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Best place for Fourth of July: New York or DC?

Best place for Fourth of July: New York or DC?

Old Jan 29th, 2011, 07:49 AM
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Best place for Fourth of July: New York or DC?

We are taking a trip from California flying into New York and out of DC that straddles the Fourth of July. We don't know what is better, to spend fewer days in New York and travel to DC on the 3rd, or spend a full week in New York and travel to DC on the 5th, leaving five days there and three in Colonial Williamsburg. We have two daughters, ages 8 and 10. We would like to be part of festivities but we're not big on HUGE crowds, i.e. we'd be happier watching from a hotel or restaurant than being part of a big mob. Advice?
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Old Jan 29th, 2011, 08:04 AM
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Then don't go down to the Mall itself for the 4th fireworks from DC BUT DO watch from a hotel IN the District and yes they (the fireworks) are worth it.
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Old Jan 29th, 2011, 08:45 AM
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DC has great fireworks and there are lots of places to watch it outside of the Mall which is packed. I've never been to the NYC fireworks display so I cant compare it. But I have seen fireworks in lots of cities and various places and DC tops them all. There are lots of festivities going on around the city for the 4th. There is a parade down Constitution Ave. in the late morning. Don't know that there is alot of info available this far out though.
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Old Jan 29th, 2011, 10:28 AM
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Thanks. What makes the decision a bit harder is that we'd rather spend more time in New York than DC but with the fourth smack in the middle of the stay and us unwilling to travel actually ON the fourth it makes more of an impact on the trip. So would you "short" NYC in favor of DC to see the fireworks?
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Old Jan 29th, 2011, 11:12 AM
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No, both have much to c, but if u want to stay longer in NYC, then I would. They have great fireworks I hear.
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Old Jan 29th, 2011, 11:15 AM
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Here's what goes on in D.C. on the 4th of July (from the top of my head):
1. Reading of the Declaration of Independence at the Archives
2. Parade
3. Smithsonian's Folklife Festival on the Mall
4. PBS "A Capitol Fourth" concert with NSO and name performers on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol
5. Fireworks beginning around 9:15 pm

Note that if you go to the concert, you will be pretty far from the fireworks, so your view won't be great. They do a dress rehearsal of the concert on July 3rd if you want to see it then.

Also, if you want to stay out of the crowds (which I find large, but happy and friendly), then you'll have to find a hotel with a view ($$$$) or perhaps look into one of the Potomac cruise boats.

I think that DC would give you a more "patriotic" feel for the Fourth of July, but there will be huge crowds.
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Old Jan 29th, 2011, 11:21 AM
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In either place the celebrations on the 4th are masive.

In NY there are fireworks over the harbor and more than a million people gather along the shore to watch. Roads into and out of the area are closed 5 to 6 hours in advance and the only access is on foot. I'm not aware of any hotels that would give a view - since there are so many tall buildings. A rooftop bar downtown might show something - but hardly the place for little kids.

In DC the celebration is on the mall - again hundreds of thousands of people who gather hours in advance. There might be a hotel with views - I don;t know the area well enough - but typically something with a view is very expensive (In NYC hotel rooms with view of Times Square on New Year's Eve are often in excess of $1500 for the night).

IMHO either is best watched on TV given the hours of waiting time - often in very hot and humid weather. (DC is especially steamy in summer - even worse than NY.)

I would stay longer where you think you will have more to see/do.
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Old Jan 29th, 2011, 03:05 PM
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I would spend more time in NYC but I would watch the fireworks on TV. Go to DC when you can get around to visit the outstanding museums and sights. It's going to be very hot in both though.
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Old Jan 29th, 2011, 03:23 PM
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I'm not aware of any hotels that would give a view - since there are so many tall buildings.

In NYC, to maximize viewing, the fireworks are synchronized on a series of barges up either the East River or the Hudson (though usually the former). Thus depending on location, you could actually be in a hotel, restaurant or (crowded) park with decent views of the fireworks.

For example, where I live in Brooklyn, if the fireworks are in the East River, we all go out on the rooftops of the brownstones to watch. Last year, the fireworks were in the Hudson; friends of mine timed a walk up the park that runs along the west side of Manhattan from Battery Park City to coincide. This way, even though there were crowds, they could partake in the festivities without feeling trapped in all the humanity!

I don't know how early in the year they decide where the fireworks will be. If you're able to find out, you could look for a hotel in Manhattan or Brooklyn close enough to the relevant river so you'll be able to see; you could even speak to someone at the hotel to see what they do for the holiday...
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Old Feb 4th, 2011, 05:19 PM
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There is a hotel in NJ that has a view of the fireworks, it's a starwood property, one of the tunnels, I can't remember off the top of my head, however I can tell you from experience of seeing the Macy's fireworks first hand, you'll have a much better time watching them on TV, you are going to be standing around for HOURS, and unless you go really early you won't have a good vantage point. DC fireworks while not as good, won't be as bad to see.
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Old Feb 4th, 2011, 07:18 PM
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We just decided we will be in New York because that works better for the rest of our plans. I REFUSE to watch fireworks on TV, what on earth would be the point! If it is really impossible to just see them easily from somewhere (we are spoiled here, we can see them from our house usually or an easy drive away if we want to be right under them) then I guess we will skip it this year. We saw good fireworks last year in Victoria for Canada Day anyway.
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