Must-See Fireworks for Fourth of July 2023

When you think of the Fourth of July, thoughts of hot dogs, parades, and fireworks likely come to mind.

Fireworks have been a part of our Fourth of July history since they were set off in Philadelphia, PA on July 4, 1777 as part of the first organized celebration of Independence Day, according to Since then, it’s become an annual part of the tradition of Independence Day, with small towns and megacities alike hosting firework displays across the country.

We’ve compiled a list of pyrotechnic destinations for you to visit from north to south and sea to shining sea.

Boston, MA

The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular started on a relatively small scale with a free Esplanade Concert on July 4, 1929. In 1974, fireworks and cannons were added to the grand finale, and in 2017, the Boston Pops Orchestra produced the first self-produced Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. This year’s event marks its 49th year and will take place at Hatch Shell on the Esplanade. You will enjoy a mix of classical pieces, iconic pop hits, patriotic music, a guest artist lineup, and a dramatic finale accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” that includes live cannon fire and a dazzling fireworks show over the Charles River. Check the website for the latest information.

Washington, D.C.

What better place to watch Fourth of July fireworks than at our nation’s capital? Each year (weather permitting), the National Mall is the site for a blazing array of illuminations that light up the sky starting at 9:09 p.m. You can see it all from various points: at Mall viewing areas near the Washington Monument and Reflecting Pool as well as other Washington DC locations and even in nearby Virginia locations. (Details here.) (NOTE: The fireworks display may be delayed or canceled if there is inclement weather, such as driving rain, high winds, lightning, and/or low ceiling cloud cover in the area. Sign up for automated alerts by texting JULY4DC to 888777.)

But fireworks aren’t all the Capital has to offer on July 4th. There are other patriotic festivities taking place as well. These include the National Independence Day Parade beginning at 11:45 a.m. and proceeding down Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Street. A Capitol Fourth Concert is held on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. This marks the 43rd year for the concert, broadcast on PBS and streaming platforms as well as to our troops via the American Forces Network.

Also taking place is the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, honoring contemporary living and cultural traditions and celebrating those who practice and sustain them. The free Festival takes place for two weeks every summer on the National Mall, overlapping the Fourth of July holiday.

New York City, NY

If you thought the two biggest events in New York City were the Macy’s Day Parade on Thanksgiving and the ball drop on New Year’s Eve, then you need to expand your list to include Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks. This year marks its 47th anniversary, and if the past is prologue (as the saying goes), expect to see a spectacular array of fireworks launched from barges stationed in the East River starting at 8 p.m. More details will be forthcoming on Macy’s website as the date gets closer.

Philadelphia, PA

Of course, you know that the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776 in the City of Brotherly Love. So why wouldn’t you want to celebrate the Fourth of July in Philadelphia? The celebration begins at 11 a.m. with the America Independence Day Parade that starts at 2nd and Market Streets, traveling west to City Hall to North Broad Street and ending at Arch and North Broad Street. The evening brings Pershing’s Own Concert & Waterfront Fireworks, beginning at 8 p.m. at the Great Plaza at Delaware River Waterfront. The all-star concert by the US Army’s Pershing’s Own is followed by an incredible fireworks display over the Delaware River Waterfront.

The city is also home to the Wawa Welcome America event: the largest July 4th celebration in America and one of the largest free festivals in the country. The multi-day event is full of family-friendly programming across the city and, of course, fireworks displays.

Nashville, TN

Nashville might be known for country music, but the Music City also has a well-deserved reputation for an incredible Fourth of July celebration. Let Freedom Sing has one of the largest fireworks shows in the country, with the pyrotechnics synchronized to a live performance by the GRAMMY-winning Nashville Symphony, according to the website. The concert (featuring established and rising country stars) and fireworks show are free and open to the public. Tickets are also available for access to a premium viewing area providing an amazing view of the fireworks.

Addison, TX

You can’t make a list of fireworks destinations without including the aptly named Kaboom Town, aka Addison, TX. The fireworks display takes place on July 3rd and lasts about 30 minutes. According to the website, more than 500,000 visitors come to Addison to enjoy the Addison Airport Airshow, followed by the fireworks display. While the show can be viewed from anywhere in the city, you might want to consider being part of the watch parties hosted by many of Addison’s restaurants and hotels.

San Francisco, CA

The iconic city skyline is the perfect backdrop for the July 4th fireworks that begin around 9:30 p.m. along the northern waterfront. The dual displays—one at the end of the Municipal Pier and one on barges in front of Pier 39—provide a full view of the dazzling display. Be sure to dress in layers since the weather can be chilly and windy after sunset. Arrive early to find your best location and use public transit since the waterfront will get crowded closer to the show. More details will be available on the city’s website as the date draws closer.

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