We are moving away from the Baltimore area shortly so this will be our last 4th of July here. It seems a shame to miss out on the fireworks at our nation's capitol since it is unlikely that we will ever be here again for them. But I'm really nervous about the logistics of going down there with my 4.5 and 1.5 year olds in tow, plus I'm pregnant and not always feeling the best. Does anyone have any advice for the easiest and most stress free way to see the fireworks live? Where to park and take the metro? Where to sit? When to get there? What to expect, etc.? Should we opt for an alternative location like Virginia or the Capitol Building (where there is a symphony concert) instead of on the Mall?
I've been reading online and see that parking is extremely limited and there are lots of street closures. Even the Smithsonian metro stop is closed prior to the fireworks and reopens afterward. It also mentions that it usually takes 1.5-2 hours to clear the Mall afterward. It appears the fireworks begin around 9:15pm... how long do they last? We were really hoping not to have to "stake out" a spot super early in the day, but get there at a reasonable time and drive home to Baltimore afterward. Is this delusional? Will we be squished in a sea of people and not really be able to do anything but look up from our little spot to see them overhead as opposed to the fantastic views I always see of them flying over the reflecting pool, the Washington Monument or the Capitol Building?
I guess I'm trying to figure out if this is realistic or if we would spend a lot of time and energy getting there and back and be disappointed with the actual show. Tips, suggestions and advice are all greatly appreciated!!! Thank you!!