Where to See Macy's 4th of July Fireworks in New York City 2013
On Thursday, July 4, crowds will flock to Manhattan's West Side to watch Macy's 4th of July Fireworks light up the night sky in honor of Independence Day. More than 40,000 fireworks will burst forth from four barges floating on the Hudson River, synchronized to an eclectic soundtrack of patriotic standards, and classic and current pop songs that were all handpicked by Grammy Award winner Usher. In fact, he even helped influence the design of the fireworks!
While it may seem like the holiday is a long way off, it's actually just three weeks away. Tickets for paid viewing options, like 4th of July fireworks cruises and watching from the deck of the Intrepid, are already on sale and going fast. Of course you don't need to spend a penny see the sparklers, but there are some important things to know before you go. We've got the scoop on how to find the best places to watch Macy's 4th of July Fireworks with your family.
This year, Macy's dazzling fireworks spectacle, titled It Begins with a Spark, will take place between 24th and 40th Streets on the Hudson River. The official start time is 9pm, however, the show usually begins around 9:25pm and lasts approximately 25 minutes.
Of course you need to claim your viewing spot long before sundown. Plan to arrive around 5pm or even earlier. And be prepared to stand or sit on the ground while you wait: The New York Police Department won’t allow you in the area with backpacks, lawn chairs or other large items.
New this year: Listen to the synchronized soundtrack from wherever you are by tuning into 1010 WINS-AM radio. Can't seem to get anywhere near the sparklers? Considering checking out the light show at the Empire State Building, which is scheduled to coincide with the fireworks' finale.
If you're just not up for fighting for a great spot, you can always watch Macy's 4th of July Fireworks live on NBC. This year's telecast will be hosted by Nick Cannon and feature live performances by Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez and Mariah Carey. Usher isn't scheduled to perform, however, he did create the soundtrack for the sparklers.
Best Viewing Locations
Twelfth Avenue and the West Side Highway
At 2pm, Twelfth Avenue and the northbound lanes of the West Side Highway from 22nd to 59th Streets will be closed to traffic and turned into a giant block party. Access points will be on Eleventh Avenue at the following streets: 24th Street, 26th Street, 28th Street, 29th Street, 33rd-34th Streets, 40th Street, 42nd Street, 44th Street, 50th Street, 52nd Street, 54th Street and 56th-57th Streets. Note: All of these access points are subject to change at the discretion of the NYPD!
The fireworks are just as breathtaking from Weehawken, Hoboken or other Hudson River towns in the Garden State. See our recommendations for the best places to watch Macy's 4th of July Fireworks in New Jersey.
Riverside Park South
Macy's advises that there will be very limited viewing of the fireworks above 59th Street. That said, you may want to stake out a spot in Riverside Park South and hope for the best. In years past, the park closed to new visitors at 4pm but if you were already there you weren't asked to leave. Be warned: These decisions sometimes change at the whim of the NYPD.
If you have an elderly or disabled person in your party, you can snag a spot in De Witt Clinton Park at 52nd Street and Eleventh Avenue. It is exclusively reserved for seniors and people with challenges and their families.
Where Not to Go
All Hudson River Park piers will be closed except for Pier 84 at 44th Street, which will have limited access until it fills up, which will undoubtedly happen very, very early.
Macy’s says that the Hudson River Park promenade and bike path between Houston and 59th Streets aren't viewing areas either, so we assume they will also be closed.
Battery Park City also won't offer views. And if you were thinking of watching Liberty State Park's fireworks from here, you're out of luck since they aren't happening this year due to budget woes. The Jersey City fireworks have also been canceled.
Paid Viewing Options
The Intrepid is a prime spot, and as such charges for it. There are different price tiers starting at $175 per person (children under 3 are free but they have to sit on an adult's lap). What you get: VIP seating on the aircraft carrier or pier, with a simulcast of the soundtrack, food, non-alcoholic beverages and a place to use the bathroom.
Another option is to hop on a boat. See our post about 4th of July fireworks cruises out of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Weehawken, New Jersey.
In addition to running two fireworks cruises, the Circle Line is hosting a 4th of July Pier Party. For $99 a pop (no children's price), you get an amazing view of the show from land. Price goes up to $104 the day of, assuming there are any tickets left.
Of course, you can always befriend someone who lives in one of those tall luxury high-rises overlooking the Hudson in Midtown West. If you do, invite us too!
- NYC 4th of July Fireworks Cruises: See Macy's Fireworks from a Boat on the Hudson River
- 4th of July 2013 Fireworks in New Jersey: Where to see the Macy's Fireworks and Other Great Fireworks Displays in NJ
- This Week: Best July Events for NYC Kids, July 4th Weekend Fun, Focus on Washington Heights & Inwood
- 4th of July Fireworks and Weekend Events for Kids in New Jersey