Public Transportation your best bet on July 4th

If you're heading into the District this Thursday, don't even think about driving. Over half a million people are expected at the National Mall for the July 4th celebrations. And many of the main streets into DC will be closed. Your best bet is to use public transportation that day or avoid the area.

All Metro trains will be in service and run from 7 a.m. to midnight, on a Saturday schedule. Extra trains will be in rotation to help with the extra volume. Heavier crowds are expected at the Smithsonian and Federal Triangle Stations. Avoid them if possible, especially during peak hours.

Public access is allowed on the Mall starting at 10am, so it's a good idea to arrive early. Blankets and lawn chairs are allowed.

Important reminder: The Smithsonian Station will be open throughout the day but will be entry only, following the fireworks. The show is expected to end near 9:45pm.

If you use the Metro July 4th, parking is free at all Metro stations. No bicycles or large coolers are allowed. Rush-hour traffic is expected from 6 p.m. to midnight. Avoid peak stations during these times if possible.

Metrobus is also an alternate to hopping in your car. The bus will operate on a Saturday schedule for July 4th. WMATA is warning commuters that due to street closures around the capitol bus routes may be detoured.

MetroAlert updates online are available at