Just like last year, Macy's 4th of July fireworks show will take place on the East River—but this year celebrates Macy's 40th fireworks show, meaning it'll probably be an extra good year for the 25-minute spectacular. As with 2015, fireworks will blast from two barges set up just south of the Brooklyn Bridge and from four barges positioned between East 23rd and East 42nd streets, offering prime views to north Brooklyn, Long Island City, and Midtown East. The official viewing locations in lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts are sure to get a little crowded, so if you're looking for something a little more exclusive, the list below includes plenty of alternatives that vary from more offbeat parks and piers to rooftop viewing locations dishing up food, drink, and merriment (at a price.) If something on this map strikes your fancy, make plans quickly—tickets for this beloved NYC occasion tend to run out fast.Read More
Where to Watch NYC's July 4th Fireworks
Want a view of the 4th of July fireworks? Here's where to go
1. Brooklyn Bridge Park Piers 1-6
Perhaps the most obvious location for viewing the fireworks (and one of the most crowded), piers 1 through 6 will offer top-notch views of the display. Pier 1 is one of the city's official ADA locations. Most of its local and contained attractions will also be closing early, way before the start of the show, so factor that into your plans for the night. And you'll have to take public transportation into the park, as local roads will be closing at 4 p.m. Entrances at Old Fulton and Furman Streets (which will also be ADA-accessible), Joralemon and Furman Streets, and Old Dock and Furman Streets, will get you in but keep in mind that the NYPD will be checking any large bags. Is it worth coming here at all? For the prime view you'll get, it's worth a try!
2. South Street Seaport
For its third annual Festival of Independence, the Seaport will host bands on July 3 and 4, in collaboration with Noisey. On the 3rd, catch Wild Nothing and Porches, among others; the lineup on the 4th includes Lee Fields & the Expressions and Phony PPL. There'll also be family-friends performances on the 4th before the fireworks kick off (with the official viewing spot located near Peck Slip) at 9:25 p.m.
3. FDR Drive - Lower Manhattan
New York, NY 10005
The official viewing locations for Manhattan will be along elevated portions of the FDR Drive, with one of the entry points at 42nd Street, 34th Street, 23rd Street, Houston Street, Broad Street, Old Slip, and Pearl and Frankfort along the elevated FDR. Since the barges will be between East 23rd and 37th streets, and just south of the Brooklyn Bridge, these spots will be the most crowded, but the will have the best views. The southern most official access point to the elevated FDR Drive will be at Broad Street, where you'll have clear views of the double barge near the Brooklyn Bridge.
4. FDR Drive - Midtown
New York, NY 10016
Winding along the East River, the FDR Drive is the ideal viewing location to watch the massive fireworks show. Macy's will once again launch from four barges in Midtown, between 23rd and 37th streets, and the official viewing points will be open to the public from 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., with pedestrian ramps located on 23rd, 34th, and 42nd Streets.
5. East 16th Street & Avenue C
New York, NY 10009
There will be an official ADA viewing spot at 16th Street and Avenue C. The show doesn't start until around 9 p.m., but crowds will start arriving around 5 p.m so get there early if you want a good spot.
6. Center Boulevard at 48th Avenue
Long Island City, NY 11109
Outside of Manhattan, Long Island City will have some of the best views of the fireworks. Not only will the neighborhood be directly beside four of the fireworks barges, but it has the Manhattan skyline as its backdrop. The official viewing point will be along Center Boulevard between 48th and 49th Avenues, and it will be wheelchair accessible.
7. Brooklyn Heights Promenade
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Though the Macy's Fireworks website doesn't list the Brooklyn Heights Promenade as an official viewing location this year, it's still a prime spot to watch the show given its head-on views of the river. Of course, crowding is to be expected.
8. One World Observatory
The city's tallest building gets in on the July 4 festivities this year with a celebration at One World Observatory. In addition to access to the observatory from 8 to 10 p.m., there will be an open bar, "all-American fare" served buffet-style, and a pretty phenomenal view of the fireworks over the East River. Tickets are $250, or $325 for a special VIP package (which comes with nicer liquor options, basically).
