Best Fireworks Shows for 4th of July
Who doesn’t enjoy a great fireworks show on Independence Day? The spectacular sight and sound of multi-colored pyrotechnics bursting in the night sky is the pinnacle of Fourth of July festivities.
From coast to coast, just about every town in America hosts a fireworks show on Independence Day. But let’s face it: Some shows are simply bigger and better than others. Here, then, are the five best fireworks displays in the country.
#1 – Boston, Massachusetts
The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular annually draws half a million people to the banks of the Charles River. This is one of the biggest, most popular fireworks shows in the U.S., and for good reason: What better place to celebrate the Fourth of July than the birthplace of the American Revolution? Watching the shells bursting over the water brings to mind the Boston Tea Party, Lexington and Concord, and the Battle of Bunker Hill—all key moments in our nation’s history.
#2 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Speaking of American history, it makes sense that the cradle of liberty is home to one of the best fireworks displays around. Philly’s “Welcome America” celebration is just a stone’s throw from historic Independence Hall, where our Founding Fathers voted to create a new nation in 1776. This year, there are three fireworks shows to enjoy: at Penn’s Landing on July 1st and 2nd, and along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on the 4th.
#3 – New York, New York
The biggest pyrotechnic show in all the land is the annual Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks display. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the show, with fireworks shot from multiple barges along the East River near the Brooklyn Bridge. The 25-minute spectacular features a whopping 40,000-50,000 shells (around 50 times the firepower of the average display in the nation) and can be seen from dozens of prime viewing locations in lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.
#4 – Washington, D.C.
There’s nothing like seeing fireworks against the iconic backdrop of memorials and monuments in our nation’s capital. This year’s display will take off from the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool, starting around 9 p.m. and lasting almost 18 minutes. Although it gets extremely crowded, the best vantage point is anywhere on the National Mall. Hundreds of thousands show up to see the Washington, D.C. fireworks, so if you want to get a good seat, you need to stake your claim early.
We’ve featured four shows on the East Coast, but we can’t ignore the other side of the country. So if you’re in the 22 states west of the Mississippi River, what’s the one fireworks show you can’t miss? Is it Los Angeles, Seattle, or Denver? While their big-city displays are no doubt spectacular, you’ll have to head a bit off the beaten path for the best in the west.
#5 – Idaho Falls, Idaho
The Melaleuca Freedom Celebration is the largest Fourth of July fireworks show west of the Mississippi River and is one of the best fireworks shows in the nation. This year’s celebration will pack 17,550 shells into a 31-minute program—an average of 10 shells per second.
Although it’s far removed from the bigger cities out west, people come from all over the country to attend the event. In fact, with an annual attendance around 150,000, the show regularly doubles—or even triples—the population of Idaho Falls.
Set along the scenic banks of the Snake River, the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration features a live radio broadcast with a patriotic theme. A “Salute to American Heroes,” this year’s celebration honors the soldiers and their families who have sacrificed everything to defend their country and preserve freedom.
The pyrotechnics are painstakingly choreographed to patriotic music and messages, shell for shell and note for note. The result is a production that does more than just wow the crowd: It stirs the hearts of spectators, many of whom say it’s the best fireworks displays they’ve ever experienced.
“There’s nothing I’ve seen that compares to it,” says Tammy Deal of Texas, who attended last year’s event with her husband Ronnie. “Here (in Texas), we sit on tailgates watching firecrackers—and we have a heyday. There, we really felt like we were paying tribute to America. My husband and I will remember it forever.”