We have always enjoyed Washington DC for its museums, parks, monuments, and historic neighborhoods. More recent trips showed us another, more recently enhanced side of the city–its restaurants.
We generally visit Washington DC around spring (especially cherry blossom season) and autumn. We want to avoid the winter snow and especially the oppressive summer heat and humidity. This year, we threw caution to the wind and traveled to the city in the summer to partake in its July 4th celebrations. And since we had plenty of notice for this trip, we, for the first time, were able to submit applications for admission into one of the very limited White House tours.
Washington DC July 4th Activities
Where better to celebrate Independence Day than in the nation’s capital? The first few days of our trip were plagued by a combination of high heat, even higher humidity, and by a number of unusual, unpredictably frequent soaking thunderstorms. By July 3rd, we began to fear the potential for a washout of the 4th. And since we were leaving town the morning of the 5th, we feared missing out on the one reason we decided to brave the oppressive summer weather.
Our fears were for naught. On the morning of the 4th, the clouds cleared quickly to reveal the cloudless, sunny skies that would characterize the rest of the day–not to speak of the night. Although the day was filled with events (three concerts, a parade, and evening fireworks), we skipped most in favor of visits to more museums. We did, however, catch part of the parade as we had to walk blocks along Independence Ave. before we were able to cross the street from the Museum of American History to our lunch restaurant.
Washington DC Fireworks
Rather than fight the crowds for a view of the fireworks, we decided to pay $60 for standing-room tickets (although not the $500+ tabs for a reserved table) at the rooftop lounge of the W Hotel. While crowded, we ended up with a great view of what we felt were some of the best fireworks we had ever seen (at least until we subsequently saw the New Year’s Eve fireworks in Sydney Australia). We had twenty minutes of continual color that filled the entire floor-to-ceiling window pane that we selected as our viewing spot.