New York City’s most famous Independence Day event returns for its 42nd year in 2018. The Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks display will feature more than 75,000 shells and effects (in 25 colors and including 20 new fireworks if you’re keeping count), all of which locals can see from the tradition’s five official viewing sites in Manhattan.
Tip: Most areas along New York’s East River waterfront will work too.
Another all-American holiday tradition, Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest celebrates a classic summertime snack—hundreds of them, to be exact. Join ESPN reporters and thousands of spectators at this Coney Island hot dog stand to see gluttons compete for its famous Mustard Belt. Ordering a frank of your own while you watch is recommended but not required.
American history buffs will appreciate this retro dance party hosted by Lincoln Center. At July 4th’s Midsummer Night Swing, former members of the Tito Puente Orchestra, now the Mambo Legends Orchestra, will revive “the golden age of Latin dance” with big band mambo music. The party’s open-air dance floor, and its on-site salsa instructor Marlon “International” Mills, welcomes all experience levels.
Dating back to the American Revolution, Travis, a small town located on Staten Island’s West Shore, is as American as apple pie. At 108 years old, its annual Fourth of July parade is one of the oldest in the U.S. and features the hand-decorated floats and marching band procession to prove it. As a bonus, ferrying to and from the event offers gorgeous views of an American icon, the Statue of Liberty.
The backyard barbecue of New Yorkers’ dreams is realized at Pier 15’s Freedom Fest. This “pier party experience” offers something for the whole family, including a buffet of burgers and hot dogs, a live DJ, and breathtaking views of downtown Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the evening’s main event, the Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks.
Even the staunchest New Yorker can’t resist the excitement of the Jersey City Freedom and Fireworks Festival located in, yes, New Jersey. Only a brief trip from New York City, this wholesome all-day event features a full-scale carnival, food trucks, and a fireworks show over the Statue of Liberty.
For a more contemporary celebration, head to trendy Greenpoint, Brooklyn for Northern Territory’s July 4th on the Rooftop. Here, boozy cotton candy, red, white, and blue drink specials and Insta-worthy rooftop views are all included in the $60 cover, a third of which will be donated to the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project.
On-the-go New Yorkers can spend America’s birthday sweating and celebrating at the NYCRUNS Firecracker 5K & 10K. From this loop on Governors Island, runners will be granted views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Statue of Liberty before catching their breath at a post-race party complete with free food.
On these cruises in New York’s East and Hudson Rivers, passengers are guaranteed a front-row view of the city’s best fireworks displays. Whether you’re hoping to get your sea legs on the dance floor, help sail a ship around the city’s top sites, or sip local beers while enjoying the show, there’s a Fourth of July fireworks cruise waiting for you to climb aboard.
The experience at Zum Kaboom isn’t a traditional American one—the pop-up biergarten from the East Village’s Zum Schneider serves nackensteaks and currywurst alongside German brews and tunes by German DJ Volka Racho. However, its close-up view of fireworks erupting over the East River is guaranteed to make you proud to be a New Yorker.