- Things to Do
- Walking Tours
- Tours en Español
- Bus Tours
- Food Tours
- Boat Tours
- Brooklyn Tours
- Night Tours
- Bike Tours
- Private Tours
Thanks for visiting Free Tours by Foot New York!
This post tells you the best locations to view the Annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks and when to get there to ensure you get a good spot. Macy’s never fails to put on a great display that you can see, as long as you know where to go. Let us help you!
WHEN DO THEY START
Typically, the start time is 9 pm, but the show usually starts at about 9:25 pm and lasts 25 minutes or so. This year some changes have been made. The barges will be located farther up the East River which means that there are “official” viewing locations.
Make sure to go early to get a spot to call your own. Plan to arrive by 5 pm or even earlier. Be prepared to stand or sit on the ground, since you are not allowed to bring folding chairs or beach chairs.
You are not allowed to bring backpacks or other large items, so keep it simple – some snacks, something to drink (non-alcoholic) – and you’ll have a blast!
OFFICIAL VIEWING LOCATIONS
There will be seven barges stationed along the East River between East 23rd and East 40th streets. Entry points for prime viewing locations in Manhattan on the elevated portions of the FDR are indicated on the map. They are:
Access to the FDR drive will open at approximately 7 pm, but head over early as there will be thousands of people and once public viewing areas are filled, the designated entry points will be closed. But spectators will be redirected to additional open access points along the FDR Drive.
From Brooklyn: The fireworks may be viewed from any area in Brooklyn with an unobstructed view of the sky above the East River.
The following areas are NOT suggested for viewing: Battery Park, Battery Park City, Roosevelt Island, Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park.
For more information, see the interactive Macy’s Fireworks website that helps you plan how to get to the best viewing location for you. Happy 4th of July and enjoy the show!
UNOFFICIAL VIEWING LOCATIONS
These parks and public spaces are usually open late on the 4th of July. However, there is a chance they may close suddenly, so be prepared for possible disappointment. They may not offer as good a view as the locations that Macy’s designates but they will be less crowded.
TIP: These locations are no accessible by the East River Ferry Service, a commuter ferry. Check our post on the East River Ferry to find out about this amazing service that costs the same as the subway but smells a lot better!
You can also o to one of the many rooftop bars in NYC that are located near the barge locations in the river from where the fireworks are launched. See our post Rooftop Bars in NYC for a listing. You might want to consider spots such as The Jimmy and Top of the Strand.
Getting out onto the East River provides you with a great view and an evening of entertainment. Hornblower Cruises has several offerings for the Fourth of July. The Circle Line also provides a specialty cruise that night. American Princess Cruises is another possibility. To learn more about the various cruise and boat companies in NYC and read reviews, see our post Which New York Boat Tour or Cruise is Best?
OTHER FIREWORKS DISPLAYS
Fireworks in Coney Island:
Can’t stand the crowds, but love a good pyrotechnic display, then head down to Coney Island for a fireworks display and grab a Nathan’s hot dog while you are there. Go early and watch the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest. To find out how to get there and what to see when you are there, see our post, Things to do at Coney Island.
Fireworks in New Jersey:
Jersey City will have its own fireworks at the Hudson River this year at the Liberty State Park, Freedom and Fireworks Festival. You can’t beat the backdrop of the Statue of Liberty!
Come early for the all-day event complete with carnival rides, games, food, and a free pre-fireworks concert. Over 100,000 guests are expected, so pack your blankets, and picnic baskets and have fun during this 4th of July party! There will be parking, but if you ride your bike you will be a lot less hassle. Stay posted for further updates.
Related posts for a fabulous summer in New York City