National Park Service Presents 2018 Independence Day Celebration in the Nation's Capital

Date: June 25, 2018
Contact: Mike Litterst (National Mall), 202-245-4676
Contact: Pya Langle (Frederick Douglass National Historic Site), 202-619-7158
Contact: Sgt. James Dingeldein (U.S. Park Police), 202-556-9181

Washington – The national parks of Washington, D.C. offer a wealth of opportunity for celebrating Independence Day! From the traditional fireworks display on the Mall to a special day of reflection and commemoration of 200 years of the life and legacy of Frederick Douglass, there are a wide range of activities across the region’s national parks to mark the 242nd anniversary of American independence.

Complete information and updates on the Independence Day celebrations can be found at Sign up for day-of-event emergency information notifications by texting JULY4DC to 888777.

Celebrate Independence Day with special activities at Frederick Douglass’s Cedar Hill estate in historic Anacostia, Washington D.C. See living history actors recreate Douglass’s famous speech “What to the slave is the Fourth of July?,” earn a limited edition bicentennial Junior Ranger badge, enjoy live musical performances, and tour Douglass’s home. This special day of commemoration is part of the National Park Service’s yearlong celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Frederick Douglass. Visit for the full event schedule.  

Schedule of Events

  • Guided Tours of Cedar Hill, home of Frederick Douglass
    9 a.m., 10 a.m., 10:15 a.m.
  • “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”
    11 a.m. and 7 p.m. 
    Actor Darius Wallace delivers Douglass’s famous speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” Delivered originally on July 5, 1852, the biting oratory pointing out the paradox of Independence Day to those who were enslaved is among the famed abolitionist and orator’s most famous speeches.
  • Self-Guided Tours of Cedar Hill
    12 p.m. – 6 p.m. 
  • Become a Bicentennial Junior Ranger!
    1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
    Become a bicentennial Junior Ranger and earn a limited edition badge! Enjoy activities for children and families on the lawn. Croquet, rangers unrolling a replica of the American flag from 1877 (the year Douglass moved to Cedar Hill), storytelling, and living history actors portraying Douglass and his family.
Getting There
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site is located at 1411 W Street SE in Washington, DC. Parking at the site is limited and visitors are encouraged to use public transportation. The site is serviced by both Metrorail (the Green Line’s Anacostia station is approximately ¾ of a mile from the site) and Metrobus (B2 and V2 buses drop off in front of the site; the 90, 93, A42, A46, A48, P1, P2 and P6 buses drop off within two blocks of the park). Check out the Metro website at for additional information.

Fort Washington Park stays open late for viewing of fireworks from Washington, D.C. and Virginia shore.  The fort remains open until 9:45 p.m. after the fireworks are completed. Park entrance fees are waived after 7 p.m.

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 at Daingerfield Island 

Schedule of Events
  • Smithsonian Folklife Festival – National Mall, from 12th Street to 14th Street NW
    11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    The 2018 annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, co-sponsored by the National Park Service, highlights the cultures of Armenia and Catalonia. The festival will be open on the National Mall from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. between 12th and 14th Streets. For more information, please visit: or call 202-633-6440.

  • National Independence Day Parade – Constitution Avenue NW from 7th Street NW  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!  
  • 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, join Jimmy Buffett and the Broadway cast of Escape to Margaritaville, pop superstars the Temptations and the Beach Boys, country music star Luke Combs, host John Stamos, and many more as they honor our country’s 242nd birthday. Gates open at 3 p.m.
  • 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.
Public Access
National Mall - The following public entry points for the National Mall will open at 10 a.m. unless otherwise indicated, and will remain open until 9 p.m. Visitors will be screened at all access points. There may be changes to access points on the day of the event to enhance security.
  • South side of Memorial Bridge
  • Constitution Avenue NW between 23rd Street NW and Henry Bacon Drive NW
  • Constitution Avenue NW and 17th Street NW (opens at 2 p.m.)
  • West side of 15th Street NW at Madison Drive NW
  • West side of 14th Street SW at Jefferson Drive SW
  • Maine Avenue SW and Raoul Wallenberg Place SW (15th Street SW)
  • East Basin Drive just south of the Jefferson Memorial (visitors will not be able to access the National Mall from here)
  • East Basin Drive at Inlet Bridge SW
U.S. Capitol grounds – Public access begins at 3 p.m. to view A Capitol Fourth, with a security check required of all visitors.  Seating on the West Lawn is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Entrances will be at:
  • 3rd Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  • 3rd Street SW and Maryland Avenue SW
Road Closures
The following roads will be closed and off limits to vehicles on Wednesday, July 4:

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 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)

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 (drones) 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 recommended that pets be left at home.
  • Possession of firearms is prohibited in national parks hosting this event in the District of Columbia during this special event under D.C. Code 7-509.07. Possession of firearms is 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.

Getting There
Visitors are strongly advised to use public transportation. Metrorail riders should try using stations other than the Smithsonian or Federal Triangle, which have the heaviest use on the Fourth of July. 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

  • 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 only.
  • 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.

Last updated: June 30, 2018


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