Where Are You Watching the Fireworks on the 4th?
This will be my seventh Fourth of July here in the DC area -- I've lived in Arlington for six of them and came to visit a friend once during college. It's given me a chance to experience the Fourth from many different locations, so here are a few tips for a successful celebration:
- Have friends in high places. Since Arlington isn't bound by DC's height restrictions, its buildings offer many of the best views of the fireworks. If you know someone who's hosting a party in Rosslyn or Crystal City, go. You'll get the full fireworks experience with none of the crowd-fighting.
- Develop an exit strategy. If you're Metroing, know what station you'll walk to (Smithsonian is closed on the Fourth). Once the fireworks end, everyone tries to go home at the exact same time, and if you can delay getting on Metro or on the road by even an hour, you'll save yourself a big headache. Pack an extra lemonade in the cooler and take your time.
- If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. Baz Luhrmann was right: The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I'd also add that, no matter where you go, what you do, or who you do it with, drinking lots of water will indisputably improve your holiday experience.
Arlington viewing locations, street closures, and tons of key info are at the county website.
About.com has a thorough page of information and options.
If you choose to go into the District, DCPages.com has a cool map of prime viewing areas.