4th July, aka Independence Day, is the quintessential American holiday celebrated all across the country. Even for us Aussies in NY, it is a fun day to dress up in our own red, white & blue and celebrate a national holiday as it should be- in our thongs, hats and T-shirts enjoying the hot summer sun (especially as our own holiday tends to fall during a snowstorm!).
If you don’t have any travel plans over the long weekend never fear, as NY is actually one of the best places to celebrate the holiday! The city is home to THE 4th July fireworks display and on top of that, there are a number of events and parties happening all day and night to fit any budget!
Below are some of our top pics for celebrating this year’s 4th July!
Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest: No list can begin without this iconic New York 4th July tradition! It is a Guinness World Records recognized event where contestants come from all over the world to see how many hot dogs can be eaten in 10 minutes. Let’s just say that you have not truly experienced a New York 4th July until you have witnessed this event! It is held at Coney Island in Maimonides Park (on the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues), starts around noon and is free to attend. We would recommend not eating too much beforehand especially once you see what they have to do in order to down up to 76 hot dogs in 10 minutes (yes, that is the current record!)
Coney Art Walls Day Party: If you want to keep the party going after the hot dog eating contest, Coney Art Walls will be hosting The Day Party featuring live music and sets from DJ Spade, Chase B and a headline concert by Meek Mill.
It will be held at the Coney Art Walls (3050 Stillwell Avenue) from 3pm. It is an 18 and over event and tickets cost $39 per person.
Watermark’s Beach Bash: At any time of the summer, Watermark at Pier 15 (78 South Street) is a great spot to enjoy some food and drinks outside with a stunning view of the East River. On 4th July, it will host an all-day party with a live DJ, bar and BBQ.
There will be two sessions, 12-5pm and 6-11pm. General Admission is free though you do need to make a reservation. A quick tip to keep in mind, the Seaport is a little south from where the actual fireworks will be held if you are planning to head that way, you will still have a great view of the high up fireworks, though you may miss some of the smaller fireworks.
Fourth of July Bash at Brooklyn Grange: For those planning to stay around Brooklyn on the day, Brooklyn Grange (850 3rd Avenue) will be hosting a 4th July celebration from 7-10pm filled with specialty cocktails, live music, aura photographs and tarot readings- without forgetting their rooftop which has a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline!
Tickets start at $165 per person
The Summer Club 4th July Pool Party: Long Island City tends to be a “best kept secret” when it comes to viewing the fireworks when held over the East River. There are plenty of viewing spots along its river parks taken up mostly by locals only. This year, LIC will also be home to one of the buzziest 4th July parties, held at the newly opened Summer Club (8-08 Queens Plaza S. Long Island City). It will be hosting an all day pool party starting at 12pm followed by a Fireworks Viewing Party from 5pm. Tickets start at $50 for general entry.
4th of July Fireworks Food Festival: Not to be outdone by NY, Jersey City will also be hosting its own 4th July festival. It will be a day of local food, shopping and music which it has just been announced will be headlined by rapper Flo Rida. It will also be the finish line of the Statue of Liberty 5k so expect full day of fun and excitement!
This free festival starts at 12pm and will end with its own fireworks show over the Hudson River at 9.30pm.
Macy’s 4th July Fireworks: Every year, NY puts on an show-stopping fireworks display in celebration of Independence Day. It will be broadcast on national television (on NBC and Peacock) but if you are in NYC, then there is nothing better than to see them live!
This year, in its 46th edition, the fireworks will be over the East River from 14th to 42nd streets so some of the best vantage spots will be along river on the east side of Manhattan; Greenpoint/Williamsburg and Long Island City. The fireworks will start around 9.15pm but as with most things NY, if you want to get a good vantage spot, get there early!
If you want to secure a front row spot for the fireworks show, you can purchase tickets to Front Row Fireworks at the 34th st Helipad. Tickets start at $45 for general admission and will include a live DJ performance, food and beverage for purchase and of course, a front row view of the show!
If you’re not willing to wait for hours in order to get a good spot, or are still a little hesitant to be in the middle of large gatherings, there are some fancier (and of course slightly more expensive) ways to experience the firework show:
- Riverpark 4th July Event: The Riverpark Patio (450 East 29th Street) will be hosting a 4th July show and BBQ. There will be live music, open food stations, open bar and of course, one of the best vantage points in the city to see the fireworks show. The event starts at 7pm and will set you back approx. $250 a ticket but will definitely be a 4th July experience!
- Cruise along the East River: Most NYC cruise companies will be hosting a special cruise along the East River to see the fireworks. Depending on the company, the cruises will generally go out right before sunset and last approx. 3-4 hours. Some options include the Circle Line, Classic Harbor Line
- Dinner cruise: if you want to up your cruise game, then you can opt for a dinner cruise. They will go out a little earlier (around 5-6pm) and will last around 5-6 hours including a full meal and drinks. Most will also include a champagne toast during the fireworks.
- Empire State Building: The famous building will host an exclusive party at its Observatory offering incredible views of the city and the fireworks! Tickets start at $500 and as of writing, there are still some spots available!
- The SUMMIT: One of NY’s newest observation decks, The Summit (45 E 42nd St) will be hosting its first 4th July event. Starting at 7.30pm, there will be an open bar, music and a BBQ along with full 360 views of the city and the fireworks! This will be a 21 and over event and tickets are $300.
- Rooftop Bars: pretty much every rooftop in NY will be hosting some form of fireworks viewing party. Some will charge a special event fee but this generally includes an open bar and food while others will have an entrance fee and their regular menu. Quick tip before deciding on which rooftop to go to- with the fireworks being along the East River, make sure you choose a rooftop that has East-facing views (if in Manhattan) or West facing (if in Brooklyn or LIC). A couple of our top picks for the day are 1 Hotel Rooftop in Dumbo, The Roof at PUBLIC Hotel in LES, Savanna Rooftop in LIC and Bar Blondeau in Williamsburg.
Not matter how you decide to celebrate, from all of us at AWNY we hope you have a wonderful 4th July long weekend!