Everything You Need to Know for Washington DC's 'March for Our Lives': Metro, Lodging, Bathrooms, Road Closures, More - NBC4 Washington

Everything You Need to Know for Washington DC's 'March for Our Lives': Metro, Lodging, Bathrooms, Road Closures, More

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Traffic, Metro Changes Coming as 500K Prepare for Protest

    Police and officials are preparing for 500,000 protesters descend on D.C. for the 'March for Our Lives,' which will affect traffic and Metro on Saturday. News4's Mark Segraves reports. (Published Tuesday, March 20, 2018)

    The 'March for Our Lives' is scheduled in D.C. for March 24, and will likely bring thousands of activists demanding increased gun control and school safety measures.

    Students from Stoneman Douglas High School led efforts to organize the protest after 17 students and teachers were killed on Valentine’s Day when a former student rampaged through their school.

    Thousands of Students March to White House for Gun ProtestsThousands of Students March to White House for Gun Protests

    Whether you’re coming to D.C. for the protest or you’re a resident, here’s everything you need to know before, during and after the march.

    The Storm Team4 forecast is always here.

    Scroll for advice on:

    • Before the March: Getting to and from DC, Navigating D.C. and Metro, Getting a Smartrip Card, Where to Stay, Registering for the March
    • During the March: Day, Time and Location, Schedule, Weather/Forecast, What to Bring, Signs and Banners, Getting to the March, Road Closures, Bathrooms, Cell Phone Service, Safety, Up-to-the-Minute Information
    • After the March: Nearby Food and Restaurants, More Things to Do in D.C.
    • Frequently Asked Questions

    Before the March 

    Navigating D.C. and Metro

    Washington, D.C. is divided into four quadrants: Northwest, Northeast, Southeast and Southwest. The center point is near the National Mall — right where the marchers will demonstrate. Check addresses so you don’t end up on the opposite side of the city!

    D.C.’s mostly-underground Metro system will be running extra trains for the march. You need a Smartrip card to get on the Metro.

    Tips for Navigating March for Our LivesTips for Navigating March for Our Lives

    Adam Tuss has some advice for getting around if you're going to the March for Our Lives Saturday.

    (Published Friday, March 23, 2018)

    The Metro runs six lines coded by colors. Each line serves a station convienent to the march, so you can avoid making a transfer.

    Metro could close certain stations at peak times. WMATA's Metro Rail Info Twitter and website should up-to-the-minute updates.

    • Green, Yellow lines: Archives-Navy Memorial, Gallery Place-Chinatown, L'Enfant Plaza
    • Red Line: Judiciary Square (may close at peak times, the 4th Street entrance will be closed), Union Station, Gallery Place-Chinatown
    • Blue, Orange and Silver lines: Metro Center, L'Enfant Plaza, Smithsonian

    Note: Federal Triangle will remain closed during the march.

    You must scan into one station at your starting point and scan your Smartrip card again when you leave. Only one person can travel on one Smartrip card, with the exception of young kids. Two children under the age of 5 can travel with an adult on their Smartrip card. Fares vary based on distance traveled.

    Getting a Smartrip Card

    Smartrip cards cost $2. You can buy them at the stations or at stores for $10 (with $8 in fare pre-loaded onto the card) including CVS and Giant. Search for a convenient location here

    Expect crowds and lines. Metro's trip planner will calculate how much money you’ll need and, if possible, add it to your Smartrip card ahead of time or at your starting station.

    Getting to and from DC

    Driving

    If you drive into the area, you’ll want to consider parking your car outside the city. If you’re staying overnight, your hotel may have a parking lot. If you’re coming for the day — or plan on staying in the city — there are parking lots outside the city. Metro offers 44 suburban parking lots; see a full list here. You can see which Metro station parking lot is best for you on this map. Prices start at $4.70 a day on weekdays and $2 a day on weekends; parking is free on Sundays.

    Bus

    Megabus, Greyhound, Peter Pan and more buses serve D.C. Most drop you off at Union Station, where you can easily hop on Metro’s Red Line, which connects to other lines. Union Station is less than a mile away from the march’s start point.

    Wanderu allows you to search many bus services at once. You can also join a group chartering a ride through rallybus.net.

    Air

    Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is accessible by the MARC train from Maryland; a shuttle bus connects Dulles International Airport to the Metro; Ronald Reagan National Airport directly connects to the Metro.

    Loudoun Co. Students March, Walk Out to Honor FallenLoudoun Co. Students March, Walk Out to Honor Fallen

    Amid national school walkouts, high school and middle school students in Loudoun County, Virginia, circled the school track and protested with signs. News4's Julie Carey has the moving story.

