July 4 on the National Mall: Road closures, activities, what not to bring

WASHINGTON — The United States’ 242nd birthday means fireworks, music, parades — and an even more crowded National Mall than usual.

The National Park Service has announced the schedule for July 4 festivities around the National Mall and Capitol grounds. Events include:

  • Smithsonian Folklife Festival: 11:30 a.m.–6 p.m.
    (National Mall, between 12th and 14th streets Northwest)
  • National Independence Day Parade: 11:45 a.m.–2 p.m.
    (Constitution Avenue Northwest from 7th to 17th streets Northwest)
  • A Capitol Fourth concert: 8–9:30 p.m.
    (U.S. Capitol West Lawn)
  • Fireworks display: 9:09–9:27 p.m.
    (Over the National Mall)

Note: Transit use is encouraged. The park service suggests using Metrorail stations other than Smithsonian or Federal Triangle, which typically have the most traffic on July 4. The National Mall area immediately outside the Smithsonian station is also closed due to a re-turfing project. 



National Mall access

Heading to the Mall for the fireworks? Be sure to arrive early. Entry will be limited to eight access points, where visitors will be screened. All gates open at 10 a.m. (unless where otherwise indicated) and will remain open until 9 p.m.


“If you are not in the secure fence-line (by 9 p.m.), you will not be permitted access, so if you plan to go into that area, arrive early, because there will probably be a rush of folks at that time, trying to get in,” said Park Police spokesman Sgt. James Dingeldein.

The entry points are:

  • South side of Memorial Bridge
  • Constitution Avenue Northwest, between 23rd Street Northwest and Henry Bacon Drive Northwest
  • Constitution Avenue Northwest and 17th Street Northwest (opens at 2 p.m.)
  • West side of 15th Street Northwest at Madison Drive Northwest
  • West side of 14th Street Southwest at Jefferson Drive Southwest
  • Maine Avenue Southwest and Raoul Wallenberg Place Southwest (15th Street Southwest)
  • East Basin Drive at Inlet Bridge Southwest

Visitors to the National Mall are prohibited from carrying:

  • Guns, knives or ammunition
  • Drones, or unmanned aerial systems
  • Alcohol
  • Glass containers
  • Explosives or fireworks
  • Grills
  • Personal tents that block other visitors’ views and tents that require stakes.

Click the map below to view an interactive map from the National Park Service showing the location of the secure area, public restrooms, first aid stations and more.

Click to view a map from the National Park Service showing the location of the secure area, public restrooms, first aid stations and more. (Courtesy National Park Service)

Viewing fireworks along the George Washington Memorial Parkway: Fireworks can also be watched from the following locations along the parkway, though there is no access to the National Mall from here.

  • U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial and Netherlands Carillon
  • Columbia Island/Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove [Access to the Potomac Riverfront is possible via the bike/pedestrian tunnel that runs underneath the Boundary Channel Bridge (aka the “Humpback Bridge”).]
  • Gravelly Point, north of Reagan National Airport
  • Washington Sailing Marina/Indigo Landing Restaurant at Daingerfield Island

Capitol Fourth Concert

If you want to catch the annual Capitol Fourth Concert live and in person, you can start lining up for a spot on the West Lawn starting at 3 p.m.

All attendants will be screened. (West Lawn seating is first-come, first-served.) The two screening locations are:

  • Third Street Northwest and Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
  • Third Street Southwest and Maryland Avenue Southwest

Performers include The Beach Boys, Jimmy Buffet, the Temptations, Chita Rivera and more. More details about the concert can be found here.

Concertgoers can bring: food and water, lawn/beach chairs that sit low to the ground, and umbrellas smaller than 36 inches in diameter are allowed.

Prohibited items on the Capitol grounds include:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • grills
  • glass bottles
  • animals
  • bikes
  • firearms or ammunition
  • explosives or fireworks
  • knives, blades or sharp objects
  • laser pointers
  • signs or posters
  • mace, pepper spray
  • sticks, poles
  • electric stun guns
  • martial arts weapons or devices
  • umbrellas larger than 36 inches in diameter (smaller umbrellas are permitted)
  • pocket or hand tools
  • sealed packages, large boxes, duffel bags, suitcases
  • drones, model rockets, remote-controlled or manually controlled model gliders, model airplanes, model boats or model cars or other unmanned ground or aircraft systems.

