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4th of July Weekend: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

by Borderstan.com — June 30, 2010 at 9:04 pm 0

Luis Gomez Photos U.S. Capitol Washington DC

This Weekend: The National Mall from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial will host events, concerts, fireworks. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Should I Stay or Should I Go? The Fourth of July weekend is a big holiday in DC. We get lots of visitors. Some are locals from the suburbs who come into the city for a day. Others are tourists who stay longer and bless us with their dollars at hotels and local businesses.

For the coming weekend, there are many reasons to stay in the city,  as well as reasons to leave. I am firm believer that traveling on three-day weekends is usually stressful and an overall bad idea, so we will be here in Borderstan. Here are some tips for newcomers–and reminders for longtime residents.

Why to Stay in DC

  1. You avoid the traffic on the I-95 corridor along the east coast. You avoid the crowded buses and trains headed for NY.
  2. You don’t have to navigate the traffic to get to Eastern Shore and the beaches. Not to mention, you won’t have to deal with the multitudes who think it’s fun to travel on three-day weekends.
  3. The streets are delightfully quiet at this point in early summer.
  4. You can get a table at a trendy restaurant and quickly get inside a popular club.
  5. Staying in town is probably cheaper unless you really take advantage of point #4 in a big way.

If You Stay in DC

There are risks to staying in town: Lots of people come to DC for the Fourth of July festivities. Some are locals from the suburbs while others are tourists. So, you do need to know what to expect, what to avoid and what precautions to take. Of course, there are lots of reasons to stay home and take in the events this weekend.

  1. The website-calendar, What’s On Washington, has a regularly updated listing of events in the DC area. It’s quite good and I recommend it for this weekend’s festivities. Some other listsings… check out the July 4th roundup at washingtonian.com… while the post is from last year, locations don’t change and the Going Out Gurus at The Washington Post have a great map of places to watch the fireworks on the National Mall on Sunday night… the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival, an annual event, is happening on the National Mall and closes Monday.
  2. Road closures: Lots of them downtown and around the National Mall–but not in the Borderstan area. DC Department of Transportation put out its list of road closures for this weekend.
  3. Transportation: Whevever possible, walk or take the bus. The Metro will get crazy this weekend. Driving around the hood is fine–but avoid downtown (see DDOT’s road closings).
  4. Events on the National Mall. The National Park Service has a listing. If you want to go for the festivities, check the the list.
  5. The official Parade is Sunday, July 4, beginning at 11:45 a.m. It goes westward on Constitution Avenue NW from 7th to 17th Street.
  6. There are concerts on the Capitol grounds and at the Washington Monument.
  7. There are fireworks on the National Mall. They begin at 9:10 pm on Sunday night, and the launch site is the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

A final word about the concerts and fireworks and crowds on the National Mall: I go every 10 years, rain or shine.

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