Oh, say can you see…the fireworks? If you’re not loving your vantage point, make sure you find a spot with a great view for these 51 fireworks displays. Replete with live music, tons of food and intricate pyrotechnics, there’s nothing like a Fourth of July celebration. Wish America a happy birthday at one of these amazing extravaganzas in every state (plus D.C.).
Alabama: U.S. Space and Rocket Center (Huntsville)
The largest display of exploding patriotism in the city, because of course a rocket center is going to have unreal fireworks. They even encourage you to view the show from other areas in the vicinity.
Alaska: Mulcahy Stadium (Anchorage)
When the sun sets past midnight in your state, it’s tough to find a good fireworks display. But if you catch a double header between the Anchorage Glacier Pilots and the Anchorage Bucs starting at 7 p.m., you’ll be in prime position for a late but memorable fireworks show.
Arizona: Steele Indian School Park (Phoenix)
This annual family fun fest has taken place for over three decades. It features one of the largest displays of fireworks in the Southwest, with pre-show entertainment from international recording artists and tons of food and (non-alcoholic) drink vendors. There’s even Kids’ World, with a water spray zone to help them beat the heat.
Arkansas: Harry E. Kelley Riverfront Park (Fort Smith)
The mayor’s annual Fourth of July celebration is one of the largest displays in the region. But make sure you reserve the whole day so you can check out the Mustang Club Car Show and lots of live music.
California: Lights on the Lake (Lake Tahoe)
Launched from barges on the shore of Lake Tahoe, this show is considered one of the biggest synchronized displays in the West, which means the fireworks are visible all over town. If you’re worried about getting a seat, park your picnic at the El Dorado Beaches before 9:45 p.m. Or you can take the road less traveled and hike to the top of Mount Tallac for an unforgettable view of the pageant. (Just remember you’ll have to hike down, so bring a headlight.)
Connecticut: Sailfest Fireworks Extravaganza (New London)
OK, so the fireworks aren’t smack-dab on July 4 (this year, they’re July 13 to 15), but they’re worth the wait. Enjoy the amusement rides, hundreds of vendors and boats at sea before the sun sets. Then, stick around for a one-of-a-kind spectacle choreographed to music.
Colorado: Grand Lakes Fireworks
Surrounded by the mountains and a placid, clear lake, this Colorado fireworks show just has the extra sparkle (mostly because of the lake’s reflection). Pack the bug spray and all your picnic gear to take in the night sky in one of America’s most beautiful landscapes.
Delaware: Rehoboth Beach
Launched from the beach south of Rehoboth Avenue, these fireworks are visible up and down the boardwalk and beach. So hop on the Jolly Trolley early and spend your whole day at the beach. There’s even live music after the fireworks. Those summer niiiiiights. (Note: This year’s fireworks display is scheduled for July 1, 2018.)
Florida: Sertoma’s 4th of July Fireworks (Pensacola Bay)
The Gulf Coast knows how to celebrate the Fourth of July. With vendors, arts and crafts, kid-friendly activities and live entertainment, this fun-filled day in Old Seville culminates with the largest fireworks display in the area. (Unfortunately the pony rides and face painting are only for the kids, though.)
Georgia: Dahlonega’s 4th of July Celebration
Pack up your lawn chairs, blankets and coolers and head about an hour outside of Atlanta to the University of North Georgia. It’s even pet friendly—just make sure your pup can take the noise. And if you get to town early enough (11 a.m.), there’s a Fourth of July parade that aims to put all other Fourth of July parades to shame.
Hawaii: Fireworks Spectacular at Ala Moana Center (Honolulu)
For the 27th year in row, Hawaii’s largest fireworks show will illuminate the sky at Ala Moana Beach Center on July 4. If you can’t even bottle your Independence Day excitement, you’ll be happy to learn that the festivities commence June 30 with shopping discounts at more than 50 participating stores and lots of live entertainment.
Idaho: Melaleuca Freedom Celebration (Idaho Falls)
A day at the Snake River Landing Riverfest comes complete with horses, bounce houses and ATV rides. As for the pyrotechnics, the show will not only surprise and delight, but it also pays tribute to the soldiers and their families who sacrificed their lives for the country. At the 25th annual show, they launched more than 20,000 fireworks. Maybe this year they’ll launch 20,001.
