4th of July in New York
On the 4th of July it is Independence Day in New York. Independence Day is one of the most important holidays in the United States. New Yorkers definitely know how to celebrate it and if you are in New York on the 4th of July then you really should celebrate it too!
For Independence Day a lot of New York residents leave the city and head to Long Island and Fire Island to barbecue with the family. Trains headed to the beaches are packed but no one is in a rush.
The 4th of July is also one of the few days of the year when many shops are closed. Most (clothing) stores will not be open that day. Banks, schools and (post)offices are also closed. Museums and, for example the Top of the Rock and Empire State Building are open (the Empire State Building closes at 19:00).
What can you do on the 4th of July/Independence Day?
A lot of people expect there to be a parade, but unfortunately there is no parade on the 4th of July in New York. New York does, however have an incredible firework display that 3 million (!) spectators come to watch. The firework display has 40,000 fireworks and lasts 25 minutes. It is one of the biggest firework displays in the world.
Where can I see the firework display?
If you are in New York on the 4th of July, you should definitely not miss out on the fireworks. The fireworks start at around 21:00-21:15 on the East River. The display can best be seen from the Brooklyn Bridge Park, or from Lower Manhattan between the Manhattan Bridge and the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. However, there will be 3 million people watching, some come as early as 11:00 am to ensure that they get a great viewing spot. If you don’t feel like doing this, there are alternative options:
See the Fireworks from a Dinner Cruise
A great option to enjoy Independence Day and the fireworks, is to take a dinner cruise. Many of the dinner cruises offer a 5-course meal and a premium open bar. On the luxury cruise you are treated to appetisers and a live DJ as well. Everyone is expected to dress up and some of the yachts will only accommodate 200 guests.
Evening Boat Tour
If you don’t want to take a dinner cruise, but do want to have a great view of the fireworks then I suggest taking an evening boat tour. The boats leave at around 17:00 or 18:00 giving you plenty of time to enjoy the sights of New York before seeing the fireworks. These tours offer food and drinks for purchase on board and some might also have entertainment. These boat tours are cheaper than the Dinner Cruises.
The Total 4th of July Experience
Do you want to experience a real 4th of July? This might be something for you. It’s a whole day program including a BBQ on an outdoor terrace with views of Times Square. Afterwards you’ll get a bus tour through Lower Manhattan. The highlight of the day is an evening cruise with a dinner buffet and of course the view of the fireworks. This exclusive, limited tour will sell out fast, so don’t wait too long to book.
4th of July at the Empire State Building
The Empire State Building will open its doors for an exclusive 4th of July celebration. The evening starts on the 80th floor, where you’ll be welcomed for a private reception with premium open bar and hors d’oeuvres. At 21:00 you can move to the observation deck on the 86th floor, for a once in a lifetime view of the Macy’s fireworks.
4th of July at One World Observatory
If you’re looking for an exclusive, very unique experience on the 4th of July, I recommend you to buy tickets for the 4th of July Party at One World Observatory. Enjoy the fireworks on the East River from above, from the great viewpoint of the One World Trade Center. The tickets are good value for money and you can attend the event with the entire family! One drink is included, and extra drinks and American-style bites are available for purchase. Secure your spot at the window on time, so you’re sure of a good view of the impressive fireworks.