Independence Day is the quintessential American holiday, and what better way to celebrate than with a beautiful display of fireworks over the open water?
50 Campfires found a list of great places to see some fantastic fireworks over water. Trust me, once you watch fireworks over water, you’ll never want to watch them any other way!
1. Chicago’s Navy Pier hosts over 100,000 fireworks watchers.
Navy pier in Chicago, Illinois is famous for its fireworks. Just ask any of the 125,000 visitors who made the trek last year! Navy Pier is a great place to spend your July Fourth holiday and the best way to get a seat for the fireworks is to go earlier in the day and stay for the fireworks later in the evening.
Every year, thousands get turned away to watch the show from other, less impressive viewpoints. Your day won’t be wasted with the Chicago Children’s Museum and the fantastic ferris wheel and amusement rides that are all located on the historic pier.
2. Excelsior Minnesota fireworks over Lake Minnetonka.
Slightly lower key, but no less brilliant are the fireworks over the waters of Lake Minnetonka in Excelsior, Minnesota. There’s a full day of activities planned each year around the city’s Commons Park. Get there early and stake out your spot with a picnic blanket.
Whether you bring your own goodies, or indulge from one of the many vendors, you are sure to have plenty to eat. The celebration is designed to be family friendly with a 1 mile firecracker run, sand sculpture contest, a kid’s parade along Water Street and live music.
3. Boston fireworks over the Charles River.
One of the most American of American cities has got to be Boston, Massachusetts, where men like Sam Adams helped form the revolution that birthed a nation. Here the fireworks dazzle high above the Charles River.
You can find your spot riverside, or look into a roof top view from one of the surrounding buildings, such as Top of the Hub. The world famous Boston Pops Orchestra kicks it off with a free concert you don’t want to miss. The show features seven barges firing fireworks over water. An estimated 10,000 individual fireworks are used in the show!
4. Biscayne Bay Fireworks in Miami, Florida.
Headed south for some summer heat? Consider Miami, Florida’s display over Biscayne Bay! It’s known as the best fireworks display in the state, and Bay Front Park in downtown is the best front row seat!
There will be a kid’s zone from 3pm to 7pm at the park, with inflatables, face painting and more! Remember the Fourth of July as a kid? Talk about magical memories! Admission is free, but no glass bottles, cans or coolers will be allowed inside the park, so plan accordingly. The fireworks start at 9 PM.
5. Celebrate America’s birthday in America’s birthplace – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
It stands to reason that places that loom large in American history would celebrate big, and the Delaware River in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is no exception. The city is known as the birthplace of America, and you can’t turn around without bumping into something of historical significance.
Waterfront Penn’s Landing is the scene for the fireworks display. The Philadelphia Orchestra and the United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own” will accompany the event. In addition to Penn’s Landing, Race Street Pier and Spruce Street Harbor Park are among the top places to watch from.
6. Pier 39 fireworks in San Francisco.
San Francisco’s Pier 39, overlooking San Francisco Bay, is the home of another epic fireworks display. The party starts at noon and the whole family is invited to play, enjoy live music and eat until they’re stuffed!
Festivities will culminate in the fireworks at 9:30 pm. Pier 39 is the place to be for the best view. Before the show, enjoy any of the world class dining and shopping experiences the pier has to offer or check out the world famous aquarium and carousel.
7. Seattle fireworks over Puget Sound.
Seattle, Washington is a city known for its distinct personality. Watching fireworks over Puget Sound is a great way to experience the charm! If you can wrangle it, get a boat or canoe and head out onto the water for the best seat in the house.
For the more adventurous, a thirty minute ferry ride from the city will take you to Bainbridge Island for one of the best views of the sound. Other great locations include Ivar’s under the I-5 bridge and Bhy Kracke Park, in one of Seattle’s classic neighborhoods.
8. Explosions of color over the Mighty Mississippi in New Orleans, Louisiana.
America’s greatest river hosts the last of these eight great July Fourth parties. Head down to New Orleans and watch the fireworks over the Mississippi for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There are a lot of fantastic tourist destinations – this town knows how to party – but the Go Fourth show over the river is the cream of the crop.
The show, known as “Dueling Barges” is world famous and set to music. Want to make it unforgettable? Get tickets on one of the steamboats for their special fireworks cruise. Leading up to the display, there’s plenty to do in New Orleans. Look for discount passes to the Aquarium of the Americas at Woldenberg Park or the Insectarium on Canal Street.