You may not want to go to the Mall for the July 4th fireworks, but there are lots of great places to watch the sky light up without all the crowds. Here are a few choices that will give you a great view without a lot of traffic!
Washington National Cathedral
I confess that this is my favorite on the list so I put it first! I love the serenity of the Cathedral even as the DC skies are lighting up with chrysanthemum explosions and shooting stars of all colors.
The cathedral sits high on a hill, offering a great view of the fireworks display. In fact, the height of the cathedral’s central tower is 676 feet above sea level, which is the highest point in the District. You might check out the grassy hill on the south side of the cathedral that overlooks the nation’s capital. Another place on the Cathedral grounds is the circle in front of the Saint Albans School. Both are perfect viewing – and before you head over to the Cathedral, you might have dinner at Two Amys or Cactus Cantina!
Mount Vernon Trail
Hitting up the trail on the Virginia side of the Potomac River near Pentagon gives a picturesque view of the fireworks. You can bring or rent a bike and head up the trail. This will offer you a more secluded and a little less crowded area to take in the fireworks.
U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial
Commonly known as the Iwo Jima Memorial to locals, the memorial offers the perfect grassy vantage point from Rosslyn. Watching the fireworks from the memorial is a local favorite so you’ll want to try to get there early to secure a good spot. You can take the Metro to the Rosslyn or Arlington National Cemetery stations where it’ll be about a 10 to 15-minute walk to the memorial.
Lady Bird Johnson Park
The park, named after the former first lady, is situated on an island in the Potomac River and offers an unobstructed view of the fireworks show. Parking is available at the Columbia Island Marina, which is about a 10-minute walk, but the Arlington Cemetery Metro is conveniently located right next to the park and is about a 20-minute walk. Be sure to plan to go back in the spring to see the beautiful daffodils planted there to celebrate Lady Bird’s commitment to beautification of our highways.
Cardozo High School
A hidden gem for locals, the high school is home to the Clerks and also a hill that offers a great view of the fireworks. Situated near Howard University, the school allows locals to watch the fireworks in the District without having to trek to the National Mall. The school is located at 1200 Clifton St NW.
U.S. Air Force Memorial
The memorial offers a great hillside view over the Potomac River in Arlington. Not only can you watch the fireworks, but you can listen to the U.S. Air Force Concert Band and Singing Sergeants, who will perform at the memorial at 8 p.m. The closest Metro stop is Pentagon City, which is about a 20-minute walk. There is parking in the area, but it is limited. The U.S. Air Force Memorial has less space than the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial so it gets crowded quickly. You’ll want to get there in advance to grab a good seat!
Final suggestion – I have a great condo listing at 1451 Belmont St NW in a building called the Fedora. This condo community has a fantastic roof deck with a view over the entire city. It is perfect to watch the fireworks every year! No crowds, no worries about parking! Just good friends. If you want to see more condos in DC currently on the market, just click here!