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The 10 Best 4th of July Fireworks Shows in America

posted in: Events  |  posted by: Jennifer Gregory on July 2, 2008  |  28 Comments

The Fourth of July is one celebration we can depend on each and every summer. You won’t find a better reason to party than the birth of our country. And party we do – across all 50 states.

Fourth of July Fireworks

Some of the country’s major cities put on the most incredible fireworks displays possible on the 4th of July; most of them far better than what you’ll find on New Years Eve! Grab a blanket or chair, load the family into the car, and make yourself comfortable at your perfect viewing point. These fireworks displays are destined to leave you calling for more!

10. Washington, DC Fireworks

Fireworks at Washington Monument

Thomas Jefferson hosted the first official 4th of July Celebration on the lawn of his mansion over 200 years ago. Now, the fireworks are blown into the sky amidst the beautiful DC skyline, featuring the Capitol building and the Washington Monument. All branches of the military are represented in the annual parade, followed by a performance by the National Symphony Orchestra. The fireworks begin after 9pm. If you can’t make it to the show, it will be broadcast on PBS!

9. Lake Tahoe, Nevada Fireworks

Lake Tahoe Fireworks

Touted as another one of the largest shows west of the Mississippi, the fireworks at Lake Tahoe are nothing less than breathtaking. The fireworks are shot from a barge on the lake and can be seen from almost anywhere on the lake. Music is broadcast from radio stations and viewers gather on the shores, on docks, and some even venture into the lake on paddleboats to experience the fireworks from the water!

8. Addison, Texas Fireworks Show

Texas Fireworks Show

Fireworks in Kaboom Town began in 1983 and have continued as an annual tradition ever since. The show has always been put on by Royce Trout and the folks at Atlas Enterprises, featuring fireworks from around the world. Texans love this show – and you will, too!

7. New Orleans, Louisiana 4th of July

New Orleans Fireworks

New Orleans is home to the Go 4th on the River Dueling Fireworks Extravaganza! Ever see two barges battle it out with fireworks? Grab a bowl of jambalaya, find a seat near the levy, and watch the fireworks paint their own incredible story!

6. New York, New York Fireworks Spectacular

NYC Fireworks

The Macy’s Fireworks Spectacular begins over the East River each year. In addition to the fireworks, fireboats in the river shoot patriotic streams of fire high into the air. Music is broadcast by local radio stations and the entire event is shown on national television by the local NBC station right there in the city. Grab a seat alongside the river and enjoy the show.

5. Chicago, Illinois Fireworks

Chicago Fireworks

The city of Chicago cosponsors the annual Fourth of July celebration with Navy Pier each and every year! The fireworks are best viewed from the shores of the lake, around Buckingham Fountain, or in beautiful Grant Park. If you’re looking for a romantic twist, visit Navy Pier and take your sweetie out on a dinner cruise before the show.

4. Atlantic City, New Jersey Boardwalk Fireworks

New Jersey Fireworks

The casinos in Atlantic City band together each summer to put on one of the most spectacular pyrotechnic shows at the Jersey shore. Grab a blanket and stake out your spot on the beach or boardwalk. If you plan to stay the night, make reservations well in advance as the city is usually packed for the holiday weekend.

3. Boston, Massachusetts Fireworks Display

Boston Massachusetts Fireworks

The fireworks display in Boston has been a history event for over 30 years. The Boston Pops Orchestra plays an annual 4th of July Concert each year. Back in 1973, David Mugar suggested a change: he wanted the fireworks display to be accompanied by the 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky. His suggestion turned into an annual tradition and now more than 200,000 people line the banks of the Charles River for the concert and pyrotechnic display each year. The concert and show always includes new music by the Boston Pops Orchestra – but will always end with the 1812 Overture!

