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tom911 goes to Washington, D.C. for the 4th of July

tom911 goes to Washington, D.C. for the 4th of July

Old Jul 6, 19, 1:15 pm
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tom911 goes to Washington, D.C. for the 4th of July

Fly back to DC every 2-3 years to take in the parade and fireworks. Flew back from Sacramento on an Alaska award ticket into IAD (via SEA) and home on an AA award ticket from IAD (via CLT/PHX). Both of those were booked two weeks out. This time I'm just going to cover the sights in DC.

JULY 3

Metro from my hotel in Crystal City (Hilton Garden Inn, $89) over to Foggy Bottom Metro. Walked past the State Department on the way down to the National Mall.



Just a gorgeous day in DC with highs around 90, though you do have to deal with the humidity, something we don't have in the San Francisco Bay Area.





Things were a little different, though, at the Lincoln Memorial.











Walked down The Mall to the World War II Memorial. Nice to see all the fountains working. Most of my visits are in the winter when they're turned off.









View towards the Lincoln Memorial from the World War II Memorial:



White House view from the National Mall:



All the photos from this day are in this gallery on my web site:
https://tom911.smugmug.com/Travel-US...-National-Mall

Next: July 4th
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Last edited by tom911; Jul 6, 19 at 1:21 pm
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Old Jul 6, 19, 1:56 pm
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JULY 4

Took Metro to Archives/Navy Memorial station at 7th St NW and Pennsylvania Avenue and walked the two blocks down to the parade route on Constitution Avenue. Ended up walking all the way up to 15th St, near the reviewing stand, for a decent location for photos. For the first half of the parade I stood behind some folks that were seated, but they bailed due to heat and humidity and I was able move closer to the street the second half.

Side streets were blocked off by military vehicles and there was a heavy National Guard/Military Police presence along parts of the parade route. The section I was in had police from adjoining counties, some of whom were heavily armed.





The parade began with a motorcycle unit from the Metropolitan DC Police.





After the police, members of the military. This is very similar to past years, as was the rest of the parade.


















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Old Jul 6, 19, 2:09 pm
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There were a few floats and balloons.





















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Old Jul 6, 19, 2:25 pm
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Thank you for the pictures, nothing like the DC Trip,

Sad to see Arlington cemetery, but watching the Unknown Soldier Guards, really makes one feel honored they are remembered,

We live in a wonderful country, people are beating at the doors trying to get in, Many don’t realize how lucky they are,

Lets hope they never find out how the other half live,

Thanks again for the pictures, I have many of the Cherry Blossoms, but none of the last big parade,
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Old Jul 6, 19, 2:29 pm
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And you can't have a parade without marching units and bands. I tried to get the banner showing where the school/organization was from and those will appear in my photo gallery.






































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Old Jul 6, 19, 2:32 pm
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And, at the very end of the parade, cowboys and Krishnas.





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Old Jul 6, 19, 2:38 pm
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Arrived at Rosslyn Metro in Virginia around 6pm for the airshow. Stopped for a meal there, and then stood outside under a building awning while it rained. Looked overhead and saw the Presidential 747 aircraft fly over between buildings, so figured I'd just take my chances and walk over to the park area where the Marine Corps Memorial and Netherlands Carillon are located. Rain had turned to occasional sprinkles now, and I was there for the rest of the airshow, including the Blue Angels flyovers. Sadly, my camera was not up to the task of shooting aircraft against cloud cover, so I'm not going to post any of those photos as they just look like blurs. Watching some of the TV coverage after, even they had to struggle to get good video in this situation.

Next: fireworks.
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Old Jul 6, 19, 3:08 pm
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Rosslyn is a great location for viewing the fireworks, as you look down towards the National Mall and have a great view. When I arrived, professional photographers were already staking out terrain. Most of my fireworks on my website were taken with my cell phone (One Plus 6T) and I only added a few taken with the camera when I needed the zoom feature for a better photo.

A word about the fireworks: there were two distinct fireworks show. The first was launched over the National Mall by the National Park Service paid, contracted vendor. My photos are from that display. The second display was launched by donors over West Potomac. The tree line in Rosslyn blocked most of that display and I did not take any photos except for one as I climbed a hill and walked out of the park I was in. From what I read the following morning, many on the National Mall could not view most of the fireworks displays due to all the smoke. As my photos progress, you'll notice the smoke, too.


























Fireworks photo gallery:
https://tom911.smugmug.com/Travel-US...-Washington-DC

Parade photo gallery:
https://tom911.smugmug.com/Travel-US...dependence-Day

Last edited by tom911; Jul 6, 19 at 3:17 pm
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Old Jul 6, 19, 5:32 pm
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Old Jul 6, 19, 6:13 pm
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Fantastic pics. And a different perspective than we see in local/national news. I noticed that you stayed in Crystal City, but you photographed the fireworks from Rosslyn? Where was your vantage point in Rosslyn? I asked because I am local and have considered going to see the fireworks many times, but just haven't wanted to deal with the crowds.

