Where to see the best and brightest in the nation’s capital

When it comes to Fourth of July festivities, it doesn’t get much more patriotic than celebrating in the nation’s capital on the big day. (I mean, you can visit and see—in person—the very document that started it all.) Streets buzz with history coming to life, quaint row homes get decked out in red and blue, and seriously impressive fireworks light up the sky at night. Plus, the District is home to so many great restaurants, gorgeous homes, and endless entertainment that it’s perfect for a little summer getaway. Should you find yourself in the D.C. area for America’s birthday, try some of these locales for prime fireworks viewing:

In the center of it all—on the Mall
The National Park Service hosts the area’s biggest celebration with a nearly 20-minute show of fireworks and entertainment on the National Mall. Fireworks launch from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. The surrounding area is sure to be crowded, but offers what is certainly a close-up view.

Other landmarks
Still feeling patriotic but don’t want to deal with the crowds of the Mall? Try one of the other must-see DC spots, like the National Cathedral or the U.S. Supreme Court, both of which also offer clear views of the show with a historical and honorable backdrop.

Somewhere with a roof
The newly renovated Watergate Hotel will have primo views from its roof, or try that of The W Hotel on the opposite side of the mall (known for its rooftop views). DC abounds with rooftop bars (that are probably running specials) in every neighborhood, or, better yet, make friends with someone with a personal roof near the Capitol.

Across the river
Don’t hesitate to pop across the river for pristine views with less congested crowds. Try the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial or the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

From the river
Reflections in the water make for extra-breathtaking views. Try the Georgetown Waterfront Park (and nearby eateries Farmers Fishers Bakers and Tony and Joe’s) or the Jefferson Memorial across the Tidal Basin. If you really feel like going all out, splurge on a cruise along the Potomac. Check with companies like the Potomac Riverboat Company or Entertainment Cruises.

Wherever you end up, remember to pack a few necessities—a picnic blanket, plenty of water for D.C.'s hot summers, and ear plugs for little ones. We want to know—where will you be spending the Fourth of July?