Must-See Fireworks Displays for Independence Day



There’s nothing more American than apple pie – or so the saying goes. But on Independence Day, fireworks surpass dessert as the ultimate in Americana. America’s second president John Adams first lit the fireworks spark when he said that the 4th of July “ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade � and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other.� Some 210 years later, Americans are still fulfilling Adams’ vision for an illuminated Independence Day.


If you want to catch one of the best and brightest pyrotechnic shows of the year, then here’s a list you don’t want to miss: America’s top eight Independence Day fireworks displays (in no particular order). You might live in or near one of the firecrackin’ towns – but if not, a road trip is a great way to spend the 4th of July weekend!

New York City (see video above)

There’s no place like the Big Apple for one seriously big party on the 4th of July. The only things New Yorkers aren’t big on, in fact, is subtlety – which is good since their Macy’s Day Fireworks Extravaganza is most definitely over the top. The show features 120,000 blasts of color and 55 times more raw firepower than the average American fireworks display. Of course, if you can’t make it into Manhattan, you can always catch the fireworks on TV.


Philadelphia, PA

Home to Ben Franklin, the Liberty Bell and brotherly love – it can’t get more patriotic than Philadelphia, PA. Of course, modern-day Philly patriots love a good party, so if you’re coming for the 4th of July, then plan to arrive early – and stay late. Festivities include a parade, a carnival, a concert � and one of the country’s most awesome fireworks displays – right over the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (AKA the Rocky steps.) Let freedom ring!

St. Louis, MO

The city of St. Louis loves its 4th of July fireworks so much that organizers host encore performances throughout the summer. Of course, nothing compares to the energy and intensity of the Midwest’s biggest Independence Day bash, when the Gateway city trots out big name entertainment, Anheuser-Busch by the kegs-full, and mind-blowing pyrotechnics. Prepare to be awed by the main event, which shoots off around 9 p.m. right over the glistening St. Louis Arch.

New Orleans, LA

For 18 years, the city of New Orleans has played host to one of the country’s greatest Independence Day bashes. Ranked 5th must-see fireworks show by the American Pyrotechnic Association, New Orleans’ “Go 4th on the River” celebration is a sight to behold. And 2008 will be no exception! To get the best seat in the house for the dueling barges fireworks extravaganza, pull up lawn chair along the new Jazz Walk of Fame. The show starts at 9 p.m.

Washington, D.C.

There’s no more fitting place to celebrate the birth of America than in the cradle of democracy itself. Washington, D.C. is a buzz with patriotic happenings all week long, but come 9 p.m. on July 4th, all eyes are skyward as the nation’s capital launches an awe-inspiring, thirty-minute fireworks display. It’s hard to say which is more impressive – the perfect precision between the explosion of the fireworks and the cannons of the National Symphony Orchestra� or the movie-like backdrop of the Washington Monuments and the U.S. Capital. Talk about being proud to be an American!

Seattle, WA

TIME Magazine calls Seattle’s 4th of July fireworks show one of the top five displays in the country. We couldn’t agree more. Hosted on the banks of beautiful Lake Union, Seattle’s 4th of July festivities kick-off around noon with a host of family-friendly activities throughout the park grounds. Now in its 20th year, the pyrotechnics display starts at 10 p.m., but plan to get there early as more than 50,000 pack in for the free event.

Boston, MA

For the city that sparked the Boston Tea Party, it’s no wonder that Boston gets a little crazy on the 4th of July. The two-day Boston-4-Celebration festival, which hosts more than half-a-million people, is one serious display of American independence. The pinnacle of the festival is undoubtedly the 10:30 p.m. fireworks show, which features more than 20 thousand pounds of explosives with shells that climb to 1,500 feet. Best of all, the show is perfectly synchronized to the incomparable sounds of the Boston Pops.


Magic Kingdom, Disney World

If you’re in search of a truly magical 4th of July, then there’s no place like home – Mickey Mouse’s home that is. Epcot and MGM both feature a full day of patriotic events and unbeatable fireworks displays, but our favorite Disney Park for Independence Day is the incomparable Magic Kingdom. After a jam-packed red, white and blue day, Magic Kingdom lights up the black sky (and Cinderella’s Castle) with an unbelievable Fantasy In The Sky fireworks display. The best place to catch the show, which starts at 9 p.m., is from Main Street USA.


Nothing says 4th of July like fireworks. Whether you make it to one of these eight heart-thumping pyrotechnic displays, or you decide to check out a more local show (and there are thousands of them to chose from on Independence Day), just make sure you catch some firework magic this July 4th.

title: independence