Fourth of July Events in Boston 2015

Celebrate Independence Day with fireworks, chocolate-making demonstrations, a party at the ICA, and more.

fourth of july events boston

Last year’s Fourth of July fireworks. / Photo by Olga Khvan

Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular 

The Hatch Shell on the Esplanade recently reopened following an 18-month, $700,000 restoration—just in time for Fourth of July fireworks. Performers joining the Boston Pops this year include Broadway performer Michael Cavanaugh, American Idol finalist Melinda Doolittle, Boston-based quartet Sons of Serendip, the Boston Crusaders Drum & Bugle Corps, gospel singer and The Voice contestant Michelle Brooks-Thompson, and the USO Show Troupe. This year’s festivities also mark another celebration: Keith Lockhart’s 20th anniversary as conductor of the Boston Pops. Gates open at 9 a.m., so get there early—the crowds will be big, but the fireworks will be even bigger.

Free, Saturday, July 4, 7-11 p.m., DCR Hatch Shell on the Esplanade,

Party in the USA ICA

The Institute of Contemporary Art is throwing an Independence Day bash featuring Richie’s Italian Ice, specialty cocktails, and other treats. There will be live music by the harbor, as well as a waterfront dance floor with DJs. While you’re there, catch a spotlight talk on the museum’s newest exhibit, Arlene Shechet: All at Once.” 

Free for ICA members, $15 for non-members, Friday, July 3, 5-10 p.m.,

Community Boating

If you want to be on the bank of the Charles River for the concert and fireworks, but don’t want to deal with the crowds, Community Boating is the place to go. Admission to the annual event includes seating under the fireworks, a jumbotron to view the concert, a cookout, and fun children’s activities like face painting and photo booths. This event is both a great way to enjoy the evening’s festivities and support a local business—ticket proceeds go towards supporting Community Boating’s Junior and Universal All Access programs.

Tickets range between $60 to $200, Saturday, July 4, 5:30-11 p.m., Community Boating Boathouse on the Esplanade, 21 David G Mugar Way, between the Hatch Shell and the Longfellow Bridge next to the Charles Circle footbridge,

Fireworks Cruises

Another way to avoid crowds on the Esplanade? Hop aboard one of these fireworks cruises, equipped with buffets, harbor tours, and other entertainment:

Boston 4th of July Fireworks Cruise – Boston Sailing
– July 4th Lunch Cruise – Odyssey Cruises
– Fireworks Sail – Liberty Fleet
– July 4th Lobster Lunch Cruise – Spirit Cruises

Boston Harborfest

Harborfest is a five-day-long celebration of all the colonial and maritime heritage that Boston has to offer. As one of the largest Independence Day festivals around the country, Harborfest features more than 200 events, some of which include: chocolate-making demonstrations, tall ship cruises, twilight duck tours, USS Constitution visits, and more. Be sure not to miss the opening ceremony on July 1, which will feature music from the Navy Band Northeast, speeches, and a ceremonial Harborfest cake cutting by none other than Mayor Marty Walsh.

Wednesday, July 1, to Sunday, July 5, see individual events at

Reading of the Declaration of Independence

Take a moment to appreciate the history of the day. Head over to the Old State House, where following an annual tradition since 1776, a member of the Ancient and the Honorable Artillery Company will read the Declaration of Independence from the balcony.

Free, Saturday, July 4, 10 a.m., outside the Old State House,

Footloose on the Freedom Trail 

The Freedom Trail is the pride and joy of Boston, and on the Fourth of July, people will have the opportunity to take a three-hour guided tour of the entire path, starting at the Massachusetts State House and ending at the USS Constitution.

$10 for Boston by Foot members, $20 for non-members, Saturday, July 4, 9 a.m.; tour starts in front of the Massachusetts State House on Beacon Street,

Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros

On Fourth of July, the Red Sox will take on the Houston Astros on their home turf—inside America’s oldest ballpark. The team is running a special ticket price for the day, which includes an All-American pre-game BBQ in the Champions Club with classics such as potato salad, buttered corn on the cob, stadium hot dogs, and fudge brownies.

$82, Saturday, July 4, 1:35 p.m., Fenway Park, see ticket prices and more information at