Downtown Boston 4th of July

Posted June 29, 2015 by Lindsey Day in Downtown Boston
4th of July at the Hatch Shell

Can you believe that July 4 is almost here? As usual, Boston is putting on its amazing POPS concert and fireworks display at the Hatch Shell, but there is so much more going on that that! Make the most of your July 4 with these awesome festivities.

July 4 Weekend Events 

The 34th Annual Boston Harborfest runs from July 1 to July 5. There are so many fun weekend events around the Independence Day holiday. Our top Harborfest picks include:

  • Tall Ships Sailing – Throughout the weekend, you can take a 90-minute sail around Boston Harbor on a historic tall ship from the Liberty Fleet of Tall Ships. Ships sail toward the outer harbor for a great view of Fort Independence, Logan Airport, and the Boston Harbor Islands. Alternately, ships head toward East Boston where you’ll see the Charlestown Navy Yard, the USS Constitution, and the Old North Church. Snacks and beverages are served onboard.
  • Tall ships in Boston Harbor

    Tall ships in Boston Harbor take a 90-minute sail around Boston Harbor.

    Freedom Trail Tours – If you haven’t taken a stroll on the Freedom Trail, now is your chance to have take a tour of the Charleston part of the Freedom Trail from Boston history buffs. Tours begin in the Charleston Navy Yard and head to Bunker Hill Monument. Make this one a workout by climbing the Bunker Hill Monument after.

  • Old North Church Tours – Take a behind-the-scenes tour of Old North Church, where the lanterns were hung to let the American patriots know whether the British troops were coming via land or sea. See the church’s change-ringing bell chamber and view the crypt inside. Extend your outing with a North End pizza crawl.

Hatch Shell Concert 

Every July 4, the Boston POPS puts on a fabulous concert that ends with a fireworks show. The Hatch Shell is ground zero to watch this. If you want the best seats, you’ll need to get in line for The Oval, which faces the stage and offers a great view of the fireworks. The gates officially open at 9 p.m. but you will want to get in line well before that.

The Island Lagoon is another section of the Esplanade that offers premier access to the Hatch Shell concert and fireworks. Take the pedestrian footbridges over Storrow Drive to get here.

If you opt to go, leave the backpacks at home. They’re not allowed near the Hatch Shell. You can bring clear plastic bags. While you can bring picnic food, beverages must be in clear sealed containers no larger than two liters. As usual, there are a range of food vendors inside the Esplanade, so you’ll find plenty to purchase if you don’t want to schlep around a bag.

Where to Watch the Fireworks 

If you want an amazing view of the fireworks, but don’t need to be on the Hatch Shell lawn, we’ve got three options for you. One, make friends with someone in the Kenmore area who has a roof deck. Get yourself invited over to their apartment and catch the show with rooftop access.

Two, trek across to the Cambridge side of the river. Watch from Cambridge near MIT for a great view that’s still crowded but less zoo-like than the Esplanade itself.

Three, get on a boat and watch directly from the Charles. You can come right up to (but not under) the Mass. Ave bridge for an unforgettable experience.

It’s worth noting here, you cannot watch the fireworks from the BU Bridge, Mass. Ave Bridge or Longfellow Bridge due to construction.