Illinois: Navy Pier (Chicago)
If practice makes perfect, then Navy Pier knows how to put on a fireworks show—the venue does it every Wednesday and Saturday throughout the summer. If you can’t secure a yacht to watch the show from Lake Michigan, anywhere along the festive boardwalk will do. And hey, they can’t fit a massive Ferris wheel on a boat.
Indiana: Downtown Freedom Blast (Indianapolis)
Live entertainment, family fun and the local Indiana Originals Marketplace are all great ways to stay busy before the 10 p.m. fireworks launch from Regions Tower.
Iowa: The Celebration of Freedom Fireworks (Cedar Rapids)
Every state can take a few notes from this Eastern Iowa massive American birthday party lasting from mid-June to July 4. More than 400,000 people attend the festival annually to take part in the Kernels Harry Potter theme night, the Jump for Freedom canine aquatics competitions and the daredevil waterski show. There’s so much going on, don’t forget about the reason you’re actually there (the fireworks, of course).
Kansas: Overland Park Star Spangled Spectacular
With food trucks and live musical performances from The Elders, a local Celtic rock band, we’ve never been more excited for a Scottish-inspired Fourth of July.
Kentucky: Waterfront Fourth (Louisville)
If you’ve ever wanted to see 15,000 United States flags in one place, the Louisville Waterfront Fourth celebration is calling your name. But the fest also happens to feature some super-cool, free live music, including DJs and producers from The Spinsters Union of Louisville, a collective of Louisville’s best female and gender non-conforming DJs and producers. And don’t worry about your kids wasting away in the sun—the Kentucky Science Center will be providing live demos. Oh, yeah, and there’s also amazing fireworks.
Louisiana: Go 4th on the River (New Orleans)
Four words: Dueling Barge Fireworks Show. We had no idea such a thing existed. The unique show features two fireworks displays from two different barges over the Mississippi. This is New Orleans, after all. They know how to party.
Maine: Maine Stars and Stripes Spectacular (Portland)
The fireworks on Munjoy Hill were brought back to Portland by the nonprofit organization July 4th Portland in 2010. And while the show is usually made extra special with accompaniment from the Portland Symphony Orchestra’s Patriotic Pops, due to budget constraints, this year is a no-go. (But if you want to support the display, text FIREWORKS to 91999.)
Maryland: Ocean City Concert & Fireworks
Nothing says Independence Day like a free concert and fireworks, and Ocean City has two locations for your entertainment: Uptown at Northside Park and downtown on the beach. Decisions, decisions.
Massachusetts: Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular (Boston)
This is one of the county’s biggest and oldest Fourth of July celebrations. For over half a million spectators, the fireworks display lights up the Charles River; but the best part has to be the Boston Pops outdoor concert (this year will have a tribute to Leonard Bernstein starring Rita Moreno!). And of course, the 20-minute fireworks show will be accompanied by the live music.
Michigan: West Grand Traverse Bay Fireworks (Traverse City)
The fireworks display over the Bay means great viewing spots all along the south end of West Grand Traverse Bay, at the Open Space park, Clinch Park Marina, Bryant Park and West End Beach. Pack a cooler. Preferably filled with fresh cherries.
Minnesota: Stone Arch Bridge (Minneapolis)
There are plenty of places to catch the Minneapolis fireworks display, but the Stone Arch Bridge is prime real estate for the show—the skies lighting up above the bridge crossing the Mississippi will more than likely give you the chills. Word to the wise: get here early. (And yes, Roscoe the Lab can come, too.)
Mississippi: LOU 4th of July (Oxford)
Start your day with a Stars & Stripes on the Square 5K (if you’re good like that), cheer on the children’s parade and eat your way through the food options in the Grove at Ole Miss. Finally, donate your $2 to enter Swayze Field for the big show (preceded by some local films before the pyrotechnics).
Missouri: Salute to America: A Capitol Celebration (Jefferson City)
Dress in red, white and blue and head to the state capitol for a multi-day celebration that kicks off with a concert at the decommissioned Missouri State Penitentiary (now that’s how you celebrate freedom). Events on July 3 include the parade, an opening ceremony, carnival and a concert. Finally, it’s capped off with the largest fireworks show in the state accompanied by the Red, White and Boom sky concert simulcast.
