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  • Writer's pictureDylan Kelly

ExploreBoston.com's Guide to Celebrating July 4th in Boston


2024 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular

One of the most iconic ways to celebrate July 4th in Boston is by attending the 2024 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. This annual event, held on the Esplanade, features an outdoor concert by the Boston Pops Orchestra and a dazzling fireworks display. Whether you head downtown to join the crowd or prefer to watch from home, this tradition has been a beloved part of Boston's Independence Day celebrations for nearly a century.


More Than Just Fireworks

While the fireworks are a highlight, Boston offers a range of activities to enjoy on July 4th. One notable event is the dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence at the Old State House. Additionally, the city's restaurants, event spaces, and cultural institutions all join in the festive spirit with special events and activities.

Key Details for the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular

  • Date and Time: The event takes place on Thursday, July 4, 2024, at the DCR Hatch Shell on the Esplanade. The concert begins at 8 p.m., followed by a 30-minute fireworks show starting at 10:30 p.m.

  • Seating: Access to "The Oval," the grass area in front of the Hatch Shell, opens at noon. Seating is free and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Viewing Spots: While some opt to watch from the Esplanade, others prefer the Mass. Ave. bridge. Note that viewing from the Longfellow Bridge and Mass. Ave. bridge is prohibited.


Watching the Fireworks from Home

If you prefer to avoid the crowds, you can watch the 2024 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on TV or stream it online. This allows you to enjoy the show from the comfort of your home.

Performers at the 2024 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the event, headlined by Tony-winning actress Kelli O’Hara, known for her Broadway roles in "The King and I," "Days of Wine and Roses," and "Kiss Me Kate." She will be joined by Americana group The Mavericks, soul singer Darlene Love, and the Singing Sergeants from the United States Air Force Band. The Boston Pops, led by Keith Lockhart, will conclude the evening with Tchaikovsky’s "1812 Overture" and the fireworks display.


What to Bring (and Not Bring)

If you're heading to the Esplanade, here’s what you can and cannot bring:

  • Allowed Items:

  • Pop-up tents/canopies (maximum size 10’x10’)

  • Blankets or tarps (up to 10’x10’)

  • Folding/beach chairs

  • Coolers (must be carried, no wheeled coolers)

  • Personal items in clear bags

  • Prohibited Items:

  • Wheeled coolers

  • Backpacks

  • Firearms, pepper spray, sharp objects, fireworks

  • Glass containers

  • Cans and alcoholic beverages

  • Pre-mixed beverages

  • All liquids must be in sealed clear plastic containers, up to 2 liters

  • Grills, propane tanks, open flames


Parking and Transportation

Due to extensive street closures and parking restrictions on July 4th, public transportation is highly recommended. The nearest stops to the Hatch Shell are Charles-MGH on the Red Line and Arlington Street on the Green Line. Starting at 9:30 p.m., the T will be free. If driving, note that many roads, including Storrow Drive and Memorial Drive, will have restrictions or be closed. Check the BSO website closer to July 4th for a complete list of closures.

Additional July 4th Activities in Boston

Boston Harborfest is a multi-day event celebrating America’s history from July 1-4, featuring:

  • Harborfest Fireworks: A display on July 2 at 9:15 p.m. from Long Wharf.

  • Chowderfest: Free chowder at Downtown Crossing on July 2 from 2-4 p.m.

  • Parade and Declaration Reading: A parade at 9 a.m. on July 4, ending with a reading of the Declaration of Independence at the Old State House.


Other Fireworks Shows in Massachusetts

Many towns and cities across Massachusetts host their own fireworks displays, ranging from mid-June to late July. For a complete list of fireworks shows, including times and locations, check local listings.


Celebrate Independence Day in style by taking advantage of all the festivities Boston has to offer. Enjoy the concerts, fireworks, historical readings, and more as you commemorate this special day.

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