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The best 4th of July fireworks cruises in NYC

For the best view of the pyrotechnics, take to the water on a 4th of July fireworks cruise around the harbor

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Anthony Quintano

Since you can’t light sparklers of your own in NYC, boarding a 4th 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 4th of July.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to 4th of July in NYC

Best 4th of July fireworks cruises in NYC

Circle Line 4th of July Evening Cruise

Circle Line 4th of July Evening Cruise

Since the Macy’s Fireworks Show shoots off its pyrotechnics from barges in the East River, you’ll get the best view from the water. This five-hour Circle Line cruise takes you down the Hudson toward the Statue of Liberty, where you’ll watch the fireworks light up the night sky. A live DJ adds to the festive atmosphere. For an extra $50, you can upgrade your ticket to include a buffet dinner and all-you-can-drink beer and wine. $169

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4th of July Fireworks Cruise

4th of July Fireworks Cruise

Though the CitySightseeing New York cruise doesn’t include an open bar, it does give you plenty of time to enjoy the sunset over the city before the fireworks begin. Board at 6pm from Pier 78 in Midtown Manhattan—a much more convenient location for those who don’t live downtown. Dance to live DJ sets on the outdoor deck and order drinks from the bar while you wait for the main event. $175

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NYC 4th of July Fireworks Cruise

NYC 4th of July Fireworks Cruise

Since this boat caps its passenger list at 200 people, you won’t have to worry about the crowds. Take the opportunity to snap some panoramic photos of the Manhattan skyline as you sail up the East River toward the fireworks. Though there is no open bar service, you can buy cocktails and all-American fare like hamburgers and hot dogs. $185

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Premium Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Cruise

Premium Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Cruise

If several thousand pounds of pyrotechnics exploding above the skyline aren’t enough for you, book this entertainment-packed cruise. Watch acrobats contort themselves into seemingly impossible poses, listen to performances by Broadway singers and dance to a live DJ set as you cruise down the river. Did we mention your ticket includes a five-hour champagne open bar, passed hors d'oeuvres, dinner service and a dessert bar? $299

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4th of July Fireworks Cruise with Lobster Dinner

4th of July Fireworks Cruise with Lobster Dinner

Youd be forgiven for thinking you were summering in some small New England town while dining on all-you-can-eat lobster and crab on this dinner cruise down the East River. All guests receive access to the premium open bar and seafood-centric buffet, and since the dress code is casual, you won’t have to worry about dripping melted butter on your nice clothes. $350

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Independence Day Fireworks Dinner Cruise

Independence Day Fireworks Dinner Cruise

Spend a little more for a swanky dinner cruise on the Spirit of New York. This trip includes a premium open bar, five-course gourmet buffet dinner, live DJ entertainment and access to the ship’s rooftop lounge. It sure is a big step up from the backyard barbecue at your friend’s apartment. $397.37

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Ultimate NYC 4th of July Experience

Ultimate NYC 4th of July Experience

If planning your ideal Independence Day just seems like too much work, outsource the prep to the pros behind this all-day display of patriotism. The afternoon starts with a BBQ lunch on the outdoor terrace at the Novotel New York Hotel. After you’ve stuffed yourself with ribs, burgers and hot dogs, your guide will whisk you away through Lower Manhattan on a bus tour. Then it’s time to board the Spirit of New York for an evening cruise complete with an open bar, buffet dinner and spectacular views of the fireworks. $539

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By: Time Out New York contributors

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