Things to Do

Where to Watch Fourth of July Fireworks Around DC

You don't have to actually go to the National Mall.

Photograph via iStock.

Department of the Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has promised this year’s fireworks show will “be the largest in recent memory” and feature over 10,000 fireworks launched from near the Lincoln Memorial and on the grounds of the Washington Monument. Phil Grucci – one of the fireworks providers – said there will be light elements near both launch sites that will change color in tandem with the fireworks display.

The show will run from 9:07 to 9:42 PM and will be visible up to three miles from the launch site. Here are some of the best spots to catch the fireworks this year.

Note: DC mayor Muriel Bowser has asked residents to celebrate the Fourth at home this year due to the ongoing pandemic. But if you are planning to go see the fireworks anyway, please wear a face mask and maintain social distancing. Stay home if you feel unwell.

The National Mall

The Mall will be a secure area this year, so attendees will have to pass through metal detectors at an access point. Entrances include Constitution Ave and 20th St., Northwest; Constitution Ave. between 23rd St. and Henry Bacon Drive, Northwest; and 17th St. between Constitution and Independence Aves., Northwest. Though attendees should bring their own mask, there will be 300,000 cloth masks for distribution to those who don’t have one (seriously—wear a mask!). Street parking is available around the Mall, particularly at Ohio Drive, Southwest, and Hains Point. Metro is still operating on a reduced schedule, but there will be more-frequent trains starting at 4 PM on July 4 for people traveling to the Mall. Stations near the Mall will remain open for 30 minutes following the end of the event (for entry only).

Other DC Locations Known For Good Views in Years Past

Southeast’s Anacostia Park stretches alongside the Anacostia River, offering a prime vantage point.

Meridian Hill Park (Malcolm X Park) is on high ground overlooking downtown—and is one of the city’s must-visit places even when there aren’t fireworks.

A lovely location along the Potomac, Georgetown Waterfront Park usually attracts a crowd.

Columbia Heights’ Cardozo Education Campus has fantastic views of the city.

McKinley Technology Education Campus, located in Northeast, has long been a popular fireworks-watching destination.

Kayak rentals allow you to watch the fireworks from the water. Get a single or double kayak from the Key Bridge Boathouse or check out Thompson Boat Center for both kayaks and stand-up paddle boards. Advance reservations are required and there is a limited supply of boats.

Virginia Locations

Near Arlington National Cemetery, the grounds of the Netherlands Carillon and the US Marine Corps War Memorial are open to the public. The latter features the iconic Iwo Jima statue for a patriotic watch spot.

Revelers can catch the fireworks at Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove, the namesake president’s relaxation spot on Columbia Island.

Stake out a spot at Gravelly Point: The park is typically a place to watch airplanes, thanks to its proximity to Reagan National Airport.

Walk or bike the stretch of the Mount Vernon Trail from the 14th Street Bridge to Theodore Roosevelt Island, and head towards to the river for waterfront views of the pyrotechnic show.

Arlington’s Long Bridge Park is allowing a maximum of 1,000 attendees into the space, and closing the gates at 7:30 PM (depending on which occurs first). There are no public restrooms available.

Here’s a map of all the locations:

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