Washington, D.C. is an excellent place to celebrate Independence Day, and you’ll find lots of other people there doing the same. There are two main events that happen in the heart of DC for the Fourth of July. A Capitol Fourth has a live Broadcast on PBS from the West Lawn of the US Capitol, and following the concert is a spectacular display of fireworks over the Washington Monument that can be seen throughout the DC area. Of course with the popularity of these events, a little insider knowledge can go along way towards enjoying these events.
Insider tip: If you want to see the concert and have prime viewing for the Fireworks, watch the Rehearsal on the 3rd at 8 PM from the West Lawn of the Capitol.
The best place, and therefore the most crowded place, to view the fireworks is between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. Along with watching out for crowds, random trees, and rowdy groups of people, you’ll want to arrive a few hours ahead of time. The fireworks normally start after 9 pm, after A Capitol Fourth ends.
Other, Less Crowded Options
But you don’t need to be in the heart of the capital to see the best views of the fireworks. You can watch the concert and fireworks live on PBS, YouTube, and Facebook. And there still more spots around DC that you can see the fireworks away from the heavy crowds.
Another great spot to watch fireworks is from across the Potomac River. One of the best places to view the fireworks is from the Marine Corps War Memorial, also known as the Iwo Jima Memorial. Also, the Netherlands Carillon in Virginia offers sweeping views of DC and can provide a great view of fireworks.
You can also celebrate the Fourth of July is to watch the fireworks from a sightseeing boat on the Potomac River. There are many different tour boat options to choose from. Just pick the one that works best for your family and enjoy the show.
A lesser-known option is to rent a bike from the Virginia side of the Potomac River and ride up the Mount Vernon trail and find a spot to view the fireworks from the trail. If you can see the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument you will know you have found the perfect fireworks location.
A few spots to check out as well:
- The Wharf
- The US Air Force Memorial
- Lady Bird Johnson Park
- Cardozo High School
- Washington National Cathedral
- Hains Point on East Potomac Park
And last, but not least, don’t forget to plan for the weather. This is important for both the clothes you wear and the things you bring. This is an outdoor event in the summer. It likely will be hot and the possibility of thunderstorms is always there. Make sure to bring water, light clothes, sunscreen, a rain jacket/small umbrella/poncho.
Update: This year, you could see changes to the D.C. fireworks festivities as a result of President Donald Trump’s announcement that the “Salute to America” celebration will be held in a different location. Plans have still not been finalized, but the latest information is the fireworks show is expected to be moved to West Potomac Park, about two miles away from its previous location on the National Mall.
Enjoy this amazing fireworks display!
Written by: Amanda Huffman