Fireworks illuminating the sky, whether in small towns or big cities across America, is a great way to celebrate summer. Often accompanied by live music, food, shopping, festivals, parades, and more, the top 4th of July fireworks displays in the country are perfect for any traveler feeling patriotic.
A view of the Macy's July 4th Fireworks Display in lower Manhattan, taken from Brooklyn Bridge Park; Photo by SergeYatunin/iStock.com
MACY’S 4TH OF JULY FIREWORKS—NEW YORK, NY
The country’s largest fireworks show typically starts just after 9:00 p.m., with more than 40,000 fireworks launching from four barges lining the Hudson River, and stretching 1.5 miles between 24th and 50th Streets. The dazzling lights are accompanied by the musical talents of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the New York Pops Orchestra. People start arriving hours before launch begins, so be sure to get there early. Favorite spots are along West Side Highway below 59th Street. There are also access points at several of the cross streets from 11th Avenue.
BOSTON POPS CONCERT FIREWORKS SPECTACULAR—BOSTON, MA
Nearly 500,000 visitors flock to the Charles River for the annual fireworks celebration that kicks off at 8:00 p.m. View the show from a variety of spots around town. If you want to brave the crowds, head to Esplanade Park alongside the Charles River, but note that this typically fills up early in the afternoon. You can also cross the river to Cambridge. Keep the fun going by checking out the events sponsored by Harborfest, including concerts, a seafood festival, and other activities.
WAWA WELCOME AMERICA—PHILADELPHIA, PA
In America’s birthplace, this eight-day festival includes outdoor films, free admission to museums, parades, bands, and more. Party on the Parkway kicks off on Benjamin Franklin Parkway at noon on July 4th with free music, food, and fun. The fireworks finale begins around 10:30 p.m. at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
NATIONAL MALL INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION—WASHINGTON, D.C.
It doesn’t get much more patriotic than enjoying spectacular fireworks on the National Mall on the 4th of July. But, you'll also have fantastic views by the U.S. Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, or FDR Memorial. The day begins with free live music and an Independence Day Parade and ends with a grand finale concert at 8:00 p.m. Skip some of the crowds by booking a boat cruise along the Potomac River.
The annual Fourth of July fireworks in South Lake Tahoe; Photo by First Tracks Productions/Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority
LIGHTS ON THE LAKE—LAKE TAHOE, CA
Not only can you enjoy Lake Tahoe’s luxury resorts, restaurants, shopping, casinos, vibrant nightlife, and scenic surroundings, you can also experience a stunning fireworks display. Terrific viewpoints are Lakeview Commons/El Dorado Beach, plus Nevada Beach in between Stateline and Zephyr Cove. The beauty of the area comes to life as the fireworks reflect on the lake and light up the sky.
CELEBRATION AT THE PIER—SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Thousands of people are attracted to this waterfront area each year. You can check out Fisherman’s Wharf, take a ferry ride around the bay, or cycle around the city. You'll also find wine tasting tours, free concerts, and other fun events. The fireworks, which can be viewed all around the area, launch over the bay from the end of the Municipal Pier and in front of Pier 39.
LET FREEDOM SING! MUSIC CITY 4TH—NASHVILLE, TN
One of the largest fireworks shows in the South is an exciting celebration that all ages can enjoy. All-day entertainment features events, live music, family fun, and more. Finish your fun day with a spectacular display of pyrotechnics synced to a live performance by the Grammy-winning Nashville Symphony.
FAIR ST. LOUIS—ST. LOUIS, MO
Join thousands of other visitors from around the globe to experience the spirit of St. Louis, including live music, entertainment, food, and of course, a magnificent fireworks display. Celebrated for 42 years and aptly called “America’s Biggest Birthday Party,” the day begins with America’s Birthday Parade and culminates with fireworks at the famous Gateway Arch.
GO FORTH ON THE RIVER—NEW ORLEANS, LA
There’s not just one fireworks display in New Orleans. In fact, there are two at the same time, in the form of dueling barges on the Mississippi River. The array of sparkling lights can be seen just about anywhere in the city, but the closer you get to the river, the better. Other popular viewing areas are Woldenberg Park, the Moon Walk, or on the other side of the river in Algiers. The show is synced to patriotic music, so be sure to bring your radio and tune in. During the day, check out festivities, food, drinks, shopping, and more.
Fourth of July fireworks in Addison Kaboom Town; Photo by Town of Addison
ADDISON KABOOM TOWN—DALLAS, TX
Just outside of Dallas, Addison’s annual fireworks display is one of the longest in the nation, at 30 minutes. Nearly half a million guests converge on this small town for both the Addison Airport Airshow and the fireworks display. View the show from nearly anywhere in the town, including the award-winning festival in Addison Circle Park. Make sure to mark your calendars because this display happens on July 3rd, not July 4th.