Macy's 4th of July fireworks show makes a triumphant return to the skies over New York City. An annual unforgettable highlight of the summer, on July 4, 2023, the Macy's 4th of July fireworks explode in the sky over the East River in Midtown Manhattan, with more than 60,000 shells lighting up the night sky.
Spectators should be able to see Macy's 4th of July fireworks from many neighborhoods in Midtown Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn and Queens. If you're hoping to watch Macy's 4th of July fireworks live, it's never too early to start planning your viewing strategy. Looking for more free summer fireworks displays in NYC? Check out our roundup of where to see fireworks all summer long here, and bookmark our Ultimate NYC Kids Summer Vacation Guide for all our top seasonal picks.
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WhileMacy's 4th of July Fireworks are totally free to watch, there are some important things to know before you go. We've got the scoop on how to find the best places to watch the Macy's 4th of July fireworks in NYC, when to go, and what to bring.
Macy's 4th of July Fireworks 2023: All the Details
The 47th annual Macy's 4th of July fireworks display takes place over the East River with five barges centered in Midtown Manhattan. The show begins around 9:25pm and lasts approximately 25 minutes. In the event of rain, the start time could be delayed.
The Macy's 4th of July fireworks celebration includes myriad pyrotechnic effects from Pyro Spectaculars by Souza. Among the highlights of the multi-colored spectacle are fireworks in 30 different colors and shapes, including brand-new effects. We're particularly piqued by the promise of a mile-wide blinking flag! Other new-to-the-show displays include strobing sunflowers and a color-changing ghost pyro. All told, an average of 2,400 shells will spring skyward each minute during Macy's 4th of July fireworks.
If your little one isn't a fan of fireworks in general, try to find a viewing spot that's not in the middle of the action, with an easy exit plan in case you need it.
Of course, you need to claim your viewing spot long before sundown. Be prepared to stand or sit on the ground: The New York Police Department won't allow you into viewing areas with backpacks, lawn chairs, or other large items, and it often searches bags.
If you're not up for fighting for a great spot, you can always watch the Macy's 4th of July fireworks live on NBC or stream it on Peacock from your couch. Wherever you are, tune into 1010 WINS-AM radio to hear the synchronized soundtrack. Composer Ray Chew is orchestrating this year's score, which he promises will recognize trailblazers and young people. The US Army Field band is featured along with a trio of active-duty vocalists, including soulful songstress Sergeant First Class Kyra Dorn and the rapping duo of Staff Sergeants Nicholas Feemster and Lamar Riddick.
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Five barges line the East River for Macy's 4th of July fireworks show.
Where to Watch Macy's 4th of July Fireworks 2023
This year, there will be five barges, with a viewing area concentrated around the East River in Midtown from East 26th to East 40th Streets.
The official viewing sites for this year's Macy's 4th of July fireworks include the FDR Drive in Manhattan, with access points at East 42nd Street, East 34th Street, and East 20th Streets along First Avenue. A special needs/ADA-accessible entrance is located at the 34th Street access point. In Queens, view the fireworks from Gantry Plaza State Park, while Brooklynites can see the sparklers from Newtown Barge Park, Transmitter Park, or Marsha P. Johnson State Park. No matter where you enter, you'll be subject to NYPD security screening.
Take note: It's possible some or all of these viewing locations will close. Remember, the police have the power to shutter any street or green space at any moment! So if you attempt to watch from an unofficial site, be prepared for possible disappointment. And, wherever you go to see the fireworks, expect huge crowds, unless, of course, you have access to a private rooftop.
Because this information sometimes changes at the last minute, make sure you check the Macy's website before heading out the door or call the store's dedicated Macy's 4th of July fireworks hotline at 212-494-4495. Many streets will also be closed to traffic, so whatever you do, don't drive!
Paid Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Viewing Options
If you feel like splurging, consider hopping on a boat. We rounded up some of the most family-friendly 4th of July fireworks cruises sailing out of Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and New Jersey. There are also a number of venues around the city that host viewing parties, but many are just for those ages 21-plus, so it's only an option if you're turning the holiday into a date night.
More Fun Things To Do on the Fourth of July in NYC
You can also take the kids to some pre-bedtime fun on the holiday, including the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island. Check our NYC Family Activity Calendar for more happenings in NYC on July 4, 2023.
A version of this post was published in 2018; it is updated annually.