There’s nothing more American than a big fireworks display on the Fourth of July. Independence Day is the nation’s big birthday party, and everyone’s invited. While you don’t have to travel far to see the explosions of color in the night sky in most parts of the United States, some fireworks displays stand out above the rest. Book a chartered flight for the 4th of July, pack a picnic basket with your favorite treats and fulfill your patriotic duty of celebrating the country’s independence with a bang.
For an über-patriotic celebration, fly to the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. Each year, thousands flock to the National Mall to watch the 17-minute pyrotechnic display. The festivities, however, begin early in the day with a parade down Constitution Avenue and celebrations in almost every neighborhood.
The best spots to view the fireworks are from the steps of the Lincoln or Jefferson Memorials. The coveted areas give you a view of the U.S. Capitol building and the Washington Monument, whose reflection pool doubles the dazzling display. If you can’t nab a spot in the National Mall, head south to East or West Potomac Park.
New York City, New York
Macy’s goes all out for Independence Day with its Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks. The spectacular 25-minute display is part of the nation’s largest Independence Day celebration with more than 3 million spectators, 10 million TV viewers, pre-show performances and more than 50,000 pyrotechnic effects.
For the best views of the fireworks, find an open spot along the East River and look toward the Brooklyn Bridge. In Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Height Promenade or Brooklyn Bridge Park offer great viewing spots. In Manhattan, you’ll get a good view along FDR Drive or the South Street Seaport. Long Island City’s waterfront in Queens is also good.
San Diego, California
One of the largest fireworks display on the West Coast, San Diego’s Big Bay Boom involves four barges launching fireworks into the night sky from the waters surrounding Harbor Island, North Embarcadero, South Embarcadero and Shelter Island. Up to 500,000 spectators make their way to San Diego Bay for the event.
Because the fireworks are launched from various locations in the bay, there are several places to watch them, including the Marina District, North Embarcadero, Shelter Island, Harbor Island and the Coronado Ferry Landing. Get a front-row seat of the action by chartering a boat and viewing the display from the water.
Lake Tahoe South Shore, California
Lake Tahoe’s South Shore lights up on the Fourth of July for a show hailed as one of the top five fireworks displays in the country by the American Pyrotechnics Association. The crystal-clear waters of North America’s largest alpine lake bordering California and Nevada reflect the dazzling lights as the Sierra Nevada mountain chain provides the perfect backdrop.
The 25-minute Lights on the Lake show is so grand that you can view it from almost any place in town. Some of the best spots include Nevada Beach, Timber Cove Marina at the Tahoe Beach Retreat and Lodge, Tallac Historic Site, Edgewood-Tahoe, El Dorado Beach and the summit of Mount Tallac. Get the best seat by chartering a boat or booking a spot on a paddle wheeler.