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7 Great American Cities for July 4th Fireworks

July 4th Fireworks and celebrations always give me child-like excitement.

I dream of the biggest fireworks display over a perfect night sky in one of our country’s great cities. Iconic city skylines, concerts, and just enjoying a fine summer night outside with nothing to do but wait for the big event. You have to admit it’s one of the summer’s top moments. When the twins are old enough to not be scared to death by the bang and boom, I look forward to setting a yearly family fireworks tradition to one or more of these cities:


7 Great American Cities for July 4th Fireworks

You really can’t think of the 4th of July without thinking about the dazzling display put on by The Boston Pops.  This amazing piece of American tradition is celebrating its 40th year.  Over 20,000 pounds of fireworks are shot into the air for over 20 minutes.  The show takes place over the Charles River so you can see excellent views from Harvard and Longfellow bridges. There is always a free concert at the DCR Hatch Shell located in Beacon Hill and you can picnic right on the lawn so you’re ready for the music around 7:30 p.m. followed by the fireworks which go off about 9:30 p.m. Take the kids and make it a long weekend so you can explore all the historic sites before you head home.

Washington D.C.

7 Great American Cities for July 4th Fireworks

Right down the coast is another 4th of July family favorite where our nation’s treasures set a gorgeous backdrop for the fireworks show.  Put on by PBS and uniquely traditional, A Capitol Fourth is a 20 minute show that takes place on the National Mall.  Set to music by The National Symphony Orchestra, you can see this display starting around 9 p.m. following a parade and a thorough security checkpoint.  For the best viewing, head over to the Lincoln Memorial.  If you want to ditch the crowds, try the other side of the river near Arlington Cemetery.  Set your spot early and enjoy the whole day relaxing in our lovely capitol.

New York City

7 Great American Cities for July 4th Fireworks

One of the biggest and most impressive fireworks shows takes place in of course, New York.  Everything is bigger and more fantastic in the Big Apple, and that includes the Macy’s Firework Spectacular over the Hudson River.  The crowds are out in force with over 2 million viewers, but there are places to watch the show scattered throughout the city so the crowds don’t get too big.  The show consists of over 75,000 pounds of fireworks and lasts more than 25 minutes. You can listen to a synchronized sound track by tuning into 1010 AM radio and for a great view of the show, try booking a ticket on any number of the city’s cruise boats.


7 Great American Cities for July 4th Fireworks

Another great choice is where it all started in 1776.  Celebrate the birthplace of our Nation at the Philly 4th of July Jam and Fireworks Finale. The largest free concert in the country will be offered with food and entertainment all day long.  During the day, all the action can be found at the Party on the Parkway, along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from 20th street to Eakins Oval.  This year’s artists include John Mayer, Jill Scott and local favorites, The Roots.  It all builds to the Grand Finale Fireworks at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


7 Great American Cities for July 4th Fireworks

Chicago has numerous options for 4th of July fireworks, but the most popular spot is usually the Navy Pier.  This 15-minute show is set to patriotic music set against the beautiful city skyline and you can watch from the lakefront or one of the many fireworks cruises available.  Another option is to book a room at the Swissotel Chicago which has many rooms that overlook the fireworks and the water.  You can see the whole event from the luxury of your hotel room.  And keep the AC cranked up so you can stay cool and relaxed!


7 Great American Cities for July 4th Fireworks

If you’re a country music fan, or even if you’re not, Nashville puts on one of the country’s best fireworks and music shows.  Nashville really knows how to throw a party and you’ll have a fantastic holiday weekend in Music City.  Let Freedom Sing is a free concert that takes place every July 4th at Riverfront Park, followed by a fireworks celebration along the banks of the Cumberland River.  Make sure you visit the Family Fun Zone and then wind up your day listening to the music of top artists such as Keb’ Mo’ and The Band Perry.  The fireworks begin about 9:45 p.m. and are set to music by The Nashville Symphony.  Your ears and eyes have never had it so good.

San Francisco

7 Great American Cities for July 4th Fireworks

The 4th of July celebration at Pier 39 is a  family friendly event that offers food, activities, music and fireworks.  The fireworks are launched just north of Pier 39 over the San Francisco Bay.  Kids will love to visit Smurf Village, meet real life blue characters and experience a unique experience sliding down the Eiffel Tower Slide.  You can find the Smurf Village in East Park.  Bands performing this year are Tainted Love and WJM.  Take your camera to capture some wonderful shots of the impressive fireworks display.  They will make your instagram feed look really good!

What’s your favorite city to celebrate 4th of July? Do you and your family have an annual tradition?

More from Samantha Brown:

Most Patriotic Places in America

11 Things to Do With Kids in London

Beat the Heat: 7 Wild Waterparks

Family Travel: Great RV Getaways

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When the twins are old enough to not be scared to death by the bang and boom, I look forward to setting a yearly family fireworks tradition to one or more of these cities.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. San Diego (even with last years snafu) has great fireworks. If you find the right spot you can actually see about six different fireworks shows at different times going on in the different neighborhoods in town. I like to watch on the beach in Ocean Beach which is family and pet friendly and the fireworks are followed by a marshmallow fight on the beach. You can also walk over to the dog beach and see the fireworks going of at Sea World and sometimes the ones down the beach toward La Jolla. Of course I also like the fireworks over the Mississippi River in New Orleans where you can carry your drink in a go cup on the street and watch 🙂

  2. A favorite Fourth of July display for me was outside of Colorado Springs set against the Rockies Mountains.

  3. My husband and I are going to Punta Mita Mexico on July 22 for a week long vacation. We are staying at the St Regis Hotel. This is our fist trip and was hoping for advise on how to make this first vacation in 35 years one to remember on a K-Mart budget. Please advise how we can enjoy our vacation and what to see and what not to waste our time and money on. How do we stay on such high temps without getting fried. Not sure what else to ask, as this is our first time travelers.

    Most important packing items. How to upgrade seats on plain and hotel accommodations, without huge cost
    Kimberly & A.C

  4. We lived 10 miles from Williamsburg and Yorktown and have seen fireworks at both places. Really inspirational

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7 Great American Cities for July 4th Fireworks
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