4 Great Spots to Watch NYC's 4th of July Fireworks in Manhattan

  • 01 of 05


    Rudi Von Briel / Stockbyte / Getty Images

    In larger-than-life New York City, 4th of July fireworks festivities are no exception. With dazzling display being shot off from several barges positioned along the East River, you can catch the nation's largest Independence Day pyrotechnics show (courtesy of Macy's) from these four primo perches across Manhattan. Just be sure to plan your viewing strategy now, as some spots require reservations, and tickets are going fast.

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  • 02 of 05

    South Street Seaport

    South Street Seaport / J. Kratochvil

    One of the fireworks-launching double barges will be positioned on the East River just in front of the historic South Street Seaport, where views of the spectacle come with historic ships and the Brooklyn Bridge in the background. Plus, visitors to this public access area can enjoy free live music and family entertainment outdoors all day long (kicking off at 1 pm and running till 9 pm), and pair their "Festival of Independence" festivities with dips into the shopping mall and grub from any of the Seaport Smorgasburg vendors like Red Hook Lobster Pound, Lumpia Shack, and more (in the Fulton Market Building). Note the greater Seaport District viewing areas for the Macy's fireworks display can be accessed through the South Street Seaport district, with entry points via Broad Street (at ground level), Old Slip (upper level), Vietnam Memorial Park, and Pearl and Frankfort streets.​ southstreetseaport.com

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  • 03 of 05

    On a Boat

    New York Water Taxi 4th of July sailing
    New York Water Taxi

    With the fireworks going off from the East River, you can be sure that the river and nearby New York Harbor will offer some of the best (floating) seats in the house. A lot of 4th-of-July evening cruises have already booked up, and others are extremely pricey, but at press time, there was at least one good option to be found. New York Water Taxi has spots left on their 3.5-hour-sailings (leaving from Pier 45), with ticket prices that include hors d'oeuvres, a light buffet, desserts, and soft drinks; a cash bar is also available for beer and wine.

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  • 04 of 05

    FDR Drive

    Joe Daniel Price / Moment Collection / Getty Images

    This might be the only time that you actually want to be stuck on the FDR Drive, but trust us, that you do! The elevated sections of the highway, open only to pedestrian traffic during the event, will offer one of the best free viewing platforms in town. Pedestrian access will be set up via designated, NYPD-helmed entry points at Houston, 16th, 23rd, 34th, and 42nd streets, and in lower Manhattan, via Broad Street's ground level, Old Slip's upper level, the Vietnam Memorial Park, and Pearl and Frankfort streets. Note the checkpoints will be closed by the NYPD as viewing areas fill up, so arrive early. social.macys.com

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  • 05 of 05

    The Water Club & The Crows' Nest

    The Water Club

    This yacht club-reminiscent pair of sister establishments juts out onto the East River near 30th Street on a permanently moored, bi-level barge, to transporting waterfront views that are perfect for July 4th's show. Fine-dining establishment, The Water Club, and more casual rooftop bar, The Crow's Nest, will be offering several dining options (with a five-course dinner at The Water Club, and a couple of buffet options elsewhere on the barge), including a basic open bar, from 6 pm to 10 pm. Reservations are required. thewaterclub.com