Fourth of July

What to know about DC road closures, free Metro rides and getting around the National Mall on July 4

Headed to the National Mall on the Fourth of July? The National Park Service recommends using public transportation and preparing to go through security screenings at certain access points

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Independence Day is around the corner, and D.C.'s leaders are making preparations for a secure, smooth and accessible celebration.

Thousands of people are expected to flock to downtown D.C. on July 4 for events including the National Independence Day Parade, A Capitol Fourth concert and watch parties for the extravagant National Park Service fireworks. The 17-minute fireworks display is set to begin at 9:09 p.m. From 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., The Sylvan Theater near the Washington Monument is set to host activities for kids.

D.C. Police Chief Pamela Smith told News4 that preparations are underway, and police will speak to the public soon about safety and transit tips.

"We encourage people to come to the District to observe and watch the fireworks," Smith said.

National Mall access limited on July 4

On most days, you can wander onto the National Mall easily. But crowds and security measures on July 4 mean you'll want to make a plan.

The Lincoln Memorial will be closed on July 4, and the National Mall will be closed between 14th Street and the Lincoln Memorial from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. (see a full list of closures below). If you're looking for something to do in the area on the morning of July 4, check out the parade or the National Archives' Fourth of July festival, which will feature family-friendly activities. The Smithsonian museums will also be open.

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Access points to the National Mall are set to open at 1 p.m. Visitors and fireworks spectators can access the National Mall through certain access points. Be ready for a security screening and bag check!

These fireworks viewing entry points will be open until 9 p.m., according to the National Park Service:

  • Constitution Avenue NW at Henry Bacon Drive NW
  • Constitution Avenue NW and 17th Street NW
  • 15th Street NW at Madison Drive NW
  • 14th Street SW at Jefferson Drive SW

You can set up on the National Mall between 14th and the U.S. Capitol without going through security checkpoints.

To watch fireworks from near the Tidal Basin, go to the entry point at East Basin Drive just south of the Jefferson Memorial. The National Park Service says visitors will not be able to access the National Mall from here.

Best Metro stations for D.C.'s July 4 fireworks

With D.C. expecting a high volume of foot and car traffic, use of public transportation is highly encouraged.

Metro will be free after 5 p.m. on July 4.

The Smithsonian/National Mall or Federal Triangle (both on the Orange, Blue, Silver lines) are very close to the National Mall, but the National Park Service recommends considering other stations that are a little further, but less crowded.

L’Enfant Plaza (Silver, Orange, Blue, Green, Yellow lines), Metro Center (Red, Blue, Orange, Silver lines), Judiciary Square (Red Line) and Archives/Navy Memorial (Green, Yellow lines) are all within walking distance of the National Mall.

Metro CEO Randy Clarke suggested riders look to L'Enfant Plaza.

July 4 road closures near the National Mall

Here's what the National Park Service says about road closures: 

Closed from 4 a.m. until approximately 10 p.m. on July 4:

  • Arlington Memorial Bridge and Arlington Memorial Circle on the Virginia end, to and including Lincoln Memorial Circle in the District
  • Rock Creek Parkway south of Virginia Avenue NW to Lincoln Memorial Circle, including all approaches and ramps
  • Parkway Drive from Rock Creek Parkway to Lincoln Memorial Circle
  • Henry Bacon Drive NW
  • Daniel Chester French Drive SW
  • Lincoln Memorial Circle and all approaches and ramps into and out of Lincoln Memorial Circle, including Henry Bacon Drive N, Daniel Chester French Drive SW, 23rd Street NW and 23rd Street SW
  • Ramp from Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge to Constitution Avenue NW and Independence Avenue SW and Ohio Drive SW; all inbound traffic from the bridge will be directed to the E Street Expressway
  • Constitution Avenue NW from 23rd Street NW to 14th Street NW
  • 7th Street NW from Constitution Avenue NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • 4th Street NW from Constitution Avenue NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • 15th Street NW from E Street NW south to Raoul Wallenberg Place SW
  • 17th Street, NW from E Street NW south to Independence Avenue SW
  • 18th Street NW between Constitution Avenue NW and Virginia Avenue NW
  • 19th Street NW from Constitution Avenue NW to C Street NW
  • 20th Street NW from Constitution Avenue NW to C Street NW
  • 21st Street NW from Constitution Avenue NW to C Street NW
  • 22nd Street NW from Constitution Avenue NW to C Street NW
  • Virginia Avenue NW from Constitution Avenue NW to 18th Street NW
  • C Street NW from 17th Street NW to 18th Streets NW
  • D Street NW from 17th Street NW to 18th Street NW
  • Raoul Wallenberg Place SW to Maine Avenue SW
  • Independence Avenue SW from 14th Street SW to 23rd Street SW, including merge with Rock Creek Parkway
  • Madison Drive NW from 15th Street NW to 3rd Street NW
  • Jefferson Drive SW from 15th Street SW to 3rd Street SW 
  • Ohio Drive, SW from the Inlet Bridge to Independence Avenue, SW
  • West Basin Drive SW from Ohio Drive SW to Independence Avenue, SW
  • East Basin Drive SW east of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial to Ohio Drive SW
  • Ramp from southbound and northbound George Washington Memorial Parkway (GWMP) to Memorial Avenue /Circle
  • Ramp from northbound Va. Route 110 to Memorial Avenue/Circle
  • Ramp from Va. Route 27 to Memorial Avenue/Circle
  • The right lane of northbound George Washington Memorial Parkway from the 14th Street Bridge to Theodore Roosevelt Island.

  Closed from 11 a.m. until approximately 10 p.m.

  • 3rd Street from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to Maryland Avenue SW
  • Constitution Avenue NW from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to 14th Street NW
  • 14th Street NW from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to Independence Avenue SW

Closed from 3 p.m. until approximately midnight, July 5

  • Eastbound U.S. Route 50 ramps to GWMP and roads in the immediate area of the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial;      
  • Southbound GWMP ramp to 14th Street Bridge (9 p.m. – 9:45 p.m. as necessary)
  • Northbound GWMP ramp to 14th Street Bridge (9 p.m. – 9:45 p.m. as necessary)

Access to many memorials will be limited on July 4

Here's a rundown of other closures that visitors should know about, provided by the National Park Service:

  • The National Mall will be closed between 14th Street and the Lincoln Memorial from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, July 4 for a security sweep. All visitors entering that area after 1 p.m. will be screened.
  • Due to limited access and safety concerns caused by construction, the Lincoln Memorial, including the steps and access ramp, will be closed on July 4.
  • The World War II Memorial will close at 4 p.m. on July 4 as part of the fireworks safety zone. Cleanup of the World War II Memorial will begin immediately following the fireworks show and the site will open as soon as the cleanup is complete.
  • Access to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial will be limited after 8 p.m.  The memorial will remain open, but the public will not be able to access the memorial from Independence Ave. after 8 p.m.  Access will be available from West Basin and Ohio Drives.
  • The Washington Monument will be closed from noon on July 3 until 9 a.m. on July 5.
  • Paddle boats at the Tidal Basin will not operate.
  • Big Bus Tours will not operate on the Mall on July 4.
  • The D.C. Circulator’s National Mall route will not operate on July 4.
  • East Potomac Golf Course will remain open for normal operating hours (6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.).
  • East Potomac Tennis Center will close at 3 p.m.
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