There are lots of places to see fireworks in Northern Virginia this Independence Day, but the big show, so to speak, is on the National Mall.
The good news is you don’t have to travel into DC to get great views of the July 4 celebration.
Here are some excellent spots to watch the fireworks from Northern Virginia. Just keep in mind that while you’ll avoid crowds on the Mall, that doesn’t mean there won’t be a whole lot of Virginians flocking to these vantage points.
Gravelly Point: Thanks to its proximity to Reagan National Airport, Gravelly Point is a popular place for people to watch planes come and go. Its position on the west bank of the Potomac River also makes it an excellent spot to watch the fireworks on the National Mall.
LBJ Memorial Grove: According to map boundary lines, this is technically in DC, but let’s ignore that for now. According to the National Park Service, the grove is where President Johnson went to de-stress. It features serpentine paths, white pines, a granite monolith, and an open meadow. There’s an excellent view of the National Mall and the fireworks from the lawn in front of the memorial.
Marine Corps War Memorial: The Marine Corps War Memorial sits atop Arlington Ridge straight across the Potomac from the National Mall. The Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and the Capitol can all be seen from it — as can the Independence Day festivities.
Mount Vernon Trail: The Mount Vernon Trail stretches from George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate to Roosevelt Island, winding along the Potomac River for 18 miles. It offers unimpeded views of the DC skyline which, of course, makes it a great spot to see all the fireworks.
Netherlands Carillon: The Netherlands Carillon and its 53 bells sit between the Marine Corps War Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. Like the war memorial, the grounds offer sweeping views of DC and the colorful fireworks of the Fourth.
Heading to DC
If you do decide to head into DC for the fireworks (scheduled to start at 9:09 p.m.), be aware that access to the National Mall will be limited, but your ride on Metro will be free after 5 p.m.
You’ll need to pass through a security checkpoint before you get to the open area between the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial. Another option, on the other side of the restricted area, is around the Washington Monument, but the plaza and the monument itself will be closed, as will be the rest of the monuments on the Mall.
More information on the festivities is online at the NPS website.
Alfonso Ribeiro hosts A Capitol Fourth, starting at 8 p.m. There will be performances by Alexandria’s own Charles Esten, Chicago, Babyface, Boyz II Men, Belinda Carlisle, Jack Everly, Maddie and Tae, Renée Fleming, the Muppets, and the Northwell Nurse Choir. The National Symphony Orchestra, of course, will accompany the fireworks. You’ll be able to watch everything on WETA PBS and on a livestream.
Have a happy Fourth of July!
Featured photo courtesy NPS/Chalice Keith
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