It’s America’s big day, and although it’s on a Wednesday (hump day!), there’s no reason not to go all out at these epic 4th of July events. There are plenty of patriotic celebrations that include the best dancing, barbecue and even a cheeky burlesque show. From ragers atop some of NYC's most scenic rooftop bars to bashes held on some of Gotham’s best beaches, grab your sunscreen and your sunnies and prepare for some fun in the sun. After gorging on red, white and blue treats and drinks, settle in for the night at one of the best spots to watch the Macy’s 4th of July fireworks.
RECOMMENDED: Full coverage of the 4th of July in NYC
Best 4th of July events
What’s more of an American celebration than overeating? Overeating hot dogs. For sport. On friggin’ TV. The world’s best-known competitive snack-down, Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, is back at Coney Island. Thousands gather to watch as the most talented gluttons prove just how many of America’s finest delicacy they can swallow (and keep down) in 10 minutes.
For this mother of all pyrotechnic displays, Macy's will explode more than 75,000 fireworks choreographed to a patriotic score over the East River. Check out our guide for the best viewing spots and don't forget to bring your own picnic basket with beverages to toast our country's birthday.
Lovers of mambo music, unite! on July 4, Lincoln Center’s alfresco danceathon gets into the groove when The Mambo Legends Orchestra delivers upbeat realness. Show off your fancy footwork, or if you’re worried you’re not ready to bring it, come early and take a free dance class to learn the dips and spins.
The folks behind Brooklyn Night Bazaar are back at the people’s beach, a.k.a. Jacob Riis Park, with their annual summer-long market and concert series. The historic boardwalk is filled with tasty outposts of food vendors like Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue, Ed & Bev’s diner and Ample Hills Creamery, while the beach is your place for sunbathing, ocean frolicking and live music.
Celebrate America's Birthday at one of the best rooftop bars in Brooklyn—Northern Territory! A $60 entry fee gets you access to one of the best views of the Macy's Fireworks and there will be boozy cotton candy and red, white and blue drinks. Tickets go on sale starting at 4pm on Wednesday, July 4, but make sure to get there in advance to secure your spot. Northern Territory will be donating $20 from every ticket sold to the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project.
The always sexy, scintillating and more-than-a-little-cheeky burlesque troupe Wasabassco is back at it for another Fourth of July spectacular. Combining a variety-show format with a liberal dose of striptease, Sapphire Jones, Poison Ivory, Amanda Whip and other performers show off their many talents—including dancing, Hula-Hooping and juggling—while flashing their patriotic red, white and blue undies. The sexually charged show builds up to a climactic bang when everyone heads to City Winery’s outdoor area to catch the fireworks.
This open-air bazaar in Queens normally hawks its wide array of retro wares and antiques as well as finger-licking–delicious eats on the weekend, but in honor of Independence Day, the flea invites you to come out and party on Wednesday, July 4. Partake in some day-drinking at the all-Queens Beer and Wine Garden, serving brews from spots like SingleCut Beersmiths and Queens Brewery. The suds come in handy when you need to wash down that smoked BBQ. Best of all, you’ll have a killer view of the Macy's firework display!
Want unparalleled views of Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks? This event company is practically guaranteeing that you’ll get a front row spot from its name alone. Grab tickets to this all-day party that promises live music, food vendors serving BBQ, burgers and other traditional picnic foods and multiple bar tents serving liquor and beer. Play some giant Jenga, ping-pong and chess thanks to Clinton Hall and Slate to kill time before the pyrotechnic display begins.
Longing for a slice of warm, small-town pie? A place where little red, white and blue flags wave freely, and spectators cheer for marching bands and colorful DIY floats? Head to Staten Island’s Travis, a village that can trace its history to the colonial days that predate the Declaration of Independence’s signing. This community has thrown this procession since 1911, which makes it the oldest continuous Fourth of July parade the U.S. Oh, and those taking the ferry there should give the Statue of Liberty a tip of the hat. Starts at P.S. 26, 4108 Victory Blvd, and travels down Victory Blvd.
For a full day of truly American festivities, head to New Jersey’s Exchange Place. Only a short ferry ride from the city, the area offers great views of the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline. Starting at noon, the full day of programming includes carnival rides, food trucks, a beer garden and a live performance by Snoop Dog. A lengthy fireworks show by Grucci ends the day as a perfect salute to the nation.