A list of the biggest and best fireworks displays in America
Independence Day is hands down my favorite American holiday. It isn’t that I’m hopelessly patriotic (trust me, I’m not — I used to wish I was British) but that I love, love, love fireworks. There’s something so majestic, something so magical about watching sparklers rain down into the sky, about hearing the BOOM they make as they’re set off and the whistling sound they make as they’re launched into the air. I also associate fireworks with romance. Don’t you? Maybe it has to do with sitting close to someone else in the dark, waiting for such beauty, anticipating what you’re about to see. Regardless, I hope everyone finds that kind of romance this 4th of July – and here are the best places to find it!
40,000 shells are expected to be set off of six barges along the Hudson River in New York City. You can watch anywhere from 22nd to 59th St., but I’d go with an area where you expect to find the best looking men: TriBeCa. Get yourself invited to a rooftop apartment party and watch in the awe with the banker/hipster/musician of your dreams.
America‘s independence was born here, so it isn’t surprising that Philly celebrates with a week-long party of fireworks, festivals and music. Head here for the USA‘s largest free outdoor Fourth of July concert, which is headlined by The Roots. Although the best place to watch the show is from the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, your best bets to see sparks go off (and perhaps create some of your own) would be from Lemon Hill, Boathouse Row, Kelly Drive, Martin Luther King Drive and Schuylkill River Park.
The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular is kind of awesome. If you haven’t heard of the Pops, they’re awesome — a world-renowned orchestra led by the (in my opinion) devilishly sexy conductor Keith Lockhart. And maybe I only find him attractive because his name sounds like something out of a Nora Roberts novel. Whatever. This year the musical guest is Lionel Ritchie (this is for you, Saryn Chorney Rosenthal!) while Fantastic 4 actor Michael Chiklis plays host. Although you can watch the display from either side of the Charles River, I’m partial to the men you’ll find in Cambridge — and not just because that’s where Hah-vahd Yahd (that’s Boston-speak for Harvard Yard) is located.
America’s grunge capital isn’t going to disappoint for adults this year. With the gorgeous Lake Union as a backdrop, you’ll be able to watch the display while you’re getting drunk — as, yes, a beerfest is part of the revelry. Otherwise, check out the fun from Gasworks Park or loiter by the best music clubs like The Sunset Tavern, The Nectar Lounge, The Paramount and The Q Cafe, as they’ll surely be packed as soon as the display is over.
There can’t be anything more patriotic in America than watching the rockets red glare from the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Sure, it’s going to be packed with throngs of kids, aggressively large families and probably very few single men, but if you do happen to meet one there, you can be sure he loves his country! The National Symphony Orchestra also plays at the U.S. Capitol building and the U.S. Navy Concert Band plays at the Washington Monument (hello, sailors!). In case you want to stay and play with the navy boys, the fireworks are actually launched from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool at the Monument, so stick around. You can start practicing your ‘ahoy, mates’ right…NOW.
Music City is my personal choice for a fierce fireworks display, just because the bands you’ll hear in the background are going to be awesome — and the guys who live in Nashville are pretty damn hot, as well. Watch sparks go off from Riverfront Park, which overlooks the Cumberland River, or at the Adventure Science Center‘s Fireworks Viewing event downtown. Where else can you expect performances from country music stars and attend an event called “Chicken & Fireworks”? Exactly.
If you’re a football fan, you know all about the Rose Bowl – which plays host to Pasadena‘s annual fireworks display. But forget football, because there’s such an eclectic amount of stuff happening in this small California suburb that there’s no way you can’t have a good time. There’s live music all day, a motorcycle stunt show and a Mariachi band performance. Although Pasadena itself can’t be considered the coolest place in the world, you can always bail afterwards for the hipster charms of the Silverlake and Los Feliz bar scene.
Why did Addison, Texas make the cut for the best fireworks display in America? I’m not really sure, but this Dallas suburb is universally considered to be the best, by publications like Travel + Leisure and the Wall Street Journal. Maybe it’s because the 30-minute fireworks display is choreographed to music, or that there’s an airshow, as well. Or that there’s an afterparty. Or because it actually calls the display “Kaboom Town.” Love it. For the best views, watch from Addison Circle Park (and cross your fingers that the music the town chooses to choreograph to is more Justin Timberlake than Justin Bieber).
Although it is a LoveTrekker tradition to watch the fireworks from a boat in Edgartown harbor on Martha’s Vineyard, the display there is more of a nostalgia thing for me than an actual appreciation of the fireworks quality. Still, there’s no place on earth I’d rather be come July 4. And if you want year-long 4th-like fireworks displays, you need only head to DisneyLand for an eye-popping celebration…every single night, year round.
Hoping some fireworks go off for YOU on the 4th of July…