Nothing beats seeing the Independence Day fireworks against DC's skyline of monuments and memorials.
Watching the fireworks is one of the highlights of Independence Day in Washington, DC and fortunately, the city and the surrounding area offer a plethora of scenic viewing options. A Capitol Fourth, the star-studded concert that always precedes the fireworks show, will be held from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, while President Biden and Mayor Muriel E. Bowser have welcomed visitors back to the District to celebrate the holiday in full with the fireworks display on the National Mall. Visit the National Park Service's dedicated page for more details. Please note that some of the venues below may still have safety restrictions and/or limited hours.
Find a spot on the National Mall
The National Mall is the most popular place to watch the fireworks display, with attendees staking out spots near the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and an array of other locales across DC's most scenic space. The 17-minute display will start at 9:09 p.m. and will be launched from both sides of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. Give yourself plenty of time to find a spot and familiarize yourself with public access entry points, road closures, prohibited items and other tips from the National Park Service.
Experience the fireworks from across the Potomac River
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.
Take a family-friendly fireworks cruise
Several rooftop bars offer panoramic views of the fireworks
There a plenty of great rooftop bars that offer the ideal setting for watching the fireworks in the District. POV Rooftop Lounge and Terrace at the W Hotel, the Conrad Hotel's Summit Rooftop, La Vie and Top of the Gate at the Watergate Hotel are just a few of the spots that could make for great Independence Day (or should we say night) revelry. Make sure to check with your locale of choice regarding safety precautions and availability.
Or come hungry, get comfy and watch from ground level
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 take in the epic display. Just make sure to reserve well ahead of time and be mindful of any safety protocols.
Rent some wheels and watch from the Mount Vernon Trail
Rent some wheels from Unlimited Biking, Capital Bikeshare or at the Columbia Island Marina on the Virginia side of the Potomac River, near the Pentagon. Then, you and your crew can 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 itself.
Check into a hotel overlooking the Potomac River or National Mall
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 guest rooms at JW Marriott Washington, DC also face the Mall, as well as the Mandarin Oriental Washington, D.C. on the Southwest Waterfront.
Watch from the U.S. Supreme Court Plaza
The majestic U.S. Supreme Court Building on Capitol Hill has a 252-foot wide oval plaza that's spacious and open with unobstructed views of the fireworks bursting in air. If the area is open to spectators, get there early to claim a seat and then settle in to enjoy the show.
Check out Hains Point in East Potomac Park
Hains Point in 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 the Anacostia River, as well as the Washington Channel. There are several spots that feature picnic tables and benches for viewing of the aerial extravaganza.
Head to the Washington National Cathedral
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 Cathedral's tower is actually the highest), it’s a good place to picnic and wait for the sky to fill with a colorful display.
See all of the District from Cardozo High School
Set up shop for a day at The Wharf
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.
The U.S. Air Force Memorial provides a great vantage point
Across the Potomac River, near Arlington National Cemetery, you can settle in on the grounds of the U.S. Air Force Memorial. Its height provides an ideal vista for fireworks over the nation’s capital.
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.
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