Fourth of July fireworks in DC: Where to watch, when they start & more

The nation’s capital is one of the best places in the country to celebrate Independence Day. Here’s where you can catch D.C.’s fireworks display Thursday night. 

What time do D.C.’s fireworks start? 

The National Park Service is hosting the Independence Day Fireworks on the National Mall from 9:09 p.m. to 9:27 p.m. on Thursday, July 4. 

Fireworks will be shot off from both sides of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

The National Mall will close 14th Street by the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial starting at 4 a.m. July 4th for security sweeps. That secured area will open at 1 p.m. for visitors to claim their seat for the big fireworks show. 

Tip: Try to get there early if you can to secure a good spot for you and your crew – but remember, it will be hot so stay hydrated. On that note, there are no bathrooms, only portapotties. 

How to get to the National Mall on July 4

You can enter the National Mall through the following access points:

  • Constitution Avenue at Henry Bacon Drive NW
  • 17th Street NW at Constitution Ave NW
  • 15th Street NW at Madison Drive NW
  • 14th Street SW at Jefferson Drive SW
  • George Mason Memorial

Avoid driving to the National Mall if you can, and opt for the Metro. Many streets in the area will be closed to traffic, and finding parking nearby will be tough. Heading home will be crowded, so be patient!

If you usually head to the Lincoln Memorial as your go-to spot to watch the fireworks, you’re out of luck this year. The National Mall’s National Park Service says the Lincoln Memorial steps will be closed on Thursday. 

"Due to safety concerns from anticipated crowding and limited access caused by ongoing construction on the steps, the Lincoln Memorial will be closed on July 4. The plaza and lawn by the Reflecting Pool will be open as usual for fireworks viewing. The memorial will reopen on July 5," the National Park Service posted to social media.

Remember, you’re not allowed to bring alcohol, weapons, explosives or other prohibited items. 

Map of the National Mall for July  4

READ MORE: Fireworks injuries on the rise, report warns ahead of July 4th celebrations

Where to watch fireworks in D.C. (away from the Mall)

There are plenty of spots to catch the Independence Day fireworks away from the crowds on the National Mall. 

The Fourth at the Wharf starts at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday and has a great view for fireworks viewing. Make sure to arrive early, as the pier may become extremely busy. 

Head to a rooftop, like at the Red White and Brew Rooftop Party. All proceeds from the event will go to programs supporting the United Soldiers and Sailors of America. Join the party at 700 Pennsylvania Ave, SE Washington. 

Get away from land and hop on a boat. City Cruises offers multiple plans to watch the fireworks while on the water. Enjoy the spectacle on a delightful cruise with food and drinks. 

You can see the fireworks from the other side of the Potomac River, like at the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, the Netherlands Carillon, the Mount Vernon Trail and the U.S. Air Force Memorial. 

If you want a free spot in D.C. but away from the mall, try Hains Point, Washington National Cathedral or Cardozo High School. The Kennedy Center’s terrace is also a good spot to watch the fireworks from. 

What happens if it rains?

Thursday is expected to be hot and hazy with possible storms. 

There is a plan in place should the National Park Service and U.S. Park Police need to evacuate the National Mall into nearby Smithsonian Museums and federal buildings due to weather.

Sign up for emergency text messages from U.S. Park Police by texting JULY4DC to 888777.

How to watch July 4 fireworks via livestream

Don’t want to deal with the crowds or the weather? 

You can still watch the fireworks from home, even if you don’t have a well-positioned rooftop to watch from. 

The fireworks will be streamed live on the FOX Local smart TV app and on starting at 9:00 p.m. 

FOX 5 DC is available to watch for free on Roku, Amazon FireTV, Apple TV, Google Android TV and Vizio with the FOX LOCAL app. FOX LOCAL is free 24/7 live streaming, breaking news, live video, weather forecasts, traffic reports and in-depth reporting on sports, politics, health and more.

Here’s how to download the FOX Local app on your smart TV.