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There are a number of events taking place in Washington DC on US Independence Day, as is befitting it's status as the nation's capital city. I've talked in more details about the National Independence Day Parade and A Capitol Fourth concert else where, but for me if there was only one thing I could attend on the 4th of July in DC then it would have to be the fireworks display.
I think the setting is the primary aspect of the appeal - so many iconic monuments are lined up in such a compact areas it really is difficult to imagine a more dramatic backdrop to the pyrotechnics. The rarity of the events adds further value, especially as budget cuts in recent years have meant that they don't even get a fireworks display on New Year's Eve in DC any more!
The talismanic 4th July fireworks are surely the Macy's version in New York, but Washington runs them pretty close, and will certainly be packed with crowds to enjoy all the day's celebrations. With a number of top quality rooftop bars dotted across the city too there is ample opportunity to vary your location make this a truly unique and personal occasion.
The fireworks take place on The Mall, usually at around the same time the Capitol Fourth concert is ending, so expect them to start at around 9.15-9.30pm, although the official start time is always given as 9.09pm. The show usually lasts a very specific sounding 17 minutes.
The fireworks are launched from the reflecting pool area, so the optimum viewing spots are obviously on the National Mall itself, the Jefferson Memorial, FDR Memorial and in Potomac park. Viewing areas on the National mall are obviously subject ot very tight security so be careful what you take along with you if you don'r want to be denied entrance - along with the obvious prohibitions, alcohol is not allowed.
There are several DC hotels and bars with rooftop facilities too, so check those out if you are a little further afield and don't want to be stuck in the crowds.
We're guessing that the stations broadcasting the Capitol Fourth concert will stick around for the fireworks too, so check out the links there.
There was an alternative live stream of the fireworks last year so we'll be keeping an eye out for that too and will put the link up here as and when it appears.
For something a little different there are several excellent streaming webcams in Washington DC that will afford a good view of the fireworks, not least the ones looking right at the Washington Monument:
The PBS website this year also has an excellent "Direct Your Own Coverage" feature, using footage from 20 different cameras positioned at strategic points around the Capitol:
If you're in the DC area on or around the 4th July celebrations then it is very much advisable to book your accommodation as soon as you can. You can search for hotels, check availability and make reservations for local hotels here.
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