Skip to Content

NYC: Best places to watch 4th of July fireworks [2023]

Hope you had happy 4th of July, wherever you were.

The party is over for this year, but scroll on down and be inspired about where you might want to go on July 4th with the family, out on a cruise, on a rooftop, or in a bar with live DJs in 2024.

The fireworks explode at 9.20pm from five barges on the East River and I’ve got you covered for the best places in NYC to view them.

Whether it’s 4th of July or New Year’s Eve in NYC, 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’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).

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. Get in early for next year to have the best views in the city.

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.

Party in the Penthouse!

This family friendly event is happening on the Ravel Hotel rooftop, in Queens. Their 9,500-square-foot indoor/outdoor rooftop restaurant/lounge offers amazing views of the Manhattan skyline and Queensboro Bridge, and of course, fireworks.

The event runs from 6.30pm-10.30pm and tickets start at a reasonable $85, but it is dynamic pricing meaning prices will go up as fewer become available, so be quick.

Tickets Include:

  • Live View of NYC’s World-Famous 4th of July Fireworks Show
  • Reserved Seating for the duration of the event (w/ select ticket types)
  • Premium Open Bar (w/ alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage options)
  • Great Views of NYC Skyline and Landmarks
  • Live DJ w/ Dance Floor

Grab your tickets for the Penthouse Party here >

Freedom Fest NYC 4th of July Party

This will be a huge family-friendly event with up to 1000 at an energy-filled party at Solar One on FDR Drive, with amazing views of the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Show. Dance the night away with water views while you wait for the fireworks to launch over the East River.

Tickets start at $55 and will increase in price as the date draws near, so don’t delay! Event runs from 6.30pm-10.30pm, at Solar One NYC, 24-20 FDR Drive, Service Road East (at East 23rd Street). Cash bar and food available for purchase.

Solar One is New York’s first green energy, arts and education center, with a sustainably-managed park and a solar-powered class room.

Book your tickets for this unforgettable event

Take a harbor cruise

The very best location to see the 4th of July fireworks is right up close on the river. There are a couple of cruise companies putting on champagne, or dinners with live music to celebrate our independence with a bang.

Check out the two Cornucopia yachts, the Horizon’s Edge and Serenity in this list of fun 4th of July cruises in New York. Prices start from $199 and include a dinner buffet, live DJ, open bar and fireworks. They are also family friendly.

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

Party on the rooftop at Elsie

Celebrate the 4th of July in NYC in a luxe penthouse on the Elsie Rooftop near Bryant Park, with skyline views from the terrace.

Elsie de Wolfe, the world’s most famous decorator, was also famous for throwing extravagant parties, and this will be no exception. There will be a live DJ, a cash bar serving bespoke cocktails, and lots of dancing.

Age 21 plus, tickets start at $30. Enter at 1412 Broadway and take an elevator up to the 25th FL penthouse and show your voucher to staff at the Elsie Rooftop.

Get your tickets for the Elsie Rooftop 4th of July party here >

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.

Get your exclusive tickets to the Empire State Building July 4th party here >

Fireworks behind Empire State Building
Spectacular fireworks views of the ESB

Get Front Row Fireworks tickets to the Heliport

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.

There will be live music, food trucks, beer tents and games for the whole family like ping-pong and life-sized Jenga.

Doors open at 6pm. Tickets start at $45.

Buy your Front Row Fireworks tickets here >

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

Fireworks cruise 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.

Get your Brooklyn 4th of July cruise tickets here >

Press play on the video for the full experience!

Circle Line harbor cruise

Board the boat at West 23rd and cruise on the Hudson River to see the fireworks in this four-hour cruise. Food and an open bar with live DJ is provided. Boarding begins at 6.15pm for a 6.45pm departure.

Grab your Circle Line cruise tickets >

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.

You need to sign up for their newsletters to be kept in the loop.

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!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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!