Boston Harborfest 4th of July Celebration

America's Largest 4th of July Party

Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular
••• The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular is a highlight of Boston's annual Fourth of July celebration. Photo by David Fox, courtesy of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau.

What is Boston Harborfest?

If you want to celebrate Independence Day in proper patriotic style, head for Boston, Massachusetts. The annual Boston Harborfest is a multi-day 4th of July celebration featuring hundreds of events throughout the historic city. Many events are free. Harborfest attracts more than 2.5 million visitors to Boston each July, making it the nation's largest patriotic celebration.

When is Boston Harborfest?

Boston Harborfest usually begins several days before the 4th of July. For 2016, the dates for the 35th annual Boston Harborfest are Friday through Monday, July 1-4.

What Are the Highlights of Boston Harborfest?

Boston Harborfest features a variety of historic tours, concerts, Revolutionary-era reenactments and children's activities. Highlights of the annual event include a rare chance to see the USS Constitution below the water line in dry-dock (July 1-4), Taste of Harborfest on Long Wharf (July 3), tall ship cruises, a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence at the Old State House on July 4 and the 4th of July fireworks over the Charles River, accompanied by the Boston Pops. The Queen Mary 2 will sail into Boston on July 4 for the festivities this year, too.

How Can I Learn More About Boston Harborfest?

Visit the Boston Harborfest Web site for a complete daily schedule of events in and around Boston this 4th of July.

You can also obtain Harborfest information by calling toll free, 888-SEE-BOSTON. Updates are available on Facebook and Twitter, as well.

A separate Web site devoted to Boston's Fourth of July Pops Concert and Fireworks at The Esplanade has helpful details on where to park, how to be among those who score a spot inside the Oval and even how to join in the celebration from home if you can't make it to Boston.

The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular is celebrating its 43rd anniversary in 2016, and featured performers include pop stars Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas and country band Little Big Town. For the first time in four years, the show will be broadcast on national TV once again. Entertainment Tonight's Nancy O'dell will host the program, which airs on CBS July 4 from 9 to 11 p.m. ET. Because there will be TV coverage, there will be no live video stream in 2016, although CBS Boston will carry an audio stream.

Want to avoid the 4th of July crowds? Attend the July 3 dress rehearsal on the Esplanade: same concert, no fireworks. Gates open at 5 p.m. for the 8:30 p.m. concert.

How Do I Get to Boston Harborfest?

A Boston Harborfest information booth is usually located at City Hall Plaza, where many of Harborfest's main events also take place, so this is a good central location from which to set out on foot or via the "T," Boston's subway, to enjoy the variety of Harborfest happenings. The Harborfest Web site has suggested parking locations for Harborfest.

Are There Any Getaway Packages for Boston Harborfest?

You can compare July 4 rates and reviews for Boston hotels with TripAdvisor.

Other Helpful Resources for Boston Travelers: