When it comes to fireworks displays, there is no better place to be than in Boston on the Fourth of July! Offering dazzling fireworks over the Charles River, the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular receives approximately half a million spectators each year.
Taking place on both July 3rd and 4th, the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular takes place on the Esplanade next to the Charles River. On both days, Conductor Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra puts on a show in the historic Hatch Shell. While only a concert takes place on July 3rd, the Fourth of July includes a lineup of special guests as well as a magnificent fireworks display. The musical finale each night is a special rendition of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, which is followed up with dramatic drumrolls and cannon fire as church bells ring throughout the city.
If you want to catch the concert and you hope to actually see the orchestra, you will want to be situated in the area referred to as the “Oval.” This is a grassy area located in front of the Hatch Shell. Space is limited and a temporary fence is placed around the area a few days prior to the concert. Therefore, you will need to arrive early if you want to get a spot. The Oval’s entrance opens at 5:00 pm on July 3rd and at 9:00 am on July 4th. The area usually fills up shortly after the entrances open because most people arrive well before opening time. Some arrive as early as 6:00 am to claim their spot. Once you gain entrance into the Oval, you are given a wristband that allows you to move in and out of the Oval throughout the day. If you want to claim a particular spot, however, someone will need to remain in your area and you need to be back no later than 7:00 pm in order to be let back in.
If you are only interested in catching the fireworks display, the approximate time for the show is 10:30 pm. Ironically, the Oval is not a good place for viewing the fireworks due to the many surrounding trees in the area. With 10,000 fireworks being launched from 7 barges in the middle of the Charles River and reaching as high as 1,500 feet, however, the displays can be easily viewed from a variety of different locations throughout the city. Any spot on either side of the river serves as a good vantage point for viewing the fireworks, but keep in mind that these spots are usually filled up by late morning or early afternoon. For a better chance of claiming a spot, consider heading over to the less-crowded Cambridge side. Other prime areas beyond the river banks include the BU, Mass Ave and Longfellow bridges, the top of Bunker Hill in Charlestown and the grassy lawn in front of MIT.
The July 4th Boston Pops show begins at 8:00 pm with the concert starting at 8:30 pm on both July 3rd and 4th with the National Anthem. The concert can also be listened to locally by tuning in to Boston’s WBZ News Radio AM 1030. A webcast of the Boston Pops and the Fireworks Spectacular will also be livestreamed on www.cbsboston.com and www.bostonpopsjuly4th.org.