9. Empire State Building
For $325, you'll be able to get up close and personal with the fireworks from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building. The observatory will be open from 8 to 10 p.m. for the show, but keep in mind that it's standing room only. And there'll be no open bar here, only light refreshments and snacks. Get your tickets here.[Photo via U.S. News and World Report]
10. Pier 15
New York, NY
Watermark Bar on Pier 15 in the South Street Seaport will be hosting Freedom Fest on the 4th of July, with food, drinks, music, and front row seats to the fireworks. Tickets start at $139, but that includes an open bar from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. and a full barbecue picnic. Tables are available for more money.
11. Industry Kitchen
Situated along the East River Waterfront Promenade, Industry Kitchen will have great views of the fireworks near the Brooklyn Bridge. The restaurant is hosting a viewing party, with tickets starting at $175 per person for bar seating, and $238 for tables. The price includes an open bar and buffet.
12. East 34th Street Heliport (TSS)
13. Z Hotel New York - Rooftop Bar/Lounge
Another great rooftop option is the bar at the Z Hotel in Long Island City. For $180 (or $80, for teens aged 12 to 17, or free for children 11 and under), you'll get bottomless food, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverages, and adults get two alcoholic drink tickets included as well. The event will run from 3 to 10 p.m., though food will only be served between 4 and 8 p.m. Buy tickets here.
14. The Water Club
The Water Club, literally situated on the East River, is offering a special menu on the Fourth of July themed with—you guessed it!—Americana-themed dishes, including hot dogs, max & cheese, and BBQ chicken. The dining room, pictured here, should give you a great view of the fireworks, but if you want something a little more casual, head on up to the rooftop bar, The Crow's Nest. Tickets begin at $200 for bar and buffet access, and go up to $350 for a five-course dinner.
15. Penthouse 808 at Ravel Hotel
True to its name, Penthouse808 sits at the tippy top of the Ravel Hotel in Long Island City. With expansive indoor and outdoor spaces, the restaurant offers panoramic views of the East River, making it a prime spot to watch the fireworks show. Tickets are required, with general admission going for $65 and prices rising steadily from there. It's a steep price for standing room only, but it comes with barbecue. If you're looking for something fancier, tables for eight are still available for $1,500.
16. Mr. Purple
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17. Upstairs at the Kimberly Hotel
Upstairs, the penthouse restaurant at the Kimberly Hotel in Midtown East, has the perfect solution for inclement weather: retractable walls and ceiling. If it's nice weather, you'll have a great rooftop experience. Otherwise, stay inside and have some small bites and specialty cocktails, including The Chrysler with champagne, honey, and cognac. Festivities start at 5 p.m. and run through midnight. However, the rooftop does not have unobstructed views of the fireworks; they'll only be partially visible.
18. Salvation Taco
The bar at the Pod 39 Hotel's rooftop taqueria is currently accepting reservations for its Summertime Salvation event on July 4th. Reservations are $30 per person, and include access to a taco bar; you can also reserve tables with a $50 per person food & drink minimum. DJ Genius James will be spinning from 6 to 10 p.m.[Photo by Daniel Krieger]
19. Roof at Park South Hotel
20. Grand Ferry Park
Brooklyn, NY 11211
This park isn't on the official list for spaces to view the fireworks—perhaps because it's in Williamsburg, which is farther away from the barge locations—but the great thing about fireworks is that you can still see them from a distance, which makes Grand Ferry Park a nice option with room to breathe and a satisfactory view of the show to the south and north. What more could you want? [Photo via NYC Parks]
21. Four Freedoms Park
While the official Macy's website says that Roosevelt Island is not a recommended viewing area, the island's southern tip will be open to the public during the show. Registration is required for this particular event, and will open to the public on Monday, June 27—so be sure to sign up early for a shot at a spot. The celebration will extend into Southpoint Park, and the event will happen from 5:30 to 10 p.m.
22. Hornblower Cruises (Pier 15)
Hornblower Cruises is offering three different jaunts from its Pier 15 headquarters this July 4th. For $275, you can watch the fireworks aboard the Hornblower's Sensation, with an open bar, passed appetizers, an "American picnic-style buffet," and after-dinner dancing. Another cruise, aboard the Hybrid (pictured), offers a similar menu and lineup for the evening, along with panoramic views of New York Harbor from its atrium deck. Tickets for that are $300. Finally, there's an "exclusive luxury cruise" aboard the Esprit, which is more expensive—tickets begin at $500—but it comes with a six-course dinner, a top-shelf open bar, dancing, and excellent views of the fireworks. (Cocktail attire is required for this schmancy shindig.) The cruise departs from Pier 15 at 5 p.m., and lasts until 11 p.m.
