Excitement, Road and Site Closures Abound as DC Celebrates the 4th
WASHINGTON — Independence Day is fast approaching and with Washington, D.C., and the surrounding area bouncing back to exuberant life in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, there will be no shortage of things to see and do as the nation celebrates its 246th birthday.
At the same time, the National Park Service and the U.S. Capitol Police are advising visitors to the city, and particularly the area around the U.S. Capitol and National Mall to be aware of a number of street and road closures, especially on Monday.
As for the fun stuff, the fireworks, hosted by the Park Service, are scheduled to begin at 9:09 p.m. on July 4 and will be launched from both sides of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.
Prior to that, and after two years of virtual presentations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Capitol Fourth Concert returns live from the West Lawn of the Capitol, with host Mickey Guyton introducing performances by Darren Criss, Yolanda Adams, Andy Grammer, Gloria Gaynor, Keb’ Mo’, Emily Bear and Loren Allred with the National Symphony Orchestra.
Gates open at 3 p.m. and the concert saluting America’s independence will begin at 8 p.m.
There will also be a dress rehearsal Sunday at 8 p.m. with gates opening at 3 p.m.
Both events are open to the public and no tickets are required. However, the Capitol Police have imposed a number of public safety measures and designated a number of items as prohibited on the site. A full advisory can be found here.
Everyone attending events on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol must adhere to security screening procedures before entering the event site. This will include an administrative search of all bags, coolers, backpacks and closed containers.
For this event, food items and beach/camp chairs that sit low to the ground are permitted. Guests are encouraged to bring their own supply of water.
Also making its return is the National Independence Day Parade. Just like in the days before the pandemic, the parade, which steps off at 11:45 a.m. on Independence Day and will continue through 2 p.m., will feature marching bands, fife and drum corps, floats, military units, giant balloons, equestrians and drill teams.
Also on tap on the National Mall during the celebration is the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
Co-sponsored by the National Park Service, highlights include exhibits spotlighting the culture of the United Arab Emirates, and Earth Optimism, an event featuring environmental scientists, anthropologists and other specialists talking about the conservation efforts undertaken by the Smithsonian and other organizations.
The festival will be open on the National Mall from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. between 7th and 12th Streets.
For those looking for family friendly fare, the Sylvan Theater Family Activity Area on the southeast grounds of the Washington Monument will feature activities related to the history of one of the city’s most famous features.
The theater will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Independence Day.
Road and Site Closures
Of course, big events on the National Mall always come with some amount of road and parking restrictions, and often closures of nearby sites.
Here’s the rundown for this July 4th celebration.
Anticipated site closures include:
- The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and World War II Memorial, which will close at 11:59 p.m. on July 3 and will remain closed on July 4.
- The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial will close at 4 p.m. on July 4 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.
- 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 Tennis Center will close at 3 p.m. on July 4
- Water taxi service to the National Mall will not operate on July 4.
Street Closures and Parking Restrictions
The U.S. Capitol Police have announced a number of temporary street closures and parking restrictions that will take effect beginning at 12:01 a.m. on July 2 and run through July 5 at 4 a.m.
- First Street between Constitution Avenue, NW and Independence Avenue, SW
- Maryland Avenue, SW, between First Street, SW, and Third Street, SW
- Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, between First Street, NW, and Third Street, NW
- The area between Peace Circle and Garfield Circle will remain closed until 4 a.m. on July 5.
Other noteworthy closures starting at 6 a.m. on July 4 and until approximately 12 a.m. on July 5:
- Arlington Memorial Bridge and Arlington Memorial Circle, to and including Lincoln Memorial Circle
- 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 Chest French Drive SW from Independence Ave SW to Lincoln Memorial Circle
- Lincoln Memorial Circle and all approaches and ramps into and out of Lincoln Memorial Circle, including Henry Bacon Drive NW, 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
- 23rd St SW from Independence Ave SW to Lincoln Memorial Cir and Constitution Ave to Lincoln Memorial Circle
- 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
- Ohio Dr SW from 23rd St SW to Inlet Bridge
- Madison Drive NW from 15th Street NW to 3rd Street NW
- Jefferson Drive SW from 15th Street SW to 3rd Street SW
- East Basin Drive SW east of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial to Ohio Drive SW
- West Basin Drive SW from Ohio Drive SW to Independence Avenue, 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.
- Eastbound U.S. Route 50 ramps to the George Washington Memorial Parkway and roads in the immediate area of U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial
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