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That’s right. I finally found it: the best place in the entire United States to watch the fireworks on the 4th of July. Are you ready? Hold your firecrackers kids, because this is where it’s at.
The best place in the U.S. to watch fireworks on the 4th of July is…
The Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.!
Yes! The iconic location where Martin Luther King Jr. made his “I Have a Dream” speech. The place immortalizing one of the greatest U.S. Presidents. A place of protest and celebration of democracy. This is one of America’s most symbolic landmarks.
You might be reading this and wondering, 'What about the White House, Capitol Building, or the Washington Monument?’. Good question!
Certainly, those are also famous U.S. landmarks, but here’s where the Lincoln Memorial outdoes them: the view
Not only are you getting a personal firework show, but you are looking out onto the Washington Monument and reflecting pool in front of you as you watch one of the best fireworks shows in the nation.
You can even sit right on the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial too as you enjoy the show.
There’s no need to worry about getting there super early either. I managed to still find a great spot where I could sit on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial a mere 10-15 minutes before the fireworks started.
So, if you ever get a chance to be in the capital city of the United States on Independence Day, head to the Lincoln Memorial.
A word of advice though: PUT AWAY YOUR PHONES! Take a few photos and then put them away for crying out loud. We get so focused on documenting everything we forget to live in the moment, and let me tell you something, experiencing a 4th of July on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is something to remember.
This past 4th of July I traveled to the capital city of the United States, Washington D.C.
Depending on your political beliefs, going to Washington D.C. in 2018 can either feel exciting or depressing, and just like in the rest of the nation, you’ll encounter a mix of views in D.C. as well. I would say though, at the end of the day, visiting D.C. is necessary. What I mean by that is the history that surrounds this city in every way - both good and bad. Our nation’s history and its intended purpose is preserved in the museums, in the monuments, and in the atmosphere. That’s why in today’s political climate - both liberal and conservative, Republican or Democrat - I’d recommend D.C. in a heartbeat.
The words of our Founding Fathers, their intentions, and the truth of our history can get lost in the dark corners of Facebook and Twitter. This city will remind you of how far we have come, where we still need to go, and the importance of protecting democracy.
Another reason to go? It’s cheap!
Almost every major site and museum in Washington D.C. is free. You read that right. I’m not pulling an Ed McMahon Publisher’s Clearing House stunt on you.
Washington D.C. is full of famous monuments and buildings that you can see: The Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Capitol Building, Supreme Court, and The White House.
My favorite monuments were the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial. The best time to visit each of these two monuments is at sunset. It's so beautiful!
Additionally, there are plenty of incredible museums that are free to the public as well. My top pick to see is the Holocaust museum. This is a thorough museum that provides education and insight into this tragic moment in history in very poignant ways, the most of which is the opportunity to sit down and speak with a Holocaust survivor. I’m not talking a lecture in a large room. This is an intimate conversation around a small table. It’s an incredible experience and something I would recommend to anyone who is visiting the museum to take part in. I believe that one of the best ways of improving this world is to learn from the past. Something else to make sure you do at this museum is watch the video documentary on Anne Frank that plays in the auditorium. It's about a half hour long.
Another museum to see is the Smithsonian American History Museum. It’s a pretty cool place to check out, especially considering it’s in the nation’s capital. During my visit there, I saw Muhamad Ali’s boxing gloves, the All in the Family set, personal items belonging to George Washington, and even an original Apple computer. To this day though, I have yet to own a Mac though…
Another one of my favorite spots was the National Portrait Gallery. This features portraits of notable Americans throughout history, including Presidents and First Ladies. I was so excited to see the portraits for Barack and Michelle Obama. They were incredible!
A fourth museum that I did not have the chance to see but is something that is on my bucket list is the Newseum, which is a museum celebrating journalism and the First Amendment. Unfortunately, this museum is not free though.
