The Best Places to Watch Fireworks Across America

Get an insider’s look at the best places to watch fireworks this 4th of July across the United States. 

This post comes from our blog intern, Natalie!

July fourth marks a day of celebration. In cities across America, this holiday takes different forms. For some, it is spent with family barbecuing and catching rays at a local park. Others pack up their cars and spend the day at a nearby beach. Whatever the varying tradition may be, there is always one common event – fireworks. The breathtaking bursts of light and color that ignite a black sky, sending crowds of onlookers into a state of awe. It wouldn’t be the Fourth of July without them.

Regardless of the firework show’s beauty, it is no secret that where you witness the spectacle can make or break the experience. Knowing where to go to avoid large of crowds and finding an unobstructed view can be a challenge if you are not a local in the area. I reached out to Free People stores across the country to find out where the best spot in their city is to view the fireworks, as well as hear the unique ways different stylists are celebrating Independence Day.

We want to keep building this list. If you don’t see your city represented below, let us know in the comments where you will be watching fireworks this year!

Seattle, Washington –  Free People Seattle 


Best place to watch fireworks…
Gas Works Park is the absolute best place to see fireworks in Seattle! It’s a park built on the former Seattle Gas Light Company plant, it has a giant hill for people to set up blankets and hang out. Fireworks are lit off from a barge in the middle of Lake Union and you can also see the fireworks that the Space Needle lights off, it’s 2 shows all in one location!

Plans or traditions for the 4th of July…
One of our girls’ family members own a shipping yard located next to the park, so she and family/friends drag an old couch out and watch the fireworks sans the large crowd, maybe BBQ a little and just be merry. Another girl has family outside city limits where fireworks are legal, she goes fireworks shopping with her nephew and niece and lights them off once it starts to get dark. At the end they light a lantern and let it fly then sit around a bonfire roasting marshmallows. 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Free People Walnut Street


Best place to watch fireworks…
I usually find myself on a friend’s rooftop to avoid the crowds and make it a more intimate experience (and the oohs and ahhs echo up to us from the crowded streets below)!

Plans or traditions for the 4th of July…
The city becomes so packed during the weekend (hello, America’s birthplace!) so it’s always nice to take a trip up to my family’s lake house or stick to hidden gems around town, like a PHS pop-up garden, for some laid back celebrations! – Kelly 

Nantucket, Massachusetts – Free People 5th Ave


Best place to watch fireworks…
Every year the town of Nantucket sets off fireworks around 9 p.m. from a barge anchored offshore in the Nantucket Sound, the best place to watch this is from Jetties Beach just a short walk from the center of town, but be sure to get there early, it gets very crowded!

Plans or traditions for the 4th of July…
I typically spend the 4th on beach or boat with friends and family for a barbecue. On Nantucket my friends and I go to Nobadeer Beach for a huge party where everyone drives their cars right onto the beach! It’s a great place to be for the holidays! – Lauren

Las Vegas, Nevada – Free People Las Vegas


Best place to watch fireworks…
Pretty much anywhere on the strip, as five casinos have firework shows! But this year, it would most definitely have to be the High Roller. The tallest Ferris wheel in the world.. where you can watch the fireworks in a glass bubble with a 360 view. Pretty amazing.. and who gets to watch fireworks from the sky?!

Plans or traditions for the 4th of July…
Bbq with friends and family! We always light sparklers off at the end of the night to celebrate another year of independence – Brittany, MIT

Being a Washington, DC Native, the 4th was always big growing up! It was often a multiple day celebration with family and friends, events, all to peak on the 4th! Driving to get fireworks, an all-day BBQ, then off to downtown Washington, DC to watch the fireworks, usually for us at the reflective pool or monument, then back home to do a fireworks show for the next two hours. Yes, we were those people… but so was everyone else on your block. It would all wrap about around 1-2am. – Kim, SM
BBQ at home and then watching fireworks with my hubby from our roof! – Rachel, AVM

Boston, Massachusetts – Free People Boston


Best place to watch fireworks…
Living in Boston, we have the Boston Pops every year, which are always incredible. It’s all recorded live, but there’s nothing like actually being there. My favorite place to watch them is from the Cambridge side of the Charles River. The Boston side is always packed, so it’s nice to find a quiet spot on the Cambridge side of the water.

Plans or traditions for the 4th of July…
Now that I live in the city, I typically watch the Boston Pops, but when I was growing up in a little town in Northern Massachusetts, I used to watch the fireworks in a park in Lowell, MA with my family. Every year we would to camp out on the 3rd to make sure we had a good spot for the Fireworks. My Mom always made oatmeal raisin cookies from scratch and pink lemonade for us to snack on. It seems a little ridiculous now, but back then it was all a big adventure. – Alex, MIT

Aspen, Colorado – Free People Aspen


Best place to watch fireworks…
The base of Aspen’s 11,212 foot mountain! The town of Aspen always shoots off fireworks from here, with the base of the mountain stretching the length of the city. Laying out a blanket with a bottle of Champagne is the best way to ring in the 4th.

