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EPIC Guide to the 4th of July in New York City (Fireworks + Events)

Front Row Fireworks, 4th of July in NYC
Image Courtesy Front Row Fireworks

The most iconic city in America doesn’t celebrate its country’s Independence Day halfway; there are 4th of July events in New York City’s five boroughs all day. The star of the show is Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks on the East River (more on that later), and there are plenty of parties and family-friendly activities ready to celebrate the holiday.

In this guide, I tell you all about the fireworks and a few extra annual Fourth of July events in New York City. As a local who’s celebrated the holiday in the city, these recommendations and tips are based on first-hand experience. Let’s jump in!


Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The best neighborhoods for first timers +3 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.


4th of July NYC Guide

Table of Contents: Things to Do in NYC for 4th of July

Domino Park best things to do Brooklyn, fourth of July in NYC

Average Weather in NYC During 4th of July

NYC 4th of July Averages : high 84°F (29°C) | low 70°F (21°C) via Weather Spark

There’s no need to sugarcoat it: summers in New York City are hot! Historical highs hover around 84°F (27°C), and comfortable nights dip to 70°F (21°C). Most of the city is concrete (which absorbs heat), and the humidity can dampen celebrations. Good hydration and shady breaks offer a much-needed reprieve from the heat.

Generally, sunshine and clear skies make the fireworks viewing spectacular. Historically, the average chance of rain on July 4th in NYC is around 30-35% (3-4 out of every 10 Independence Days). Luckily, the last few years have been dry as a bone (knock on wood).


New York City’s Fourth of July Fireworks


Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks, 4th of July NYC
Image Courtesy Macy’s

Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks NYC

Website: Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Show
Address:
East River, between 26th and 40th Streets

The 4th of July in NYC revolves around the Macy’s Firework Show. Now in its 48th year, the fireworks show is the largest in the country, with over 60,000 shells launched and as many as 2,400 per minute at peak times. The fireworks are set off on barges in the East River and can be viewed from Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan. There are seven official viewpoints, and the show is free to attend.

You don’t need to register or get tickets but arrive early to ensure you get a good spot. For reference, I arrived at 6:30 PM for the 9:30 PM show last year, and the park was already jam-packed.

Macy’s website says lawn chairs, blankets, umbrellas, coolers, and large bags are prohibited. With that said, I’ve seen folks get away with bringing that and more. I’m not telling you to break the rules; just be prepared for other folks not to be so law-abiding.


Where to Watch Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks in NYC


Official Viewpoints for Macy’s NYC Fourth of July Firework Show

Manhattan:

Manhattan turns the Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive, better known as the FDR, into an official viewing area. There are entry points used as funnels to get folks onto the parkway. Here are the entry points to access the FDR:

  • 1st Ave. & E 42nd St.
  • 1st Ave. & E. 34th St. (Wheelchair Accessible)
  • 1st Ave. & E. 20th St.

Queens:

Spectators in Queens enjoy the NYC 4th of July fireworks from Gantry Plaza State Park, a sprawling 12-acre waterfront oasis. The view of the fireworks is impeccable thanks to the idyllic background: Manhattan’s skyline, but the stellar views often attract the densest crowds.

Brooklyn:

The Manhattan skyline viewed from Brooklyn is the perfect backdrop for the Macy’s Fourth of July Firework Show. A more comprehensive array of viewing areas is also spread across three parks. These are the official parks to view the 4th of July NYC fireworks from in Brooklyn:


Private Viewpoints for NYC’s 4th of July Fireworks

Westlight

Website: Westlight
Address:
111 N 12th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249

Westlight is one of the best rooftop bars in Brooklyn, and they host one of the best Fourth of July firework viewing parties in NYC. They often have a DJ, drinks, and dancing. The 21+ event usually opens at 5; you can expect a great place to party and mingle. Tickets are sold per table (for example, 2-person tables cost X, and 4-person tables cost X) and sell out quickly.

Front Row Fireworks

Website: Front Row Fireworks
Address:
E 34th St, New York, NY 10016

If you need a family-friendly way to celebrate 4th of July in NYC, Front Row Fireworks has you covered. It’s an event that takes place at the East 34th Street Heliport in Manhattan, which sits below the FDR so you essentially have “front-row” viewing. A DJ, drinks, food, and even games will be available. The event takes place rain or shine between 6-10PM. If you’re interested, don’t wait to get your tickets.

Empire State Building

Website: Empire State Building
Address:
20 W 34th St., New York, NY 10001

If you’re looking for the most memorable 4th of July in NYC, why not celebrate America’s birthday atop one of its most famous landmarks? New York City is home to five observation decks, the most iconic of which is the Empire State Building. Tickets are usually around $500 for the million-dollar view. There’s also a selection of hors d’oeuvres, music, and an open bar.

Summit One Vanderbilt, Fourth of July in NYC

Summit One Vanderbilt

Website: Summit One Vanderbilt
Address:
45 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

So we chatted about New York City’s most famous observation deck, but what about its newest? Summit One Vanderbilt tops out at 1,400 feet, and nearly every surface (including the floors and walls) is either a window or mirror. Tickets to its viewing party usually run $350+ for access to all three of the observation deck’s floors and a glass ledge that sits 1,100 feet over Madison Ave.

The Penthouse at Ravel Hotel

Website: The Penthouse at Ravel Hotel
Address:
8-08 Queens Plaza S, Long Island City, NY 11101

The Ravel Hotel is a waterfront gem in Long Island City, Queens, offering one of the best 4th of July events in NYC. In their rooftop bar named The Penthouse, you’ll have a bird’s eye-view of the fireworks and an open bar. There will also be a DJ and a dance floor.