More information is available at the National Park Service website.

July 4 road closures

The events on the National Mall will bring a ton of road closures.

Closed from 6 a.m. until approximately 10 p.m.
  • 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 Northwest to Lincoln Memorial Circle, including all approaches and ramps
  • Parkway Drive from Rock Creek Parkway to Lincoln Memorial Circle
  • Henry Bacon Drive Northwest
  • Daniel Chester French Drive Southwest
  • Lincoln Memorial Circle and all approaches and ramps into and out of Lincoln Memorial Circle, including Henry Bacon Drive Northwest, Daniel Chester French Drive Southwest, 23rd Street Northwest and 23rd Street Southwest
  • Ramp from Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge to Constitution Avenue Northwest, Independence Avenue Southwest and Ohio Drive Southwest; all inbound traffic from the bridge will be directed to the E Street Expressway
  • Constitution Avenue Northwest from 23rd Street Northwest to 14th Street Northwest
  • Seventh Street Northwest from Constitution Avenue Northwest to Independence Avenue Southwest
  • Fourth Street Northwest from Constitution Avenue Northwest to Independence Avenue Southwest
  • 15th Street Northwest from E Street Northwest south to Raoul Wallenberg Place Southwest
  • 17th Street Northwest from E Street Northwest south to Independence Avenue Southwest
  • 18th Street Northwest between Constitution Avenue Northwest and Virginia Avenue Northwest
  • 19th Street Northwest from Constitution Avenue Northwest to C Street Northwest
  • 20th Street Northwest from Constitution Avenue Northwest to C Street Northwest
  • 21st Street Northwest from Constitution Avenue Northwest to C Street Northwest
  • 22nd Street Northwest from Constitution Avenue Northwest to C Street Northwest
  • Virginia Avenue Northwest from Constitution Avenue Northwest to 18th Street Northwest
  • C Street Northwest from 17th Street Northwest to 18th Streets Northwest
  • D Street Northwest from 17th Street Northwest to 18th Street Northwest
  • Raoul Wallenberg Place Southwest to Maine Avenue Southwest
  • Independence Avenue Southwest from 14th Street Southwest to 23rd Street Southwest, including the merge with Rock Creek Parkway
  • Madison Drive Northwest from 15th Street Northwest to Third Street Northwest
  • Jefferson Drive Southwest from 15th Street Southwest to Third Street Southwest
  • Ohio Drive Southwest from the Inlet Bridge to Independence Avenue Southwest
  • West Basin Drive Southwest from Ohio Drive Southwest to Independence Avenue Southwest
  • East Basin Drive Southwest east of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial to Ohio Drive Southwest
  • Ramp from southbound and northbound GW Parkway to Memorial Avenue/Circle
  • Ramp from northbound Virginia Route 110 to Memorial Avenue/Circle
  • Ramp from Virginia Route 27 to Memorial Avenue/Circle
  • The right lane of northbound GW Parkway from the 14th Street Bridge to Theodore Roosevelt Island
Closed from 11 a.m. until approximately 10 p.m.
  • Third Street from Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest to Maryland Avenue Southwest
  • Constitution Avenue Northwest from Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest to 14th Street Northwest
  • 14th Street Northwest from Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest to Independence Avenue Southwest
Closed from 3 p.m. until approximately midnight (July 5)
  • Eastbound U.S. Route 50 ramps to the GW Parkway and roads in the immediate area of the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial
  • Southbound GW Parkway ramp to the 14th Street Bridge (9 – 9:45 p.m. as necessary)
  • Northbound GW Parkway ramp to 14th Street Bridge (9 – 9:45 p.m. as necessary)

Other July 4 closures

  • The World War II Memorial will close at 4 p.m. as part of the fireworks safety zone. Cleanup of the 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 Avenue after 8 p.m. Access will be available from West Basin and Ohio Drives.
  • Paddle boats at the Tidal Basin will not be available.
  • Big Bus Tours will not run on the mall.
  • The D.C. Circulator’s National Mall route will not run.
  • East Potomac Golf Course will close at 3:30 p.m. (last 18-hole tee time will be 11 a.m.; last 9-hole tee time will be 1 p.m.)
  • East Potomac Tennis Center will close at 3 p.m.
  • Water taxi service to the National Mall will not run.

WTOP’s Jack Moore and Kate Ryan contributed to this report.

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