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NYC: Best places to watch 4th of July fireworks [2024]

If you’re planning your NYC July 4th visit, I’ve got some great cruises to see the fireworks from the water for the most spectacular views of the famous skyline, in this post.

As we get closer to the date, I will be adding new July 4th events for couples, families, friends, including some tips for the best hotels to stay in too.

We’re waiting to hear exactly where the fireworks will be let off from in 2024, and once that info is out, I will update this post forthwith, but meantime, the cruises are your best bet.

Aside: if it’s New Year’s Eve in NYC you’re planning for, here are some fabulous free and paid spots to view the techno displays and enjoy a little hospitality while you celebrate in New York City!

And if you hate crowds but don’t want to miss out, I’ve put together this post of hotels with rooftops or rooms with a view at one of these fab New York hotels.

But before you get to the evening, start your Independence Day off with brunch at one of these great brunch spots in NYC and fortify yourself for the day – and night – ahead!

*This post contains some affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Take a harbor cruise to see the NYC fireworks

The very best location to see the 4th of July fireworks right up close is on the river. You can take a cruise with champagne, or some have dinners with live music to celebrate our independence with a bang.

Check out the Cornucopia Princess for a family-friendly fireworks cruise. It includes a live DJ, dinner buffet (think trad picnic food like brisket, chicken, mac and cheese, mash, etc) and an open bar. It departs at 7pm (boarding from 6pm) and returns at 11pm.

The biggest July 4th party will be onboard Hornblower Infinity for your front row spot on the harbor of the fireworks over the NYC skyline. Live music, premium open bar and a delicious buffet dinner. Tickets from $199. Departs 7.30pm from Pier 15, boarding from 6.30pm. Returns 10.30pm. Open to all ages.



Two of the fireworks barges for 4th of July in NYC

The best value fireworks cruise is onboard the Liberty Belle on their party boat. You get a live DJ, premium cocktails from their 3 bars onboard, and buffet dinner of roast chicken and trimmings. Tickets from $179. Departs 7.30pm from Pier 36, 299 South Street (board from 6.30pm). Retuns 10.30pm. Family friendly.

This is the top rated of all fireworks harbor cruises, aboard the Cornucopia Majesty. It departs from Pier 40, 353 West Street for a fun family cruise on a 30,000 square-foot yacht with an All-American buffet. Party and dance on the 3 decks including the huge skydeck with that skyline to live DJ music and enjoy the 4-hour open bar. Departs at 7pm (board from 6pm), returns at 11pm. Tickets from $219.

List of July 4th cruises in NYC

The most upscale cruise has to be onboard The Atlantis. This premium fourth of July cruise is on a private yacht with a delicious buffet and unlimited drinks. It’s a family-friendly cruise with amazing fireworks views. Departs from Pier 81, 12th Avenue & West 41st at 6pm. Boarding from 5.15pm. Returns at 11pm.

All aboard the mega-yacht Horizon’s Edge for a great family-friendly cruise this Independence Day! Dinner will be an All-American BBQ buffet. The three decks offer a dance floor, open bar, live DJ and reserved seating for the duration, so you can sit back and watch the Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks when you wish. Departs from Pier 81, 12th Avenue & West 41st at 7pm. Boarding from 6pm. Returns at 11pm.

Get your tickets to party this July 4th on the Emerald Princess with reserved seating for your buffet dinner. Live DJ, open bar, and a dance floor for family-friendly fun as you cruise to the best viewing spots for the fireworks.

NYC harbor cruise views on July 4th
Heading out to party!

Join the Serenity NYC Yacht for the 48th annual Macy’s July 4th fireworks show. It’s family-friendly and includes a 3-course buffet dinner on both decks, plus an open-air deck for amazing viewing. Enjoy the premium open bar, live DJ and reserved seating. Departs from Pier 15, 78 South Street (at Fletcher Street) at 7pm. Boarding from 6.30pm. Returns at 10.30pm.

All aboard Harmony Yacht, for a fun and more budget-friendly harbor cruise with all the fireworks. You’ll have a live DJ, open bar and family-friendly fun on the water. Departs from Skyport Marina, 2430 FDR Drive at East 23rd at 7.30pm. Boarding from 6.30pm and back at 10.30pm.

