Fourth of July Fireworks Viewing Guide

Gillian Osswald

(Updated 06/14/2019)

Nothing marks the Fourth of July quite like fireworks do, and in New York City there are a host of places to watch the red, white and blue sparks fly. The annual Macy’s display (now in its 43rd year) takes place over Manhattan’s East River and remains the largest in the nation, but other local shows draw spectators to Coney Island, Staten Island and Manhattan’s west side, too. Check out our guide on how to get the best views of Independence Day fireworks throughout the City. No matter which spot you choose, be sure to arrive early; fireworks are set to start at approximately 9:20pm.

Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks

Macy’s holds the title for the nation’s largest fireworks display. This year they’ll launch over 70,000 effects in a colorful display over the East River, including a waterfall of fireworks between the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge. Macy’s will section off areas of the FDR Drive and other streets along the river as official viewing locations, but there are additional spots in Manhattan and Brooklyn from which to watch the display.

Seaport District. Photo: Julienne Schaer

Views from Manhattan
Find free waterfront views from either the Seaport District or Battery Park.

Brooklyn Bridge Park. Photo: Julienne Schaer

Views from Brooklyn
Bring a blanket to Brooklyn Bridge Park or snag a bench at the Brooklyn Heights Promenade for views along the Brooklyn waterfront. You can also grab a spot farther north in Domino Park. The Williamsburg Bridge may be in your sightline, but it won’t inhibit your view or your Instagram post.

Brooklyn Flyer in Luna Park, Coney Island. Photo: Alex Lopez

Fourth of July in Coney Island

You might find more entertainment at this Fourth of July celebration in Brooklyn than anywhere else in the City. While the fireworks are the main event, you can make a full day of it: lay out on the beach, take a spin on Luna Park’s rides and check out special events like the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest and a Cyclones baseball game. Then claim some space on Coney Island’s beach or its 2.5-mile-long boardwalk to watch the nighttime pyrotechnics, which take place by the Steeplechase Pier.

Hudson River Park. Photo: Molly Flores

Jersey City 50 Star Fire Show

Jersey City will launch its own fireworks display from Exchange Place on the Hudson River. That means viewers on the west side of Manhattan can watch from Rockefeller Park or from one of piers on the lower portion of Hudson River Park—roughly those from Tribeca up to Chelsea. Battery Park offers the chance to see the display or, depending on where you camp out, potentially this and the Macy’s fireworks.

Alice Austen House. Photo: Kate Glicksberg

Independence Day with the Staten Island Philharmonic

On Staten Island, enjoy some orchestra music with your fireworks. The Alice Austen House hosts this annual event on the waterfront, which overlooks New York Harbor. Set up camp on the museum’s lawn to hear the live performance leading up to the citywide fireworks displays.

Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. Photo: Julienne Schaer

Fourth of July Events

There’s plenty to keep you busy in NYC before the fireworks launch, and the patriotic festivities continue over the long weekend. For details on all sorts of celebrations for July 4 and beyond, check out our events guide.

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