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Fireworks above the National Mall
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Where to watch D.C.’s Fourth of July fireworks

Celebrate Independence Day from these vantage points

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Fireworks above the National Mall
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For the first time in many years, the area around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and the World War II Memorial will be open to the public for official U.S. events this July 4. That includes the annual fireworks show, scheduled to begin shortly after 9 p.m. and last about 35 minutes.

But the launch pads for the display are relocating to West Potomac Park and the Virginia-facing side of the Lincoln Memorial in 2019, the Trump administration announced in June. Military demonstrations, flyovers, and music are also planned.

In this map, you can find the best places to watch these fireworks. They offer waterfront views, grassy patches, and different angles of the District.

Note that the Arlington Memorial Bridge, long a popular spot from which to watch Independence Day fireworks, will be closed to pedestrians this year due to security changes.

This post has been updated to reflect the run-time for the fireworks show.

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Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool

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Arrive early and brace for crowds if you want to be where the main action is. You can also grab a spot closer to the World War II Memorial or in Constitution Gardens, which will also be publicly accessible. Gates to these sites open at 3:30 p.m., according to the U.S. Interior Department.

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The Wharf DC

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Grab a bite eat and gather on the Southwest Waterfront. There are a few piers where you can feel like you’re out on the water. Better yet, if you have a friend who keeps a boat or a houseboat at the Wharf, give them a call.

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Washington National Cathedral

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Head uphill and set up on the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral. Its grassy slope and parking lot are great places to chill—with an architectural masterpiece in the background.

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Cardozo Education Campus

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In Columbia Heights, this combined middle and high school is a fantastic place to get panoramic views of downtown D.C. and much of the city. Even standing a block away is still a decent option. (Be careful going up and coming down the steep hill on 13th Street NW.)

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Meridian Hill Park

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Also in Columbia Heights, Meridian Hill Park can feel like an oasis within the city. Climb up the steps and gaze over the skyline. Or just plop down on the grass and enjoy time with friends.

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McKinley Technology High School

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The McKinley Technology High School in Northeast’s Eckington neighborhood is on a hill and offers a nice vantage point from which to see downtown (and sunsets).

Francis Scott Key Bridge

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Enjoy the Potomac River views from the Francis Scott Key Bridge between Georgetown and Rosslyn. Before or after the fireworks, you can head into Georgetown for its lively nightlife scene.

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W Washington Hotel

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The W Hotel downtown offers one of the city’s best rooftop views for July 4 fireworks. General tickets for its annual Boom With a View party at its POV venue are going for $275. They will gain you rooftop access (standing room), food stations, passed bites, and a limited open bar.

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The Kennedy Center Terrace

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The Kennedy Center undeniably offers one of the best views of the city and the Potomac River. It’s pretty close to where the firework launch pads will be, too.

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Federal Reserve Board

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Right across from the National Mall, the front of the Federal Reserve Board’s Eccles Building gives you a little distance from the crowds but is still pretty close to the show.

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Supreme Court

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You can see spectacular views of the fireworks from the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court. Sweet justice.

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U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial

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Get into a patriotic mood at the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington. It’s nearly parallel with West Potomac Park.

Potomac Riverboat Company Cruise

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Take a cruise on the Potomac River and see some fireworks along the way. Potomac Riverboat Company is offering a couple of options, with boats departing from the Wharf and Alexandria. Tickets are $135 per person.

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Lady Bird Johnson Memorial Park

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There are hundreds of thousands of daffodils and thousands of dogwood trees in this park, named in honor of former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson. It’s accessible via the Mount Vernon Trail and has parking, bathrooms, and benches. The park is also just across the Potomac River from West Potomac Park.

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14th Street Bridge

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There’s a small area off to the side of the bridge reserved for runners and joggers. See if you can get yourself a spot among the crowd there. You’ll be pretty close to the action.

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Anacostia Park

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In Southeast D.C., you can watch the sky light up from Anacostia Park, located right along the Anacostia River. Check out the roller skating rink while you’re there.

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United States Air Force Memorial

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This memorial is a great spot if you want to stay away from the National Mall. Located on a hill, it’s just high enough to spot the fireworks from a distance.

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Long Bridge Park

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If you live in Virginia and don't want to make the trek over to the District, head to Long Bridge Park. It features over 30 acres of recreation and open space as well as picnic areas and parking.

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Gravelly Point Park

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You can watch the fireworks from the south at this waterfront park, located near Reagan National Airport. Hot tip: There are a limited number of parking spots at the park, so be sure to get there early if you want an easy drive home. Added bonus: You can also watch planes take off and land at the airport.

The Washington Post/Getty Images

Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool

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Arrive early and brace for crowds if you want to be where the main action is. You can also grab a spot closer to the World War II Memorial or in Constitution Gardens, which will also be publicly accessible. Gates to these sites open at 3:30 p.m., according to the U.S. Interior Department.

Shutterstock

The Wharf DC

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Grab a bite eat and gather on the Southwest Waterfront. There are a few piers where you can feel like you’re out on the water. Better yet, if you have a friend who keeps a boat or a houseboat at the Wharf, give them a call.

Shutterstock

Washington National Cathedral

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Head uphill and set up on the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral. Its grassy slope and parking lot are great places to chill—with an architectural masterpiece in the background.

Shutterstock

Cardozo Education Campus

Getty Images

In Columbia Heights, this combined middle and high school is a fantastic place to get panoramic views of downtown D.C. and much of the city. Even standing a block away is still a decent option. (Be careful going up and coming down the steep hill on 13th Street NW.)

Getty Images

Meridian Hill Park

The Washington Post/Getty Images

Also in Columbia Heights, Meridian Hill Park can feel like an oasis within the city. Climb up the steps and gaze over the skyline. Or just plop down on the grass and enjoy time with friends.

The Washington Post/Getty Images

McKinley Technology High School

The McKinley Technology High School in Northeast’s Eckington neighborhood is on a hill and offers a nice vantage point from which to see downtown (and sunsets).

Francis Scott Key Bridge

Shutterstock

Enjoy the Potomac River views from the Francis Scott Key Bridge between Georgetown and Rosslyn. Before or after the fireworks, you can head into Georgetown for its lively nightlife scene.

Shutterstock

W Washington Hotel

Shutterstock

The W Hotel downtown offers one of the city’s best rooftop views for July 4 fireworks. General tickets for its annual Boom With a View party at its POV venue are going for $275. They will gain you rooftop access (standing room), food stations, passed bites, and a limited open bar.

Shutterstock

The Kennedy Center Terrace

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The Kennedy Center undeniably offers one of the best views of the city and the Potomac River. It’s pretty close to where the firework launch pads will be, too.

Shutterstock

Federal Reserve Board

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Right across from the National Mall, the front of the Federal Reserve Board’s Eccles Building gives you a little distance from the crowds but is still pretty close to the show.

Shutterstock

Supreme Court

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You can see spectacular views of the fireworks from the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court. Sweet justice.

Shutterstock

U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial

Get into a patriotic mood at the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington. It’s nearly parallel with West Potomac Park.

Potomac Riverboat Company Cruise

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Take a cruise on the Potomac River and see some fireworks along the way. Potomac Riverboat Company is offering a couple of options, with boats departing from the Wharf and Alexandria. Tickets are $135 per person.

Shutterstock

Lady Bird Johnson Memorial Park

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There are hundreds of thousands of daffodils and thousands of dogwood trees in this park, named in honor of former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson. It’s accessible via the Mount Vernon Trail and has parking, bathrooms, and benches. The park is also just across the Potomac River from West Potomac Park.