4th of July in NYC guide

Here's where to find the best barbecue, stunning fireworks and more 4th of July events going down in NYC

Circle Line: 4th of July Evening Cruise with Optional VIP Upgrade
Photograph: Courtesy Circle Line

Things may be different this year, but we can still celebrate our nation's birthday this 4th of July.

Sure, we won't be able to gather so closely as we're used to this summer, but making the most of the holiday is still possible.

From the revamped Macy's 4th of July Fireworks show to booking reservations at NYC's rooftop bars and barbecuing out at NYC parks, we've got you covered on how to spend the perfect socially distanced summer holiday with friends and family.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in the summer in NYC

Things to do on 4th of July in NYC

How to watch the 4th of July fireworks in NYC
Things to do

How to watch the 4th of July fireworks in NYC

With everything we've been through this year, a magnificent fireworks display celebrating our country and our wonderful city is like a balm to the weary soul. Macy's 4th of July Fireworks will happen on not one, but four nights to celebrate the Fourth of July, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio. The shows, which will be five minutes each, will take place Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, June 29 - July 1,  across the five boroughs. The time and location of each show won't be released until the night of so as to avoid making crowds in any one place, the mayor announced.  "It will be brief bursts, brief but mighty," he said about the shows. "This is not like what you're seeing with the illegal fireworks, you'll know this is a very professional, beautiful show." Macy's says thousands of shells will be fired into the sky, up to 1,000 feet, per minute at each borough's selected locations. "New York City is our hometown," said Susan Tercero, the executive producer Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks. "Macy’s believes in giving back to the communities where we live and work, and this year, we are taking our Fireworks show on a trip across the city. In reimagining this year’s show, the idea of bringing elements to many parts of our hometown resonated with our team and partners in the City of New York." The finale will take place on the Fourth of July, from 8 to 10pm, from the Empire State Building. You can tune into NBC to watch the show that will include tape from the previous nights

The best 4th of July events in NYC
Things to do

The best 4th of July events in NYC

It’s America’s big day, and although things are a little different this year, it doesn't mean you can't have a good time.

Watch Nathan’s hot dog eating contest
News

Watch Nathan’s hot dog eating contest

ESPN will air the showdown live on July Fourth beginning at noon.

Park barbecues: Where to grill in NYC this summer
Things to do

Park barbecues: Where to grill in NYC this summer

Lounging in Prospect Park with friends while sharing a picnic spread is not an uncommon sight on any given summer weekend. But this year’s events have a put damper on hanging out anywhere—outdoors or indoors—with social distancing in mind and a ban on park barbecues (it wasn’t even an option over Memorial Day weekend). But earlier this week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he’s allowing New Yorkers to grill in the city’s parks over the Fourth of July weekend. Here’s where to get your grill on.RECOMMENDED: Get outdoors in NYC Grilling 101 1. All parks prohibit open fires, ground fires and propane.2. Keep grills at least ten feet away from trees and overhead branches.3. Parties of 20 or more in city parks must obtain a special-events permit for $25 (processing takes approximately one month) (Manhattan: 212-408-0226; Brooklyn: 718-965-8912; Queens: 718-393-7272; nyceventpermits.nyc.gov/parks).4. Dispose of coals in the marked drums, or extinguish with water and wrap in foil before putting in a nearby Dumpster.

Where to find the very best BBQ in NYC
Restaurants

Where to find the very best BBQ in NYC

When you think of local cuisine, New York pizza or the city’s best bagels probably come to mind. While pit-smoked brisket and finger-licking-good ribs are often considered the domain of the South, the best BBQ restaurants in NYC are here to boost the North can hold its own. Tackling a range of regional and global barbecue styles, these joints are carving up everything from smoked brisket and burnt ends to hot dogs and sausages. 

