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For those not blessed with a private roof deck or the patience to fight the patriotic droves at the Mall, here are some other ways to catch DC’s famous Fourth of July fireworks. Options range from the pricey—which usually require early reservation—to the traditional and cheap.
What’s better than spending the Fourth sailing down the Potomac on a booze cruise? (There’s dinner, too.) While offering great views and inclusive packages, Fourth of July cruises tend to sell out quickly— make your reservations now.
Odyssey July 4 Fireworks Cruise
$199.90 cost includes a three-course meal, live entertainment, and an open bar.
Departs from Gangplank Marina at Sixth and Water sts., SW.
Spirit of Washington July 4 Fireworks Cruise
$169.90 cost includes open bar, dinner buffet, a live song-and-dance revue, and a disc jockey.
Departs from Pier 4 at Sixth and Water sts., SW.
For festive foodies, this option allows for great food and great views.
1336 U St., NW; 202-265-0965
Metro: U Street-Cardozo
This U Street tapas restaurant is offering a three-course, prix fixe menu for the Fourth. Tabaq’s rooftop seating offers views of fireworks in DC and Virginia. $95.
From 5 to 10 on July 4, this waterfront restaurant, which has a view of the DC skyline, will have an all-you-can-eat dinner buffet and a free Champagne toast at the start of the fireworks.
Beacon Bar & Grill
This restaurant’s rooftop bar offers a great view of the fireworks, but reservations go quickly, so call soon.
Charlie Palmer Steak
Metro: Union Station
This restaurant near the Mall offers buffet-style service with barbecue, cotton candy, a chocolate fountain, and other party food.
See more of what restaurants are doing for the Fourth of July here.
For those feeling romantic or just agoraphobic at the thought of red-white-and-blue-wearing crowds, this option is a little more intimate:
Renting a canoe or kayak and paddling down the Potomac makes for a great date and provides both adventure and an up-close view of the fireworks. The Georgetown rental company has a number of July 4 specials starting at $65 per person. Reservations are available online.
These spots offer great views and traditional happenings without breaking the bank. But they’re usually very popular, so be sure to get there early.
Cardozo High School
1300 Clifton St., NW
Metro: U St./Cardozo
This high school sits on one of the highest points in DC, making it a really popular spot in the neighborhood for viewing fireworks at a far distance from the hoopla at the Mall.
Montgomery College, Rockville Campus
51 Mannakee St., NW
The college will feature live entertainment and a view of the fireworks. No alcohol is allowed at the site, so this event is very family friendly.
Gravelly Point Park at George Washington Memorial Parkway
Metro: Reagan National Airport
You’ll see planes taking off from National Airport as fireworks explode in the background. Plenty of spots along the parkway are also great for watching fireworks if the sound of planes isn’t your thing.
Washington National Cathedral
3101 Wisconsin Ave., NW
Metro: Tenleytown/AU, Cleveland Park
At 11 AM, the cathedral is hosting its free Independence Day Organ Recital, and at when it gets dark, people congregate on the grassy hill on the south side of the cathedral, where there’s a great view of the city.
Lorien Hotel & Spa Fireworks Party
1600 King Street, Alexandria, VA; 877-856-7436
Metro: King Street
For those who want to keep the celebration going after the 4th, the new Lorien Hotel & Spa in Alexandria is hosting a fireworks viewing party (to see fireworks celebrating Alexandria's 260th birthday) on its outdoor terrace on July 11. Old Town restaurant BRABO will provide cocktails and desserts. Tickets are $50; 9 PM to 11 PM.