guests are encouraged to arrive early and bring a blanket or chair to enjoy the entertainment! No alcohol or hard-sided coolers will be allowed. Gates open at 4:00 PM.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden – There may not be fireworks here, but there’s plenty of fun! Flowers are nature’s little explosions of color and Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is filled with plants and flowers of all types. In honor of the Fourth of July the garden is hosting Free Fourth of July at Lewis Ginter sponsored by CarMax. The free admission gets you into all sections of the garden including Butterflies LIVE! and Wild Art: A Journey Off-Canvas. The free admission is all day 9 AM to 5 PM, rain or shine. Music by Happy Lucky Combo will get feet tapping between 1-4 PM in the Children’s Garden and at 2 PM there will be a Children’s Parade around the Children’s Garden. The garden closes at 5 PM so there’s still plenty of time to head out to the barbecue or stake out your spot for the fireworks.

Don’t be stupid, read the fine print

In Virginia, fireworks that explode and rise into the air are illegal without a permit. That includes firecrackers, roman candles, torpedoes, and bottle rockets. In Richmond (as well as in Chesterfield and Henrico Counties), fireworks of any kind, including sparklers are prohibited. The penalties for breaking these laws can include fines of up to $2,500 and jail time.

Also, don’t shoot your gun into the air. I’m, frankly, amazed this needs to be said, but I’m equally confident that the folks most likely to shoot their guns in the air will not change their behavior until one of those bullets land on their own head or someone the know and love. This very action took the life of a seven year old child at Sunday Park in Midlothian in 2013. Seriously, don’t do it.

Take Care of Fido and Fluffy

Did you know that more pets are lost on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year? Take care of your furry companions and keep an eye out for your neighbor’s critters, too.


Too many restaurants and businesses to list will be closed or have modified hours, so be sure to check Facebook pages before going to your favorite watering hole or other local business.

  • Most Major Road Work Zone:  Work Suspended Monday, July 3rd until noon on Wednesday, July 5th
  • VMFA & VHS: Open Tuesday, July 4th
  • GRTC: Operating on Sunday schedule on Tuesday, July 4th
  • State offices: Closed Tuesday, July 4th
  • Garbage: Richmond and Henrico collection and transfer stations and landfills will be closed Tuesday, July 4th. Richmond and Central Virginia Waste Management Authority pickups will be delayed by a day
  • ABC stores: Closed at 6:00 PM Tuesday, July 4th
  • Federal offices: Closed Tuesday, July 4th
  • Post Offices: Closed Tuesday, July 4th
  • Public libraries: Closed Tuesday, July 4th
  • Parking: Meters will not be enforced Tuesday, July 4th

Street closings and traffic pattern changes for July 4

  • Douglasdale Road will be closed to vehicle traffic from McCloy Street to Blanton Avenue from 4 to 11 p.m. This street will only be used by the shuttle buses during this time.
  • The Boulevard will be closed to southbound traffic at Cary Street at 7:30 p.m. The detour will travel east on Cary Street.
  • Westover Hills Boulevard will be closed to northbound traffic at the Boulevard Bridge at 7:30 p.m. The detour is west on Forest Hill to the Powhite Parkway or east on Forest Hill to Semmes Avenue.

Please be reminded that if a cross-street intersects with any of the closed streets, that intersection will be closed as well.

After the fireworks at Dogwood Dell, all northbound traffic traveling toward The Boulevard will be detoured eastbound to I-195. There is a 75-cent toll. All traffic from Garrett Street and Blanton Avenue will be directed south over the Boulevard Bridge utilizing both lanes.

To assist with the Fourth of July celebration, the Richmond Metropolitan Authority will waive the toll on the Boulevard Bridge for southbound traffic for 30 minutes after the fireworks display has ended.

More recommendations for your holiday weekend

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.