The Roof at Park South

Website: The Roof at Park South
Address:
125 E 27th St, New York, NY 10016

A mere three blocks from the East River is The Roof at South Park, a rooftop restaurant hosting one of the premier 4th of July events in NYC. Complete with an open bar and a good ol’ fashioned American barbecue, there are few better places to spend 4th of July in NYC. This is also one of the latest viewing parties; doors close at 11 PM!


More Things to Do on the 4th of July in NYC


Cheer on the Coney Island Hot-Dog Eating Contest

Website: Nathan’s Famous Hot-Dog Eating Contest
Address:
1310 Surf Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11224

Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest has become a national treasure, broadcast nationally on ESPN. The sport has grown in popularity in recent years thanks to the lore of Joey Chestnut, who holds the world record of 76 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

The event takes place at the intersection of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island beginning at 11 AM. Crowds of up to 35,000 make this one of the most popular 4th of July events in NYC.


Yankee Game NYC Summer, Fourth of July in NYC
Image Courtesy MLB

Go to a Yankee’s Game

Website: New York Yankees
Address:
1 E 161 St, Bronx, NY 10451

In 2024, one of the best things to do in NYC on the 4th of July is to cheer on the New York Yankees as they take on the Cincinnati Reds at 1 PM. The team plays their games at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, accessible by subway, and tickets are available for as little as $20 (at the time of writing).


March in the Travis Parade

Website: Travis Parade
Address:
Independence Park, Staten Island, NY 10314

Small-town USA comes to NYC on the 4th of July, thanks to the Travis Parade on Staten Island. Firetrucks, veterans, and bands make their way through town to celebrate America’s birthday. There are significantly smaller crowds on Staten Island, making this one of the best 4th of July events in NYC for kids. The ceremony begins at noon at Independence Park, and the parade starts around 12:30 PM.


Enjoy The Day Party at The Brooklyn Boardwalk

Website: The Day Party
Address:
3050 Stillwell Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11224

The Day Party is an annual event in Coney Island, Brooklyn, celebrating R&B and Hip-Hop. In past years, the festival has had Diddy, Kehlani, Ashanti, Ja Rule, Drake, J. Cole, and more. 2024 tickets, dates, and lineup info have yet to be released. 


Take a NYC 4th of July Cruise

Website: Liberty Cruises
Address:
299 South St, New York, NY 10002

Liberty Cruises has various Fourth of July cruise options, including cruises to view the fireworks or even a 4th of July morning brunch cruise. They also come at various price points, so you shouldn’t immediately write off a NYC 4th of July cruise because of cost.


Fourth of July in New York City

Visit the Statue of Liberty

Website: Statue of Liberty
Address:
Statue of Liberty, New York, NY 10004

Although Lady Liberty won’t be celebrating the 4th of July in NYC with fireworks or a barbecue, she’s still worth visiting. Arguably America’s most recognizable landmark, there are few better places to be on Independence Day.

You can see the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park on the southern tip of Manhattan, Governors Island, or Brooklyn. The Staten Island Ferry (which takes you from Manhattan to Staten Island for free) provides one of the best views.


Tips for Visiting NYC for 4th of July

Hydrate & Wear Sunscreen

The Fourth of July in New York City can be a scorcher, so hydrating and caring for your body is paramount. Here’s the only sunscreen I recommend, and remember to stop often for water breaks.

Consumer Fireworks are Illegal in NYC

As tempting as it may be, you shouldn’t be lighting up any fireworks in NYC on the 4th of July. The laws are strict and clear: any and all fireworks are illegal, and even just possessing them can result in a hefty fine.

Be Aware of Dynamic Pricing

Most NYC 4th of July events have what’s known as dynamic pricing, where vendors will raise their price based on demand and the closer you are to the event. Book early to avoid the surge in pricing.

Expect Crowds, Lots of Them, Everywhere

Crowds are a given in New York City on any day, but the Fourth of July is a whole different animal. The firework viewing areas are shoulder to shoulder, and most bars & restaurants are jam-packed.


Visiting New York City During 4th of July (Post Roundup)

  • Watch the Macy’s 4th of July NYC Firework Show
  • Enjoy the Coney Island 4th of July NYC Firework Show
  • Gawk at the 4th of July Firework Show on the Hudson River
  • Cheer on Nathan’s Famous Hot-Dog eating contest
  • Go to a Yankee’s Game
  • Admire the Travis Parade on Staten Island
  • Dance at the The Day Party at The Brooklyn Boardwalk
  • Visit Lady Liberty

Map of the Best NYC Fourth of July Activities

Frequently Asked Questions
What is there to do in NYC on July 4th?

On July 4th in NYC, you can experience the iconic Macy’s Firework Show, a cherished tradition along the East River with free public viewpoints and a festive atmosphere.

Is 4th of July a good time to go to New York?

The 4th of July is a vibrant time to visit New York City, offering the iconic Macy’s Firework Show and a high-spirited atmosphere throughout the city.

How does New York celebrate 4th of July?

New York celebrates the 4th of July with the iconic Macy’s Firework Show along the East River, parades, rooftop parties, and indulging in history.

Are things closed for 4th of July NYC?

While some businesses may have altered hours, most attractions and restaurants remain open in New York City on the 4th of July.

Is NYC busy on July 4th?

NYC tends to be busy on July 4th due to celebrations like the Macy’s Firework Show, drawing crowds to various viewpoints and creating a lively atmosphere.


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And there you have it, folks! My personal roundup of the best things Fourth of July Events in New York City. I sincerely hope you enjoy the holiday, see you in the next article!

Al