Although elaborate pyro shows will be happening across the United States on Independence Day, DC really does get the best, most patriotic, photo-worthy experience in the whole country. Yeah, we might be a little partial, but there's also something about seeing the fireworks explode over the national monuments that can fill us with thoroughly non-ironic pride (yes, the whiskey helps bring out this feeling, too). This year, we've rounded up all the best places to catch the jaw-dropping show.
There’s no better place to comfortably watch the magic than at POV, where you can enjoy a terrace that wraps around the hotel overlooking the White House (Hey, Obama!) and panoramic views of the city... if you have some cash to burn, that is. The Boom With a View party does come with a $265 price tag. But at least it includes an open bar?
From the water
The Potomac OK, so if you can arrange it, this is probably the coolest way to see the fireworks because, you know, you're on a boat. Your best options for the evening include Odyssey Cruises, which'll set you back about $220, but comes with a band, a call-brand friendly open bar, and a dinner. Also on the table: DC Cruises, for an adults-only double-decker boating ($130 will get you on board and free wine and beer), and DC Harbor Cruises ($145 for one drink ticket and snacks).
Arlington One the other side of the Lincoln Memorial, the Memorial Bridge will be blocked off to minimize gridlocks, which makes it the perfect place to stand. This is one of the best spots if you're really trying to get your photography game going strong.
If you’ve ever watched the fireworks Downtown, you recall all too well the traffic-induced headache that ensues afterwards... and with the current metro debacle, it'll probably be even worse this year. Don’t be afraid to cross into Virginia, a mere three miles away. Definitely consider avoiding the whole situation by checking out the Skydome, a rotating restaurant atop the DoubleTree, serving beautiful skyline views.
Georgetown Waterfront Park
Georgetown Beeline past the neighborhood's chic eateries straight to the Potomac River's edge. The Georgetown Waterfront Park is an excellent place to have a seat and watch the show unfold, and unobstructed views of the Kennedy Center will guarantee seriously Instagram-worthy views.
If you want a serious party, head over to Shaw, where the new, sleek Cambria Suites will be celebrating America's birthday. Lounge on white leather furniture, and enjoy cocktails around the fire pit from 5-11pm.
The US Capitol
West Lawn You can sing along with Smokey Robinson at A Capitol Fourth, so... that makes it pretty much the place to be. The West Lawn is open to the public, so as with everything happening that day, get there early.
The Jefferson Memorial
Tidal Basin Although the Tidal Basin’s paddleboats are closed for the festivities, don’t fret. Regardless of whatever side you choose, watching the fireworks reflect off the water is genuinely breathtaking.
Rooftops shindigs definitely complement a 240th celebratory bash, and the Sky Bar at the Beacon Hotel is stepping up, so you can enjoy hours worth of summer picnic-themed food and cocktails, all while checking out the show. If it becomes too crowded upstairs, head downstairs to their bar and grill to mingle without all the fuss.
The Lincoln Memorial
Reflecting Pool This is the spot if you want to sit directly underneath the explosion erupting in the night sky. While a crook in your neck is inevitable, the view will be absolutely worth it.
Downtown Extending from the US Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, the National Mall provides a great vantage point from anywhere in between. Get there extremely early and set up a picnic area to zone out, but be aware that you won’t be only one with this genius idea. This is not the spot for the agoraphobic, to say the least.
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Jai Williams is a freelancer for Thrillist, and a published photographer/writer who is addicted to 62.5-degree eggs. Follow @januarijai on Twitter.