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Fireworks Shows to Celebrate the Fourth of July (and Where to Watch Without the Crowds)

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The Fourth of July is a time of celebration that ends with bright fireworks shows coloring the night sky across the country. These shows are major community events that bring massive crowds each year. From the iconic Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular in New York City to the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration in Idaho, these shows are a beloved tradition in big cities and small towns all over the country. 

If you’re looking for the spots to watch the top Fourth of July fireworks displays, this list won’t disappoint you. But these shows are bound to draw in huge crowds. So if you’re looking for fantastic fireworks without the hassle of crowds, then keep reading to discover the top locations where you can watch the fireworks shows without having to fight the masses, and with ample space to enjoy the festivities.

The Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Show

Our first entry just happens to be the largest show in the United States, several years running. Since 1976, the Macy’s department store has hosted this famous fireworks display. The celebration features stirring music, talented celebrity singers, and over five barges that are loaded with fireworks. It’s recommended to arrive early due to limited space, as this event attracts over 5 million people yearly and can quickly become crowded.

Spectators can head to the official viewing locations along the East River. These locations include 42nd Street and FDR Drive, 34th Street and FDR Drive (which includes ADA/special needs viewing areas) and 23rd Street and FDR Drive. For those across the river, official spots are Gantry Plaza State Park, Newtown Barge Playground and WNYC Transmitter Park. 

If you’re not a fan of big crowds, you may want to check out some of the other amazing shows on our list; the official viewing locations are the only places to catch the display. Event organizers, sponsors, and the NYPD discourage attendees from trying to access the show from outside the designated areas. While there are alternative viewing options, such as rooftop restaurants, boats or helicopters, they often come with a hefty admission fee.

Fireworks on the National Mall – Washington D.C.

Now for another East Coast mention, the Washington D.C. Fireworks Show on the National Mall – it’s a highly anticipated event that takes place over the backdrop of national history and memorials. Every year, the celebration features a stunning display launched from both sides of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. It pays to come out early because the National Park Service says the event pulls in about 1 million people every year.

The official viewing location is the National Mall, but visitors can also catch the fireworks from across the Potomac River or the Supreme Court Plaza. Since these locations are at the heart of the action, they can bring in lots of crowds, making it hard to find a good spot. And organizers and sponsors sometimes even turn people away from these areas after they fill up. For a spot that is farther away (which means smaller crowds) but that still has prime viewing, consider Gravelly Point on the west bank of the Potomac River in Arlington. This national parkland is famous for its views that offer a fantastic vantage point for the fireworks display. The park has picnic tables and portable bathrooms, making it a great place to enjoy a picnic and watch the show.

If you’re looking to beat the crowds, the viewing spot to head to is Long Bridge Park in Arlington’s Crystal City neighborhood, located within a mile of the National Mall. The park has three athletic fields that provide plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the festivities. It’s easily accessible from the Crystal City metro station, making it a convenient option for those traveling by public transportation.

Let Freedom Sing! Music City – Nashville, TN

Traveling toward the Midwest, the Let Freedom Sing! Music City celebration is an event that promises an unforgettable night filled with country music and fireworks. The live display of fireworks is coordinated with the music, adding to the charm of the event. Famous musical artists support the event with their performances. According to the organizers, the last celebration had an attendance of over 350,000 people. The organizers and sponsors have had to implement limits on how many people can attend.

For those who enjoy being in the heart of the action, Riverfront Park is the place to be. Not only does it provide a front-row seat for the fireworks show but it is also just minutes away from other Fourth of July events earlier in the day. As the epicenter of the Fourth of July celebrations in Nashville, Riverfront Park is also one of the most popular places to watch the fireworks. To get a seat, plan to arrive early and spend the day enjoying food, drinks and good company. 

If you prefer to avoid the growing crowds, head to the river’s east bank and watch the fireworks with Nashville’s iconic skyline in the background. 

Kaboom Town – Addison, Texas

Now heading into the American West, we get to Addison, Texas. This small town within the Dallas metropolitan area has been hosting its annual town-wide Independence Day celebration called Kaboom Town for over 30 years, featuring a free local party at Addison Airport and Addison Circle Park. 

Attendees at the park can witness the Addison Airshow, showcasing historic warbirds, aerial stunts and parachute jumpers before the 25-minute-long pyrotechnic display. The event draws in almost 500,000 people to the town, so organizers and sponsors have decided to limit attendance at the park, we recommend arriving early to secure your spot at the event. 

But if you aren’t one for crowds, you can also view the show from other parts of town. Attendees have found strategic points throughout Addison, albeit with less-than-ideal perspectives. And several hotels and restaurants throughout town also host small gatherings to view the show, but entry fees may apply.

 

Melaleuca Freedom Celebration – Idaho Falls, Idaho

The Melaleuca Freedom Celebration is the largest fireworks show west of the Mississippi River based on firing over 18,300 shells during the free 31-minute fireworks show. It has been taking place annually for three decades in Idaho Falls, Idaho. This breathtaking event has an inspirational soundtrack that is synchronized note for note and shell for shell with the fireworks. Unlike many other shows on this list, the entire show is privately funded by Melaleuca: The Wellness Company. The event attracts over 200,000 people from around the country every year, effectively tripling the population of the small town for this one day.

Riverfest, the all-day party that precedes the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration, is also free to the public. This celebration involves live music performances, food trucks and a massive kids’ zone, helicopter rides, an antique car and tractor display, an off-road vehicle course and a wide range of activities that cater to the entire family. The spacious, grassy terrain of the event hosts tens of thousands of visitors and is fitted with 100 speakers that play the synchronized soundtrack for the attendees. 

The viewing area along the banks of the Snake River provides ample space for spectators to spread out and enjoy the show. A custom-made grassy amphitheater was designed specifically to host this world-class firework show. The fireworks can be seen from many areas in Idaho Falls, so some people view the display from miles around.  

Freedom Fair – Tacoma, WA

Now for the final entry on this list since 1979, the city of Tacoma, Washington has hosted its Fourth of July event called the Freedom Fair. This event has featured several attractions that draw crowds of over 125,000 each year. 

The attractions include live performances, art vendors, food vendors, a fun zone, a kids’ art studio, a car show, boat races, military displays, rides and a kids’ carnival. Visitors can also enjoy thrilling aerobatic performances by top civilian and military pilots and world-class para-jumpers, along with the Fireworks Extravaganza. 

Since there is an all-day event going on, crowds go from the morning until the evening when the fireworks are set off. If you want to avoid crowds, the places to watch are the Puget Creek Natural Area and Garfield Park. Both locations aren’t far from Commencement Bay, where the fireworks are set off, and are high enough in elevation to offer get a great view of the show.

Conclusion  

One show that truly stands out from the rest is the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration in Idaho Falls. Interestingly, they claim to primarily use American-made fireworks, rather than buying them from China and other countries. That commitment to American business seems like the next level of patriotism! What’s more, the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration has been recognized by the American Pyrotechnics Association as a “must-see fireworks display” for anyone looking to experience an unforgettable Fourth of July celebration.

The Fourth of July is a day for celebration, and there is no shortage of amazing events to choose from. Whether you prefer small-town festivities or larger-than-life shows, there is something for everyone to enjoy. From the fireworks over New York to the party atmosphere of the Freedom Fair in Tacoma, each event offers an amazing experience. From sea to shining sea, you can have an amazing American experience!

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