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Fourth of July events 2013 for kids and families in New York City

Set sail on a fireworks cruise, craft a mini Lady Liberty or watch a Coney Island-sized eating competition at Fourth of July events for kids in NYC.

  • Photograph: Kent Miller Studios/Macy's, Inc.

    Fourth of July events for kids: Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks

  • Fourth of July events for kids: Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest

  • Fourth of July events for kids: Statue of Liberty reopening

  • Photograph: Butch Moran

    Fourth of July events for kids: FourthFest Fireworks at Coney Island

  • Photograph: Kent Miller Studios/Macy's, Inc.

    Fourth of July events for kids: Fireworks cruises

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Fourth of July events for kids: "Foundations of Freedom" at the New York Public Library Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

  • Fourth of July events for kids: Independence Day Scavenger Hunt

  • Fourth of July events for kids: The History of Ice Cream at DiMenna Children's Museum

  • Fourth of July events for kids: Declare Independence

  • Courtesy: Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum

    Fourth of July events for kids: Fourth of July Fireworks Viewing Party at the Intrepid 

  • Fourth of July events for kids: New York Philharmonic Summertime Classics: Star-Spangled Celebration

     

  • Fourth of July events for kids: TriBattery Pops: Independence Day Concert

     

  • Fourth of July events for kids: Special House Tours: Louis Armstrong Birthday Tours

  • Fourth of July events for kids: Independence Day at CMOM

     

  • Fourth of July events for kids: Independence Day Party at Historic Richmond Town, Staten Island

Photograph: Kent Miller Studios/Macy's, Inc.

Fourth of July events for kids: Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks

Nobody celebrates our nation’s birthday with quite as much style (or hot dogs) as New York City—and this summer, families can expect the usual over-the-top Fourth of July events like pyrotechnic displays (Macy's will explode more than 40,000 fireworks choreographed to a playlist courtesy of R&B superstar Usher) plus patriotic fun at parks and museums all over the city. Check out our list of the best Fourth of July events for kids this year, from visiting the newly reopened Lady Liberty to scavenging for Revolution-era artifacts. Happy Fourth!

Fourth of July events for kids

Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks

  • Critics choice
  • Free

For this mother of all pyrotechnic displays, Macy's will explode more than 40,000 fireworks choreographed to a 25-minute patriotic playlist, courtesy of R&B superstar Usher. During the big finale, turn eastwards for mirroring lights on the top of the Empire State Building, where a mashup of Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" and Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind" will set the show. Stake out a nice spot along the Hudson to watch, and bring your own picnic basket with beverages to toast our country's birthday. All ages.

Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Since 1916, Nathan's flagship restaurant on Coney Island has hosted this gut-busting competitive-eating showdown. Celebrate our nation’s independence by joining an estimated 40,000 viewers in watching people stuff their faces with franks—reigning champ Joey Chestnut is back in action after winning his sixth contest and tying for the honor of Most Consecutive Wins last year. The flagship location of Nathan’s Famous was hit hard by Sandy and had to close for part of the season, but despite the setback, the company will still make its usual donation of 100,000 hot dogs to the Food Bank for New York City.All ages.

  1. Nathan’s Famous 1310 Surf Ave, at Stillwell Ave, 11224
  2. Until Thu Jul 4
More info

Statue of Liberty reopening

After suffering extensive damage from Hurricane Sandy, Lady Liberty will reopen to the public for the first time since the storm this Independence Day. Be sure to reserve tickets online before you go—she'll be the most popular woman in town this summer. All ages.

  1. Liberty Island
  2. Thu Jul 10

FourthFest Fireworks

  • Free

Why bother wrestling for a spot on the Hudson when Coney Island fires off its own show? Bring the family to the home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, where they'll munch on a pig roast (Mom and Dad can also enjoy a "Beers of New York" beer garden), enjoy a pre-fireworks performance by the String Ochestra of Brooklyn plus live music from local cover bands, compete in a contest to determine the winner of the Cyclones' "Fastest Arm in Brooklyn" on the speed pitch and of course, sit back and toast the big day with fireworks (9:30pm). Admission is free, but donations will be accepted to benefit the Brooklyn Public Library and #ConeyRecovers, a group of local organizations assisting the rebuilding of Coney Island. All ages.

  1. MCU Park 1904 Surf Ave, between 17th and 19th Sts
  2. Until Thu Jul 4
More info
Photograph: Kent Miller Studios/Macy's, Inc.

