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Where to watch the National Mall fireworks and celebrate July 4 this year

(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) The Fourth of July is next week, which means now is the time to plan how to watch the fireworks spectacle without leaving Arlington.

The 17-minute National Mall show put on by the National Parks Service will begin at 9:09 p.m. There are several places to see it without braving the crowds set to descend on D.C.

  • Gateway Park in Rosslyn and Key Bridge, though the latter does not have seating
  • Mount Vernon Trail, along the Potomac River, which offers a clear view of the D.C. skyline and is accessible by bike
  • Gravelly Point Park, north of Reagan National Airport, which is better known for its views of airplanes taking off
  • The Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima), located near Rosslyn, which provides a panoramic view of the fireworks against the backdrop of the National Mall
  • Long Bridge Park in Crystal City, which has three athletic fields and plenty of space to picnic

Those looking for family-friendly ways to celebrate Independence Day during daylight hours have a couple options in local neighborhoods.

The annual July 4 Parade and Potluck at Woodlawn Park will begin at 10:30 a.m. from a home on the 1200 block of N. Abingdon Street and the potluck will begin at 11 a.m. in Woodlawn Park (1325 N. Buchanan Street).

The event — which has been a county tradition for over 20 years — will include traditional cookout-style food and July 4 themed activities throughout the afternoon.

Douglas Park plans to host its annual free July 4 parade and potluck beginning at 10 a.m. and running through noon. The event will include a bike decorating contest for children with a cash prize, a water slide, a fire truck and more.

Bellevue Forest is also having a kids parade, according to an event posted earlier this month on Nextdoor. Families will meet at 8:45 a.m. at the intersection of N. Oxford Street and Roberts Lane.

“The Cherrydale Fire Department will lead the kids down the street starting at 9 a.m. to the Kenmore cul de sac,” per the event. “Please decorate your bikes, strollers, scooters and yourselves for the parade.”

Some other Independence Day events typically occur annually but have not been updated for 2023:

  • The Barcroft Parade and Picnic, which has previously begun at 10 a.m.
  • The Bluemont Bell Ringing, which allows those who visit to ring the bell located next to Fire Station 2 on N. George Mason Drive and Wilson Blvd.
  • The Lyon Village Parade and Picnic, which commenced at the corner of Key Blvd and N. Highland Street.

Revelers looking to celebrate at a local park should note that alcoholic beverages, grills, fireworks and drones are not allowed on public parks in Arlington on Independence Day.

In connection to the fireworks, the following road closures are planned from 4:30-11 p.m. on July 4.

  • Marshall Drive, from Route 110 to N. Meade Street
  • N. Meade Street, from Marshall Drive to N. Fairfax Drive
  • Exit ramp from westbound Route 50 to N. Lynn Street
  • Exit ramp from eastbound Route 50 to N. Meade Street
  • Eastbound N. Fairfax Drive, from N. Pierce Street to N. Fort Myer Drive

The following closures are planned from 9-10 p.m.

  • Fort Myer Drive between 19th Street N. and Arlington Blvd will also be closed.
  • Memorial Bridge/Memorial Circle

The Air Force Memorial will be closed to fireworks watcher as it was last year, due to the ongoing Arlington National Cemetery expansion project.

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