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Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 06/28/2007

Vantage Points

By Fritz Hahn

We can all agree that the annual Fourth of July fireworks show on the National Mall is an impressive event -- a suitably stirring display of rockets' red glare and bombs bursting in air. However, watching the fireworks from the Mall isn't as much fun, thanks to wall-to-wall crowds, long lines and security restrictions. However, there are other places around town where you can get a view of the action without having to be on the Mall. Read on for a few of the Going Out Gurus' favorite destinations, and add your own tips in the comments area.

Marine Corps Memorial
A patriotic place to view the fireworks, there's a good view across the Potomac. Some readers stress early arrival, noting that the best spots go quickly, but others have a more relaxed attitude. One recently wrote: "I used to live in that neighborhood, you don't need to be there at the crack of dawn! I used to walk there close to the start time of the fireworks. It doesn't get that crowded. You might want to have dinner somewhere in Rosslyn and then walk there afterwards."

The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
Make your way down to the path that runs along the Tidal Basin for the best views, but the fireworks can be seen throughout much of West Potomac Park.

The George Washington Memorial Parkway
We're not suggesting you just pull to the side of the road when fireworks start. Instead get to one of the many pull-offs or parking lots along the road, such as those near the Merchant Marine Memorial in Lady Bird Johnson Park.

The National Cathedral
Popular with families, there's a decent view from the lawn of the Cathedral.

Cardozo High School
One Guru says the large hill at 13th and Clifton streets, next to Cardozo, "gets packed with people pretty early, but there's a good neighborhood vibe."

Holy Rood Cemetery (Glover Park)
One Going Out Guru alumna notes that there are "pretty good views from the hilltop" in this Wisconsin Avenue cemetery, and adds that you won't need to stand on any graves to see.

Dr. Dremo's Taphouse
While the patio at this Arlington pub used to have a pretty clear view of downtown, a spurt of condo construction in the neighborhood means the sightlines aren't as great as before. The bar's owners say you'll still be able to see the fireworks, but caveat emptor.

Fort Washington Park
A Got Plans? reader wrote: "I recommend the fort at Fort Washington. You get a great view of the DC fireworks, as well as all the fireworks from Virginia, and even Montgomery County. It's a small fee per car ($5, when I was there last), they have picnic areas with grills, really cool fort ruins to explore, fields for the kids to run around on, etc. We have always enjoyed watching the fireworks from there, and it's never super-crowded like the Mall."

By Fritz Hahn  | June 28, 2007; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  Misc.  
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meridian hill/malcolm x park. it rules.

Posted by: thomas jefferson | June 29, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

The Navy Annex near the Pentagon used to be a popular spot before it was disrupted by the Air Force Memorial construction. Now that the memorial is finished, will we be able to gather there again?

Posted by: ccdickson | June 29, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Good question, ccdickson. I checked with the official Air Force Memorial Foundation site and you can watch the fireworks there. There are a ton of road closures and restrictions (i.e. no grills, no booze), so check out this page for more info.

Public transportation to Pentagon City is probably your best bet.

Posted by: Julia | June 29, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Last year, I was living at 23rd and Virginia NW. From 23rd Street, there was a perfect view of the fireworks. There were people sitting out on the grass on the side of the street. It wasn't crowded and the view was great.

Posted by: Emily | July 2, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Last year, I was living at 23rd and Virginia NW. From 23rd Street, there was a perfect view of the fireworks. There were people sitting out on the grass on the side of the street. It wasn't crowded and the view was great.

Posted by: Emily | July 2, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

What radio stations will be broadcasting the concert live?

Posted by: Dan | July 2, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Any thoughts on where to go that is accessible for someone in a wheelchair? They would have to drive there so if all the roads around it are closed that won't work.

Posted by: Ellen | July 3, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

The area around the Pentagon was a great spot for watching the fireworks. Is that area still accessible?

Posted by: Terry | July 3, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I recall going to the hilltop just behind the Prince George's Hospital Center and having a very nice view of the fireworks at the National Mall. I haven't watched from there in a long time but it still looks like it would have a nice view.

Posted by: Dan | July 3, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I bet Prospect Hill near Pentagon City could be a nice, not-so-crowded viewing spot.

Posted by: Arlington | July 4, 2007 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Whoever recommended the GW Parkway must be kidding. That is a very bad idea due to overwhelming crowds. Many pull-offs and parking lots along the road? Hah! Not nearly enough for the hordes. Best advice: stay away from the GW Parkway!

Posted by: Barney | July 4, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

The best view in the District is from the open field next to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church & School at 1600 Morris Road SE in Anacostia.

Posted by: Kirk | July 4, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: xjedgsp smhi | July 13, 2007 11:15 PM | Report abuse

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