Founded in 1630, Boston, Massachusetts is often considered the birthplace of the American Revolution, so it’s no wonder the city takes its 4th of July celebrations pretty seriously. In fact, the Boston Independence Day Fireworks typically draw a crowd of more than one million people — talk about a celebration!
But it’s not just about the fireworks. The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular Concert, a free performance that takes place at the Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade, helps ring in the festivities. On top of that, there are plenty of other fun activities to do in Boston on the 4th of July, which we’ll walk you through below.
History of the Cradle of Liberty
Founded in 1630, Boston has played host to some of the most famous events in U.S. history, including the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere’s Ride, and the Boston Massacre. Because these events were central to the country’s decision to declare independence and defend itself from Great Britain, Boston is often referred to as the Cradle of Liberty.
Best Places to Watch Boston Fireworks
The spectacular fireworks display is launched over the Boston Common from a barge on the Charles River. The best places to watch them are located near the river, including Longfellow Bridge, the Harvard Bridge, and BU Bridge. Be sure to show up early to grab a good spot.
How to Watch Boston Fireworks Online
If you can’t make it in person to the Boston fireworks, you can beat the crowds and watch the fireworks display online. Watch a live stream at Bloomberg.com, Boston.com, BostonGlobe.com, and BostonPopsJuly4th.org or watch via live television at SiriusXM satellite subscription radio and Bloomberg TV and Radio. Make sure to check these websites ahead of time to confirm specific viewing details.
What to Do in Boston to Celebrate the 4th of July
Whether you’re looking for something to do before the fireworks or just want to go your own way, there are tons of things to do in Boston to celebrate Independence Day.
- Check out Harborfest. Boston Harborfest is a major annual festival that includes its own fireworks show on July 2 and the famous Chowderfest. Expect exciting historical reenactments, parades, live music, and other family-friendly events and activities.
- Walk the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail is a famous walking tour that takes you past some of the most famous historic sites in Boston. You can also book a tour of Boston through Duck Boat Tours, Segway Tours, and more.
- Hear the Declaration of Independence. Every year on July 4th, the Declaration of Independence is read from the balcony of the Old State House — the exact place where it was read aloud on July 18, 1776. It’s a truly unique and powerful historical experience you won’t want to miss.
Boston Parking and Public Transportation on the 4th of July
Boston’s annual 4th of July celebration is a big affair, so the city closes a number of streets to vehicle access and generally recommends visitors leave their personal vehicles at home. You can find more information about parking restrictions and street closures on the City of Boston’s official website.
Fortunately, Boston has a great public transportation system, including their bike-share service and lots of bus and metro lines. For more information about routes and to plan your public transportation journey, visit the MBTA’s website. Reserve parking for any events with a view with ParkMobile.
Best Bars and Restaurants in Boston
There are too many fantastic bars and restaurants in Boston to count, so we’ve listed just a few that are perfect for the Fourth of July in Boston.
- Located at 304 Stuart Street in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood, Mooncusser is consistently ranked one of the city’s best restaurants. Boston is famous for its seafood, and nobody does it better than Mooncusser — think delicate cod and barbecue unagi.
- Puritan & Company. Puritan & Company, located at 1166 Cambridge Street, offers a playful modern spin on New England classics like baked cod, lobster stew, cod fritters, and more.
- Offsuit, a cozy speakeasy located at 5 Utica Street in Boston’s Leather District, serves up classic cocktails in a truly intimate setting with marble tabletops, gilded lamps, and a max occupancy of around 20 people.
Boston Hotels With Fireworks Views
Many hotels in Boston provide rooftop experiences that are perfect for catching the city’s 4th of July fireworks. Here are a few locations we recommend:
- Fairmont Copley Plaza. The massive rooftop deck at the Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel provides one of the best views of the fireworks in all of Boston.
- XV Beacon Hotel. Book a room at XV Beacon Hotel for a luxury experience and a gorgeous, 10th-floor roof deck available to guests.
- Liberty Hotel. Liberty Hotel offers rooms that overlook the Charles River with a spectacular viewing experience.