Another spot to visit is the Botanical Gardens that are located behind the U.S. Capitol Building. It’s a pretty area and also…free!
The great news is that all these places I mentioned about are walking distance since they are all in the same area near the National Mall – and no, that’s referring to where you can locate a Hollister. Do people still wear Hollister?
On the next post, hear about the best spot in the United States to watch 4th of July fireworks!
One of New York’s coolest neighborhoods is Little Italy.
The city’s epicenter of Italian heritage and food has been featured in many famous films, including The Godfather Trilogy – with Part II featuring the most scenes there.
It’s unique because it feels very old-school New York and European at the same time, making it a fantastic blend of Italian and American culture.
The streets are decorated with bright colors of the Italian flag, flower archways, and even a large sign that reads, ‘Welcome to Little Italy.’
The biggest draw to Little Italy though is the food. You don’t have to venture here if you’re looking for great New York pizza, but this is certainly the place to go if you want to have pasta in New York City.
Everywhere you look there are options for delicious Italian food. One of the main streets in this neighborhood is Mulberry Street, which features a variety of local Italian restaurants to enjoy. The best time to visit here is in the summer when the weather is warm, so you can enjoy the outdoor seating and people watch as you eat your meal.
I had lunch at a restaurant on Mulberry Street called Ristorante Capri. As I was trying to decide where I wanted – and could afford – to have some pasta in Little Italy, an upbeat round-belled actor/writer/host-with-the-most named Gustavo practically ushered me to a table before I could decide if the lunch special was something I wanted. At the end of the day though, some charm and a nice personality will go far, and so I decided to have my Little Italy lunch at this restaurant.
I am glad I did. The staff was very friendly, and I got a fabulous outdoor seating spot. With my Eat Pray Love book in hand (I am reading that for the second time) I ordered the lunch special, with lasagna for my pasta choice. The lunch special is $15 (and this was one of the cheaper options). The special included bread, a salad, and lasagna. It was incredible! The food was delicious. Everything down to the bread was really, really good.
Even though you feel like you’re in Europe, you still get that New York sense of urgency in which they are trying to get customers and in and out as quickly as possible. I would have loved to sit there and read my book a bit while I was having lunch, especially considering they didn’t have a line of people waiting, but it seems that enjoying the moment was not included in the lunch special.
The interesting thing about New York is that even though I am living here – at least through the summer – it feels like a place where you can have a vacation on your day off. I don’t know whether to attribute that to the fact that it’s all new for me or if it’s the magic of this city, but either way my trip to Little Italy felt like a mini-vacation.
Something cool to note is that Little Italy, Soho, Tribeca, and Chinatown are all right next to each other. You could easily explore all of them in one day. I didn’t see Tribeca, nor did I venture into Chinatown for the simple reason that I had already been to San Francisco’s, which is hands down the best Chinatown in the States to explore.
I did, however, walk around Soho. If you’re not familiar with Soho, it’s an upscale New York neighborhood that has more character in the aesthetic as opposed to glam. This is where you’re going to find expensive boutiques among really cool architecture while also catching celebrities, paparazzi, or both. In my case, I saw Cindy Crawford and her family. I was tempted to say hello to Cindy and see if she remembered me from the day I did background work on a Kid Rock music video during my first year in Los Angeles, but something tells me that she would not have remembered me though…
In conclusion, here are three things to remember:
1. If you want to see celebrities, go to Soho
2. Visit New York’s Little Italy and get yourself some Italian food
3. Never do background on a Kid Rock music video.
Jill Zwarensteyn is an actress, comedian, and writer who has been featured on Amazon, TruTV, The New York Times, Matador Network, BUST Magazine, Tiplr, YourTango, Thought Catalog, GoMad Nomad, Mashable, The Daily Mail UK, the Cannes Film Festival, LaughFest, Women's Lifestyle Magazine, and the Funny Women Festival LA. For more info visit: http://www.jillzwarensteyn.weebly.com