One thing of note, is that the USMC has its Evening Parade every Friday evening in the summer at the USMC Barracks in SE WDC. I generally go once a year and went last night. A extraordinary show. And a flag officer hosts it, along with a ranking secretary. Last night it happened to be the USMC Commandant and the Secretary of State. (Don't worry - no speeches.) And the area around the barracks, as well as the newly developed Wharf area have some fantastic restaurants.
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Old Jul 6, 19, 6:28 pm
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Originally Posted by lamphs View Post
Where was your vantage point in Rosslyn?
I was right below the Netherlands Carillon on the sidewalk. You're above a grassy hill there and have quite few vantage points to choose from depending where you position yourself as you descend. When I first came in for the airshow it looked like this, though a lot more people as we got closer to 9. The hill runs down to the left center of the photo.



One thing of note, is that the USMC has its Evening Parade every Friday evening in the summer at the USMC Barracks in SE WDC. I generally go once a year and went last night. A extraordinary show.
Will keep that in mind for a future visit. Thanks.
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Old Jul 6, 19, 6:39 pm
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This photo should give you a better idea of the crowd view once the fireworks started. They're up high enough that I think everyone there in Rosslyn had a pretty good view.

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Old Jul 7, 19, 12:00 am
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Amazing trip details Tom.

Question, is staying at that Hilton location make it easily accessible to DC using the metro. I would like to make a trip sometime and heard that it's cheaper to stay outside of DC and just take the metro in. Purpose of visit: never been to DC and want to visit all the sites especially the Smithsonian.
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Old Jul 7, 19, 12:45 am
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The Hilton Garden Inn is next to a Hampton Inn in Crystal City, and they're both just a 5-10 min walk from the Metro station. The Hilton Garden Inn charges $13 for a small breakfast buffet with an omelette station while the Hampton Inn includes their standard comped breakfast. They're not the only hotels in the area as there are two Marriotts (both connected underground to Metro), a Hyatt, a Hilton, a Courtyard and an Embassy Suites, as well as some others (Doubletree, Crowne Plaza, Renaissance), and it just depends how far you want to walk. Some of the ones that might be a 10-15 min walk out, like the Hyatt, run a regular shuttle to the Metro station if you don't want to walk or the weather turns bad.

Not only do the hotel prices tend to be lower here, but the taxes on your hotel would be slightly less than staying in DC itself. If it's really slow in DC, like a winter weekend, you may get similar rates in DC that you would see in Crystal City.

If you wanted to go even further out, you might find even cheaper hotels in Bethesda or Silver Springs near Metro stations. I stayed at a Doubletree out that way once when it was the only cheap option I could find one weekend, but generally I've always found the best rates in Crystal City. Make sure you have train fares down as they are higher during commute periods. A day pass just dropped to $13 but it may not be the best value. I haven't bought one in years.

Along the way in on Metro, there is a mutistory shopping mall at Pentagon City and also a Costco and some shopping on the other side of the street.
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Old Jul 7, 19, 5:56 am
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Originally Posted by tom911 View Post
Rosslyn is a great location for viewing the fireworks, as you look down towards the National Mall and have a great view. When I arrived, professional photographers were already staking out terrain. Most of my fireworks on my website were taken with my cell phone (One Plus 6T) and I only added a few taken with the camera when I needed the zoom feature for a better photo.

A word about the fireworks: there were two distinct fireworks show. The first was launched over the National Mall by the National Park Service paid, contracted vendor. My photos are from that display. The second display was launched by donors over West Potomac. The tree line in Rosslyn blocked most of that display and I did not take any photos except for one as I climbed a hill and walked out of the park I was in. From what I read the following morning, many on the National Mall could not view most of the fireworks displays due to all the smoke. As my photos progress, you'll notice the smoke, too.
West of Potomac did turned out to be the better viewing point for the fireworks this year. I was at DC side during the firework, muggy evening without any breeze, smoke from fireworks simply stayed rather than blown away. Especially on second half of firework show the view from DC was blocked by thick smoke from firework and could not see fireworks itself, just bright lights in thick smoke in the air. After the fireworks entire DC was covered with smoke from fireworks, walking back to hotel was like walking in thick fog with smell of smoke.

Usually July 4th fireworks is lunched from National Mall, but this year there was no fireworks lunched form National Mall, all fireworks were launched more closely from Potomac River area. Don't know exact reason for change this year, but I heard something to do with amount of fireworks launched this year, far more fireworks were launched and had to change the location. This is the reason National Airport was closed for landing/takeoff during 9-10 p.m. period during fireworks. When fireworks were launched from National Mall on previous years National Airport did not have to be closed during fireworks.

National Airport was also closed for landing/takeoff during Trump speech at Lincoln Memorial around 7 p.m. because there were several fly by of military planes over Lincoln Memorial during the speech.
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