Things to Do

MAP: Where to Watch the 2021 Fourth of July Fireworks Without Going to the National Mall

You don't have to join the crowds this Independence Day.

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

The July 4 fireworks show will return to the National Mall on Sunday. The show will run from 9:09 to 9:26 PM and can be seen from many areas in DC and Northern Virginia.

If you’re determined to get to the National Mall, be aware that you’ll have to pass through an entry point. The entry points will be open from 1 PM to 9 PM. Entrances include the west side of Arlington Memorial Bridge; Constitution Avenue between 23rd Street and Henry Bacon Drive, Northwest; Constitution Avenue and 17th Street, Northwest; 15th Street and Madison Drive, Northwest; 14th Street and Jefferson Drive, Southwest; Maine Avenue and Raoul Wallenberg Place, Southwest; and East Basin Drive just south of the Lincoln Memorial. Attendees who are not fully vaccinated must wear masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces. Everyone must wear a mask on public transportation. Metro will run on a regular weekend schedule until 4 PM, then there will be more frequent trains for people traveling to the Mall. All stations will be open until 11 PM, but the National Mall entrance at Smithsonian Station will be entry-only after 9 PM.

If you can’t be bothered to join massive crowds at the Mall, there are several aways to avoid going downtown. Some of the closest views are along the banks of the Potomac. The Marine Corps War Memorial, the Netherlands Carillon, and Gravelly Point are well-known vantage points for the annual fireworks show. Further down the river, stake out a spot at Washington Sailing Marina or walk the Mount Vernon Trail. Venture to Long Bridge Park or the Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove for a chill spot to watch the show. You can also head to Georgetown Waterfront Park or rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards from Thompson Boat Center for a view on the water. Advance reservations are required.

If you can’t bear to cross the river, you can still catch a great view in the District. Head downtown to President’s Park near the White House for one of the closest views of the pyrotechnic show. Or relax on the grassy lawns of the Washington National Cathedral, Cardozo Education CampusMcKinley Technology Education Campusor Meridian Hill Park (Malcolm X Park). You can also travel to Southeast to watch the show from the Yards Park, Giesboro Park, or Anacostia Park.


Damare Baker
Assistant Editor

Before becoming an assistant editor, Damare Baker started out as an editorial fellow for Washingtonian. She has previously written for Voice of America and The Hill. She is a graduate of Georgetown University, where she studied international relations, Korean, and journalism.