4th of July Guide to Finding Free Fireworks

Photo by Amani Hassan

Fireworks and freebies: Two things most Americans can't get enough of. And lucky for us, we can have both at once this 4th of July.

"There are free fireworks displays scheduled in almost every major metropolitan area across the United States," says Andrew Schrage, founder of personal finance sitemoneycrashers.com. "However, due to the fact that some cities have eliminated fireworks displays because of budgetary concerns, it is wise to check in advance."

But rather than you having to do the online research, Bundle.com has created a list of some major cities that are holding free fireworks displays. (If you live in a smaller city, a quick Google search of "free fireworks" and your city's name will alert you to whether there's a free show in town.)

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Here are ten of the most prominent free fireworks displays in the nation:

1. Boston, Massachusetts
This is one of the country's most well-known 4th of July Day celebrations, featuring music by The Boston Pops, led by Keith Lockhart, and musical guest (and former American Idol sensation) Jennifer Hudson. Actor Michael Chiklis will be the master of ceremonies. Music starts at 8:30 p.m. and the fireworks will go off at approximately 10:35 p.m.

Location: Over the Charles River, near the Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade
For more information: http://www.july4th.org/2012_Program/Event_Schedule/

2. Dallas, Texas
They say everything's bigger in Texas, and this 4th of July celebration is no exception. The Grammy-nominated Dallas Wind Symphony will perform at 8 p.m. in front of the Hall of State, there will be choreographed Bellagio-style "dancing water" shows at the Esplanade Fountain beginning at 4:30, and the night will be topped off with a massive fireworks display beginning at 9:30 p.m (sit inside the Cotton Bowl to get the best views).

Location: Fair Park, 1300 Robert B. Cullum Blvd.
For more information: http://www.fairpark.org/

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3. Denver, Colorado
This celebration, dubbed "Independence Eve," is a little untraditional - it's on July 3, rather than the 4th - but it promises to be a crowd-pleaser nonetheless. Beginning at 8 p.m., viewers will be treated to a concert by the Colorado Symphony, a light show and then a fireworks display.

Location: Civic Center Park at Colfax & Broadway
For more information: http://www.civiccenterconservancy.org/

4. Los Angeles, California
In L.A. it's usually the stars (the Hollywood variety, of course) that light up the town, but on July 4th, it will be a massive hour-long fireworks display. The fireworks, which will start around 8:45 p.m. will be launched from an area near Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, but are best viewed from Exposition Park.

Location: Exposition Park, off Exposition Blvd. and S. Figueroa St.
For more information: www.lacoliseumlive.com

5. Minneapolis, Minnesota
The Red White and BOOM celebration, which kicks off at 6 p.m. on the 4th, offers four stages with live music - musical guests include the Galactic Cowboy Orchestra and 100 Watt Jones -- and culminates in a fireworks display at 10 p.m.

Location: Minneapolis Riverfront, near Water Power Park off Main St.
For more information: http://www.mplsredwhiteboom.com/#!__fireworks

6. Nashville, Tennessee
Leave it to the "Music City" to put on a music-filled 4th of July. The Mavericks, Craig Morgan, Sarah Darling, the Music City Hit-Makers and the Nashville Symphony will perform at the event, which will be reach a crescendo during a 9:45 p.m. fireworks display.

Location: Riverfront Park, 100 First Ave.
For more information: http://www.musiccityjuly4th.com/

7. New York, New York
Put on by Macy's, the 36th annual Ignite the Night celebration - the largest fireworks display in the nation -- will light up the sky over the Hudson River with more than 40,000 fireworks and includes performances by singer Katy Perry and Kenny Chesney. The display will begin at around 9:20 p.m.

Location: The Hudson River (set off from barges between 18th and 43rd Streets)
For more information: http://social.macys.com/fireworks/?cm_mmc=VanityUrl-_-fireworks-_-n-_-n

8. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philly, home to the Liberty Bell, sure does know how to let freedom ring - or, rather, sing. This 4th of July celebration features the Roots, Queen Latifah and Joe Jonas.Festivities begin at 7 p.m. and culminate in an exciting fireworks display.

Location: Above the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
For more information: http://www.visitphilly.com/articles/philadelphia/fourth-of-july-in-philadelphia-wawa-welcome-america/

9. Seattle, Washington
Even though Seattle's "Family 4th at Lake Union" is sponsored by Starbucks, you won't need a cup of java to stay awake for it. The event features live music in both Gas Works Park and Lake Union Park, and a spectacular fireworks display around 10 p.m.

Location: Gas Works Park at Lake Union
For more information: http://family4th.org/

10. Washington, D.C.
There's nowhere like our nation's capital to celebrate freedom. The "A Capital Fourth" extravaganza will feature Tom Bergeron from Dancing with the Stars, Megan Hilty from Smash, and Amber Riley from Glee, among other stars. Fireworks will begin around 9:15 p.m.

Location: The National Mall, 900 Ohio Dr.
For more information: http://www.pbs.org/capitolfourth/

Just remember: "While the fireworks displays themselves are often free, many other Fourth of July activities are not," says Schrage. "To save money, eat a filling meal before you set out to your fireworks viewing destination, or bring a cooler with your own beverages and picnic foods."

And even if your city doesn't have free fireworks, you can still see the sky light up if you're savvy. Find out where the fireworks will take place and see if you can set up camp at a spot nearby. Does your friend's apartment building have a rooftop with a view? Could you see them from your car in a prime parking spot nearby (pretend its a drive-in movie and bring your own popcorn!)? Is there a nearby public park or other public space that you could stand outside and watch?