How to get to Fourth of July fireworks on National Mall

(Photo: Flickr/ Stephen Gunby)

On this most patriotic weekend of the year, the steps of the Capitol are a huge draw.

"I mean where better to celebrate the Fourth than in the nation's capital?" says Liz Williams, a visitor from New York City.

Metal barricades are lined up all over the National Mall with plenty of police on standby, indicators of how busy this area will get as the Forth draws near.

The crowds, the traffic, and the heat aren't enough to keep U.S. Marine Brian Cortez-Torres, from the festivities. He's thinking about fellow vets fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"That patriotism,” he says. “Seeing everyone enjoying themselves and having a good time reminds you of the freedom they're fighting for.”

Metro and bikeshares add capacity

The Fireworks will start at 9:10 p.m. Monday. There will be 16 entrance points to the National Mall, including Constitution Avenue at 15 and 17th Streets, Independence Avenue at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue at Henry Bacon Drive.

Security will be tight. All coolers bags and backpacks could be searched. The National Park Police is asking visitors to keep their eyes open.

Metro will operate from 7 a.m. to midnight with extra trains after 6 p.m. The Smithsonian station will be closed on July 4th until after the fireworks end.

Alternative stops close to the Mall are Farragut North, Federal Center, Capitol South, L'Enfant Plaza, Archives-Navy Memorial, Union Station and Judiciary Square.

Those not riding Metro might be biking instead. Capital Bikeshare provide two bike corrals to handle the large number of riders expected for the festivities. The corrals will be located at 12th and Independence Avenue, SW as well as 10th St and Constitution Avenue, NW.

The following streets around the Mall will be closed from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday.

Blue lines mark roads closed between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.
Green lines mark roads closed starting 11:30 a.m. and reopening at 3 p.m. or 11 p.m.

Additional street closures for the parade are:

9th Street Tunnel from Pennsylvania Avenue to the SE/SW Freeway
12th Street Tunnel from the SE/SW Freeway to Pennsylvania Avenue

Find out more about closed streets on the DDOT website.

Are you allowed to light fireworks?

Whether residents are allowed to light sparklers with their barbecue depends on where they live in the D.C. area.

In Montgomery and Prince George's counties as well as Alexandria and Falls Church, all private fireworks are illegal. The District,{ } Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William counties are slightly more relaxed: Some devices are allowed here, mostly sparklers that don't explode or shoot flames, according to the Washington Examiner.

Getting caught with illegal fireworks can mean fines and even jail time.

How are you spending Fourth of July?

Let us know how you're celebrating Independence Day. Send us pictures to or @ABC7News on Twitter. We will feature a selection on our site.