How to Get Around D.C. on the Fourth of July - NBC4 Washington

How to Get Around D.C. on the Fourth of July

Don't spend your Fourth of July stuck in traffic



    Adam Tuss' Tips for Holiday Travelers

    If you are headed down to the National Mall for today's holiday celebrations, Adam Tuss has some pro tips for you. Use Metro, but be strategic -- and plan to walk. (Published Friday, July 4, 2014)

    Don't spend your Fourth of July stuck in traffic!

    A high volume of vehicles and pedestrians in D.C. can make Fourth of July travel challenging and frustrating.

    Here's what you need to know if you're staying in the city for the Fourth.

    Getting Alerts: 

    Subscribe to receive alerts, advisories and event information about the July 4 celebration from U.S. Park Police by texting "July4DC'' to 888777. For email notifications, the public can subscribe for the service by clicking here; search "U.S. Park Police."

    Public Transportation: 

    Using public transportation is one of the best ways to get around on the Fourth. Many services have adjusted holiday schedules, so be sure to check this list before heading downtown to grab a good spot for the fireworks.

    1. Metrorail

    Metrorail will be operating from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. on the Fourth, with trains operating on a Saturday schedule until 2 p.m. Service will gradually increase to near rush-hour service levels before and after the fireworks.

    Parking will be free at all Metro facilities, and Rush+ will not be in effect.

    Don't plan on taking your picnic basket or cooler with you on the train -- due to large crowds, bikes and other large items will not be permitted.

    Metro is advising riders heading to the fireworks to use stations on the same line as their starting point to avoid delays, and to try using stations other than the Smithsonian or Federal Triangle stations, which often have the heaviest ridership for events on the National Mall.

    Check out this list of stations near the National Mall:

    • Foggy Bottom for Orange or Blue lines
    • Metro Center for Red, Orange or Blue lines
    • Archives for Yellow or Green lines
    • Gallery Place for Red, Yellow or Green lines
    • Judiciary Square for Red Line
    • Union Station for Red Line
    • L'Enfant Plaza for Orange, Blue, Yellow or Green lines
    • Capitol South for Orange or Blue lines
    • Federal Center SW for Orange or Blue lines
    • Arlington Cemetery for Blue Line

    2. Metrobus

    Metrobus will operate on a Saturday schedule, with some routes detouring around the National Mall. Metro does not list any restrictions on the size of items you can bring with you, but remember to be courteous to other holiday travelers.

    3. MetroAccess

    MetroAccess will have regular service hours on the Fourth, but subscription trips are cancelled. Be sure to book July 4 reservations before 4:30 p.m. on July 3.

    4. D.C. Circulator

    Buses will operate on regular weekday service hours and frequency on all routes.

    5. Capital Bikeshare

    Capital Bikeshare will provide a bike corral at the 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW station to accommodate riders using the system to visit the Mall. The corral will open at noon and close one hour after the fireworks end.

    Parade Street Closures:

    The Fourth just wouldn't be the same without patriotic parades, but the events can be a real headache for drivers. Luckily we've compiled a list of parade street closures to look out for before you get behind the wheel.

    1. National Independence Day Parade

    The National Independence Day Parade takes place from 11:45 a.m. until 2 p.m., but streets along the route will be closed from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.

    Streets will be closed beginning at the intersection of 7th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, ending at the intersection of 23rd Street and Constitution Avenue NW.

    2. A Capitol Fourth

    Numerous street closures and parking restrictions will be in place for D.C.'s biggest celebration. For more on these changes, see the list from D.C. police.

    3. 48th Annual Palisades July 4th Parade

    The 48th annual Palisades July 4th Parade begins at Whitehaven Parkway and MacArthur Boulevard NW and travel northwest on MacArthur, left on Edmunds Place, left on Sherrier Place and right into the Palisades Recreation Center.

    Road closures begin at noon and conclude at 1:30 p.m.

    MacArthur Boulevard will be closed from Reservoir Road to Arizona Avenue for the event. There will be rolling street closures during the parade.

    4. Capitol Hill July 4th Parade

    The annual parade on Capitol Hill with form at 8th and I Streets SE at 8 a.m. and run from 10 a.m. to noon.

    The parade will move north on 8th Street and west on D Street SE, and disband at the park at 7th and D streets SE. There will be rolling street closures during the event.

    Traveling by Car:

    DDOT uses a special July 4 operation to manage the flow of traffic after the fireworks at the National Mall (and tests its emergency evacuation plans at the same time!).

    On four select evacuation routes, traffic signals will be re-timed to provide longer green lights for traffic exiting the city. The changes will begin approximately 30 minutes after the fireworks and continue for about an hour.

    Priority routes are as follows:

    • Constitution Avenue NW from Pennsylvania Avenue to the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge
    • Eastbound Pennsylvania Avenue from 3rd Street NW to Southern Avenue SE
    • Southbound 14th Street from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to C Street SW
    • Westbound K Street NW from 17th Street to the Whitehurst Freeway, Canal Road and the Chain Bridge

    DDOT will lift the District's reversible lane restrictions on the Fourth.

    They will also open travel lanes that are temporarily closed for construction or maintenance work from noon on July 3 to Saturday, July 5. Construction zones with concrete barriers or orange barrels will remain in place.

    Don't try your luck on any of these roads; they will be closed from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. for festivities:

    • 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 Street to 20th Street
    • Constitution Avenue NW from 14th Street to 23rd Street
    • Independence Avenue SW from 14th Street to 23rd Street


    Getting a parking ticket is a sure-fire way to ruin your holiday. Here's what you should know about parking on the Fourth.

    Parking will be extremely hard to find in the area around the National Mall before, during and after the fireworks. DDOT has begun posting emergency no-parking signs on the affected streets.

    Residents, workers and visitors can park at these locations until the restrictions begin, but please do not remove the temporary signs. Even if the signs are removed, the no parking restrictions will be enforced.

    Parking lots at the National Park Service's scenic overlooks, the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial and the Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary will be closed. Vehicles in these lots will be towed.


    Drivers should be advised that the 14th Street Bridge and the Roosevelt Bridge will remain open throughout the day. Remember that there is no parking or stopping on the bridges. Any vehicles that stop on the bridge will be immediately ticketed and towed.