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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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1. Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool

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2 Lincoln Memorial Cir NW
Washington, DC 20024
(202) 426-6841
Visit Website

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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2. The Wharf DC

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1100 Maine Ave SW
Washington, DC 20024

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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3. Washington National Cathedral

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3101 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20016
(202) 537-6200
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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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4. Cardozo Education Campus

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1200 Clifton St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 673-7385
Visit Website

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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5. Meridian Hill Park

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2500 16th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 895-6000
Visit Website

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

6. McKinley Technology High School

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151 T St NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 281-3950
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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).

7. Francis Scott Key Bridge

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Key Bridge
Washington, D.C. 20016

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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8. W Washington Hotel

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515 15th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 661-2400
Visit Website

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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9. The Kennedy Center Terrace

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2700 F St NW
Washington, D.C. 20566
(202) 416-8000
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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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10. Federal Reserve Board

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20th St and Constitution Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20551

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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11. Supreme Court

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1 1st St NE
Washington, D.C. 20543
(202) 479-3000
Visit Website

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

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12. U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial

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US Marine Memorial Cir
Arlington, VA 22209
(703) 289-2500
Visit Website

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

13. Potomac Riverboat Company Cruise

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(703) 684-0580
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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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14. Lady Bird Johnson Memorial Park

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George Washington Memorial Pkwy.
Washington, D.C. 20037

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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15. 14th Street Bridge

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I-395 & U.S. 1
Washington, D.C.

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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16. Anacostia Park

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Anacostia Dr SE
Washington, D.C. 20020
(202) 889-4283
Visit Website

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.

National Park Service

17. United States Air Force Memorial

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1 Air Force Memorial Dr
Arlington, VA 22204
(703) 979-0674
Visit Website

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.

AFP/Getty Images

18. Long Bridge Park

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475 Long Bridge Drive
Arlington, VA 22202

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.

The Washington Post/Getty Images

19. Gravelly Point Park

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George Washington Memorial Pkwy
Arlington, VA

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

1. Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool

2 Lincoln Memorial Cir NW, Washington, DC 20024
Shutterstock

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.

2 Lincoln Memorial Cir NW
Washington, DC 20024

2. The Wharf DC

1100 Maine Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024
Shutterstock

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.

1100 Maine Ave SW
Washington, DC 20024

3. Washington National Cathedral

3101 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20016
Shutterstock

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.

3101 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20016

4. Cardozo Education Campus

1200 Clifton St NW, Washington, DC 20009
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.)

1200 Clifton St NW
Washington, DC 20009

5. Meridian Hill Park

2500 16th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
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.

2500 16th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

6. McKinley Technology High School

151 T St NE, Washington, D.C. 20002

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).

151 T St NE
Washington, D.C. 20002

7. Francis Scott Key Bridge

Key Bridge, Washington, D.C. 20016
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.

Key Bridge
Washington, D.C. 20016

8. W Washington Hotel

515 15th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20004
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.

515 15th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20004

9. The Kennedy Center Terrace

2700 F St NW, Washington, D.C. 20566
Shutterstock

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.

2700 F St NW
Washington, D.C. 20566

10. Federal Reserve Board

20th St and Constitution Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20551
Shutterstock

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.

20th St and Constitution Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20551

11. Supreme Court

1 1st St NE, Washington, D.C. 20543
Shutterstock

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

1 1st St NE
Washington, D.C. 20543

12. U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial

US Marine Memorial Cir, Arlington, VA 22209

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

US Marine Memorial Cir
Arlington, VA 22209

13. Potomac Riverboat Company Cruise

Washington, D.C. 20007
Shutterstock

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.

14. Lady Bird Johnson Memorial Park

George Washington Memorial Pkwy., Washington, D.C. 20037
Shutterstock

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.

George Washington Memorial Pkwy.
Washington, D.C. 20037

15. 14th Street Bridge

I-395 & U.S. 1, Washington, D.C.
Shutterstock

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.

I-395 & U.S. 1
Washington, D.C.

16. Anacostia Park

Anacostia Dr SE, Washington, D.C. 20020
National Park Service

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.

Anacostia Dr SE
Washington, D.C. 20020

17. United States Air Force Memorial

1 Air Force Memorial Dr, Arlington, VA 22204
AFP/Getty Images

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.

1 Air Force Memorial Dr
Arlington, VA 22204

18. Long Bridge Park

475 Long Bridge Drive, Arlington, VA 22202
The Washington Post/Getty Images

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.

475 Long Bridge Drive
Arlington, VA 22202

19. Gravelly Point Park

George Washington Memorial Pkwy, Arlington, VA
The Washington Post/Getty Images

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.

George Washington Memorial Pkwy
Arlington, VA