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14 Great Spots to Watch the Fourth of July Fireworks in Washington, DC
Nothing beats seeing the Independence Day fireworks against the DC skyline of monuments and memorials.
Watching the fireworks is one of the highlights of DC’s Fourth of July celebrations, and there plenty of interesting sites from which to view them. You’ll find excellent vantage points from many rooftop bars, sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, across the river in Arlington and many other places throughout the District.
In terms of planning, know that the July Fourth fireworks show in the nation's capital begins at nightfall, typically just after 9 p.m. Check out our guide to strategic sites around DC where you can get the best view.
Anywhere on the National Mall – from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to the plaza in front of the Jefferson Memorial – is the best (but busiest) place to watch the fireworks. Stake out your spot with a blanket, beach chairs and a picnic basket full of food and lots of water. Then get there early for the best viewing.
Watch from across the Potomac River at some ideal viewing areas. Check out the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, also known as the Iwo Jima Memorial, and the nearby Netherlands Carillon in Virginia. With the mesmerizing Marine Corps War Memorial statue as the backdrop, the fireworks take on even greater meaning.
There are plenty of options for family-friendly fireworks cruises on one of the sightseeing boats that voyage along the Potomac River. Check the schedules of the Potomac Riverboat Company, Entertainment Cruises, Embark and even more waterfront tour operators to find one that suits you.
There a plenty of great rooftops to watch the fireworks in the District. POV Rooftop Lounge and Terrace at the W Hotel and the Sky Bar at the Beacon Hotel are just a couple of restaurants and bars in Washington, DC that host Fourth of July fireworks viewing events. Make sure to check with the restaurants for details and ticket information.
You can also find restaurants in DC with spectacular views of the fireworks from the ground level. Sequoia, Nick's Riverside Grill and Tony & Joe’s Seafood Place on the Georgetown waterfront or Café du Parc in Downtown are all extra comfortable places to dine and view the fireworks on Independence Day.
Rent some wheels from Bike and Roll, Capital Bikeshare or at the Columbia Island Marina on the Virginia side of the Potomac River, near the Pentagon. Then ride up the Mount Vernon Trail to find a spot to stop and enjoy the fireworks show. Yes, this amazing view is from the trail.
For a luxurious place to experience the DC fireworks, check into The Hay-Adams, with a penthouse space that offers panoramic views of the White House and National Mall. Many of the JW Marriott’s guest rooms also face the Mall, as well as the Mandarin Oriental Washington, D.C. on the Southwest Waterfront.
The majestic U.S. Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill has a 252-foot wide oval plaza that is spacious and open with unobstructed views of the fireworks bursting in air. Get there early to claim a seat, and then settle in and enjoy the show.
Hains Point on East Potomac Park is a serene stretch of public land on a peninsula that stretches into the Potomac River. The park provides great views of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers, as well as the Washington Channel, and there are key spots with picnic tables and benches providing an ideal sightline to watch the fireworks.
Find a spot on the grassy slope of the Washington National Cathedral in Upper Northwest. Because this is one of the highest points in the DC area (the top of the tower is the highest), it’s a good place to picnic and wait for the sky to fill with a colorful display.
Make your way to Cardozo High School at 1200 Clifton Street NW, a couple blocks removed from the busy U Street neighborhood. This off-the-beaten path fireworks viewing location provides some of the most expansive views of DC's Fourth of July fireworks.
Enter this park on an island in the Potomac River from the southbound lanes of the George Washington Memorial Parkway to witness an astonishing, unobstructed view of the fireworks.
Conveniently located only four blocks from the National Mall, make your way down to The Wharf for a full day of Fourth of July festivities. With a number of public piers and green spaces, as well as rooftop spaces at the Intercontinental and Canopy hotels, this go-to destination for dining and entertainment also provides great vantage points to view the District's fireworks.
Don’t forget to bring your camera when you catch the fireworks – you’ll want to remember this experience forever. Now that you know what to do during the evening, here are some great ideas for ways to celebrate the Fourth of July in Washington, DC.