National Mall 4th of July festivities

On July 4th, D.C. truly becomes America's city.

For the hundreds of thousands descending upon the National Mall for Independence Day celebrations, there's plenty to choose from: Music, food, and of course and fireworks.

But there is a major increase in security this year.

Check out this map of road closures.

U.S. Park Police call them access points. They are nine tented security screening sites spread across the National Mall.

No one steps foot on the mall without first stepping through this screening centers as part of the heightened security this Independence Day.

Backs are searched for weapons, coolers opened and even bicycles swabbed for potential explosives. Its more security than in any year's past.

From 3rd and Pennsylvania to Virginia and Constitution avenues Northwest, U.S. Capitol Police and Park Police transformed the National Mall into a well-orchestrated shutdown.

Are you planning to watch the fireworks this here? Here's a list of locations where you'll have a great view.

About 14,000 linear feet of bike rack barriers are now channeling tens of thousands of Independence Day revelers onto constitution - its cross streets blocked with chain link fences.

But what seems like a chaotic crush of people on is an exercise in control.

With authorities aware the Boston Marathon bombing was initially planned for the 4th of July, every caution is being taken here, including metal detectors and a platoon of security measures hidden behind the scenes.

Enjoying the festivities

Nikki Slogar came to the mall from Georgia for one reason. She wanted to see the D.C. parade.

The parade down Constitution Avenue was a moving collage of pride and patriotism. It’s also a thrill for Uchenna Umeh, a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, here with her family from San Antonio.

"Everyone is so happy, it's just awesome,” she says. “You want to just celebrate the country."

But with all the celebration comes to the need to stay cool. Like the 4th of July itself, weather like this is an annual tradition.

The Bross family does their best to avoid the people - at least for a while.

For the 6th straight year, they set up camp when the gates open, nearly 12 hours before the fireworks and they wouldn't have it any other way.