July 4 Guide: Events, fireworks, road closures and more

People watch fireworks on the National Mall from the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, July 4, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
People watch fireworks on the National Mall from the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, July 4, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP/Alex Brandon)
Fireworks explode over Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol, along the National Mall in Washington, Wednesday, July 4, 2018, during the Fourth of July celebration. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Fireworks explode over Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol, along the National Mall in Washington, Wednesday, July 4, 2018, during the Fourth of July celebration. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) (AP/Jose Luis Magana)
Fireworks explode over Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol, along the National Mall in Washington, Wednesday, July 4, 2018, during the Fourth of July celebration. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Fireworks explode over the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol, along the National Mall in Washington, Wednesday, July 4, 2018, during the Fourth of July celebration. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) (AP/Jose Luis Magana)
Boaters on the Potomac River in Washington watch the fireworks display on the National Mall Wednesday, July 4, 2018, in celebration of Independence Day. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)
Boaters on the Potomac River in Washington watch the fireworks display on the National Mall Wednesday, July 4, 2018, in celebration of Independence Day. (AP Photo/J. David Ake) (AP/J. David Ake)
Fireworks explode over the West Wing of the White House for the Fourth of July holiday, Tuesday, July 4, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Fireworks explode over the West Wing of the White House for the Fourth of July holiday, Tuesday, July 4, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP/Alex Brandon)
Fireworks burst over the Memorial Bridge during Independence Day celebrations on the National Mall in Washington, Tuesday, July 4, 2017. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)
Fireworks burst over the Memorial Bridge during Independence Day celebrations on the National Mall in Washington, Tuesday, July 4, 2017. (AP Photo/J. David Ake) (AP/J. David Ake)
Fireworks explode over the National Mall for Fourth of July celebrations in Washington, photographed from Arlington, Va., on Saturday, July 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Fireworks explode over the National Mall for Fourth of July celebrations in Washington, photographed from Arlington, Va., on Saturday, July 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)
Fireworks illuminate the sky over the U.S. Capitol building and the Washington Monument during Fourth of July celebrations, on Friday, July 4, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Fireworks illuminate the sky over the U.S. Capitol building and the Washington Monument during Fourth of July celebrations, on Friday, July 4, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP/Evan Vucci)
Louis Celli of Montgomery Village, Md., carries his 18-month-old grandson Jayden on his shoulders to watch the fireworks in front of the White House marking Independence Day celebrations in Washington, Friday, July 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Louis Celli of Montgomery Village, Md., carries his 18-month-old grandson Jayden on his shoulders to watch the fireworks in front of the White House marking Independence Day celebrations in Washington, Friday, July 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (AP/Charles Dharapak)
Fireworks light the sky over the U.S. Capitol, left, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial during Fourth of July celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2013 in Washington. Surrounded by scaffolding, the Washington Monument is closed for repairs after an earthquake in 2011. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Fireworks light the sky over the U.S. Capitol, left, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial during Fourth of July celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2013 in Washington. Surrounded by scaffolding, the Washington Monument is closed for repairs after an earthquake in 2011. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP/Alex Brandon)
Fireworks light the sky over the U.S. Capitol, left, Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Wednesday, July 4, 2012, as seen from Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Fireworks light the sky over the U.S. Capitol, left, Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Wednesday, July 4, 2012, as seen from Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP/Alex Brandon)
The United States Marine Corps War Memorial, better known as the Iwo Jima Memorial, is seen in Arlington, Va., Monday July 4, 2011, as fireworks burst over Washington, during the annual Fourth of July display. The Washington Monument and the Capitol can be seen in the distance. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
The United States Marine Corps War Memorial, better known as the Iwo Jima Memorial, is seen in Arlington, Va., Monday July 4, 2011, as fireworks burst over Washington, during the annual Fourth of July display. The Washington Monument and the Capitol can be seen in the distance. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
A helicopter flies by as fireworks illuminate the night sky and are reflected in the Potomac River with the Washington Monument at right on Monday, July 4, 2011 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A helicopter flies by as fireworks illuminate the night sky and are reflected in the Potomac River with the Washington Monument at right on Monday, July 4, 2011 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/Alex Brandon)
U.S. Marines Jenna Ahles, 20, of La Crosse, Wis., right, and Jack Eubanks, 25, of Kennesaw, Ga., kiss while fireworks explode over Washington while viewing from the Jefferson Memorial, Monday, July 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
U.S. Marines Jenna Ahles, 20, of La Crosse, Wis., right, and Jack Eubanks, 25, of Kennesaw, Ga., kiss while fireworks explode over Washington while viewing from the Jefferson Memorial, Monday, July 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/Cliff Owen)
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People watch fireworks on the National Mall from the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, July 4, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Fireworks explode over Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol, along the National Mall in Washington, Wednesday, July 4, 2018, during the Fourth of July celebration. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Fireworks explode over Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol, along the National Mall in Washington, Wednesday, July 4, 2018, during the Fourth of July celebration. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Boaters on the Potomac River in Washington watch the fireworks display on the National Mall Wednesday, July 4, 2018, in celebration of Independence Day. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)
Fireworks explode over the West Wing of the White House for the Fourth of July holiday, Tuesday, July 4, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Fireworks burst over the Memorial Bridge during Independence Day celebrations on the National Mall in Washington, Tuesday, July 4, 2017. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)
Fireworks explode over the National Mall for Fourth of July celebrations in Washington, photographed from Arlington, Va., on Saturday, July 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Fireworks illuminate the sky over the U.S. Capitol building and the Washington Monument during Fourth of July celebrations, on Friday, July 4, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Louis Celli of Montgomery Village, Md., carries his 18-month-old grandson Jayden on his shoulders to watch the fireworks in front of the White House marking Independence Day celebrations in Washington, Friday, July 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Fireworks light the sky over the U.S. Capitol, left, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial during Fourth of July celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2013 in Washington. Surrounded by scaffolding, the Washington Monument is closed for repairs after an earthquake in 2011. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Fireworks light the sky over the U.S. Capitol, left, Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Wednesday, July 4, 2012, as seen from Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
The United States Marine Corps War Memorial, better known as the Iwo Jima Memorial, is seen in Arlington, Va., Monday July 4, 2011, as fireworks burst over Washington, during the annual Fourth of July display. The Washington Monument and the Capitol can be seen in the distance. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
A helicopter flies by as fireworks illuminate the night sky and are reflected in the Potomac River with the Washington Monument at right on Monday, July 4, 2011 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
U.S. Marines Jenna Ahles, 20, of La Crosse, Wis., right, and Jack Eubanks, 25, of Kennesaw, Ga., kiss while fireworks explode over Washington while viewing from the Jefferson Memorial, Monday, July 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Happy birthday, America.

