America's top 4th of July fireworks displays
The 4th of July is the USA's biggest holiday. Parades march down Main Street, picnic baskets overflow, families come together, and in the evening, fireworks light the sky.
Fireworks sparkle over city parks and public beaches. Rockets climb far above government monuments. Pinwheels light the Western sky. Roman candles line riverbanks.
The biggest, best and most moving fireworks displays are those that light up the skies over the Charles River in Boston, the East River in New York, the Mall in Washington, D.C., the Mississippi River in New Orleans, and Lake Tahoe on the border of California and Nevada.
Boston's Fourth of July, Boston, Mass.
Boston's Fourth of July has long been viewed as the premier pyrotechnic experience among America's Fourth of July celebrations. The celebration's present format was inspired by David Mugar, a local philanthropist, in 1973. He suggested jazzing up the Boston Pops Orchestra July Fourth concert on the Esplanade by playing Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture accompanied by cannons and fireworks. Thus, a tradition was born.
Today hundreds of thousands of people come from across the country to the banks of the Charles River to celebrate America's birthday. The music is broadcast on TV and radio allowing citizens across the city to enjoy the fireworks that are choreographed to the Boston Pops music. The fireworks show includes more than 10,000 shells and devices with more than 17,500 pounds of pyrotechnics.
Macy's Fireworks Spectacular, New York.
This fireworks display lights up the night sky over the East River at 9 p.m. with more than 120,000 bursts of color and light and 30,000 aerial shells from around the world. Fireboats shoot streams of red, white and blue water 300 feet over the river.
The display is launched from just off 34th Street. The music for this event is broadcast on NBC and WINS radio that play specially recorded musical accompaniment. The FDR Drive is packed with revelers, the Brooklyn bank of the river is thronged and the East River fills with boats of all shapes and sizes south of the major bridges.
Fireworks on the Mall, Washington.
This amazing pyrotechnic production, with its picturesque backdrop of the U.S. Capitol and Washington Monument, is a vivid tribute to our great nation and the most powerful city in the world. This tradition started more than 200 years ago when Thomas Jefferson hosted the first official Fourth of July celebration at the presidential mansion.
A parade, complete with Marine Corps, Army, Navy and Air Force bands, local marching groups, VIPs and floats marches up 10 blocks of Constitution Avenue beside the Mall. As darkness falls, the National Symphony Orchestra strikes up on the West Lawn of the Capitol and other performers fill the night with music and then, just after 9 p.m., the first rocket begins a massive fireworks display. The music and the fireworks are broadcast across the country on PBS.
Lights on the Lake, Lake Tahoe, Nev.
After a 2-year hiatus, the 4th of July celebrations are returning to North Lake Tahoe. This year, celebrations will look a little different from years past. Drone shows will light up the skies! It’s a new way of celebrating our Nation’s birthday, using a technological and innovative approach to “fireworks.” Amazing high-tech light shows/sky shows are a more responsible way to celebrate after consideration of fire and environmental risks posed by pyrotechnics. Bring your friends and family and enjoy the highly-skilled, choreographed sky shows and fun celebrations!
Somewhere between 75,000 and 100,000 people will visit Lake Tahoe to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day with Lights on the Lake Fireworks, the largest synchronized fireworks display west of the Mississippi. Since it is crowded, a good plan is to stake out your piece of the beach by late afternoon or early evening. Terrific viewpoints are Lakeview Commons/El Dorado Beach in South Lake Tahoe, and Nevada Beach in between Stateline and Zephyr Cove. Area officials advise viewers to plan ahead, consider alternative modes of transportation and take all trash/belongings when the show concludes.
Other smaller fireworks displays take place all around Lake Tahoe from Tahoe City to Kings Beach to Squaw Valley.
Go 4th on the River, New Orleans.
The New Orleans Riverfront puts on a powerful and unique display of fireworks for its annual Go 4th on the River Dueling Barges Fireworks Extravaganza. This one-of-a-kind dueling barges fireworks display lights up the sky over the mighty Mississippi, creating a symphony in the sky.
The local radio stations broadcast old-time, classic patriotic songs and modern all-American music that accompanies the colorful rockets as they streak across the sky and explode in fantasy colors. The levees are packed with spectators and the riverboats are filled with partyers celebrating the country's birthday. In the best New Orleans tradition, the holiday is celebrated with wonderful jambalaya, gumbo, and jazz.
These displays are only a starting point. Other extraordinary displays take place in Philadelphia, Chicago, Nashville, and St. Louis.