23. Clipper City Tall Ship
New York, NY 10004
Setting sail on the harbor is one of the most fun (if not most expensive) ways to view the fireworks, and the Clipper City Tall Ship offers another opportunity. The boat boards at 5:30 p.m. at Slip 2 in the Battery, and the night offers a great view of the fireworks and themed food and drinks (red, white, and blue cocktails, for instance). Tickets are $400 for adults ($375 if you don't want food), $325 for children, and the price includes a BBQ and open bar.
24. Shearwater Classic Schooner
New York, NY 10280
It isn't entirely clear what makes this yacht $100 more expensive than Clipper City, but hey, whatever floats your boat. Also run by Manhattan by Sails, this Fourth of July celebration shares its amenities with Clipper City, so you get a BBQ dinner and open bar. Adult tickets are $450 ($425 for just the sail, no food), and children can board for $350, with departure set for 5:30 p.m. It departs from the North Cove Marina at Brookfield Place.
25. NY Water Taxi, Pier 45 - Hudson River Park
Here's another cruise option: Join New York Water Taxi starting at 6:45 p.m. for an evening on the water, with great views of the fireworks. The $199 ticket will also buy you a light dinner buffet, non-alcoholic beverages (a cash bar will serve beer and wine), and hors d'oeuvres of both the stationary and passed variety. Buy tickets here.
26. Bateaux New York
The price for this excursion is $499.90 per person* for a three-course meal, drinks, and more. You can also add on other amenities—a dozen roses, perhaps, or a framed photo of you and your companion—but that'll, unsurprisingly, cost extra.
27. Spirit Cruises - New York
Spirit Cruises is offering two options for those that desire a waterfront view of the fireworks. Both feature a buffet-style dinner, an open bar (for individuals 21 and over), and a DJ. The pricier option, at $349.90 per person, departs from Chelsea Piers at 6 p.m.
28. Spirit of New Jersey
With the same offerings as the Spirit of New York cruise, the Spirit of New Jersey will also depart at 6 p.m., but it will begin its journey at Lincoln Harbor in New Jersey. Further, it only costs $329.90.
29. North River Lobster Company
This West Side fish shack will offer a dinner cruise for the 4th of July, with boats departing from Pier 81 in Midtown. After boarding at 6 p.m., the cruise will leave at 7 p.m. and travel around the harbor through the fireworks ceremony. The buffet menu is, unsurprisingly, heavy on the seafood. Tickets go for $331.96.
30. East River State Park
The East River State Park in Williamsburg should be a great viewing location for the fireworks given its close proximity to the river. The park normally closes at 9 p.m., but they confirmed to us over the phone that they will be open past that time to accommodate fireworks watchers.
31. LIC Flea & Food
If you don't feel like standing or sitting still while watching the fireworks, spend some time at LIC Flea's second annual night market in Long Island City. Running from 1 p.m. until midnight, the market will offer your flea market staplesstreet food, jewelry, crafts, and accessoriesalongside a beer and wine garden.[Photo via The Village Voice]
Output's website makes no specific mention of the Fourth of July, but the Williamsburg club's roof will be hosting on Saturday, July 4, from 3 to 10 p.m.and tickets seem to be at regular price, going for $15 to $20. Get them while you can! [Photo via Free Williamsburg]
34. WNYC Transmitter Park
Brooklyn, NY 11222
Located in the Greenpoint, WNYC Transmitter Park is one of the newest additions to New York City's body of public parks. Due to its relatively close proximity to Roosevelt Island, this park will provide incredible views of Macy’s fireworks barges located in the center of the East River.
35. Williamsburg Bridge
New York, NY 10002
With the Williamsburg Bridge already being responsible for connecting the Lower East Side with its namesake Brooklyn neighborhood, why wouldn't it be an ideal spot to catch the fireworks? Though your view may be slightly obstructed by the Brooklyn Bridge, the Williamsburg Bridge offers incredible views of the barges scheduled to light up the New York skyline.
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Located on Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, Fornino’s is a wood-fired pizza restaurant with a wide-range of beer and wine. Adding to the sights appeal is its rooftop location, offering an uninterrupted view of the East River and a closer proximity to the fireworks themselves.