As the U.S. turns a spry 243 this July 4, tens of thousands of tourists and revelers are expected to join in the celebrations. There will be parades, a Nationals ballgame at the park, parties and, of course, lots of fireworks — perhaps the biggest display D.C. has ever seen.

That means road closures, traffic restrictions and the potential for gridlock hell over the Fourth of July weekend.

But never fear. WTOP has you covered.



Road closures

The following roads will be closed and off limits to vehicles on Thursday, July 4:

Closed from 12 a.m. until about 11 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 NW to Lincoln Memorial Circle, including all approaches and ramps
  • Parkway Drive from Rock Creek Parkway to Lincoln Memorial Circle
  • Henry Bacon Drive NW from Constitution Avenue to Lincoln Memorial Circle 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 3rd Street NW
  • 3rd Street NW from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • 4th Street NW from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • 6th Street NW from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to Constitution Avenue NW
  • 7th Street NW from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • 9th Street NW from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to Constitution Avenue NW
  • 12th Street NW from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to Constitution Avenue NW
  • 14th Street NW from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • 15th Street NW from Pennsylvania Avenue NW south to Independence Ave SW
  • 17th Street NW from New York Avenue 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 Virginia Avenue 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.
  • Access to East Potomac Park from I-395 will be by National Park Service permit only after 4 p.m.
July 4 closure and security-area map. Click to enlarge. (Courtesy MPD)

Additionally, from 4 a.m. to 4 p.m. the 9th and 12th Street tunnels will be closed. The 3rd Street Tunnel will be open for travel in and out of the city.

