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How to Spend The 4th of July in NYC

Who is looking for some last minute plans for July 4th celebrations?! If you’re not headed out to the Hamptons or the Shore this 4th of July weekend and are looking for some fun things to do in the city, have no fear! I’ve grouped together some of the best happenings in New York City for Independence Day Weekend! These events and sights are a mixture of things to do with both friends and the entire family.

Watch the Fireworks

The Macy’s July 4th Fireworks display is not only iconic, but necessary to see! How can you not watch them?! They’re stunning! You can see them from different spots all throughout the city, especially if you have a rooftop at your apartment, that tends to be one of the best views of the fireworks. But no matter where you go, make sure to get a good seat early to make sure you get a great view of the fireworks! The fireworks show is over the East River, so get a good spot on the East side of Manhattan or West side of Brooklyn and it begins at 8PM. And even if you can’t watch them in person, they will be airing on NBC!

Photography: Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks 2022

Floating Lobster Shack

The North River Lobster Company is doing big things, okay! They are NYC’s only floating lobster shack, which is honestly the most delicious thing I’ve heard all week! They actually run every day except Mondays and Tuesdays, but they are open on the 4th of July and passes are on sale now! For the July celebration, you can board this sightseeing cruise at 6PM to watch the fireworks and enjoy amazing lobster! It begins at Pier 81 and goes south, past the Statue of Liberty, to position by the Macy’s Fireworks show on the East River.

Photography: The North River Lobster Company

Picnic in Central Park

Looking for a more low-key way to spend the holiday weekend? Have a picnic in Central Park! Or any park in NYC, for that matter! You can have a fun potluck with your friends and enjoy American classics like hot dogs and burgers. This is one of the best family-friendly activities, as well, and there’s so much space in Sheep’s Meadow for the kids to run around and play! It really is the perfect way to spend the long weekend.

Go to the Beach

Another fantastic family-friendly activity is to spend the day at the beach! There are a few choices such as the Rockaway Beach and Coney Island Beach. You could even try a swimming pool in the city if you can’t make it out to a beach! But it’s always fun to pack up some snacks or grab some sandwiches from the Bodega and head out there to spend the day in the sun.

Take Advantage of the Empty City

When I say take advantage of the empty city, I mean it! Go run those errands you need to run, take some time to clean your space or take a long or short walk along the West Side Highway without bumping into a runner! Maybe even grab dinner or brunch at a restaurant you’ve been meaning to try out! People usually head out of town or to the beach, so the sidewalks are pretty clear.

Seaport Beach Fest

Head over to Seaport to celebrate America! All weekend long, there will be celebrations from Friday-Monday! With live music performances, pop up bars, food trucks and a huge sand beach, this is an activation you do not want to miss. The event is free to attend and is located in Seaport Square. Feel free to bring your kids, as well, as there is so much to do!

Photography: Seaport, Beach Fest

The Pilot Brooklyn

From the same owners as the Grand Banks, comes the Pilot Brooklyn. The Pilot is an oyster bar on a sailboat that’s docked at Pier 6 by Brooklyn Bridge Park. Not only are the views beautiful, but it’s literally on the water, so it’s a really fun experience! It’s quite literally the perfect spot to watch the fourth of July fireworks. And did I mention they have lobster rolls and cocktails?

Photography: The Pilot Brooklyn via @pilot_brooklyn on Instagram

Fireworks and Food Festival in Jersey City

This is arguably the best free event going on during the fourth of July weekend! At the Exchange Place Plaza on Montgomery Street, you can find the ultimate fireworks and food festival! Try out a bunch of foods from different vendors, shop, enjoy music and drinks and so much more! The event itself is free, but obviously, you do need to pay all the vendors there if you get anything. It’s a great way to support local businesses and artists!

Photography: Unation

One World Observatory 4th of July Party

This one is definitely more of an adults only activity, so bring your friends! The One World Observatory is hosting a party to celebrate the United States! Enjoy cocktails, bites, and the best views in town. Seriously, can you imagine how perfect the view of the fireworks is from there?! Tickets are currently on sale and you must be 21 or older to attend. The party begins at 8PM and ends at midnight!

Photography: One World Observatory

Seaport’s Annual Freedom Fest

Pier 15 hosts a fantastic holiday party to watch the huge fireworks every year! Because Seaport is on the east side, the view of the Macy’s fireworks show is perfection! There’s a ton of food like hot dogs, hamburgers and other bites, as well as music to enjoy. Seaport is a great place to bring your kids, as there is always something fun to do there. Between the rooftops, restaurants and movie theatre, you can spend an entire day there!

Photography: The Seaport

Watch some All-American Movies

If it’s a really hot day and you want to stay in and relax, I suggest cranking the a/c and watching an all-American movie! There are so many to choose from, seriously endless options! But here are some suggestions: American Pie, Top Gun, Hidden Figures, Gone with the Wind, The Music Man and so many more! You can always benefit from a day of rest, never let anyone tell you otherwise.

Have Cocktail Party

Have you seen those videos where people are having cocktail parties where each person makes a cocktail and dresses like it?! So, for example, if you’re making a blue lagoon, you would dress in blue. Now, you don’t have to dress up, but it would be fun to have a sort of potluck cocktail party. Everyone brings their supplies and you try them all out!

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17 thoughts on “How to Spend The 4th of July in NYC”

  1. We maybe going to the beach this 4th of July! We have never experienced July 4th in NYC, this will have to be put on my bucket list.

  2. Wow! Seeing that amazing and awesome fireworks display in person would be such a really great experience!

  3. Beautiful Touches

    These sound like fantastic ideas and it seems like, because of all the options, there is a way to enjoy the celebrations no matter what your limitations may be while in NYC!

  4. Monica Simpson

    Looks like a really fun visit!I love seeing how different cities do their fireworks. NYC’s look pretty amazing!

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