    (Published Wednesday, March 14, 2018)

      Where to Stay

      Metro reaches out into many suburban areas, opening up more affordable options for anyone wishing to stay in an Airbnb or hotel. Check with your hotel or host that you’re within walking distance or that the hotel has a shuttle to the Metro.

      A group of moms from the region has banded together to help connect marchers with families who have an extra couch or bed for free. More information is here.

      DC Moms Organize Free Housing for 'March For Our Lives'DC Moms Organize Free Housing for 'March For Our Lives'

      Hundreds of thousands of students and activists are expected to march in D.C. for the "March For Our Lives." A group of mothers have started an effort to make sure visiting students have places to stay as well as food. Jackie Bensen reports.

      (Published Friday, March 16, 2018)

      D.C. is a safe city. If you are worried about staying in a neighborhood with a low crime rate, you can check you neighborhoods on D.C.’s Crime Card map

      Registering for the March

      March for Our Lives asks participants to RSVP here

      During the March

      Day, Time and Location

      The march is scheduled to kick off on March 24 at 12 p.m. Organizers say it will happen on Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and 12th Streets Northwest.

      DC’s tourism authority says you can enter on foot at Pennsylvania Avenue and 12th Street NW, Constitution Avenue and 7th Street NW and Indiana Avenue and 7th Street NW.

      Follow NBC Washington and the March for Our Lives website for changes and details.

      Schedule

      The rally will feature a number of performers and speakers, many of whom survived gun violence or lost a family member in a shooting.

      The first group will take the stage about noon, beginning with a musical performance by Andra Day and the Cardinal Shehan Choir. Common will come on stage next, followed by Parkland shooting survivors Cameron Kasky and Delany Tarr and Trevon Bosley, a 19-year-old from Chicago whose brother died after being shot.

      Demi Lovato is scheduled to perform about 12:30 p.m., followed by more speakers from Parkland.

      "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda is scheduled to perform a mashup of "Found Tonight" with Ben Platt about 12:45 p.m., followed by a speach by student Zion Kelly, whose brother died in a robbery attempt in Northeast D.C. David Hogg, Naomi Wadler and Mya Middleton should follow.

      Vic Mensa is set to perform shortly after 1 p.m., followed by speakers Matt Post, Christopher Underwood, Jaclyn Corin. Miley Cyrus is set to perform about 1:20 p.m.

      At 1:30, Ryan Deitsch should take the stage, followed by Aalayah Eastmond, Sam Fuentes and a performance by Ariana Grande. After Grande's performance, Alex King, D'Angelo McDade and Matthew Soto are set to speak.

      The Stoneman Douglas drama club and a student choir, Parkland survivor Emma Gonzalez and singer Jennifer Husdon are scheduled to close out the ceremony.

      Weather

       Saturday is slated to be cool in the morning, but sunshine and temperatures in the 50s are expected in the afternoon.

      Check out the full Storm Team4 forecast for more details and updates.

      What to Bring

      March is a fickle month in D.C. Check Storm Team4’s forecast and consider downloading the NBC Washington app for important weather alerts. Dress in layers and wear comfortable shoes — you will likely be walking a lot. Bring a warm jacket, water, a snack and a Smartrip card to the protest in addition to your daily essentials.

      What Not to Bring

      A number of items are not allowed at the march, organizers say. Backpacks and bags larger than 18- by 13- by 7 inches are not allowed.

      Other prohibited items include: aerosols, ammunition, animals other than service or guide animals, bicycles, balloons, coolers, drones and other unmanned aircraft systems, explosives, firearms, glass, thermal or metal containers, laser pointers, mace or pepper spray, packages, selfie sticks, signs exceeding the restrictions, structures, supports for signs and placards, toy guns, explosives or weapons.

      Signs and Banners

      They are allowed, but banners and signs must not exceed 20-by-3 feet in area or ¼ inch thickness.

      Getting to the March

      Metro will run on a frequent, rush-hour schedule on Saturday, making it your most reliable bet.

      The Metro runs six lines coded by colors. Each line serves a station convienent to the march, so you can avoid making a transfer.

      Metro could close certain stations at peak times. WMATA's twitter and website should up-to-the-minute updates.