Plans or traditions for the 4th of July…
4th of July traditions have always included lots of grilling, watermelon, sparklers and being outside! We usually watch fireworks the night before the 4th and then head into the woods for a weekend of camping!! Colorado Mountains in July are hard to beat! – April, VM
Eating hotdogs and lighting sparklers!! I’ve kept my Pittsburgh tradition alive in the mountains! –  Lily, ASM

Chicago, Illinois – Free People Wicker Park


Best place to watch fireworks…
In Chicago we cherish our summers so much, we gravitate towards ANY rooftop. For 4th of July, it’s no different. You want to spend the day under the sun and watch the sun go down and the city lights turn up. The fireworks against the Chicago skyline is not to be missed!

Plans or traditions for the 4th of July…
I’ll be on the roof! I’ve worked the past 4th of July’s and I’m looking forward to spending the entire day in the sun surrounded by friends and the city I love the most! – Danielle, SM 

Miami, Florida – Free People Miami


Best place to watch fireworks…
The best place in Miami to see fireworks is on Ocean Drive and Eighth Street where the City of Miami Beach hosts the annual 4th of July Celebration which includes a free concert, local food and amazing firework display.

Plans or traditions for the 4th of July…
Our SM Leah always goes paddle boarding in the morning, and towards the afternoon she enjoys a cookout with her friends followed by a walk to the beach to see the firework show over the water.
MIT Karla hosts her annual 4th of July BBQ for her family & friends which goes on throughout the afternoon, then she enjoys going to watch a firework show with her closest friends which is always followed by a traditional s’mores over a bonfire. 

Santa Barbara, California – Free People Santa Barbara


Best place to watch fireworks…
Santa Barbara Harbor / Pier, the Mesa (grassy parks with an incredible view) or the Funk Zone (wineries and breweries and fireworks oh my!)

Plans or traditions for the 4th of July…
I’m having friends over to my place in the morning for a Patriotic Pancake Breakfast  (with strawberries and blueberries and whipped cream obviously) we’ll pack up and head to the beach… Hendry’s or the Mesa – hit the waves, dry off on the sand and listen to good music. When the sun starts to sink well head over to our favorite local winery, Municipal Winemakers, right by the shore in the Funk Zone where we’ll watch the fireworks light up the SB Sky! – Casi, SM

Minneapolis, Minnesota – Free People Mall of America

mall of america

Best place to watch fireworks…
Stone Arch Bridge! The Stone Arch Bridge crosses the Mississippi in downtown Minneapolis. The view is amazing as they shoot off fireworks right over the river! People are lined up along the river for as far as you can see with food trucks for snacks + treats near the end of the bridge and the show is always spectacular.

Plans or traditions for the 4th of July…
One of the biggest traditions for many people is spending the day on the boat. Of course Minnesota is filled with lakes + cabins and many people love to spend the hot, sunny day lounging on the boat or doing water sports like skiing or tubing. Once the sun sets, many cities have their own small fireworks shows that you can watch out on the water — exactly what a MN summertime night should be! 

San Diego, California – Free People UTC


Best place to watch fireworks…
Best place to go see fireworks, in my opinion, would be La Jolla Shores. There’s a nice grassy area where people can picnic and get together to watch them go off over the ocean. There’s also a bunch of restaurants close by so it’s an easy walk to get food or some nice gelato if you’re craving something sweet! – Elika, Stylist
Two places I have watched fireworks have been Del Mar beach or La Costa Ave at La Costa Farms. Legoland sets off a pretty awesome show and we can see it from my grandparents’ farm! – Hannah, Stylist
La Jolla Coves, Everyone brings their own picnic blanket and watches the fireworks right beside the ocean – Brenna, AVM
Oceanside Pier – It is always so incredibly packed, but absolutely worth the chaos! Being beside the ocean with the reflection of the fireworks on the water is something only a true Californian can appreciate! – Kaci, SM

Plans or traditions for the 4th of July…
For the past few years now, my family and I have been having friends and family over at our place for a Fourth of July BBQ. Our backyard overlooks the valley, Del Mar Fairgrounds, and the beach so we get to see a bunch of firework shows from every corner throughout the night. It’s a great way to relax with loved ones and go back for seconds without missing out on anything :) – Elika, Stylist
I typically work at my aunt’s stand at the Del Mar fair because it’s always the busiest! – Hannah, Stylist
S’mores & Sparklers, Beaches & bonfires – Brenna, AVM
I typically work at the store on the 4th with my Assistants. We always come in our best patriotic FP-inspired outfits to celebrate America and get our shoppers pumped up for the holiday! – Kaci, SM

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6 years ago

So nice seeing you up here Alex <3 Boston love!

6 years ago

Don’t forget New York! Our fireworks in the Hudson are pretty nice :)

6 years ago

Over 200,000 people flock to downtown Nashville, Tennessee to see one of the largest firework displays in the US.

6 years ago

Hate that Nashville wasn’t on this list– incredible show with the Nashville Symphony and Martina McBride. It’s slated to be the biggest fireworks display in the USA this year!

6 years ago

Who drew this pic? I like it!! : )