Where to eat and drink in NYC on the 4th of July
Restaurants

Where to eat and drink in NYC on the 4th of July

It may be the biggest cookout day of the year, but why slave over a smoky barbecue when you can have the pros do it for you? From whole-hog pig roasts to summer cocktails while watching fireworks to the world’s most famous hot-dog eating contest, we’ve got your 4th of July festivities covered. 

More ideas for how to spend 4th of July

How to take a cruise around NYC right now
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How to take a cruise around NYC right now

New Yorkers are eager to have as much of a normal summer as possible, and part of that is soaking up the sun on the open waters of New York Harbor. With New York City finally in the process of reopening, knowing what we can and can't do can be confusing—for instance, can we actually enjoy a pleasure cruise with other people? And what will taking one actually look like now that there are social distancing rules in place across the city? Many of New York City's cruise lines, touring vessels and party boats are open for business and ready (or getting ready) to take on passengers for the summer. But your excursion out on the water will still involve masks and social distancing. RECOMMENDED: When will New York City reopen and what are the latest social distancing rules? Classic Harbor Line, opened last weekend with various trips available including a sightseeing cruise, an evening sunset cruise and two-hour daytime sails and sunset sailing excursions in New York Harbor. Hornblower Cruises and Events, which has dining cruises, tours and sightseeing, has tickets available beginning in July, while Circle Line, which has several sightseeing cruises, has plans to open late July. Clearly, summer isn't canceled and we will get back out on the water. It just comes with a few caveats. To operate, each cruise line must follow CDC-compliant guidelines set by the Passenger Vessel Association. For one, when boarding vessels, there will be contactless check-in, meaning you won't be handing your

The 10 best lesser-known spots for a lovely NYC picnic
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The 10 best lesser-known spots for a lovely NYC picnic

New Yorkers can’t wait to unfurl their blankets and (discreetly) drink outdoors with Memorial Day around the corner and picnic season about to kick into high gear. But as the state slowly lifts its stay-at-home orders, we’re all antsy to leave our shoebox-sized apartments while abiding by appropriate social distancing norms. Like us, you’ve probably seen on social media how crowds have swarmed Central Park, the Christopher Street Piers and even McCarren Park. To that, we say: thanks but no thanks. Luckily, the city is dotted with other lesser-known parks and hidden gems to picnic all summer long. Roosevelt Island View this post on Instagram A post shared by AJ (@limastina) on May 18, 2020 at 6:01pm PDT It’s easy to forget about Roosevelt Island, that funny little sliver of an island that sits in the middle of the East River between Manhattan and Queens. But don’t let that stop you from staking out a spot at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park (just take the F train or even better, hope on the tram for a bird’s eye view of the city skyline for the same price at the subway station). This park, which was designed by the late Louis Khan and opened in 2012, sits on a triangular-shaped lawn with trees framing views of the water and city that’s perfect for a lazy afternoon hang. Red Hook Waterfront View this post on Instagram A post shared by Larry Nicosia (@nyc_street_level) on May 5, 2020 at 1:13pm PDT The nearby Broo

The best Fourth of July fireworks cruises in NYC
Things to do

The best Fourth of July fireworks cruises in NYC

Since you can’t light sparklers of your own in NYC, boarding a Fourth of July fireworks cruise is the best way to celebrate the nation’s birthday. No need to stake out a spot at a rooftop bar or scour NYC parks for a hill with a good view: You’ll have a prime viewpoint from the prow of a ship. And what better reason to bust out the red, white and blue attire than for a boat party? So blast a few patriotic songs, fill up on ribs from the best BBQ restaurants and let freedom ring this Fourth of July. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Fourth of July in NYC

Here's what it could look like when Coney Island reopens
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Here's what it could look like when Coney Island reopens