      • Green, Yellow lines: Archives-Navy Memorial, Gallery Place-Chinatown, L'Enfant Plaza
      • Red Line: Judiciary Square (may close at peak times, the 4th Street enterance will be closed), Union Station, Gallery Place-Chinatown
      • Blue, Orange and Silver lines: Metro Center, L'Enfant Plaza, Smithsonian

      Lyft will be providing free rides to rallypoint destinations in the D.C. area. Promo codes will be provided Friday to people who RSVP to the rally at marchforourlives.com/events. The codes can then be entered in the promos tab of the Lyft app. Ride codes will also be provided on the morning of the march at lyft.com/MFOL. Passengers under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

      Note: Federal Triangle will remain closed during the march.

      You can use Google Maps or Metro’s trip planner to find the most efficient route.

      Expect crowds and lines. Metro's trip planner will calculate how much money you’ll need and, if possible, add it to your Smartrip card ahead of time or at your starting station.

      An accessibility drop off point will be set up at 7th Street and Maryland Street southwest, organizers say.

      Road Closures

      Many roads will be affected near the National Mall. Here’s a map:

      A full list of the closures can be found here.

      Emergency parking measures will be in place, so don’t park in the area beginning at 3 a.m. Saturday.

      Police may decide to block any road or sidewalk at any time. Follow directions of authorities and please don’t try to move or circumvent any barriers.

      Bathrooms

      Yes, there will be bathrooms. Portable toilets will be set up near the march, D.C.’s tourism organization Destination DC says. There are also public bathrooms in the Smithsonian Museums and near several monuments, including the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the World War II Memorial. Keep in mind, the Washington Monument is closed, so bathrooms there may be impacted. This National Park Service map is labelled with restrooms.

      Cell Phone Service

      Typically, cell phone service becomes very slow during large-scale events downtown. Calls and texts may be spotty, and definitely don’t expect a good connection for streaming video or sending pictures.

      Depending on the size of the march, it can be very difficult to find your companions if you get seperated. Make plans to check in at a certain time after the march is over, and agree on a post-march check-in plan.

      Organizers say the RFK Stadium (2400 East Capitol Street Southeast) will host reunification services.

      Safety

      D.C. authorities are accustomed to large-scale demonstrations. Follow directions of officers, but also note you are allowed to film the police.

      Leave the area if you feel uncomfortable. If you see something suspicious, report it to authorities.

      Depending on the size of the march, it can be very difficult to find your companions if you get seperated. Make plans to check in at a certain time after the march is over, and agree on a post-march check-in plan.

      Organizers say the RFK Stadium (2400 East Capitol Street Southeast) will host reunification services.

      Up-to-the-Minute Information

      NBC Washington will have all the important updates before, during and after March for Our Lives. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook or download our app for breaking news updates and Snapchat (NBCWashington!) and Instagram for coverage at the march. 

      The WMATA website will also detail any delays or special circumstances on public transit.

      Get important updates from the city on safety, weather, traffic and transit via text alerts. Text “MARCH24” to 888-777 to sign up.

      After

      Nearby Food and Restaurants

      Think Food Tank, owned by prominent D.C. chef and restauranteur Jose Andres, will offer food to students.

      From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, the team has scheduled a poster-making event at Union Station's Shake Shack. Think Food Tank says free burgers will be available to anyone.

      During the march, three stations will be available where students under 18 with a valid ID can get a free meal, organizers say.

      Here are the locations:

      • Think Food Lab — 701 Pennsylvania Ave NW, DC
      • The Pig — 1320 14th St NW, DC
      • The Bird — 1337 11th St NW, DC

      Many downtown restaurants close on the weekends and the open ones will be slammed, so you may want to walk to a nearby neighborhood for food.

      • Farragut North and Dupont Circle have chain restaurants like Potbelly, McDonald's and local favorite Shake Shack, alongside diners, beer gardens and more, north of K Street Northwest along Connecticut Avenue.
      • Union Station has food courts on the main level and downstairs with local and chain restaurants.
      • Eastern Market, south of 8th Street Southeast and Pennsylvania Avenue, has a number of restaurants including Chipotle, Popeye’s and D.C. favorites Cava and Ted’s Bulletin.

      There are also a number of food trucks that set up in the area.

      More Things to Do in D.C.

      Here's a few other things you can do in D.C. over the weekend:

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Can I host students?

      A group of area parents launched a website to help connect young activists with families who have a spare bed or couch. Find more information here.

      How can I connect with other marchers?

      A number of Facebook groups have cropped up around the march, including March For Our Lives - DC Official.

      Have any other questions? Ask us on Twitter or Facebook and check back for further updates.

      What about counterprotests?

      D.C. police said that they haven't identified any substantial counterprotests.

      How else can I participate?

      The Mayor's office is seeking volunteers to help on the day of the march.

      Watch NBC4 and get the latest news anytime, anywhere. Check here for TV listings.