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 12 a.m. July 5:

  • Eastbound U.S. Route 50 ramps to GWMP and roads in the immediate area of 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)

There are a number of other events being held throughout the city, so expect traffic and road closures across the District.

The public can text JULY4DC to 888-777 to receive free text alerts on traffic, transit, public safety and more.

Get the latest from the WTOP Traffic Center

Air travel alert


READ MORE: “Reagan National Airport to suspend operations during July 4 flyover, fireworks


The FAA is suspending flights at Reagan National Airport from 6:15 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. on July 4 for the “Salute to America” flyovers. Operations will also be impacted from 9:00 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. for the fireworks.

The move is unprecedented.

Dulles Airport operations will not be impacted, neither will flights out of BWI-Marshall.

Parades

Barracks Row 4th of July Parade: 9 a.m. — 11 a.m.
The parade route begins at the I-295/395 overpass (8th and I Streets SE) and ends at the Eastern Market Metro Plaza.

Palisades Parade: starts at 11 a.m.
The parade route runs from MacArthur Boulevard NW from Whitehaven Park to Edmunds Place NW.

National Independence Day Parade: 11:45 a.m. — 2 p.m.
The parade route runs along Constitution Avenue from 3rd Street to 23rd Street NW

July 4 on the National Mall

National Mall Public Entry Access points on July 4 will open at 10 a.m.
For the first time in years, since the fireworks site has been moved to West Potomac Park, revelers will be able to gather around the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall and all throughout Constitution Gardens. The Signers of the Declaration of Independence Memorial will also be accessible to the public.

  • Constitution Avenue and 20th Street NW
  • Constitution Avenue and 17th Street NW
  • Madison Drive and 15th Street NW
  • Westside of 14th Street, north of Independence Avenue SW
  • Maine Avenue and Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW (i.e. formerly 15th Street)
  • East Basin Drive, just south of the Jefferson Memorial (visitors will not be able to access the National Mall from this checkpoint)
  • East Basin Drive at the Inlet Bridge

Schedule of events:

National Independence Day Parade — Constitution Avenue NW from 7th Street to 17th Street NW

  • 11:45 a.m. — 2 p.m.
  • Marching bands, fife and drum corps, floats, military units, giant balloons, equestrian, drill teams and more celebrate Independence Day in this patriotic, flag-waving, red, white and blue celebration of America’s birthday.

Salute to America — Lincoln Memorial

  • 6:30 p.m. — 7:30 p.m.
  • President Trump leads a celebration of America’s military with music, military demonstrations and flyovers. Gates open at 3:30 p.m. The Blue Angels are expected to perform a flight demonstration.
  • There will be a restricted area closest to the stage that is reserved for special guests, friends and family, a White House spokesperson told WAMU. This area will be managed by the U.S. Secret Service. Tickets are being issued by the White House, a Secret Service Spokesman said. The restricted area includes the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to midway down the Reflecting Pool. The rest of the area will be accessible to the public.

A Capitol Fourth Concert — West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol

  • 8 p.m. — 9:30 p.m.
  • Co-sponsored by the National Park Service and the National Symphony Orchestra, A Capital Fourth honors our nation’s 243rd birthday with an all-star salute of the best in American entertainment. Gates open at 3 p.m. Get more info at pbs.org/capitolfourth.

Fireworks Display

  • 9:07 p.m. — 9:42 p.m. (approximate, the Department of the Interior says the fireworks will last about 35 minutes due to a donation)
  • Independence Day culminates with a spectacular fireworks display over the National Mall. The fireworks will be launched from West Potomac Park and behind the Lincoln Memorial. They will be visible from locations throughout D.C. and Northern Virginia.

Additional details about the day’s events, including security restrictions, public access points, road closures and prohibited items, will be announced in late June. Complete information and updates on the Independence Day celebration will be posted to nps.gov/foju.

And yes, the “Baby Trump” blimp will be there, near the Washington Monument, from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m., but since it’s a cold-air balloon, it won’t be flying.

Prohibited items and activities

Visitors will be screened at all entrance points. All coolers, backpacks, packages and persons will be subject to inspection.

