Dana Gooley, special to wtop.com
WASHINGTON - Whether you're a seasoned local or a newbie tourist, finding a good spot to watch the District's fireworks display -- that's not on a rooftop -- is often a matter of luck.
However, we know some places around the city that might improve your chances.
Meridian Hill Park: Often referred to as "Malcolm X Park," this area has a good view of the National Mall. See the sights without the crowds.
Georgetown Waterfront Park: If you'd like a "quieter" Fourth of July, try Georgetown's Waterfront Park. You can see the Potomac from a comfortable bench away from the streets, and you can enjoy a sweet treat after the show. M street is only a few blocks away.
Arlington Memorial Bridge: If standing room only doesn't deter you, the view from Arlington Memorial Bridge is perfect for watching fireworks. Framed by the monuments, you'll have a full view of the festivities.
Washington Monument: If you want to be as close to the fireworks as possible, get to the Mall early and grab a spot near the Washington Monument. The sparklers are set off from around the reflecting pool area, so remember your earplugs.
Thomas Jefferson Memorial: Seeing the reflection of the fireworks in the Tidal Basin is almost as beautiful as the ones in the sky. If you're at the Jefferson Memorial, you can see both!
National Mall: The go-to viewing location for locals and tourists, alike, gets extremely crowded, but for a reason: It has the best views of the fireworks in the city. Get there early and save your seat, but have an exit strategy -- the crowds on the Metro are just as bad as the ones on the Mall.
If you really want the experience of watching fireworks on the National Mall, WTOP's Heather Brady says it can be done without getting trampled by tourists. Here's the game plan: Arrive an hour or two before the fireworks show is scheduled to begin. Find a patch of grass near the Capitol Building and sit there for the show. Enjoy the fireworks. Then, the exact moment the show ends, use your Washington crowd-maneuvering abilities and book it as fast as you can to a Metro station well off the beaten tourist path, like Judiciary Square. You'll get a jump on the tourists who will cram into the Metro Center, Chinatown and Smithsonian stations, and you may even be able to snag a seat on the train.
The National Cathedral: It's one of the highest points of the city, so naturally, the Cathedral has a great view of the main D.C. fireworks, as well as fireworks shows around the area. It's less crowded than other popular spots around the city, but plan on arriving before the show to ensure a nice seat on the grass.
Oronoco Bay Park: Directly across from the Potomac, the waterfront parks throughout Old Town Alexandria offer scenic views of the river, the Capitol and various fireworks shows, both in the District and in other area locations.
The fireworks show starts at dark, typically around 9 p.m.
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