Board the Timeless Yacht for your river view of the fireworks. This family-friendly event includes live DJ, a buffet and mid-shelf open bar over three decks. Departs from 36, 299 South St at 7.30pm. Boarding from 6.30 and home by 10.30pm.

Timeless Yacht NYC on the harbor
Timeless on the harbor

Empire State Building

As one of the most famous (and romantic) landmarks in New York City, the Empire State Building is our ultimate favorite spot, with more than 3 million hashtags on Instagram.

On Independence Day, the Empire State hosts their annual celebration from 7pm – 10pm. This exclusive event (closed to the general public and available by ticket only) offers prime views of the firework displays from the 86th floor, as well as gourmet food, DJ music and a premium open bar. 

Guests have private access to the open-air observation deck for the best fireworks viewing in the city and an awesome 4th of July soundtrack.

The 2024 event is not yet available. I will have a link available closer to the time.

Fireworks behind Empire State Building
Spectacular fireworks views of the ESB

Get Front Row Fireworks tickets to the Heliport

*Waiting to hear if there will be an event at this venue in 2024. But if you want to be assured of a great spot, grab a ticket to the Front Row Fireworks event on a coveted spot on the 34th Street Heliport for prime views of the action.

Last year there was live music, food trucks, beer tents and games for the whole family like ping-pong and life-sized Jenga.

Front Row fireworks at the 34th Street Heliport
Front Row at the 34th Street Heliport

Fireworks cruises from Brooklyn

Stay away from the crowds in Manhattan with this fabulous two-level boat cruise, complete with outdoor deck area for dancing and photos. It sets off from Greenpoint Terminal Market in Brooklyn and provides outstanding fireworks views around lower Manhattan.

You can keep your costs down with the cash bar, while still getting the best views in town. Dance the evening away with live DJ music. Finger food is available for purchase, or you’re welcome to bring your own.

Press play on the video for the full experience!

SUMMIT One Vanderbilt

If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one of the event tickets on July 4th from SUMMITOne Vanderbilt, with a premium bar open 7.30pm – 10.30pm and food by legendary NYC BBQ restaurant Blue Smoke.

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But you can take in the best views of New York City while sipping cocktails after your tour any time! It really is a must-visit. It’s bonkers and breathtaking and perfect for selfies.

Buy tickets to SUMMITOne for a tour any time and make sure you save some money for a rooftop drink.

Cheers from the outdoor bar on the 93rd floor of SUMMITOne Vanderbilt

Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks

For the best views of Macy’s annual mega 4th of July fireworks display with celebrity performances, get yourself to the East River where five barges laden with dynamite are set to entertain you!

You want to be around Midtown, but get there early as there is limited space for the best views.

Official Macy’s fireworks viewing locations are 42nd Street and FDR Drive, 34th Street and FDR Drive (includes ADA/special needs viewing area), 23rd Street and FDR Drive. Across the river official spots are Gantry Plaza State Park, Newtown Barge Park, Transmitter Park.

If you can’t get into these spots, just shuffle along the river and you’ll see them.

Five fireworks barges, NYC

What else is there to do in New York?

Stay in one of these hotels with river view rooms to see the fireworks from the roof, your room or even your bathtub!

Try one of these fabulous NYC rooftop restaurants with views of the East River for a cocktail along with your fireworks! Especially look at Harriets and Westlight.

New year’s eve in New York is another epic date to be here for the annual ball drop and fireworks too. This post covers the best places to be to see that in Times Square, and has links to all the best parties.

Where to go for the best brunch spots in New York any day of the week!

Where to find great shopping in NYC from malls to vintage neighborhoods.

Awesome flea markets in New York to get your bargain hunting on in Manhattan and Brooklyn, then walk the Highline 🙂

Megan flea market shopping in Dumbo
Shopping in Dumbo!

If you’re looking for the best USA playlist to go with your picnic, you can download my USA playlist for free from Apple (you need to have an Apple Music account).

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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!