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

The best 4th of July events in NYC

Here are the top 4th of July events in NYC for making the most of America's Independence this year

By Shaye Weaver
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It’s America’s big day and we're here for it. Head to one 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, head out for the night to watch the Macy’s 4th of July fireworks or sail around NYC.

RECOMMENDED: Full coverage of the 4th of July in NYC

Best 4th of July events

Mayor De Blasio, NYC, Macy’s, Fourth Of July, East River, FDR Drive, Brooklyn
Mayor De Blasio, NYC, Macy’s, Fourth Of July, East River, FDR Drive, Brooklyn
Photograph: Kent Miller/Macy’s

1. Watch the 4th of July fireworks

Things to do

Ladies and gentlemen, we're pleased to announce that, following last year's paired-down affair (duh), Macy's 4th of July Fireworks will officially make a comeback.

Here are the details: On Sunday, July 4, beginning at 9:25pm, over 65,000 shells will be launched off five different barges on the East River. The extravaganza will last 25 minutes and feature, according to Macy's itself, "dozens of colors and shapes, creating dramatic effects a mile across the river and from 1,000 feet in the air to the water's edge." New Yorkers will be able to catch the event live from areas split into "vaccinated" and "unvaccinated" sections. If you're not feeling up for that just yet, worry not! The happening will also be broadcast on NBC between 8-10pm and will also feature some super-exciting opening acts, including Black Pumas, Coldplay, OneRepublic and Reba McEntire. Although it's not yet clear whether the artists will actually be performing live from New York, we do know that Tori Kelly is scheduled to sing "You'll Never Walk Alone" from the musical Carousel and that the Broadway Inspirational Voices will treat us to their own version of "Lift Every Voice and Sing."  

Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest
Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest
Photograph: Phyllis B. Dooney

2. Witness Nathan's Famous hot dog-eating contest

News Eating

After taking place at a private location with no fans in attendance last year, Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog-Eating Contest is coming back to Brooklyn this July and we couldn't be more excited about it.  Usually happening right outside Nathan's flagship store in Coney Island, on the corner of Surfer and Stillwell Avenues, this year's shindig—the 106th installment of the beloved event—will actually relocate a block away, at Maimonides Park. Organizers hope to return to the event's original location starting next year. This year, the event is completely free to attend but you're going to have to get your hands on a ticket first. Seats will also be given out on a first-come, first-served basis and local and federal safety guidelines will be followed. Doors will open at 10am and the women's competition will kick off at 11am, followed by the men at 12:30pm. To guarantee yourself entry, shoot an email to nathanshotdogeatingcontest2021@nathansfamous.com or visit MajorLeagueEating.com.

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Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty
Photograph: Shutterstock/Jason Donnelly

3. Visit the Statue of Liberty's "little sister"

News City Life

The Statue of Liberty's original plaster model from 1878, a nine-foot-tall bronze statue created by Auguste Bartholdi, will make the historic trip across the Atlantic Ocean from France in time for the Fourth of July. On July 1-4, it will take its place on Ellis Island across the way from the actual Statue of Liberty. This will be the first time in 135 years that the "sisters" will be together. This whirlwind trip is meant to celebrate the partnership between France and the U.S., organizers say. To follow the "little sister's" voyage, you can search the hashtag #ViveLaLiberty on social media or head to franceintheus.org/ViveLaLiberty.

Harriet’s Rooftop & Lounge
Harriet’s Rooftop & Lounge
Photograph: Harriet’s Rooftop & Lounge

4. Head to a rooftop bar or restaurant

American Brass (2-01 50th Ave) in Long Island City will serve brunch, a raw bar and drinks menu midday and a three-course dinner for $75 a person at night. The fireworks are directly in front of the restaurant on the waterfront, making it the place to be. See the show without being shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of people while having a delicious meal and drinks at American Brass.

The Sentry (435 E. 35th St.) atop the American Copper Buildings as the private social and pool club opens to ticket holders for one day only, July 4th. The Sentry, which is perched 42 stories in the sky, will transform that day into a tropical paradise from 4-11pm with a DJ, barbecue and epic view of the Macy’s firework show. Spending the day poolside on America's Birthday. All tickets include 4 drinks and can be purchased by visiting here.

Fornino at Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 6 has a rooftop that's open beginning at noon daily (weather permitting). Visitors can watch the skyline illuminate with fireworks and enjoy generations of Neapolitan pizza creations in the process. In addition to fabulous pizza made in wood-burning ovens, the eatery also serves specialty cocktails at the rooftop bar for the complete 4th of July experience. Reservations are a must and a $50 surcharge will apply to capture all of the action from this BK rooftop.

