Top Five Places To See July 4th Fireworks

Summer's first kick-off party is undoubtedly Memorial Day, though we think the 4th of July takes the cake for the biggest and the best intro to the sweltering heat. So fire up the grill, ice down some beverages, and look to the night sky in observance of America's birthday. Here are the top five places to see fireworks in the USofA.
Fireworks over New York City
Fireworks over New York City  (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

Washington, D.C.
A top five fireworks list is not complete without including the nation’s capital. Attracting more than half a million people each year, Washington, D.C., is a beautiful backdrop for the 4th of July celebrations. The all-day event starts with a parade down Constitution Avenue between 7th & 17th streets featuring marching bands, military, and some special VIP’s. Festivities usually start on the National Mall at 10 a.m., and all visitors are required to enter through a security checkpoint. Prepare for events like a U.S. Navy Band concert near the Washington Monument or the National Symphony Orchestra on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building. Starting at dark, fireworks are usually launched from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and can be seen throughout the National Mall area. Check out’s Top 10 4th of July Fireworks Viewpoints for spectacular views of the display.

If you want to celebrate America’s independence for more than one day, then head to Philadelphia! The Wawa Welcome America festivities go throughout June and July and include live performances, historical presentations, Taste(s) of Philadelphia, multiple fireworks shows, and other events such as Philly at the Movies, Wawa Hoagie day, photo exhibits, All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival, and, of course, a parade. The grand finale fireworks conclude the 11-day celebration on July 4th. Most activities are free; if that’s not enough patriotic fun, then we don’t know what is!

New York City
Orbitz named New York City in its Top Ten Summer Destinations for 2012; so head to the Big Apple to see the famous Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks show. The digitally synchronized show usually includes more than 40,000 fireworks lasting a full 25 minutes for the millions of spectators. For prime viewing spots check out local restaurants, the Empire State Building, or a NY Waterway Cruise. Before the fantastic show, take the orange or yellow subway out to Coney Island to watch the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest that has been a patriotic tradition since 1916.

Edgartown/Martha’s Vineyard
During summer, thousands of people flock to Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard, escaping their regular lives and reveling in the beauty of the island. July 4th can be a busy weekend on the island, full of cookouts and fun in the sun, but don’t forget about the annual parade and fireworks. The parade usually starts at 5 p.m. heading down Main Street and Pease’s Point Way. After the antique cars and bands pass by, claim your spot near the Memorial Warf to watch the fireworks display that begins at dusk over the Edgartown Harbor.

San Francisco
The Waterfront Celebration for the 4th of July can be found on Pier 39 and the Fisherman’s Warf. Usually starting at 12 p.m., Pier 39 hosts live entertainment and other activities for visitors. But when the sun goes down, stop your dancing and look up at the magnificent fireworks display over the bay put on by The City of San Francisco. Another grand way to see the fireworks is on a bay cruise that showcases the evening skyline before stopping to give guests the prime viewing spot.

Bonus: Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe’s Lights On the Lake is the largest light show in the West. Fireworks are launched off barges near the South Shore and can be seen from anywhere on the lake.

Published: 28 Jun 2012 | Last Updated: 17 Jul 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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