Washington, D.C. is the epicenter of patriotism. It’s where the prez sleeps, where bills become laws, and where Eisenhower once installed a putting green at the White House. It’s a city full of history, full of marble, monuments, and museums. Most importantly, it’s a city full of opinions. Washingtonians can argue just about anyone under the table. As a former D.C.-ster, I’m joining in the charades. Here are the five best spots for viewing fireworks on our nation’s birthday.
The National Mall
Bring your proverbial water shoes because you’ll be swimming in a crowd of people. If you can bear the masses, it’s an iconic cultural experience that everyone should participate in at least once. Come early to secure a spot nearest to the Reflecting Pool where they’re shot off—I’m talking a few hours after the gates open at 10 a.m. Spend the day on a blanket in America’s front lawn with an assortment of meats and cheeses (alcohol and glass containers are prohibited), a Frisbee, and a good book, and post up until the big show starts at 9 p.m.
The rooftop bar at Georgetown’s newest boutique hotel, The Graham, offers prime viewing with the option of having a luxe cocktail in hand. With a limited number of tickets available, it’s a great option for those in need of a little more elbow room. Tickets will run you $66 and include one free drink upon arrival.
This not-so-secret secret spot has been a favorite of lovers for years, but it still manages to fly under the radar. Make a spread in the grass just off the George Washington Memorial Parkway. It is right off the landing strip of Reagan National Airport, and airplanes skim just over your blanket. With a wide-open view of the Potomac River and the monuments, you’d be hard-pressed for an excuse not to have fun.
U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial
Cross the river to Virginia where the Iwo Jima Memorial stands as a favorite for Instagram lovers. The picturesque view with silhouettes of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and the United States Capitol Building is selfie gold. Bring a blanket and come early to secure a spot with a clear line of sight, as even out-of-town locales fill up quickly.
Cash to spare? Blow it on tickets to the rooftop of the W Hotel, a fancy favorite for Washingtonians with deep pockets. The P.O.V. Roof Terrace overlooks the National Mall and offers spectacular views of the exploding fireworks. Stay after hours to sip and mingle with your new best friends. Tickets go for $75 per person and do not include drinks.