Planning on coming to the National Mall to celebrate July 4th?

Here’s everything you need to know about where to go and how to get there.

Fireworks over Castle, for the 150th Smithsonian Institution Birthday Celebration. (Photo by Eric Long)
Fireworks over Castle for the 150th Smithsonian Institution Birthday Celebration. (Photo by Eric Long)

The National Park Service will once again host the annual celebration of Independence Day on the National Mall, the nation’s most important civic space and home to more than a dozen memorials that commemorate great Americans and significant events in our nation’s history.  Events on the National Mall this year include the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and one of the largest fireworks displays in the nation. Other events include the National Independence Day Parade, and A Capitol Fourth, the annual star-studded concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol. 

Complete information and updates on the Independence Day celebration can be found at www.nps.gov/foju.  

Schedule of Events 

  • Smithsonian Folklife Festival – National Mall, between 7th Street & 12th Street NW 

11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

The 2022 annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, co-sponsored by the National Park Service, highlights the culture of the United Arab Emirates and Earth Optimism. The festival will be open on the National Mall from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. between 7th and 12th Streets. For more information, please visit: www.festival.si.edu or call 202-633-6440. 

  • 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! www.july4thparade.com   

  • A Capitol Fourth Concert – West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol 

8 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.  

Join host Mickey Guyton and performances by Darren Criss, Yolanda Adams, Andy Grammer, Gloria Gaynor, Keb’ Mo’, Emily Bear and Loren Allred with the National Symphony Orchestra for this star-studded salute to Independence Day. After two years of virtual presentations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the concert venue on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol will be open to the public to enjoy the live broadcast of A Capitol Fourth. More at www.pbs.org/a-capitol-fourth.  

  • Fireworks Display 

9:09 p.m. – 9:27 p.m. 

Independence Day culminates with a spectacular fireworks display over the National Mall. The fireworks will be launched from the area of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, and will be visible from many locations throughout D.C. and Northern Virginia. 

Automated Notification System 

The United States Park Police will again be using a text notification service to quickly deliver important and emergency information to visitors.  Cell phone users can receive notifications via text message by texting JULY4DC to 888777. 

Public Access 

National Mall – The following public entry points for the National Mall will open at 11 a.m. and will remain open until 9 p.m. Visitors will be screened at all access points.  

  • West side of Arlington Memorial Bridge 
  • Constitution Avenue NW between 23rd Street NW and Henry Bacon Drive NW 
  • Maine Avenue SW and Raoul Wallenberg Place SW (15th Street SW) 
  • East Basin Drive SW at Inlet Bridge SW 

George Washington Memorial Parkway – 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: 

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

Getting There

Visitors are strongly advised to use public transportation. Metrorail riders should try using stations other than the Smithsonian/National Mall or Federal Triangle, which have the heaviest use on the Fourth of July. The L’Enfant Plaza, Metro Center, and Archives/Navy Memorial stations are also within walking distance Additionally, the National Mall area immediately around the Smithsonian station is closed due to turf restoration and not available to as a viewing venue for the fireworks. Up-to-date information on Metro can be found at www.wmata.com.  

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 National Park Service property 
  • Launching, landing or operating unmanned or remote controlled aircraft on National Park Service 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. 
  • Visitors will be screened at all entrance points to the National Mall. All coolers, backpacks, packages, and persons will be subject to inspection. 

 The full list of prohibited items includes:  

  • Alcohol 
  • Ammunition 
  • Balloons 
  • Bladed, edged or sharp tools or implements 
  • Coolers/thermal containers larger than 36 quarts (23″x15″x15″) 
  • Club-like items and striking devices, including selfie sticks and golf umbrellas (small folding umbrellas are permitted). 
  • Destructive devices, explosives or combustable chemical compounds and mixtures 
  • Disabling chemicals, including mace and pepper spray 
  • Firearms and projectile weapons 
  • Glass bottles or containers 
  • Laser pointers
  • Packages, including wrapped packages, parcels, containers, or bundles where the inside cannot be visually inspected, including gift wrapped or plain paper wrapped packages 
  • Structures, including props and displays, such as coffins, crates, crosses, theaters, cages and statues; furniture and furnishings, such as desks, chairs, tables, bookcases, cabinets, platforms, podiums and lecterns; shelters, such as tents, boxes and other enclosures; and wagons and cars. Wheelchairs in active use by disabled persons, strollers and bicycles are permitted. 
  • Supports for signs (cannot exceed four (4) feet in length, one-quarter (1/4) inch in thickness, with no sharp points and may not be made of wood, steel or metal. 
  • Unmanned aerial systems (drones) 
  • Weapons of any kind 
  • Any other items determined to be a potential safety hazard. 

Area Closures 

  • The World War II Memorial will close at 4 p.m. on July 4 as part of the fireworks safety zone. Cleanup of the World War II 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 Ave. after 8 p.m.  Access will be available from West Basin and Ohio Drives. 
  • The Washington Monument will be closed from noon on July 3 until 9 a.m. on July 6. 
  • 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 remain open for normal operating hours.
  • East Potomac Tennis Center will close at 3 p.m. 
  • Water taxi service to the National Mall will not operate. 

Road Closures

The following roads will be closed and off limits to vehicles on Monday, July 4, 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 NW to Lincoln Memorial Circle, including all approaches and ramps 
  • Parkway Drive from Rock Creek Parkway to Lincoln Memorial Circle 
  • Henry Bacon Drive 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 14th Street NW  
  • 7th Street NW from Constitution Avenue NW to Independence Avenue SW  
  • 4th Street NW from Constitution Avenue NW to Independence Avenue SW  
  • 15th Street NW from E Street NW south to Raoul Wallenberg Place SW 
  • 17th Street, NW from E Street 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 C Street 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. 

 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
Map from National Park Services

This information has been provided by the National Park Service.

Posted: 28 June 2022
About the Author:

The editrix of the Torch is fired with a burning desire to ignite the flames of enthusiasm among her Smithsonian colleagues while brandishing the Torch of knowledge. She also likes puns.

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