For New Yorkers, Coney Island is synonymous with summer, so not being able to enjoy its amusement parks seems almost criminal. So, when is the "people's playground" going to reopen? Since its amusement parks — Luna Park and Deno's Wonder Wheel — are categorized as "entertainment/recreation," it falls under Phase 4 in New York State's "NY Forward" reopening plan, meaning it'll be one of the last things to open up. As of this week, Phase 1 businesses, including construction and manufacturing, are allowed to resume. So while we wait for Coney Island amusement parks to open, officials are making sure their ducks are in order so that when it does open its stalls and rides, everyone feels safe. "We are working diligently behind the scenes to address the realities of a post COVID-19 world and to ensure that Luna Park in Coney Island is ready when New York State and the City of New York directives allow amusement parks to open," the park said in a statement.  The means, when it does open, it will be operating at reduced capacity and requiring employees and visitors to wear face coverings. All surfaces will be disinfected often and hand sanitizer dispensers will be added around the area. Of course, social distancing will be enforced, too. "We are also evaluating new and enhanced safety measures to decrease the chance of virus spread at our amusement park," its officials said. "While there are many uncertainties surrounding the 2020 season and many of our decisions will depend on gove

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The best New York beaches
Things to do

The best New York beaches

Celebrate Independence Day with a visit to one of the best beaches near NYC

The best places to go camping near NYC
Things to do

The best places to go camping near NYC

As much as we love summer in the city, sometimes we just need a quick escape to reset our batteries. Fortunately, we don't need to go far—New York has access to everything, even camping grounds. You don't need a wilderness survivor to do it, either. There are sites all around the city to fit each kind of camper, from the serious "roughin' it" types to those who put the glam in glamping. There are plenty of things to do outside, whether you want to really rough it in the outdoors or just go for quick day trips. Read on for our list for the best places to go camping near NYC, from NYC parks to lakeside properties. Note: New York's Department of Environmental Conservation is actively working to safely reopen campgrounds this summer. Opening dates for campgrounds and day use areas are listed here as well as important information for campers. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best weekend getaways from NYC

The best NYC parks
Attractions

The best NYC parks

Head to one of these spots to lounge during the day and watch the fireworks at night

Day trips from NYC
Travel

Day trips from NYC

Take a break from city life with these beaches, outdoor adventures, wineries and more day trips from NYC

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Photos of 4th of July in NYC

The best photos of the Fourth of July fireworks in NYC
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The best photos of the Fourth of July fireworks in NYC

Top Instagram photos of Macy's 4th of July Fireworks 2016
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Top Instagram photos of Macy's 4th of July Fireworks 2016

Best Instagram photos of 4th of July fireworks
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Best Instagram photos of 4th of July fireworks

4th of July fireworks photo recap
Things to do

4th of July fireworks photo recap

 

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Archive coverage of 4th of July in NYC

The best Fourth of July fireworks cruises in NYC
Things to do

The best Fourth of July fireworks cruises in NYC

Since you can’t light sparklers of your own in NYC, boarding a Fourth of July fireworks cruise is the best way to celebrate the nation’s birthday. No need to stake out a spot at a rooftop bar or scour NYC parks for a hill with a good view: You’ll have a prime viewpoint from the prow of a ship. And what better reason to bust out the red, white and blue attire than for a boat party? So blast a few patriotic songs, fill up on ribs from the best BBQ restaurants and let freedom ring this Fourth of July. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Fourth of July in NYC

The best 4th of July parties in NYC
Nightlife

The best 4th of July parties in NYC

Thanks to all the Independence Day festivities in Gotham, you don’t have to host a 4th of July party this year. From rooftop bars and party cruises hosting 4th of July events to dance parties at the best clubs in NYC, here are the best ways to celebrate America’s birthday and have a red, white and blue blast. Speaking of blasts, if you’re wondering where to watch the 4th of July fireworks, check out our list of suggestions. RECOMMENDED: Full coverage of the 4th of July in NYC

10 food-packed ways to celebrate the Fourth of July in NYC
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10 food-packed ways to celebrate the Fourth of July in NYC

Try to recreate these non-cheesy 4th of July nail art looks
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Try to recreate these non-cheesy 4th of July nail art looks

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