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12 Top Spots to Catch the Fourth of July Fireworks in Washington, DC

Fireworks Going Off Over Washington, DC

Nothing beats seeing the fireworks against the DC skyline of monuments and memorials.

Watching the fireworks is one of the highlights of DC’s Independence Day celebrations, and there are lots of interesting sites from which to view them. For example, you’ll find excellent vantage points from a few rooftop bars, sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, or across the river in Arlington. Here are twelve strategic sites around DC where you can get a good view:

1 Find a spot on the National Mall
Find a spot on the National Mall

Anywhere on the National Mall 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.

2 Experience the fireworks from across the river
Experience the fireworks from across the river Freddo Lacar

Watch from across the Potomac River at some ideal viewing areas. One of those is the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, aka Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington, Va. With the mesmerizing statue as the backdrop, the fireworks take on even greater meaning.

3 Hains Point on East Potomac Park
Hains Point on East Potomac Park Tim Evanson

Hains Point on East Potomac Park is a serene stretch of public land on a peninsula that stretches into the Potomac River. Although parts of the park are closed off for renovation, there are few key spots with picnic tables and benches providing an ideal sightline to watch the fireworks.

4 Take a family-friendly fireworks cruise
Take a family-friendly fireworks cruise Spirit of Washington

There are plenty of options for family-friendly fireworks cruises on one of the sightseeing boats that voyage along the Potomac River. Cruises depart from the Georgetown’s Washington Harbour, from the Alexandria Riverfront and from National Harbor. Check the schedules of the Capitol River Cruises, Potomac Riverboat Cruises, The Odyssey, the Spirit of Washington and Embark, a private option for up to six people, to find one that suits you.

5 Several rooftop bars offer panoramic views of the fireworks
Several rooftop bars offer panoramic views of the fireworks POV Rooftop Lounge and Terrace

POV Rooftop Lounge and Terrace at the W Hotel, Beacon Bar & Grill in the Beacon Hotel, the 1905 Bistro in the Shaw neighborhood, Flight Wine Bar’s rooftop near Chinatown, and Avery’s Bar & Lounge on H Street NE sell tickets to Fourth of July fireworks viewing events. Contact the restaurant for details.

6 Or come hungry, get comfy and watch from ground level
Or come hungry, get comfy and watch from ground level Tony and Joe's Seafood

A couple of restaurants in DC have spectacular views of the fireworks from the ground level. Sequoia and Tony & Joe’s Seafood Place are both on the Georgetown waterfront, Occidental Grill near the White House are all extra comfortable places to dine and view the fireworks on Independence Day.

7 Ride the Mount Vernon Bike Trail
Ride the Mount Vernon Bike Trail M.V. Jantzen

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 Bike Trail to find a spot to stop and enjoy the fireworks show.

8 Check into a hotel overlooking the Potomac River or National Mall
Check into a hotel overlooking the Potomac River or National Mall The Hay-Adams

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 face the National Mall, as well as the Mandarin Oriental Washington, D.C. The rooftops of the Hilton Garden Inn and The Graham Hotel in Georgetown are also festive places for fireworks viewing.

9 The U.S. Supreme Court Plaza
The U.S. Supreme Court Plaza @pauladamsvideo

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.

10 Washington National Cathedral
Washington National Cathedral Melody Joy Kramer

Find a spot on the grassy slope of the Washington National Cathedral. 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 sky to fill with a colorful display.

11 Lady Bird Johnson Park

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.

12 The U.S. Air Force Memorial
The U.S. Air Force Memorial Joseph Gruber

Across the Potomac River near Arlington National Cemetery is the U.S. Air Force Memorial. It’s height and vista provide an ideal vantage point for views of fireworks over the nation’s capital.

Don’t forget to bring your camera when you catch the fireworks because you’ll want to remember this experience forever. Now that you know what to do during the evening, here are some tips for enjoying the Fourth of July in Washington, DC.

And finally, it's never too early to start making plans for the upcoming presidential Inauguration. Check out our page for more.