Fourth of July Events in Boston

There's more to do than just watch fireworks in this week's Fourth of July edition of Five Reasons to Leave the House This Weekend.

fourth of july events boston


Fireworks and a Show
Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, the city’s main attraction on the Fourth of July. Keith Lockhart will once again conduct the Pops’ renditions of the classics, including Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” complete with real cannons, church bells, and fireworks. Musicians Susan Tedeschi, Ellis Hall, Howie Day, Ayla Brown, and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus will also take the stage. If you’re impatient, you can come out to the Esplanade on the 3rd for a full rehearsal concert. But if you want to see the fireworks, you’ll have to brave the crowds for the real thing on the 4th—we say it’s definitely worth it.

Free, Thursday, July 4, 7:30-10 p.m., DCR Hatch Shell on the Esplanade,

Week-Long Celebration
Boston Harborfest

In Boston, the Fourth of July isn’t just a day-long celebration—it’s a week-long festival. The 32nd Annual Boston Harborfest hosts more than 200 events throughout the city. Explore Boston’s rich history with a guided walking tour of Beacon Hill, a scavenger hunt at the Old South Meeting House, and a reading of the Declaration of Independence from the balcony of the Old State House, just as it was done in 1776. Bring the kids out for “Whiskers, Flippers, and Fun” with seals at the New England Aquarium, and take the ferry out to Spectacle Island for a classic New England clambake. And on Sunday, make sure to go to City Hall Plaza for Chowderfest, where you can enjoy unlimited samples from participating restaurants before voting for the city’s best clam chowder.

Tuesday, July 2, to Sunday, July 7, see individual event details at

For History Buffs
USS Constitution Museum Turnaround Spectacular

Every Fourth of July, “Old Ironsides,” the world’s oldest commissioned warship, voyages out to Castle Island in South Boston to fire a 21-gun salute in memory of those who fought for our independence. Where can you get the best view of the show? Aboard a ship right behind it, of course. Board the Majesty at Long Wharf for a cruise following the USS Constitution, fully narrated by an expert historian from the USS Constitution Museum. Enjoy a full cash bar and a luncheon buffet, and, if you’d like, disembark in Charlestown for a tour of the museum and the Navy Yard.

$75, $65 for USS Constitution Museum members, Thursday, July 4, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Long Wharf,

Dinner with a View
Top of the Hub’s Fourth of July Celebration

Have a date on the Fourth of July? Impress them with breathtaking views of the city and a special celebratory dinner at the Top of the Hub. Watch a simulcast of the Boston Pops concert while enjoying an hour-long open bar followed by a five-course meal, including a lobster salad, grilled swordfish, and a white chocolate and raspberry mousse cake. If your mouth is watering reading this, then waste no time and make the call, as reservations are required.

$250, reservations required, 21+, Thursday, July 4, 7 p.m., Top of the Hub, 800 Boylston St.,

Celebration on the Charles
Community Boating’s Fourth of July SAILabration

Don’t want to deal with the madness on the Esplanade this Fourth of July? Then escape to the docks, where Community Boating will host a party at its boathouse. Enjoy a cookout—complete with gourmet burgers and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream—face painting, glitter tattoos, and a photo booth. The boathouse faces away from the Hatch Shell, but there will be a projector screen to ensure that you don’t miss the Boston Pops concert. And when the time comes for the fireworks, you definitely won’t regret this waterfront view.

$125 for adults, $75 for teens, $35 for children, free for children under nine, Thursday, July 4, 4-10 p.m., Community Boating Boathouse, 21 David Mugar Way,