Fireworks cruises

For those willing to dish out the big bucks, a cruise on the Hudson is the only way to view the Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks. Be sure to book fast—tickets, although not cheap, always sell out fast. New York Water Taxi offers tours from South Street Seaport ($165) which include a snack box for each guest. For an even grander evening, climb aboard the Pioneer sailboat for a barbecue buffet and an open bar for Mom and Dad ($275, under 12 $225). Classic Harbor Line also offers an array of (very glamorous) yacht cruises ($326–$426), while City Sightseeing Cruises will host a live DJ and casual atmosphere ($149). The cheapest option? Circle Line cruises go for a mere $95 a pop. Check the websites for tickets and more information.

  1. Various venues
  2. Thu Jul 10

“Foundations of Freedom”

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Get a rare glimpse of our nation’s history at this New York Public Library exhibit. For three days only, the library will display two of its archival treasures: an original copy of the Bill of Rights and a copy of the Declaration of Independence handwritten by Thomas Jefferson. The former is one of 14 documents that were sent to different states for approval in 1789, and includes two amendments that do not appear in the Bill of Rights today. The latter is a draft that was completed on July 1, 1776, and contains passages—underlined by Jefferson in this copy—that were taken out before the Declaration was ratified on July 4. Ages 7 and up.

  1. New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building Fifth Ave, at 42nd St, 10036
  2. Mon Jul 1 - Wed Jul 3
More info

Independence Day Scavenger Hunt

  • Price band: 1/4

Scour the museum's permanent collection for Revolution-era artifacts like the statue of King George (that tyrant!) or George Washington's war cot. Special guest Benjamin Franklin will also be around to discuss his many inventions and experiments with electricity as well as his involvement with the Declaration of Independence. Afterwards, hear eighteenth-century songs and stories from the Hudson River Ramblers. All ages.

  1. DiMenna Children's History Museum 170 Central Park West, at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street)
  2. Thu Jul 4
More info

Declare Independence

  • Free

Little ones will fashion a plumed hat to don as they lend their John Hancock to a reproduction of the Declaration of Independence. Ages 5 and up.

  1. Lefferts Historic House Museum Ocean Ave, at Empire Blvd
  2. Thu Jul 4
More info

Fourth of July Fireworks Viewing Party at the Intrepid

  • Price band: 3/4

Get a prime view of the Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Seating is available on the aircraft carrier's flight deck, starboard elevator, starboard balcony, fantail, or on Pier 86, and guests will have exclusive access to the museum starting at 7pm (the fireworks begin at approximately 9:20). Complimentary food and drinks will be served, and the Intrepid will play a simulcast of the Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks Musical Score as guests watch the sparkling show over the Hudson River. All ages.

  1. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Pier 86, Twelfth Ave, at 46th St, 10036
  2. Until Thu Jul 4
More info

New York Philharmonic Summertime Classics: Star-Spangled Celebration

  • Price band: 2/4

The busy Phil is only presenting two Summertime Classics concerts this season, but they're both boisterous, eventful affairs conducted by Bramwell Tovey. The first one offers a solid slate of American classics and patriotic standards: Bernstein, Copland and lots (and lots) of Sousa, with the U.S. Coast Guard Band on hand for added oomph. Ages 8 and up.

  1. Avery Fisher Hall (at Lincoln Center) 132 W 65th St, at Broadway
  2. Until Thu Jul 4
More info

TriBattery Pops: Independence Day Concert

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The downtown volunteer community band celebrates the Fourth of July with an eclectic set, including tunes that range from the obvious (Sousa) to the quirky (Gaga). All ages.

  1. Robert F. Wagner Park Battery Pl, between West St and 1st Pl
  2. Until Thu Jul 4
More info

Special House Tours: Louis Armstrong Birthday Tours

  • Price band: 1/4

Louis Armstrong always celebrated his birthday on the Fourth of July, though his real birthday was exactly one month later. The museum honors the legendary musician by remaining open for special tours that include celebratory birthday photos, audio clips and a complimentary cupcake for kids under age 13. All ages.

  1. Louis Armstrong House Museum 34-56 107th St, between 34th and 37th Aves
  2. Thu Jul 4
More info

Independence Day at CMOM

  • Price band: 1/4

Children celebrate our nation's birthday by crafting red, white and blue Lady Liberty sculptures and dreaming up their own definitions of freedom (10am–12:30pm; 1–4:30pm). Little sibs can play with confetti and shiny paper to create a collage that mimicks the Fourth of July Fireworks (ages 4 and under, 10am and 1pm). All ages.

  1. Children's Museum of Manhattan 212 W 83rd St, between Amsterdam Ave and Broadway, 10024
  2. Thu Jul 4
More info

Independence Day Party

  • Price band: 1/4

Come hungry to this Fourth of July fete: In addition to pie-baking demos, families will help churn (and then eat) old-fashioned ice cream. Villagers in colonial-style outfits will mill around before a pinwheel parade wraps up the fun. All ages.

  1. Historic Richmond Town 441 Clarke Ave, at St. Patricks Pl
  2. Thu Jul 4
More info


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