13 Spectacular Free Fireworks Shows for Fourth of July
On July 4, cities and towns across the United States will celebrate the 240th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence with a host of festivities, from parades to concerts to massive fireworks displays. Here's where to enjoy some of the most star-spangled shows of them all. Better yet, viewing is free.
Fireworks for the Fourth are a classy affair in Austin, where the Austin Symphony performs before any flares start shooting across the sky. The downtown event opens at 4 p.m., when vendors begin hawking food and drinks. The symphony chimes in at 8 p.m. and the fireworks rocket off at 9:30 for a final 30 minutes of patriotic revelry.
There are plenty of July 4 fireworks around Atlanta, but one of the best shows is the Star Spangled Fourth at the Mall of Georgia. The event kicks off at 5 p.m. with family-friendly activities, including carnival games for kids, live music, a movie screening, and, of course, exciting fireworks after the sky has darkened. This year’s film is "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2."
Fourth of July on the Jersey Shore is every bit as much a party as visitors would expect. This year, the fireworks will shoot off at 9:30 p.m. from barges docked near Steel Pier. Spend the day at the pier’s amusement park and barhop along the beach into the night. There's free and unobstructed fireworks viewing from the boardwalk.
The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular is famous for a reason: free live music and a spectacular fireworks show. A concert without the explosive sparklers on July 3 is a warm-up to the main event the next day, when a second performance by the Boston Pops on the Esplanade begins at 8:30 p.m., followed by fireworks at 10:30. The event is so popular that Bostonians who eschew crowds can celebrate from the comfort of home: The show will broadcast on local TV and radio, and also stream live.
The absolute best place to see fireworks in Chicago is Navy Pier, where Lake Michigan provides a serene and scenic backdrop. Already a favorite spot for tourists who descend in droves on the city during the summer, Navy Pier stages a July 4 show with fireworks set to music. The whole shebang is visible from many points throughout the city, including from a boat on the lake.
The Mile-High City’s big Independence Day show blasts off on Sunday, July 3 at 8 p.m. at Civic Center Park, where attendees will be treated to more than booming, colorful sparklers. Live music and a light show will precede the pyrotechnics and vendors will be on hand with tasty food, as well.
Fire on the Fourth is an annual event in Miami that alternates between North Beach and South Beach. Food trucks, beach-side yoga, and a DJ keep things lively until the fireworks light up the skies starting at 9 p.m. Anyone eager to see the big show from the beach should get there early to stake out the perfect spot.
The Minneapolis Red White and Boom Fourth of July fireworks are always a hit with locals, and one reason is the number of excellent viewing spots around the city. Enthusiasts head to their favorite location well in advance of the 10 p.m. show, which originates in the Riverfront District. Preferred viewing sites include Gold Medal Park, the Stone Arch Bridge, and Lake Calhoun.
Cleverly titled Go Fourth on the River, the fireworks show in New Orleans launches at 9 p.m. from barges anchored in the Mississippi River. Three hot spots for gazing are Woldenberg Park in the French Quarter, the levee in Algiers Point, and Crescent Park at the edge of the of Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods. The pyrotechnics last about 15 to 20 minutes, which leaves plenty of time to dip into the city’s famed nightlife and celebrate into the wee hours.
There’s no shortage of hoopla in New York on national holidays, and July Fourth is no exception. The Independence Day spectacle is every bit as huge and exciting as the city itself. The fireworks blast off from barges in the East River, and the city skyline sets a beautiful frame for selfie opportunities.
Enjoying a California summer means hanging at the beach as much as possible. The San Diego Big Bay Boom fireworks extravaganza is the perfect way to combine beach time with good old-fashioned Independence Day partying. The show commences at 9 p.m. with discharges from barges located near islands in the Bay. Watch from almost anywhere.
A July Fourth event dubbed America’s Biggest Birthday Party runs over three days this year, with a huge concert and fireworks rounding things out at the end of the long weekend. Flo Rida headlines the final event at Forest Park, followed by eye-popping fireworks over the Grand Basin at 9:30 p.m.
For folks who are deep into Independence Day, there’s no beating Fourth of July fireworks in the nation’s capital. On that special day the District holds a parade in the afternoon and a fireworks display in the evening. Visible from numerous vantage points, the sparklers decorate the night sky and cast glowing light on monuments and historic buildings. The most hopping place to catch the show is the National Mall, which will be teeming with people. But what’s a fireworks display without thousands of “oohs” and “aahs”?