july forth

All photos available for print and licensing >

Independence day is right around the corner and I’ve been getting a lot of questions about where to shoot. So here it is, the best places to shoot the fireworks in Washington DC with views of the monuments:

Of course the National Mall is the top pick. This was taken on the Washington Monument lawn facing the Lincoln Memorial. The earlier you get there the better, but you don’t have to wait all day. I got there 3-4 hours before the fireworks started and there was still plenty of room for everyone. Count on the metro to be super crowded. And of course, the bathrooms are an extraaa long wait.

Fireworks on the National Mall

Fireworks on the National Mall

Here’s a quick little video to watch them in action:

Another good place to go is Roosevelt Island off of the GW Parkway. You get a killer view of the Lincoln and Washington Monument all lined up. You could pack a picnic and go early for this one but again, its not completely necessary. There are so many places along the trail that offer great views of the fireworks. However, the traffic on the parkway can get pretty nuts. Especially once the fireworks get going, many cars stop to watch. If anything, plan on walking to Rosslyn metro station to get home.

washington, dc, lincoln memorial, washington monument, fireworks, july 4th, independence day, celebration, night, gw parkway,

A 10 minute walk from Roosevelt Island

Last but not least, Iwo Jima memorial in Arlington VA. This is the ONLY one where I recommend you get there as early as possible. Like pack a lunch and dinner because I’ve seen some people wait there starting morning time. The only area available to sit and watch is the little grassy area by the apartments so go early if you want a good line up of the Iwo Jima memorial with the DC monuments. Did I mention you should go early?

iwo jima, marine corp memorial, fireworks, dc fireworks, washington dc, angela b. pan, abpan, night photography

Fireworks at the Iwo Jima Memorial


Skip to 3:50 to see what it’s actually like.

And if you need a few tips on how to photograph the fireworks, here’s a little video I made a couple of years ago on how to do it. This is the exact way I shot all these fireworks images in this guide.

Hope you enjoy and Happy Independence Day!