Where Washington’s VIPs will be watching the fireworks

4th of July Fireworks on the National Mall as viewed from Top of the Town on Wednesday July 04, 2012 (Photo by Matt McClain/For The Washington Post)
Fourth of July Fireworks on the National Mall as viewed from Top of the Town on Wednesday July 04, 2012 (Photo by Matt McClain/For The Washington Post)

While the rest of the city either schleps lawn chairs down to the National Mall, shells out $75 a ticket for a swanky hotel rooftop or just stays home, Washington’s big names will flock to familiar perches of power to watch the sky go boom during Friday’s fireworks display. Here’s a list of all the places you should probably try to get invited to next year.

1. 101 Constitution Avenue, NW 

Home of power lunch spot Charlie Palmer Steak and the power law firm Nelson Mullins, the panoramic views from the rooftop of the 101 Constitution are epic. A source inside the building tells us that tickets to the Fourth of July celebration are precious. “This is the hot commodity every year,” says our tipster, “people are hoping someone can’t make it.” There are only 600 spots available, doled out to each of the building’s tenants according to the amount of square footage they lease. That’s democracy at work.

2. The Embassy of Canada, 501 Pennsylvania Ave, NW

Fortunately, the Canadian embassy isn’t partied out from Canada Day (July 1st) because its rooftop is one of the District’s best for viewing fireworks. Our northern neighbors are opening up their rooftop to 200-plus guests for a BBQ, an ice cream cart and a photo booth, if you can get it all in before the main attraction. If you are attending and want to show off your prime spot (we want to see!), tweet us using the embassy’s hashtag #viewfrom501.

3. The National Museum of American History, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW

Every year the Smithsonian holds a ticketed (but invitation-only) event for the museum’s donors and board members on the roof terrace of National Museum of American History. The event is a thank-you to those who support the institution. There will be hot dogs and hamburgers (oh, and educational stuff for the kiddos) inside before everyone heads to the roof to watch the light show.

4. The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW 

We hear Mr. Worldwide — aka Pitbull — will be more like Mr. USA this Fourth. The pop star will be serenading the Obamas and their guests at an annual picnic on the South Lawn. Those who will be enjoying the concert and fireworks from 1600 Penn. are troops and their families and White House staff. If you’re on the invite list, don’t forget a birthday present for Malia, who also turns 16 on Friday.

5. John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F street, NW

It sells out every single year. Every year for more than a decade, nearly 1,000 people, many members and donors, take over the roof top terrace level at the Kennedy Center for fried chicken and laser tag. This year the kid-friendly affair entitled “Independence Day Under the Stars” will have a “space theme” complete with a mad science lab. So while mom and dad listen to the National Symphony Orchestra’s annual Independence Day concert being piped in, the kids can get their Bill Nye The Science Guy on–all while being patriotic, of course.


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Helena Andrews is the co-author of The Reliable Source. Follow her on Twitter @helena_andrews, and send your hot tips, sightings, and gossip to reliablesource@washpost.com.
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