July 4th is a special day for all Americans. And, enjoying that day in Washington DC is a special experience. But for those with limited mobility, they always need to ask how can disabled and senior visitors get access to July 4th in Washington DC?
Accessibility to the Fireworks
The fireworks typically are launched above the WWII Memorial starting about 9:00 PM on July 4th. The best spots to view the fireworks are either from the grassy area surrounding the Washington Monument or else from the Lincoln Memorial. Alternatively you will get a fairly good view from National Mall area between the US Capitol and the Washington Monument. On July 4th, many streets are closed to vehicular traffic due to the large numbers of people. People with limited mobility are left with few options, since its a reasonably far walk from any parking area or Metro station to the grounds of the Washington Monument or the Lincoln Memorial. One option that would require little walking would be to take the Metro and get off at Smithsonian Station. The elevator exit to Smithsonian is on Independence Avenue, which is a block and a half from the center of the National Mall. It’s not the best viewing area for the fireworks, but its not too bad. After the fireworks, however, the Smithsonian Station is crushed with people. It’s so busy that access to the platform is limited for about an hour after the fireworks.
Pedicab Access to View the Fireworks on July 4th in Washington DC
If you are lucky, you may be able to flag down a pedicab on the street. Unfortunately, there aren’t many of us available, and we are very busy shuttling passengers that day. We do not accept normal tour reservations on July 4th because there is very limited access to many of the memorials. However, we do have availability to take you to view the fireworks from Constitution Avenue near the Washington Monument. You could reserve for us to pick you up around 8:30 PM. We can take you to Constitution Avenue and let you sit on board until the end of the fireworks before returning you to your hotel, your car or the Metro. Each pedicab can hold 2-3 adults (depending on size). The rate is higher than our normal hourly tour rate. Contact us directly at 7032319882 for details. Space is extremely limited. It would be best to book this in advance, as we will likely be unable to answer many phone calls on July 4th.
Access to the Concert at the US Capitol
A decision has not yet been made whether to hold the traditional A Capitol 4th concert in 2022. In 2020 and 2021, the concert was canceled due to health concerns. If the concert is live this year, it may be a slightly better option for people with limited mobility. Vehicular traffic is allowed on Pennsylvania Avenue, and you could alight at 3rd Street. You still have a long block to go from there to get to the main viewing area around the Capitol steps. The concert starts around 8:00 PM, and from the Capitol steps you can see the fireworks going off, albeit from a distance. When the fireworks end, there will be a crush of people leaving, and things don’t normalize for about an hour after the fireworks end. Expect Uber to be at a super-surge rate even then.
Wheelchair Access on July 4th
Basically, for those with limited mobility, your only comfortable option is to have someone push you in a wheelchair from parking or the Metro either to the grounds of the Washington Monument or to the concert near the steps of the US Capitol. If you have to get to either of these locations on your own, you may find it to be very difficult.
Pedicab Access on July 4th
Pedicabs are permitted onto all the closed off streets on July 4th. We can take you around the museums, to the US Capitol, and up to the security entrances close to the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. However, we are unable to accept normal tours on July 4th due to limited access to the memorials. Nor can we usually field phone calls on July 4th. Instead, you will have to try to flag down an empty pedicab if you see one.
July 4th Parade Access
The July 4th Parade is fun. It stages on 7th Street on the National Mall and then marches up from 7th Street to 17th Street along Constitution Avenue. Best viewing along Constitution Avenue.
A great idea to enjoy the parade for anyone who with limited mobility would be to schedule a special pedicab tour on the morning of July 4th. We can pick you up from any downtown location. We can also take you down to the staging area for the July 4th Parade and ride around looking at all the floats, marching bands and other attractions. Personally, I find this a lot more fun than the actual parade. We can also get an overview of the Capitol, Pennsylvania Avenue, the Washington Monument and the Smithsonian Museums as well. At the end of the tour, we can drop you off again at any downtown location — restaurants, museums, Metros, parking garages, hotels, etc. There are limited tour slots available for July 4th morning.
Monuments and Memorials Tours for Disabled, Limited Mobility and Seniors on July 4th
On the day of July 4th itself, we cannot do a monument tour. Too many barricades are in place for that. However, on the weekend of July 4th, we do have availability. Just give us a call. For anyone with limited mobility, a private tour by pedicab is the perfect way to see all the memorials. We can get much closer than any motor vehicle. You go at your own pace and start on your own schedule. And, there will be much less walking involved than any traditional type of tour. Just call 7032319882 to set up your tour.
How can disabled and senior visitors get access to July 4th in Washington DC? Well, there are some difficulties, but you might consider a special pedicab viewing of the fireworks, a tour of the July 4th Parade staging area on the day of July 4th. Or else a monuments and memorials tour specially designed for guests with limited mobility on any other day.
Check out our general link on What to do on July 4th in Washington DC?