2. Idaho Falls, Idaho Freedom Celebration

Hosted by The Melaleuca Foundation, the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration takes place on the Greenbelt in Idaho Falls each year. This incredible event starts with a buffet dinner (approximately $22 per ticket) and is followed by a performance by the Idaho Falls Symphony Orchestra. The fireworks display itself is known as the largest display west of the Mississippi River, and rightly so! The pyrotechnic show is coordinated by computers to make sure that each firework shot is in tune with the popular patriotic music that is blasted during the event.

1. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 4th of July Celebration

Philadelphia Fireworks

The Sunoco Welcome America celebration in Philadelphia, the birthplace of our country, lasts for a full week. The city of Philadelphia is full of activities for families, including concerts and movies. This year, Ben Franklin and Betsy Ross will be wed (the actual wedding of two city employees who regularly play the parts) on the 3rd. The 4th of July will feature a party on the parkway before the annual concert (this year featuring John Legend) and the fireworks display over the Philadelphia Museum of Art on the Ben Franklin Parkway. Rumor has it that this year, because the 4th is on a Friday, the fireworks will be followed by a second concert!

No matter which celebration you attend, take a moment or two to reflect on the meaning of the 4th of July. Sit back, relax with your family, and enjoy the show!

Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Responses to this Article

28 Responses to “The 10 Best 4th of July Fireworks Shows in America”

  1. Justin says on

    I was looking for St. Louis to be on your list but I see that instead of mentioning St. Louis, you used a picture of St. Louis as the #1 pick and called it Philadelphia…unless Philadelphia has recently built an arch!

  2. julie says on

    I liked the article but the photo of Philadelphia has the St. Louis Arch in it!! And the fireworks are at the art museum.

  3. Demi says on

    I think a few years ago my mom and I saw the Atlantic City Boardwalk Fireworks and they were phenomenal. I would recommend them to anyone who lives in New Jersey or any other nieghboring state. I would put them at #1!

  4. Don Smith says on

    Chicago firework show was pretty lame lasting only 10 mins. Went there for the first time and watched a fireworks and was very dissapointed. Coming from watching 4th of July in Lake Tahoe, NV every year. By far one of the best shows i have ever seen…

  5. Jennifer Gregory says on

    Thanks everyone for pointing out my photo mistake. I’ve updated the Philly fireworks photo.

    Demi – The Atlantic City fireworks are spectacular! Were you able to grab a spot on the Boardwalk to see them? That’s the best place I’ve found for a front row seat.

    Don – What’s your favorite place to see the Lake Tahoe fireworks from? We went out in a boat and it was amazing!

  6. Olivier @ Avent Isis Breast Pump says on

    I do not know where they are taken, but they are pretty amazing. I’m a big fan of fireworks.

  7. Paul McParland says on

    I appreciate you sharing this is a great list. I believe there is one that is deserving of top ten consideration and that is the 4th of July Celebration at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta.

  8. Philly Chit Chat says on

    The Philly pix does not have the St Louis Arch in it (that’s the Custom Hse), but that picture is on the river, but those fireworks kick off the July 4th weekend and are acceptable to rep our great city. Besides the fireworks, Philly is the birthplace of the country and there is no better place to spend the Fourth than in Philly, really I swear.

  9. Barbara Johnson says on

    For a small town, Duluth Mn has a beautiful fireworks display. It overlooks the harbor and the bridges and people can see from all over the city…up on the hill or down by the lake.

  10. Barbara Matusik says on

    Saw what I consider the best display of fireworks ever at Alachua Florida. Non-stop for well over half-an hour. Was billed as the Largest Small Town Fireworks Display in America and was viewed by more than 20,000 people in the town’s recreation park.

  11. Sally says on

    I love the article! My favorite fireworks are in Chicago. If you sit in Grant Park they shoot them right overhead and it’s phenominal to watch. They also combine the Taste of Chicago with the fireworks so you know you’re getting a good deal.
    Does anyone know how many firework displays there are in any one particular state, such as, for example, Illinois? I would really appreciate either a listing or just a number if someone knows how to get that information.