Montana: Fireworks on Whitefish Lake
The display off of Whitefish Lake in the scenic resort town in the Rockies takes place shortly after dusk. And if you’re like us, you’ll be relieved to know there are complimentary shuttle buses to get you there. Come for the fireworks, stay for the trip to Glacier National Park.
Nebraska: Fireworks Extravaganza (Seward)
Park your blankets and chairs at Plum Creek Park to take in this giant fireworks salute at 10 p.m. But you’ll probably want to get there early to enjoy the Concert in the Park featuring the Wissmann Family Singers. Oh, and a Parachute Jump. (Sounds intriguing…)
Nevada: The Las Vegas Strip
Sin City gets lit up to the max (even more than it already is) on the Fourth. Over 80,000 rockets go off at the Strip from resorts including Aria, Caesars Palace, MGM Grand, Planet Hollywood Resort, Stratosphere, TI and The Venetian. But if you have some cash to spend, watching it all from the High Roller is definitely the way to go.
New Hampshire: Hampton Beach Fireworks
Fireworks are held every Wednesday at Hampton Beach during the summer (on the beach at the top of B and C streets). That means they’ll be ready to blow the roof off the…, er, sky...come the Fourth. Get there early for concerts, shows and food on the boardwalk.
New Jersey: Atlantic City Fireworks
At the Boardwalk Empire, the fireworks show illuminates the ocean on the Fourth of July. The first show is at 9 p.m. at the Borgata in the Marina District. The second show is on the boardwalk at the Tropicana at 10 p.m. Get in some exercise by jogging between the two.
New Mexico: The Fourth of July Fireworks Extravaganza (Albuquerque)
It’s not free, but the show is certainly worth the $16 admission. Held at the Albuquerque Isotopes Baseball Club, you’ll not only get a great fireworks spectacle, but you’ll take in a game as well. How much more American can it get?
New York: Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks (NYC)
There’s a bazillion places to watch the massive show live from the East River (including on NBC), but make sure to check in about official viewing points or at least nab an invite to your friend’s rooftop. With more than 50 pyrotechnicians and 20 new shells and effects (including a neon pinwheel), the 25-minute display is a do-not-miss.
North Carolina: Annual Independence Day Celebration (Corolla)
Head to the scenic Outer Banks to for free live music and a spectacular fireworks show. After nearly three decades, the Corolla Independence Day Celebration knows how to keep family fun going all day: food vendors, a cornhole tournament, a watermelon eating contest and tons of games. Oh, and Corolla is famous for its wild horses—so keep an eye out!
North Dakota: Roughriders Rodeo Fireworks (Dickinson)
Who doesn’t want to watch a fantastic fireworks show at the rodeo? (Rhetorical question.) Head to the former DSU Rodeo grounds for a show that starts at 10 p.m. Wear your coolest chaps.
Ohio: Rock ‘N’ Boom (Cleveland)
Climb aboard The Great Lakes Science Center’s 618-foot historic steamship William G. Mather for the best seat in town. The ship is docked at North Coast Harbor, and there’s an adjacent family-friendly beer garden to wine and dine before you see the show. (Get your tickets for $16 per person.)
Oklahoma: LibertyFest Fireworks (Edmond)
At one of the largest Fourth of July fireworks displays in the nation, over 125,000 folks will be in attendance to celebrate America’s birthday (popular much?). Before the fireworks, there’s a hometown parade with over 100 entries. And while we love your doggie, leave her at home (along with your drone).
Oregon: Waterfront Blues Festival (Portland)
Launched from two barges, the spectacular 20-minute fireworks display off the river will be the perfect conclusion after a day at this festival. A must-see that same day? Bill Rhoades’s annual Harmonica Blow-Off, which is exactly what it sounds like, but twice as entertaining.
Pennsylvania: Wawa Welcome America Festival (Philadelphia)
It’s the city of America’s birthplace, so it’s only natural that it has a whole week of free patriotic festivities all leading up to the grand finale on the Fourth. And this year, the concert before the fireworks is headlined by Pitbull (nope, he’s not in Miami).
