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The Best Places to Watch 4th of July Fireworks in NYC

fireworks over a city at night

New York City has a reputation for pushing the boat all the way out when it celebrates holidays. Many cities have fireworks displays on July 4th, but none of them can match what the Big Apple offers its residents and visitors. The Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks display is the nation’s biggest Independence Day pyrotechnics show, and it draws about 2 million visitors to New York City each year. In 2022, 50 pyrotechnicians launched more than 48,000 shells in 17 burst patterns from four barges moored in the East River. This is a show that can be viewed from just about anywhere in the city, but some vantage points are better than others. In this post, we will take a look at some of the best places to watch the NYC July 4th fireworks.

Public Viewing Locations

Many people think the best place to see July 4th fireworks in NYC is in a public viewing location. A good example is The Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks which can be enjoyed from public viewing stations in all five boroughs. The viewing areas are set up and managed by the NYPD, and they are staffed with officers who are used to working with large crowds. Traffic is likely to be heavy and parking difficult to find in these areas, so taking the subway might be a better option for getting to and from a public viewing area. The locations of the 2023 public viewing areas will be posted and updated on the Macy’s Fireworks web page.

The Empire State Building

macys 4th of july fireworks nyc

This NY fireworks location can’t be beaten for the overall experience, and Gotham’s most famous skyscraper holds a fireworks celebration every July 4th. Tickets are $500, but that price includes hors d’oeuvres from State Grill, DJ entertainment and a two-hour open bar. Fireworks can be viewed from the iconic building’s observatories on the 80th and 86th floors, but space is limited. The two-hour event starts cranking things up at 7:30 p.m., and the dress code is casual. The outdoor observatory on the 86th floor will probably be the most popular place to watch the show.

South Street Seaport

South Street Seaport NYC

The beautiful South Street Seaport historic area is a great place to watch the fireworks in New York City. The waterfront provides a close-up view for maximum excitement, and the area is filled with excellent bars and restaurants. Parking in the financial district is a lot easier at night, and the area is served by several subway lines. This neighborhood features some of Manhattan’s oldest buildings, and four historic ships are docked at its piers.

The River Cafe

the river cafe nyc

If you want to share July 4th with a significant other, what could be better than a table at New York’s most romantic restaurant? The Michelin-starred River Cafe has one of the best views for watching fireworks in NYC. Most of River Cafe’s food is locally sourced and organic, which really adds to the atmosphere. The River Café is located on a barge that was once used to transport coffee up the East River, and it was completely renovated in 2013. Jackets are required in this fine dining establishment, and reservations for July 4th will likely be snapped up quickly.

The Freedom Tower

The Freedom Tower nyc

One World Trade Center, which is usually called the Freedom Tower, is America’s tallest building, which means it is a great place to watch the Macy’s Fireworks show. The building holds a July 4th VIP Party that runs for about two hours and includes an open bar and complimentary hors d’oeuvres. The Freedom Tower does not have an outdoor observatory, but visitors can watch the fireworks through huge floor-to-ceiling windows. They can also enjoy 360-degree panoramic views of New York City and New Jersey.

Summit One Vanderbilt

Summit One Vanderbilt nyc

If you want to see the Macy’s Fireworks from a lofty vantage point while enjoying gourmet food and fine wine, you will find what you are looking for at Summit One Vanderbilt on East 42nd Street. This skyscraper is even closer to the East River than the Empire State Building, and its observatory is state-of-the-art. Tickets for this event sell out quickly because they include food from the legendary Blue Smoke restaurant and an open bar that serves cocktails. Most July 4th skyscraper events offer only hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine.

New York Harbor

hot tub boat nyc

The best possible place to watch the New York City July 4th fireworks show is from the water. Many companies offer July 4th harbor tours, but only Sea the City has a coast guard certified vessel with two 10-person hot tubs. The 40-foot boat also has a bathroom and private changing area, and it is commanded by a USCG-licensed captain. Hot tubs can be booked for parties of up to 10, and you will never be asked to sit with people you do not know. If you are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime July 4th experience, a hot tub boat tour would be a great choice.

Somewhere Nowhere

view from Somewhere Nowhere nyc

Located on West 25th Street, Somewhere Nowhere is a rooftop pool, lounge and nightclub that has become one of New York’s hottest destinations. Tickets for Somewhere Nowhere’s July 4th party are expensive, but they sell out quickly because the festivities start in the afternoon and last until the early morning. The venue offers a great view of the city, and the July 4th entertainment is usually amazing.


manhatta nyc

This exclusive restaurant holds a Sky-High Fourth of July party every year. Located on Liberty Street in the financial district, Manhatta has floor-to-ceiling windows that provide incredible views of the city. The $250 ticket price includes DJ entertainment, a BBQ dinner and complimentary oysters and champagne, and guests who prefer cocktails, wine or beer can visit an open bar.


Riverpark nyc

Riverpark is a popular restaurant in Manhattan’s quiet Kips Bay neighborhood that offers its visitors panoramic views of the city and East River, which makes it a great place to watch the Macy’s July Fourth Fireworks. Ticket prices for Riverpark’s July 4th party start at $250 and go up to $350, but guests get a lot for their money. The waterfront location has panoramic windows and a beautiful patio, and guests can enjoy live music while they dine on gourmet BBQ food.

The Ultimate 4th of July Fireworks Party in NYC

fun on the NY Hot tub boat

We hope you enjoyed Sea the City’s round-up of where to watch the 4th of July fireworks in NYC! Fourth of July events in New York City sell out quickly, so you should act quickly if you want to enjoy the fireworks in style. Check the websites of the venues you are interested in regularly until times and prices are posted, and be prepared to pounce. If you want to enjoy the ultimate July 4th party experience, you should book a New York City hot tub boat tour. You can book a hot tub for up to 10 people, or you could book the whole boat. Our boat is a Coast Guard-certified vessel, and our captain is USCG licensed. If you would like to learn more about our hot tub tours, you can call us at (201) 335-2732.

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What you’ll see: Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, Governor’s Island, Ellis Island, Freedom Tower, Janes Carousel, One Brooklyn Park, South Street Seaport, Empire State Building, and more!