  12. Jennifer says on

    No picture of Idaho Falls? Have you ranked them from 2009? Our fireworks in Idaho Falls are AMAZING!

  13. Gary Mills says on

    You did not have a picture from the Idaho Falls Show.

  14. jesse says on

    How did st. louis not make the top 10. Nothing against any of the other shows but i quess i just want to know why it was left off?

  15. jesse says on

    btw.. pics are amazing

  16. Tami says on

    On July 4th with crowds pushing 100k in a small town of approximately 57k, I decided to walk to the ball park to watch the Idaho Falls Chukars game and then walk to the Greenbelt where a friend of mine had reserved a spot to watch the fireworks. As I walked through neighborhoods toward downtown Idaho Falls, the smell of BBQ filled the air. People of all ages on bikes, scooters, roller blades dressed in red, white and blue; children playing, waving flags and twirling sparklers, people laughing, enjoying the privileges of being Americans. I started thinking of my family, wishing they were here to share this wonderful event. My patriotism swelled. Watching the hour long colorful burst of fireworks in the sky I thought about the sacrifices made for me for all of us. A heartfelt thanks to the Melaleuca Foundation for bring us together to celebrate family, community, and country! Let FREEDOM ring!

  17. Lara says on

    It always impresses me how great Idaho Falls’s celebration is. I’ve celebrated the Fourth there many years, as well as in Chicago, Salt Lake City, and places in Montana and Wyoming. It trumps everything else I’ve ever seen.

  18. Lolli says on

    Pocatello, Idaho has a much better show than Idaho Falls. It’s less expensive, less pretentious, and is actually going to be on July 4th. UNLIKE Idaho Falls, who is moving our country’s Independence Day to Saturday, July 3rd. Moving Independence Day because it is on a Sunday is ridiculous and does not show much patriotism. Visit Pocatello for a much better show that will be on the CORRECT DATE! :D

  19. Elizabeth says on

    Speaking as someone who lives in the area, the fireworks display in Pocatello, Idaho is far more impressive than the display in Idaho Falls. Maybe it doesn’t have as many fireworks than Melaleuca’s, but it’s far better overall.

    Freaking Melaleuca even refuses to allow the display to be held if the 4th falls on a Sunday, for pete’s sake. :/

  20. D Biz says on

    HAHAHAHA whoever posted the picture for Addison Texas is awesome!! we dont have any river or lakes that look like that! Way to go on false advertising!! It is an awesome fireworks show tho but the sceneray just doesnt look like that:)!! But thanks for the good laugh!

  21. Beth says on

    Regarding the Chicago fireworks…the city used to fire off their amazing fireworks on the 3rd of July, but this year due to budget cutbacks are doing three smaller displays in different parks around the city. Not sure if they will be on the 3rd or the 4th.

  22. Freedom Rings says on

    I celebrated the 4th in Philly a few times … and there’s something about the fireworks and taking in Independence Mall … all the rich history … the first White House site was just worked on. The National Contitution Center, Betsy Ross’ House, & The Liberty Bell to name a few … just gives you shivers. You can see the fireworks for MILES!!!!! It’s so breathtaking. I’m sure the other locations mentioned by posters are awesome as well … but when you walk down the streets that the Founding Fathers walk down …. it just gives you the chills.
    Just my opinion. Well, as well as other visitors that pass the sites I mentioned and we equally in awe!

  23. Christine says on

    Haines City, Florida has one of the best displays. Local businesses donate all the money and the fireworks lasted about 45 minutes last year. Patriotic music playing the whole time. Brings tears to my eyes. Unfortunately, this year we got rained out. A friend and I went and got soaked waiting for them to start. If you are ever in Central Florida for the Fourth come to Thunder on the Ridge at Lake Eva.

  24. Lorie Lindgren says on

    You need an Idaho Falls picture for sure! With the river and the falls in it,it’s SPECTACULAR!!!

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