How to Celebrate the Fourth of July in Boston This Year

Watch the fireworks, visit historic sites, or party the long weekend away.

Fireworks on the Charles River Esplanade
Fireworks on the Charles River Esplanade | Keith J Finks/Shutterstock
Fireworks on the Charles River Esplanade | Keith J Finks/Shutterstock

There’s no better place to celebrate the Fourth of July than in one of America’s most historic cities. Boston has historic taverns said to be frequented by Paul Revere himself still open today and plenty of other venues where you can learn about the founding of America. And this year just in time for Independence Day, a musical is in town that reimagines the events leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Of course, you’ll find all the standard red, white, and blue celebrations in Boston as well. For the past few years, Boston’s Fourth of July activities were on pause from the pandemic but the festivities are returning with a force this year from massive firework displays to parades and an over-the-top party along the harbor. From historic reenactments to under-the-radar locations for viewing the fireworks, here are all the fun things you can do in Boston to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Boston Pops
Boston Pops

The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular is back and better than ever. With the last extravaganza happening in 2019, the Boston Pops returns with guest artists Chaka Khan, Heather Headley,and Javier Colon along with local Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes & Drums and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus—not to mention the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, of course, led by conductor Keith Lockhart and John Williams. The event, which takes place along the Charles River Esplanade, kicks off at 8 pm with a 30-minute fireworks show starting at 10:30 pm It’s simply a can’t miss if you’re in town.

Boston Harborfest
Boston Harborfest

Speaking of festivities returning from a hiatus, the Boston Harborfest is back in 2022 and jam-packed with New England-favorite activities including Chowderfest, Independence Day parade in the city (and pooch parade), and a reading of the Declaration of Independence from the Old State House. But that’s not all, catch some pre-Boston Pops fireworks happening at the inner harbor on Saturday, July 2 starting at 9:15 pm. For a full list of events, check out BostonUSA’s website to get all the details on where you should go and what time.

Check out some fireworks displays not far from the city

If all the hoopla in Boston is too much for you to handle, venture out of town. You’ll find nearby fireworks displays happening on the 4th in Plymouth (at the waterfront) at 9:15 pm, Newton (at Albemarle Field/Halloran Sports Complex) at 9:30 pm, Amherst (McGuirk Stadium at UMass Amherst) at 9:30 pm, and Salem (at the barge off Derby Wharf) at 10:15 pm.

1776 at American Repertory Theater
1776 at American Repertory Theater | Photo by Evan Zimmerman, Courtesy of American Repertory Theater

This Fourth of July, forget everything you know about our founding fathers and book your ticket to the Tony Award-winning American Repertory Theater’s (A.R.T) production, “1776.” Featuring a diversified, multi-generational cast, the soon-to-be-Broadway musical re-envisions the moments leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Tickets are only $25 with performances held at the Loeb Drama Center in Harvard University.

If you’d prefer to skip out on the crowds at the Esplanade, you can view the Boston Pops fireworks display by kayak. Check out Paddle Boston’s Allston/Brighton and Kendall Square locations—and if you’re up for it, earlier in the day, you can also launch off at Condon Shell in Medford, Newton’s historic boathouse and Nahanton Park, Somerville’s Blessing of the Bay Boathouse, and Waltham’s Moody Street Dam.

USS Constitution
USS Constitution | Zack Frank/Shutterstock

Spend the day at the USS Constitution Museum in Charlestown’s Navy Yard to soak up old memories of “Old Ironsides” and witness firsthand historic artifacts and materials straight from the ship. Recounting stories from the oldest commissioned warship afloat, the USS Constitution Museum also has active duty crew members onsite with a dedicated exhibit to learn more about their day-to-day activities and assignments. While you’re there, Charlestown—one of Boston’s most historic areas—has even more historic stops from Bunker Hill to the lesser known like Warren Tavern, one of America’s oldest-known taverns that has been said to be visited by George Washington and Paul Revere.

The Red Sox will host the Tampa Bay Rays at 1:10 pm on the Fourth, which means your mid-day activities are accounted for. Post-game, make your way around The Fenway, with a long list of dining and drinking options that will keep you busy leading up to fireworks.

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Jillian Hammell is a contributor for Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.