Where to go and What to do on the Fourth of July
Independence Day is one of the highlights of the summer season. Whether you gather together to view the fireworks or decide to throw a backyard bash, the 4th of July is sure to be a fun day.
July 4th marks the day America declared independence from Britain. From 1776 onwards, this day has been celebrated by millions of Americans. Thusly, we carry on this tradition and celebrate our “independence” by spending time with family or getting sloshed with friends, while magnificent fireworks light up the sky.
If you’re in New York City, the most obvious thing to do is watch the annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks. This is the 41st year that Macy’s will be providing the city with a fantastic fireworks display, in addition to performances from A-list recording artists. Though they have yet to announce the performers, we know that the display will take place over the East River and the pre-fireworks concert starts at 8pm. Experts suggest that the best places to watch will be from the elevated portions of the FDR Drive. Check out the following spots with family and friends:
The Houston Street entrance to the FDR
23rd Street entrance to the FDR
33rd/34th Street entrance to the FDR
42nd Street entrance to the FDR
From Brooklyn, you can watch the fireworks from the comfort of Brooklyn Bridge Park or the Brooklyn Promenade.
Photo Credit: NYCGo.com
If you would prefer a more deluxe fireworks experience, you can check out one of the many booze cruises taking off around the city. The Circle Line is offering a cruise from the Hudson to the East River, complete with a DJ, food, and drinks to keep things lively. The whole shebang lasts five hours, so be prepared to party the 4th of July away.
Photo Credit: NYCGo.com
If you’re more into a romantic, couples experience, then try booking a night on the newly renovated Queen of Hearts. This five hour cruise includes a full dance floor and DJ. You can upgrade your package to include a premium open bar and a large buffet dinner (which is your best option, considering you will be confined to the boat for hours on end).
Photo Credit: Groupon
For those into the super-deluxe, all day, all out shindigs, try booking your posse onto the Ultimate Fourth of July Experience Tour. Your day begins with a BBQ lunch on the terrace in the Novotel New York, where you will have views of Times Square. Afterwards, you will get on a coach bus to tour lower Manhattan all the way up to Chelsea Piers. When you get the water, you will board the Spirit of New York for an evening cruise of the harbor. As you take in the skyline, you will be treated to a buffet dinner. Then, you can dance the night away and drink from the open bar as you take in the spectacular fireworks. If you have stamina, this ten hour Independence Day celebration is for you.
Not everyone is into the Barbecue and Fireworks scene on July 4th. Others are not into long harbor cruises. For these people, good old-fashioned partying is available. Celebrate our country’s independence, by liberating yourself from the boring everyday hustle and bustle: go on a killer club crawl. Sure, you could head to the meatpacking district, pick one club and stand outside half the night, just dying for a drink. Or…you could sign yourself up for an evening designed by New York Epic Club Crawls (also famous for their work in LA & Vegas).
Photo Credit: LA Epic Club Crawls
Midsummer Night’s Swing is not just one event, but an entire summer series. On July 4th, the Louis Armstrong Eternity Band is playing in Damrosch Park in honor of both Independence Day and Louis Armstrong’s birthday. David Ostwald, the leader of the band, is a Grammy nominated artist, who can usually be found showing off his skills at the famous Birdland Jazz Club. This night, he leads the band as you and your dance partner bop the night away. The event opens at 6pm and the dance lesson begins at 6:30pm. Buy your tickets in advance to be part of this unique NYC event.
While barbecues, fireworks, and parties may be 4 of July mainstays, there is one New York event that surpasses them all: Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island. This event is free to attend and quite the spectacle. Every year, there are underdogs and returning champs, which makes this celebration of gluttony all the more interesting. Head to the Coney Island boardwalk between 10am and 1pm to catch this uniquely American competition.
Hopefully, the above events and fireworks viewing tips will help you plan an amazing 4th of July. As is always the case in New York, there is something for everyone. For those who like a little more spice in their Independence Day celebrations, I highly recommend the cruises and club crawls. However, the classic, family friendly Macy’s Fireworks show and Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest are can’t miss. Good luck with your planning and Happy Independence Day! Party on, my fellow Americans.