The D.C. fireworks on Independence Day are something you need to experience at least once. Here are some of the best places to get a prime view of this spectacular patriotic event.

Let's face it – how much you're willing to spend is going to dictate how good of a view you have and how comfortable you'll be. Those who are lucky enough to have tickets to the fireworks cruises and the rooftop parties will have incredible views, guaranteed. There's still hope for the rest of us, though!

The fireworks will be launched from West Potomac Park just after 9 p.m. this year, but don't plan on getting too close. The viewing area from the midpoint of the Reflecting Pool to the Lincoln Memorial is being reserved for White House VIPs and their guests. Not to fear, there are plenty of awesome places to catch the show!

On Land

If you're heading to the National Mall for A Capitol Fourth, you'll be in one of the best spots to see the display. The new launch site won't make that much of a difference to you – the fireworks will be visible just beyond the Washington Monument. You'll know exactly when to look to the skies, too, because the fireworks are the natural ending to the concert.


Courtesy of A Capitol Fourth

On the Virginia side, Gravelly Point Park is my pick for the best view across the water. The grassy area is huge, and you can really stake out a comfortable spot. Many people simply pull over on the GW Parkway around 9 p.m. and wait to see the fireworks, but this can be a logistical nightmare after the show. It's best to pull into the parking area and just plan on getting there early (as in, a few hours before the show).

The D.C. Wharf is having live music all day leading up to the fireworks. It's not exactly free because you'll probably have to pay for parking so you can grab a spot along the waterfront. You can also try to find a table at one of the outdoor patios to view the show, but it's hard to say how crowded it will get. This area will have one of the best family-friendly viewing opportunities because of the wide range of restaurants and outdoor seating.

If you want to view the fireworks from afar, the grounds of the National Cathedral are a well-known picnic site. Given its perch on a hill, this is a more relaxed place to enjoy the display with much less of the Metro and foot traffic.

National Cathedral

Courtesy of The National Cathedral

On the Water

If you're lucky enough to have your own boat, pretty much anywhere on the Potomac north of Mount Vernon would be ideal for seeing the fireworks on the river. The closer you get, the more hectic it will be, so take your time finding just the right spot.

The weather forecasters are calling for temps in the 90s on the 4th of July so maybe the smartest people are the ones who watch the D.C. fireworks from home. What do you think?

Do you have a favorite spot for viewing the D.C. fireworks? Is this something on your bucket list? Let us know in the comments!