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Best places to watch 4th of July fireworks

More from Outdoor Living Newsletter June Outdoor Living Newsletter

We all love to party on the 4th of July. Picnics and barbecues for friends and family during the day. Come nighttime, fireworks that brighten up the sky.

Of course, if you don't want to light up fireworks in your own backyard, you can always go on an RV road trip with the family to watch an Independence Day fireworks extravaganza. All the 50 states of the US try to outdo each other when it comes to the 4th of July fireworks, so it's up to you to decide where to go for the best Independence Day light show. To help you with that, we've picked 12 of the best fireworks display to watch this coming 4th of July. They are listed by State.

San Francisco, California

Every year on July 4, San Francisco's Pier 39 becomes jam-packed with at least half a million people for some dancing and picnicking. At 9:30 PM, they become witness to the marvelous 360-degree fireworks display hosted by the San Francisco city government. The fireworks are set off from the foot of the Municipal Pier and from barges north of Pier 39.

Best places to watch: Aquatic Park (Jefferson and Hyde streets), the Cannery, Ghirardelli Square, other waterfront spots at Fisherman's Wharf and Coit Tower.

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4th of July Fireworks over the bay by the Golden Gate Bridge

Washington, D.C.

Any short list of the best 4th of July fireworks display will be grossly incomplete without Washington, D.C. The nation's capital certainly deserves the honor. The Washington D.C. fireworks display is a joint production of the National Parks Service, the US Army, the National Endowment for the Arts, Public Broadcasting System, and various corporate sponsors. This is an all-day event in the nation's capital, beginning with a parade along Constitution Avenue and ending with a spectacular display of fireworks over the Washington Monument. The fireworks are launched from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

The best place to watch it is none other than the foot of Lincoln Memorial. Other great places are U.S. Capitol, Jefferson Memorial, Franklin D Roosevelt Memorial, East Potomac Park or a Rooftop Bar in Washington D.C.

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4th of July Fireworks over Washington D.C.

Walt Disney World Resort, Florida

Disney World is one of the most magical places on earth - it's a fact that no one will argue. The place becomes even more magical on July 4. Though Disney World schedules fireworks display every evening, it sets the bar up for the word "spectacular" for the display on Independence Day.

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4th of July Fireworks over Walt Disney World Resort, Florida

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago's Fourth of July fireworks use to be held on July 3rd, at Grant Park giving an amazing lakefront view of fireworks over the city. Today the display is held at the Navy Pier accompanied by a patriotic music soundtrack.

The best places to view it are at Grant Park, Buckingham Fountain, or on a boat near the shore of the lake.

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4th of July Fireworks over Chicago

New Orleans - Louisiana

Fourth of July in New Orleans is always an action-packed event. You won't see a typical Independence Day display here. Instead, you will be treated to the sight of two barges trying to outdo each other with their fireworks, all choreographed to stirring patriotic classics and simulcast on the radio and online.

You can watch the display anywhere by the river on the both banks. However, the best places to watch are Woldenberg Park, The Aquarium of the Americas Plaza, The Levee at Algiers Point, The Levee in General, Steamboat Natchez Cruise, Creole Queen Paddlewheeler Cruise, the Deck of the Ferry (just cross the Mississippi River on the Ferry while the fireworks are exploding for a great view) and the The Westin Hotel 127 Restaurant, but you'll need to make a reservation!

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4th of July fireworks over New Orleans
Photo courtesy of

Boston, Massachusetts

Fourth of July is always special for the people of Boston. Around 200,000 folk line up the banks of Charles River for the pyrotechnics display, which is always accompanied by the Boston Pops Orchestra. Tradition always calls for the fireworks show to wind down accompanied by Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture.

If you don't want to join the crowd on the Esplanade, other places to watch the fireworks are Massachusetts Ave or Longfellow Bridge, Larz Anderson Park and Oakley Country Club.

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4th of July Fireworks over the Charles River, Boston

St. Louis, Missouri

The people of St. Louis always look forward to the Independence Day fireworks. And rightly so; the spectacle is always compared to a 3-D laser show because of the way the lights reflect against the surface of the Gateway Arch.

The best spot to watch the fireworks is none other than the Gateway Arch grounds itself. However, the place gets crowded long before 8 PM. If you don't like pushing your way through the crowds or stumbling on lawn chairs, you can head on across the river to Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park. You can still get an amazing view of the Arch bathed by the shower of fireworks from there.

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4th of July fireworks over the St. Louis Arch, Missouri
Photo courtesy of

Lake Tahoe, Nevada

If you're anywhere near Nevada, go spend Fourth of July at Nevada Beach State Park or Baldwin Beach. At around 9 PM, you'll find a barge sailing to the middle of Lake Tahoe. From this barge will come forth a magnificently bright and loud pyrotechnics display that will overshadow even the lights of Las Vegas.

Aside from Nevada Beach SP and Baldwin Beach, you can also view the fireworks on board the cruise ships The Tahoe Queen and MS Dixie II. You can also try to grab a seat at the Timber Cove Marina and the Edgewood-Tahoe Clubhouse.

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4th of July fireworks over Lake Tahoe
Photo courtesy of Ryan Humenick

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Atlantic City has the longest 4th of July fireworks show in the last few years. The show has two parts. The first one is held at the Marina District, while the second one is shown at the Boardwalk. Both fireworks displays are choreographed to the music broadcast over New Jersey's 95.1 WAYV FM station.

You'll get the best views of these fireworks if you stay at the Boardwalk or at any beach in Atlantic City. If you're feeling fancy and don't want to rub shoulders with the crowd, you can also watch the fireworks from any casino hotel near the Boardwalk.

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4th of July Fireworks over Atlantic City, New Jersey
Photo courtesy of Ben Fogletto

New York City, New York

Is there any sight more glorious than Lady Liberty being showered upon by fireworks? This unique and awe-inspiring spectacle is courtesy of Macy's and has been held recently on the Hudson River.

Where are the best places to watch Macy's fireworks? Top on that list is Hudson River Park along West Side Highway. Piers 54 and 84 are also spots you can try out. You can also get a marvelous view of the fireworks brightening the Manhattan skyline from Hoboken, New Jersey or from the top of the Empire State Building. If you have a friend that lives in a tall apartment building on the West Side then snag yourself an invite to their rooftop party!

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4th of July fireworks over the Brooklyn Bridge, New York

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia's 4th of July fireworks display will be the culmination of their two-week Wawa Welcome America Festival. On that day, the city will host a majestic fireworks show over the Philadelphia Museum of Art after a concert headlined by some major acts in the music industry.

Aside from the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, you can get front row seats to the fireworks display at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. If you want to avoid the crowds, you can try watching the fireworks from Lemon Hill or Kelly Drive.

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4th of July fireworks over Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Photo courtesy of Meet Me in Philadelphia

Nashville, Tennessee

The Lawn at the Riverfront will light up once again this 4th of July. Nashville's magnificent choreographed pyrotechnics display will be the highlight of a concert featuring some of the biggest names in Nashville's music scene.

The best place to watch the fireworks in Nashville is none other than Riverfront Park.

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4th of July fireworks over Nashville, Tennessee

No 4th of July party is ever complete without a fireworks display. But if you don't feel up to lighting your own backyard, you can always take the family on an RV road trip to see a fireworks extravaganza near you. So, where will you go to watch the fireworks this Independence Day?

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