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Getting to the National Mall on the Fourth of July


Photo © Vito Palmisano/Getty Images

The Fourth of July celebrations in Washington, DC are among the most attended events of the year and many people arrive early at the National Mall to stake out a seat on the lawn. There are lots of things to do throughout the day. For details, see a guide to Washington, DC's Fourth of July events.

There will be many street closings and parking will be limited. Both the National Park Service and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority strongly encourage all visitors to take public transportation to attend the Independence Day celebrations. Public access to the National Mall begins at 10:00 a.m. on July 4th. The following transportation information is provided by the National Park Service.

Public Transportation

Metrorail hours of operation on July 4th are from 7:00 a.m. to 3 a.m. The Smithsonian Station will be “entry-only” at the conclusion of the fireworks display. It typically takes 1 ½ to 2 hours to clear the Mall after the fireworks. Metro Stations near the National Mall include Smithsonian, Federal Triangle, Metro Center, Gallery Place-Chinatown, Capitol South, L’Enfant Plaza, Federal Center SW, Archives-Navy Memorial, and Arlington National Cemetery.

Off-peak rail fares will be in effect all day. To avoid long lines at fare vending machines, be sure to have enough fare value on your SmarTrip card or farecard to complete the round trip. Using a SmarTrip card also saves you a $1-per-trip surcharge for trips taken using a paper farecard. See a guide for using Washington Metro.

Metrobus will provide free shuttle service between the L’Enfant Plaza and Pentagon stations. On July 4th, Metro will not allow bicycles on Metrorail, but will allow bikes on Metrobus.

See a map and directions to the National Mall

A special post-fireworks Amtrak train will be available on the 4th of July to help make getting to and from the National Mall fireworks display easy from around the northeast corridor. Northeast Regional Train 1776 to New York departs from Union Station at 11:05 p.m. and makes stops at New Carrollton, BWI Airport, Baltimore Penn Station, Aberdeen, Wilmington, Philadelphia 30th Street Station, Trenton, Metropark and Newark, NJ.

Bike Valet Parking

Capital Bikeshare will provide a bike corral at the 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW station to handle the large number of riders expected to use the system to visit the National Mall on July 4. The corral will be made available from 12 p.m. to until one hour after the fireworks are over.

The National Park Service will provide free bike "self-parking” areas on Independence Day, located between 14th and 15th Street on Independence Avenue, S.W. This is self-parking so please bring your own lock. There will be no valet or attendant.


Parking throughout the National Mall area will be extremely limited and public transportation is highly encouraged. See a guide to parking lots near the National Mall. Limited public parking will also be available at the Pentagon’s North parking lot. Many people view the fireworks from the Virginia side of the Potomac River. The Gravelly Point parking lot, located about a quarter mile from the 14th Street Bridge, is a popular spot to watch the fireworks.

Emergency Notifications

To receive 4th of July National Mall and Virginia Potomac River shoreline event related emergency notifications or event messages from the United States Park Police via text messages, text the code word JULY4DC to 888777. This is a free service and will not result in subscribing to you any other programs or systems other than the United States Park Police 4th of July emergency notification system.

Security Checkpoints

On the 4th of July all visitors must go through security checkpoints to enter the National Mall and areas along the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Coolers, backpacks, packages and persons will be subject to inspection. Possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages and the use of personal fireworks are prohibited.

National Mall Checkpoints:
  • West entrance, or George Washington Memorial Parkway side of Memorial Bridge
  • Constitution Avenue and Henry Bacon, N.W.
  • Constitution Avenue and 17th Street, N.W.
  • Constitution Avenue and 15th Street, N.W.
  • Westside of 14th Street, at Jefferson Drive, S.W.
  • Westside of 14th Street at Madison Drive, S.W.
  • Maine Avenue and Raoul Wallenberg Place, (i.e. also known as 15th Street)
  • East Basin Drive, just south of the Jefferson Memorial (visitors will not be able to access the National Mall from this access point)
  • East Basin Drive, at Inlet Bridge, S.W.
Capitol Grounds Entrance Points for A Capitol Fourth:
  • 3rd and Pennsylvania Ave.
  • 3rd and Maryland Ave.

Expected Road Closures

No Parking Restrictions 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • 3rd Street, from Independence to Constitution Avenue, NW
  • 4th Street, from Independence to Constitution Avenue, NW
  • 7th Street, from Independence to Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
  • 14th Street, from Independence to Constitution Avenue, 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

Streets Closed from approximately 7 a.m. until approximately 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 Street to 20th Street
  • Constitution Avenue, NW from 14th Street to 23rd Street
  • Independence Avenue, SW from 14th Street to 23rd Street

Streets Closed from approximately 11:15 a.m. until approximately 11 p.m.
  • 14th Street from Independence Avenue to Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
  • 3rd Street from Maryland Avenue, SW to Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

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

The SoberRide program will be available on July 4th from 10:00 pm until 4:00 a.m. on July 5th as a way to keep local roads safe from impaired drivers during this traditionally high-risk holiday period.

Read more about the Fourth of July Fireworks in Washington, DC.

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