Whether you're a long-time resident staying in the city for the holiday or you're planning a trip to New York City and staying in Brooklyn, there are many places to see spectacular Fourth of July fireworks each year from this bustling borough.
Despite all of the event cancelations and uncertainty with plans due to COVID-19, the big New York City Macy's fireworks show is planned to go on July 4, 2020, as scheduled, albeit with some changes. Social distancing rules and recommendations to stay at home mean you'll have to celebrate a little differently this year, but there are still ways to catch America's biggest birthday event—regardless of whether you're in New York or not.
Where to See Fireworks in 2020
The safest place to enjoy the Macy's fireworks show in 2020 is from home, since the entire performance will be aired live on NBC in New York and around the country. Tune in to NBC on your television beginning at 8 p.m. EDT/PDT or 7 p.m. CDT/MDT to catch this patriotic spectacular. If you don't have a TV, you can stream it on NBC's website as long as you have a cable account to log in with.
If you're lucky enough to be in a building with rooftop access that's in a neighborhood near the East River—Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Williamsburg, Clinton Hill, and parts of Greenpoint and Bed-Stuy—you can likely see the fireworks in person by just going upstairs. You won't get the same view of fireworks over the Brooklyn Bridge as in other years, but in exchange, you get to avoid the long afternoon of holding a spot and waiting in the sun for the fireworks show to start.
If you're visiting New York, look for hotels that have views of the Brooklyn Bridge for the equivalent of a front-row seat experience. Some examples that are open include 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Hampton Inn Brooklyn Downtown. Just be sure you specially request a room with a view of the bridge and the river, otherwise, you won't be seeing much.
The majority of the most popular places to gather and watch the show are closed to visitors this year, such as the Grange in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Brooklyn Bridge Park usually fills up every Independence Day, but this year admittance is severely restricted. The park is only open for passive enjoyment and solitary recreation while maintaining a minimum distance of six feet between others. Going to sit out with a group of people is not permitted nor recommended, and the rules are likely to be strictly enforced on a holiday like July 4.
Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks 2019
One of the county's biggest displays is the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks show. It includes over 10,000 fireworks and effects, making it a feast for the eyes. This year the fireworks will be launched from the Brooklyn Bridge and four barges along the lower East River. That means Brooklynites will get the best views.
To get up close to the fireworks head to the Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, and the Brooklyn Grange in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. You can also go up to the roof of 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, but make a reservation early, as it's going to get packed.
If you want a quiet holiday, you can watch the Macy's Fireworks on TV, since the event is televised. Of course, this isn't the same as huddling with others in awe on the Brooklyn Promenade. Get there early with a picnic and enjoy the show.
North Brooklyn: Greenpoint, Williamsburg, and Bushwick 2019
The hippest places to be on the Fourth of July in Brooklyn are on the north side of the borough in Greenpoint, Williamsburg, and Bushwick — each of which offers multiple rooftop venues and public parks where you'll have a chance to see the fireworks at night.
East River-facing parks such as Transmitter Park's Pier, the Bushwick Inlet Park, and the Little Grand Ferry Park near the Domino Sugar Factory may be inaccessible, but most of the rooftop bars in the area will be open. Berry Park in Williamsburg, for instance, has a great rooftop bar with views of the Manhattan skyline.
If you want to see the fireworks from a boat, it's not too late to get tickets for a Freedom Cruise, which departs from Sheepshead Bay. Enjoy an evening on a boat, complete with a dinner and some of the best views of the fireworks.
South Brooklyn: Coney Island and Brighton Beach 2019
Editor's Note: The Coney Island fireworks show is canceled in 2020.
If you're looking for a great place to celebrate Independence Day from dawn until midnight, South Brooklyn's Coney Island and Brighton Beach make for great destinations.
In Coney Island, you can arrive early and lay out on the beach before watching the official Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. Then, head over to the boardwalk to catch the Coney Island Sideshow. For those who want to start the celebration with another American tradition, you can head to a Brooklyn Cyclones game on July 4 from 3 to 7 p.m. where there will be post-game fireworks.
Even if you don't attend the game, you can watch the fireworks from the pier all along the boardwalk, Coney Island beach, and even from Brighton. Watching the fireworks light up the skies above Coney Island is a magical experience and a great way to get your fill of fireworks this Independence Day.