NYC 4th of July: How to Celebrate Independence Day

June 28, 2019

There’s no sense in sugar coating it. An NYC 4th of July celebration is over-the-top, loud, vibrant, and unlike any other.

Whether you kick back and watch the fireworks or visit the city’s historic landmarks, Independence Day in New York City is filled with excitement.

Discover what events spark your interest and start planning your Independence Day trip to NYC.

An NYC 4th of July trip must include fireworks!

NYC 4th of July Fireworks

It’s the 4th of July. You have to watch the fireworks. And, there’s no better place to do so than NYC.

With extraordinary fireworks shows all around the city, you’re in for one incredible night. Plus, from rooftop bars to beaches, you can see the fireworks from numerous places and boroughs in New York City.

Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks

The biggest NYC fireworks show each year is the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks display. This year's celebration will take place live from the Brooklyn Bridge and will be broadcasted on NBC. Official viewing locations include:

  • Broad Street & Water Street
  • Pearl Street & Dover Street
  • Robert F. Wagner Sr. Place & St. James Place
  • Pearl Street & St. James Place
  • Montgomery Street & Cherry Street
  • Pike Slip & Cherry Street
  • Market Street & Cherry Street

Within these areas of NYC are several rooftop bars, parks, and prime spots for gazing at the fireworks all night long.

If you choose to be right at the official celebration spot, you’ll see top artists and celebrities as part of the ceremonies throughout the night. Headliners include Brad Paisley, Thomas Rhett, Marin Morris, Khalid, Ciara, and Derek Hugh. Keep in mind, you’ll want to get there early as the area fills up fast!

Coney Island Fireworks

Among the popular NYC 4th of July traditions is the fireworks show at Coney Island. The family-friendly event begins promptly at 9:00 pm. However, with all the fun and excitement happening at Coney Island on the 4th of July, you’ll want to make a full day out of it. Get tickets to Luna Park or find a spot to watch the annual Nathan’s Famous Hotdog Eating Contest, followed by the fireworks celebrations at night.

Plus, Coney Island also offers free entertainment and beach access throughout the holiday!

Fireworks Cruises

Each year on the 4th of July, NYC’s top harbor cruise companies host exclusive fireworks cruises. These swanky excursions include drinks, hors-d’oeuvres, gourmet meals, entertainment, and unparalleled cityscape views. When you book your cruise, you’ll enjoy unobstructed views of the NYC fireworks displays. No skyscrapers will get in your way!

For these cruises, wear appropriate attire. Double check your cruise’s dress code policy before you go. And, although it’s the summer, it can get pretty windy and chilly at night, meaning you’ll need a jacket. Don’t forget to charge your phone and bring a camera to capture your NYC 4th of July memories forever, too.

Photo Credit: Nathan's Famous / Facebook

Daytime NYC 4th of July Fun

While Independence Day is synonymous with fireworks, the daytime is just as exhilarating, especially in the Big Apple. Add these events to your 4th of July itinerary for a full day of fun.

Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest

July 4th, 2019 at 10:45 am
Competitive eaters from across the world flock to NYC on the 4th of July for their chance to earn the coveted title as the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest champion. Hosted at Coney Island, this insane challenge requires contestants to eat as many hot dogs as possible in 10 minutes. The women's competition begins at 10:45 am while the men's showdown will start at noon.

This tradition captures the attention of NYC visitors and viewers worldwide through the ESPN television broadcast. If you’re spending the day at Coney Island to catch the nighttime fireworks, you don’t want to miss this event either!

Louis Armstrong Birthday Celebration

July 4th, 2019, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Did you know that the legendary jazz musician, Louis Armstrong, has an Independence Day birthday? Each year in his honor, the Louis Armstrong House Museum stays open on the 4th of July. In addition to touring the museum’s exhibits, there is a special jazz concert and free birthday cake for visitors.

Travis Parade in Staten Island

July 4th, 2019 at 12:00 pm
Stepping off from P.S. 26 and Showplace Entertainment Center in Staten Island, the Travis Parade is one of the longest-running Independence Day parades in the nation. In fact, 2019 marks the 109th year of the parade!

Come watch marching bands, floats, local celebrities, and more parade through Staten Island while enjoying an NYC 4th of July.

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Tours

July 4th, 2019, Select Times
Honor our nation by embarking on one of the many Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island tours. See Lady Liberty in all her glory before visiting Ellis Island and learning about those who came to this great country.

A word of advice: book in advance. These already popular tours sell out extraordinarily fast for the 4th of July.

9/11 Memorial & Museum

July 4th, 201, Select Times

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum is also open on the 4th of July. This humbling experience commemorates and tells the story of the men and women affected by the events at the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and on Flight 93 on September 11, 2001.

Do know that if visiting NYC with children under the age of 10, this museum and memorial may not be appropriate. Parents are asked to use discretion when bringing their young children to this museum.

Visit Top NYC Attractions

July 4th, 2019, Varying Times
Although it is commonplace for businesses and places of interest to close for the holiday, multiple NYC attractions are open on Independence Day. Spend the day exploring top NYC spots such as:

Since numerous tourists flock to the city for an NYC 4th of July, it is in your best interest to purchase your attraction tickets in advance. This allows you to skip the ticket line and head right into your chosen attraction.

Spend an NYC 4th of July at an exclusive Empire State Building party.

NYC 4th of July Parties and Festivals

Looking for something to do other than fireworks and tourist attractions this Independence Day? No problem! As a bustling city, NYC is filled with parties and festivals for the holiday. Consider spending your night at these top events:

Empire State Building 4th of July Celebration

July 4th, 2019, 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Want to go to the ultimate 4th of July party in NYC? You’ll have to get your tickets for the exclusive celebration at the Empire State Building.

For $459 per ticket, guests receive access to the open-air observation deck for incomparable views of the fireworks, a premium open bar, exquisite culinary creations, exclusive exhibits, and more. Dress to impress and get ready for one epic night in NYC.

Freedom Fest

July 4th, 2019 at 6:15 pm
Make your way to Pier 15 on the 4th of July for Freedom Fest! This annual festival provides a variety of food, entertainment, art, activities, and more for families. Tickets are required, so reserve your spot ASAP. In addition to the lively entertainment, Pier 15 is one of the best places to view the NYC 4th of July fireworks. These tickets will sell out fast!

How Will You Spend Independence Day in NYC?

With endless events, fireworks, and attractions, it’s impossible to spend the 4th of July being bored in NYC. Which festivals, parties, or tours do you plan on attending? Let us know!

Know of other great ways to spend the 4th of July in NYC? Share your travel advice below.

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