Rhode Island: Bristol’s Fourth of July Celebration
It’s one of the oldest Fourth of July traditions in the country—the city’s celebrations began in 1785 (wonder what those pyrotechnics were like). The modern version means a Concert Series downtown followed by a fireworks display over the harbor. (Psst: It’s all going down on July 3.)
South Carolina: Fourth of July Blast at Patriots Point (Charleston)
Celebrate the Fourth of July aboard the U.S.S. Yorktown, one of the most iconic historic warships in the United States, on the Charleston Harbor at Patriots Point. General admission is $40, but if you watch from the shore, it’s free. Three cheers!
South Dakota: Frontier Day’s Fireworks Show (Interior)
Start your Fourth with a parade downtown, then head to the rib smoke-off (tastes are $5 a person). By 7 p.m., the rodeo performance will lead into the fireworks. Plus, it’s free admission to the arena. Boom!
Tennessee: Nashville July 4th Fireworks
The city built on music knows how to put on a great concert—this year it includes Lady Antebellum, Chris Janson, Lucie Silvas, Shannon Sanders and more. But it’s the over-the-top fireworks show choreographed to a medley played by the Nashville Symphony that will really have you oohing and ahhhing.
Texas: Kaboom Town! (Addison)
You had us at “Kaboom.” But if that doesn’t convince you, while you wait for the amazing display, watch the air show, hit up the carnival (games and rides galore) and get your face painted (who said kids get to have all the fun?). Good thing you’re already at the carnival: You’ll get the best view. But since space is limited, make sure to check out all the other great viewing areas.
Utah: Canyons Village Fireworks (Park City)
Start your holiday on the third. (Because who wants to wait for free live music, kid-friendly activities and an impressive fireworks display?) Smartly pack your cooler with some canned rosé and whatever else you might deem important (who are we kidding, that’s it), and enjoy lounging in scenic Canyons Village.
Vermont: Burlington's Independence Day Celebration
The annual Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront July 3rd Independence Day Celebration overlooks beautiful Lake Champlain. So spend the day on the waterfront—food and activities start at 5 p.m.; fireworks light up at 9:30 p.m. Perfect. Day.
Virginia: Independence Fireworks (Mount Vernon)
We doubt George Washington got to witness a fireworks display like the one you’ll see here, but we’re certain he’s glad his estate is being used to celebrate the country’s birthday (a bit early, though, on June 28 and 29). It might also be worth it to splurge for the mansion tour—it’s what George would have wanted.
Washington: Seafair Summer Fourth (Seattle)
Taking place at Gas Works Park over Lake Union, this festival features nearly 8,500 pounds of explosives (that’s a lot of fireworks) that will go off choreographed to a musical score. Throughout the day, stuff your face with treats and dance to live music. If you’re up to it, there’s even a pie-eating contest.
Washington, D.C.: National Mall Fireworks
Celebrate the U.S.A. in the nation’s capital right on the National Mall. But if you really want prime seats near the Washington Monument and Reflecting Pool, get there early. No dice? Other spots to catch the show include the U.S. Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, FDR Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the White House Ellipse, West Potomac Park, East Potomac Park and Anacostia Park. See? Lots of options. So very American.
West Virginia: Ripley 4th of July
It’s a small town with a big show that dates all the way back to the 1800s. Cheer on the Grand Parade earlier in the day, chow down on concessions and listen to some great live music (and cross your fingers you’ll catch an Elvis impersonator) before the fireworks light up the sky at 10 p.m.
Wisconsin: Egg Harbor Fireworks (Door County)
The shops and restaurants at Egg Harbor will be open all day July 3 before the fireworks show. Take the day to enjoy music from the shore and cool off with some paddle boarding in the lake before heading to the marina break wall for a great view of the display that begins at dusk.
Wyoming: Jackson Hole 4th of July
There’s no better way to celebrate America, especially out west, than with a Fourth of July rodeo. After you’ve had your fun, catch the fireworks shows at two locations: the base of Snow King Mountain in the Town of Jackson and at the base of the Tetons in Teton Village. Mountains and fireworks? America, the beautiful.