  • No grills, alcohol, glass containers, or personal fireworks are permitted on NPS property
  • Launching, landing or operating unmanned or remote controlled aircraft on National Park Serviced property is strictly prohibited.
  • Personal tents that block other visitors’ views and tents that require stakes are prohibited on the National Mall and along the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
  • Due to limited space on the Washington Monument grounds, visitors are asked to refrain from recreational activities (e.g. — volleyball, badminton, etc.).
  • It is strongly recommend that pets be left at home.
  • Possession of firearms in national parks is prohibited, governed by federal as well as local law, which may vary depending on the jurisdiction in which the national park is located.
  • All visitors should be aware of and follow applicable firearms laws of the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • There is no parking allowed in the lanes of, or the grassy areas adjacent to, the George Washington Memorial Parkway at any time.

The full list of prohibited items includes:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Aerosols
  • Ammunition
  • Balloons
  • Explosives
  • Firearms
  • Fireworks
  • Glass containers
  • Kites
  • Laser Pointers
  • Mace/pepper spray
  • Packages subject to inspection
  • Structures
  • Supports for signs
  • Unmanned aerial system (drones, remote control aircraft)
  • Weapons of any kind
  • Any other item determined to be a potential hazard

Ticketed guests attending “Salute to America” at the Lincoln Memorial will pass through a second level of security screening, including a magnetometer.

Prohibited items for this area include:

  • Aerosols
  • Air horns
  • Ammunition
  • Animals other than service/guide animals
  • Backpacks, suitcases, large bags
  • Bags and signs exceeding size restrictions
  • Baseballs, softballs, etc.
  • Bicycles
  • Balloons
  • Biological materials
  • Chemical materials
  • Coolers
  • Drones and other unmanned aircraft systems
  • Explosives
  • Firearms
  • Fireworks
  • Folding Chairs
  • Glass, thermal, or metal containers
  • Knives
  • Laser pointers
  • Leatherman tools
  • Mace / pepper spray
  • Needles
  • Packages
  • Radiological materials
  • Razor blades
  • Scissors
  • Screwdrivers
  • Selfie sticks
  • Soda Cans
  • Sticks/Poles
  • Structures
  • Supports for signs and placards
  • Tablets, iPads
  • Tripods, monopods
  • Toy guns
  • Explosives
  • Weapons of any kind
  • Any other items determined to be potential safety hazards

Recommendations:

  • Leave pets at home
  • Travel by Metro
  • Bring plenty of water
  • Recycle

Getting there

Metrorail riders should try using stations other than Smithsonian or Federal Triangle, which have the heaviest use on the Fourth of July. The National Mall area immediately around the Smithsonian station is closed due to turf restoration and not available to use as a viewing venue for the fireworks. Up-to-date information on Metro can be found at www.wmata.com.

Memorial closures

  • The Lincoln Memorial will be closed from noon on Wednesday, July 3, until the afternoon of Friday, July 5.
  • The Korean War Veterans Memorial will be closed on Thursday, July 4.
  • The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial will be closed on Thursday, July 4; it will reopen when cleanup from the fireworks has been completed.
  • Access to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial will be limited after 4 p.m.
  • Arlington Memorial Bridge will be closed to pedestrians on July 4.
  • 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 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 operate.

Can’t make it to the Mall?

Fireworks can be viewed from the following locations along the George Washington Memorial Parkway (there is no access to the National Mall from these locations):

  • 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 a.k.a. the “Humpback Bridge”)
  • Gravelly Point, north of Reagan National Airport
  • Washington Sailing Marina/Indigo Landing Restaurant at Daingerfield Island

Weather

It’s expected to be hot, in the mid-90s, with the possibility of scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon hours. Drink lots of water, folks.

Get the latest from the WTOP Weather Center

Game on: Baseball at Nationals Park

The Nationals host the Marlins Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at Nationals Park. Multiple promotions are running for the series.

July 2
Game time: 7:05 p.m.
Promotion: Adam Eaton bobblehead for the first 25,000 fans.

July 3
Game time: 6:05 p.m.
Promotion: Postgame Freedom Fireworks

July 4
Game time: 11:05 a.m.
Promotion: Patriotic Series, Independence Day

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