If you're not sure where to go to watch the fireworks on the 4th of July, Washington, D.C., has more than few great spots to see the skies light up!
While many people will attend backyard barbecues and gather with friends and loved ones to celebrate Independence Day, others of us prefer to celebrate the 4th of July by viewing fireworks at one of the many scenic locations in the metro area. Below are some of the best places area residents and visitors can go when the nation’s biggest holiday is upon us.
The National Mall
The National Mall is the best place in the city to watch 4th of July fireworks. However, the mall is always very crowded, and if you plan to watch the impressive fireworks show on the Mall, you might as well forget about finding a parking spot nearby. The best way to get there is by Metro rail (which will also be crowded!) and train service will be slower than usual, so plan to leave your home with plenty of time to spare. Arriving early will guarantee you the best view and help to avoid a slower commute. Make sure to bring plenty of water, a picnic basket, beach chairs, and a blanket. The Mall’s closest Metro stops are L’Enfant Plaza, Archives/Navy Memorial and Federal Triangle.
Hains Point/East Potomac Park
Hains Point is one of D.C.’s best kept secrets. The stretch of land known also as East Potomac Park is on a peninsula along the Potomac River and is home to a golf course, tennis center, benches, and picnic tables within view of the downtown fireworks display. The wide space also provides a nice view of the Washington Channel, Anacostia, and Potomac River, and is far less crowded than the National Mall. Again, Metro is the easiest means of transportation, however, finding parking is a possibility as the park doesn’t get nearly as crowded as the Mall. The closest Metro stop is the Smithsonian, and you can follow the trails from the Jefferson Memorial to access the park on foot.
U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial
Also known as the Iwo Jima Memorial, the U.S. Marine Corp War Memorial is located just across the Potomac River in Virginia. The memorial site is already a place worth visiting, but on the 4th of July, it provides stunning views of the Capitol and annual fireworks display. The site may get pretty crowded, so visitors should plan on arriving early and bring their chairs, blankets, and picnic baskets. If you decide on watching the fireworks from the Iwo Jima Memorial, public transportation is likely the easiest and most efficient choice. It's only a 10- to 15-minute walk from the Rosslyn and Arlington National Cemetery Metro stops.
Outdoor seating at restaurants and bars
Washington, D.C., is home to quite a few bars and restaurants which offer mesmerizing views of the downtown fireworks, as well as the luxury of food and drink service and comfortable seating. Many of the restaurants and bars that have good views of the downtown skyline sell tickets for the 4th of July. If you don’t mind paying for a spot to watch, you should order your tickets early as more than a few of the bars and restaurants can be expected to be at full capacity when the fireworks start. The Sequoia
restaurant in Georgetown and Occidental Grill and Seafood
located within walking distance of the National Mall are good choices, just to name a few. Georgetown is often very crowded on holidays, so arriving early is necessary as parking may prove hard to find.
The Washington National Cathedral
Though somewhat far from downtown, the National Cathedral is in one of the highest spots in the city and provides excellent views of the downtown fireworks. The Cathedral’s grassy slope is a cozy place to have a picnic and watch as the sky lights up. It is guaranteed to be far less crowded than the National Mall, but again, visitors should arrive early to grab a viewing spot, as well as to find parking and avoid traffic. The nearest Metro stop to the National Cathedral is Cleveland Park, just a little less than a mile away.
For train schedules and ticket information, visit Metro's website