Clinton Hall (55 Richmond Terrace) will open its newest location at Empire Outlets in Staten Island on July 4th.  The Supercraft beer hall will have draft beers, signature cocktails, and over-the-top dishes like their award-winning Double SmashBurger. This will be complemented by a fireworks display from Empire Outlets on the water, which is free to attend.

Harriet’s Rooftop & Lounge at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge will be hosting a 4th of July Macy’s Fireworks viewing party with curated bites and bottle service from 6pm to midnight. Table reservations are available starting at $1250. Any groups over six will require booking multiple tables. 

The Empire Room on the Penthouse Floor of 230 Fifth will celebrate with special guest DJs, amazing cocktails and more. Tickets are $20-$30. 
Watermark Beach on Pier 15 is throwing an all day beach bash from 11am to 11:30pm. Enjoy hot, off-the-grill bbq, oysters, lobster sliders, tropical cocktails, mini beer kegs, frosé, jumbo cocktails and live DJs all day.
Estuary at ONE°15 Brooklyn Marina (Brooklyn Bridge Park) has a special July 4th menu and limited ticketed seating on its outdoor patio with a direct view of the fireworks display. Available to book between 6 and 7:30pm, reserved seating is for $150 per person and includes an open bar plus the a la carte menu listed below. Reservations can be booked either via its website or phone at 718-521-6744.
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Roller skates
Roller skates
Photograph: Shutterstock

5. Pier 2 Roller Rink

Things to do Brooklyn Heights

Head to Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 2 to skate with a beautiful view of the city for the 4th of July.

beaches
beaches
Photograph: Shutterstock

6. Go to the beach

Things to do

New York City beaches are now open for swimming and sunbathing. A visit to one—if not all—of the best beaches NYC has to offer is needed when temperatures become hot and sticky. Whether you’re planning weekend getaways, a camping trip or just looking for ways to cool off or with friends, these beaches in New York are a quick subway, ferry or bus trip away. If you have a car and want to venture further out, we’ve also included off-the-beaten-track sandy shores that are less than two hours away. 

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Seaport Cinema Pier 17 The Greens
Seaport Cinema Pier 17 The Greens
Photograph: Courtesy Howard Hughes Corp. & Endorphin Ventures

7. Head to the Seaport District

The Seaport District has a ton of festivities planned for the 4th of July. The Garden Bar opens the seasonal Sapphire Lounge on July 1, when from noon to 8pm, you can sip on seasonal cocktails. Then on July 3 and 4, Cobble & Co., the Seaport’s gastropub-style dining concept, will be offering a special all-American Burger & Beer Pairing package which includes the Cobble Burger and a Heineken, plus a package featuring Buffalo Chicken Wings, select signature burgers and ice-cold beer for $35.

You can also take a break in Seaport Square and relax in a pop-up hammock garden through July 5 and see Pier 17's lightband glow red, white and blue all weekend long.

There, Helene Henderson’s California inspired farm to-table restaurant Malibu Farm will be offering a special All-Day menu on July 3-4 that features Fourth of July classics like watermelon feta salad, bbq chicken sandwich, potato salad and banana splits.

Those dining at The Fulton will enjoy live jazz music on July 3-4 from The Milkman & Sons with Marcus Milius and the Garrett Manley Trio.

The Greens on The Rooftop at Pier 17 will also continue to offer al fresco dining at its 32 personal mini lawns, as well as themed food and beverage packages on July 4 such as the all American with marinated short ribs, and the choice of a bucket of canned Bacardi cocktails or beer/hard seltzer. Make a reservation here.

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Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park
Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park
Photograph: Shutterstock

9. Go to one of best amusement parks near NYC

Attractions Arcades and amusements

Acting like a kid again is never a bad idea, and these amusement parks near NYC are the perfect places to get your adrenaline pumping. Good ol’ Coney Island is right in your backyard with one of our fave Ferris wheels and the famous Cyclone wooden roller coaster, but it’s also worth venturing to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut for a fun day out. Whether you’re looking to cool off at a water park or scream your lungs out on a roller coaster, these amusement parks have something for every type of thrill seeker. These day trips from NYC take five hours or less, so start planning now—and get ready to hang on for dear life.

See great things to do on rooftops

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