If you're headed down to the National Mall for July Fourth festivities, here are a few things you should know.
The National Park Service prohibits weapons, fireworks, alcohol and grills on the National Mall during the Independence Day event.
Additional security measures will be in place to ensure the safety and security of those in attendance on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol including a search of all bags, coolers, backpacks and closed containers. Food items are permitted and those in attendance on the West Lawn are strongly encouraged to bring their own supply of water. The following items are prohibited:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Glass bottles
- Animals (other than service animals)
- Firearms and ammunitions (either real or simulated)
- Explosives of any kind (including fireworks)
- Knives, blades or sharp objects (of any length)
- Laser pointers, signs, posters
- Mace, pepper spray, sticks and poles
- Electric stun guns
- Martial arts weapons or devices
- Oversized umbrellas (radius > 36" when open)
- Pocket or hand tools such as Leatherman
- Sealed packages, large boxes, duffle bags, suitcases
Taking public transportation is probably your best bet, due to road closures and large flocks of pedestrians.
If you must drive, pay close attention to scheduled road closures, and be alert because sidewalks simply aren't always wide enough to handle the large numbers of people down on the Mall.
Metrorail will be open 7 a.m. to midnight, with "near rush-hour service levels" from 6 p.m. to midnight, WMATA says.
Trains will leave every eight minutes from the end of each rail line, except from Shady Grove and Vienna, where they'll leave every four minutes. Trains will operate about every four minutes downtown.
Parking will be free at all Metrorail stations. Bicycles will not be permitted in stations or on trains due to expected crowding.
Unlike past years, the Smithsonian station will be open all day, but will be entry-only once the fireworks end. However, Metro is urging riders to use stations other than Smithsonian or Federal Triangle, and suggests one of the following stations instead:
- Foggy Bottom-GWU
- Metro Center
- Gallery Place
- Judiciary Square
- Union Station
- L’Enfant Plaza
- Capitol South (Note: The elevator at Capitol South is out of service.)
- Federal Center SW
Many escalators at downtown stations may be turned off to help the flow of people entering and leaving stations.
See more tips from Metro here.
Metrobus is running on a Saturday schedule. Some routes will be detoured due to road closures, and NextBus may not have accurate information because of this.
Circulator bus routes will operate on normal weekday timetables.
MetroAccess will operate on a regular schedule, but all subscription trips will be cancelled. Those who need service for July 4 will need to book their trips before 4:30 p.m. on July 3.
Capital Bikeshare will provide a bike corral at its station at 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, from noon until one hour after the fireworks are over. The company warns that bike rental availability may be limited during the morning rush on Thursday, July 5.
The 14th Street Bridge and the Roosevelt Bridge will be open throughout the day. DDOT wants to remind drivers there is no parking or stopping on the bridges... no matter how cool those fireworks look. Vehicles that stop on bridges will be immediately ticketed and towed.
You should expect parking near the National Mall to be extremely limited... well, that's true all the time, but on the Fourth, it's far worse, of course.
If you must drive, note that there are no parking restrictions from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. in the following areas:
- 3rd Street, from Independence to Constitution avenues NW
- 4th Street, from Independence to Constitution avenues NW
- 7th Street, from Independence to Pennsylvania avenues NW
- 14th Street, from Independence to Constitution avenues NW
- 15th Street, from Constitution to E Street NW
- 17th Street, from Constitution to E Street NW
- Constitution Avenue, both sides, from Pennsylvania Avenue west to 23rd Street NW
- 10th Street NW between Constitution and Pennsylvania avenues NW
- 14th Street NW between Constitution and Pennsylvania avenues NW
- C Street NW from 17th to 18th streets (both sides)
- Virginia Avenue NW from Constitution Avenue to 21st Street NW
DDOT will put its Operation Fast Forward into effect Wednesday night, providing longer green lights for traffic leaving the city on five routes.
The program will begin about 30 minutes after the fireworks end and will last about 60 minutes on the following routes:
- Northbound 7th Street/Georgia Avenue NW to Eastern Avenue
- Eastbound Pennsylvania Avenue from S. Capitol Street to Southern Avenue SE
- Northbound Connecticut Avenue from 17th Street NW to Oliver Street NW
- Southbound 14th Street from Pennsylvania Avenue to C Street NW
- Westbound K Street from 17th Street NW to the Whitehurst Freeway, Canal Road NW and the Chain Bridge
ROAD CLOSURES (street closing times are approximate):
Closed 6 a.m.-11 p.m.:
- 4th Street from Independence Avenue SW to Constitution Avenue NW
- 7th Street from Independence Avenue SW to Constitution Avenue NW
- 15th Street from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to Maine Avenue SW
- 17th Street from Independence Avenue SW to E Street NW
- 19th Street, NW from C Street to Constitution Avenue
- 20th Street, NW from C Street to Constitution Avenue
- 21st Street, NW from C Street to Constitution Avenue
- 22nd Street, NW from C Street to Constitution Avenue
- 23rd Street, NW from Independence Avenue SW to C Street NW
- Virginia Avenue, NW from 18th to 20th streets
- Constitution Avenue, NW from 14th to 23rd streets
- Independence Avenue, SW from 14th to 23rd streets
Closed 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.:
- 14th Street from Independence Avenue to Pennsylvania Avenue NW
- 3rd Street from Maryland Avenue SW to Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Closed from 11:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. for the parade on the National Mall:
- 9th Street Tunnel from Pennsylvania Avenue to the SE/SW Freeway
- 12th Street Tunnel from the SE/SW Freeway to Pennsylvania Avenue
OTHER EVENT-RELATED ROAD CLOSURES:
National Archives' Declaration of Independence Reading:
Constitution Avenue between 7th and 9th streets NW will closed from 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Palisades' July Fourth Parade:
MacArthur Boulevard from Reservoir Road to Arizona Avenue NW will be closed from noon to 1:30 p.m. Rolling street closures will also occur during the parade, beginning at Whitehaven Parkway and MacArthur Boulevard NW, and moving northwest on MacArthur, left on Edmunds Place, left on Sherier Place, and right into the Palisades Recreation Center. And as an FYI, News4's Tom Sherwood is threatening to join the parade. You have been warned. :)
Capitol Hill July Fourth Parade:
The parade staging area will begin at 8 a.m. at 8th and I streets SE, with the parade itself running from 10 a.m. to noon. The parade will begin by heading north on 8th Street SE and west on D Street SE to the park at 7th and D. There will also be rolling street closures.
IN CASE OF MORE STORMS:
The U.S. Federal Protection Agency will open selected federal buildings to allow people to seek shelter. Information will be broadcast via PA systems and deployable mass notification units.
People planning to head down to the Mall can also sign up for text message alerts from the U.S. Park Police by texting "JULY 4 DC" to the number 888777. Text alerts will include safety and weather information.