The best 4th of July fireworks shows include Washington, DC, St. Louis, NYC

As cities and households across the country prepare to celebrate the 246th anniversary of the United States of America, some shows promise bigger and better fireworks displays than ever before.

For many Americans today, fireworks often accompanies a day of other Fourth of July-related activities, but the tradition of sending bright torches into the sky has been around since the very first Independence Day in 1776, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA).

“Early American settlers brought with them their love of fireworks…a tradition that continues every July 4th when we celebrate as John Adams had hoped, ‘with pomp and circumstance…bonfires and lights from one end of this continent to the other, ‘ It says on the APA website.

Of all the dazzling fireworks displays in the country, here are 10 of the most spectacular.

AAA predicts:Record number of people expected to take road trips for the weekend of July 4

St. Louis, Missouri

Framed by the iconic Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular — dubbed “America’s Largest Birthday Party” — features a “world-class” display, typically lasting 20 to 30 minutes, over the Mississippi River.

Officials say this year’s show will be the largest exhibit in the history of the fair. Other activities include concerts, food vendors, and more.

Washington DC

Fireworks launched from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool illuminate the sky behind the Capitol and Washington Monument during one of the most patriotic fireworks displays in the nation, drawing approximately 700,000 people annually.

Fireworks explode over the Lincoln Memorial during the Fourth of July celebrations in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019.
Fireworks explode over the National Mall as the US Capitol and Washington Monument are seen on July 4, 2017 in Washington, DC

Celebrations take place all day long throughout the city, starting with a parade along Constitution Avenue.

Idaho Falls, Idaho

Celebrating its 29th anniversary, the Melaleuca Freedom Festival is the largest Independence Day fireworks display west of the Mississippi River, according to the event’s website.

It has appeared twice on the American Pyrotechnics Association’s list of “must-see Independence Day fireworks displays.”

This year, more than 18,000 shells will be launched across the banks of the Snake River in honor of America’s Founding Fathers, veterans and servicemen.

Aerial fireworks erupted over the Snake River in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

New York City

The 46th annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks celebration in New York City is the largest pyrotechnic display in the country.

“Expect a quick succession of blasts that will go off from each of the East River ships, creating a two-hour (spectacle) with round after round of rocking entertainment,” Macy’s website says.

Viewers can expect unique patterns including a whistling jellyfish, snakes, a blinking smiling face and swimming chrysanthemums.

A view of the fireworks during the Edge at Hudson Yard's 4th of July Celebration at Edge at Hudson Yards on July 4, 2021 in New York City.
Fireworks light up the sky over the Brooklyn Bridge during New York's 2019 Macy's Fourth of July fireworks show.

San Francisco

The San Francisco fireworks show can be seen along the waterfront with the dramatic city skyline in the background. Fireworks are launched from a barge from Pier 39 and from the Municipal Pier.

Tourist attraction Fisherman’s Wharf hosts a number of local bands ahead of the celebration.

The July 4th fireworks display in San Francisco is viewable from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, on Thursday, July 4, 2013.

Nashville

The annual Music City July 4: Let Freedom Sing celebration in Nashville, the region’s largest fireworks display, will hold its longest show ever in Nashville this year.

More than 1,000 floating flares, 40,000 pounds of explosives and 200 miles of wire will be used.

Fireworks light up the sky over Broadway during the Let Freedom Sing!  Music City July 4 event in Nashville, Tennessee, on July 4, 2021.

Spectators can expect a symphony of patriotic tunes and new popular music, including hits from Star Wars.

Addison, Texas

Kaboom Town, a highly regarded Independence Day festival with food vendors, entertainment, and an air show, hosts a dazzling 25-minute fireworks display each year.

Addison only has 16,000 residents, but the event brings more than 500,000 guests from across the country to the city, according to the event website.

Alachua, Florida

A child sits on a jungle gym near the Hal Brady Recreation Center and watches the fireworks being mentioned "The biggest small-town fireworks display in America," during Fourth of July Celebration in Alachua Fla., July 4, 2019.

Thousands of people, dubbed the “Largest Small Town Fireworks in America,” will flock to Alachua, Florida, for the 22nd annual Fourth of July celebration. This free event will positively impact local businesses, according to the city’s website.

Great fireworks celebrationsin Florida

Philadelphia

Independence Day fireworks erupt over the Philadelphia Art Museum on July 4, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

What better way to celebrate independence than in the birthplace of the United States?

The Philadelphia Museum of Art on Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Pennsylvania provides the perfect backdrop for one of the country’s largest fireworks displays as part of the Wawa Welcome America festival.

Pasadena, California

The Rose Bowl Stadium is recognized as the home of one of the largest and longest running Independence Day shows in the country.

Fireworks explode over the Rose Bowl during Taste of America on July 4.

The 96th annual AmericaFest celebration includes musical performances, a motocross show, and other family-friendly activities.

Camille Fine is a trending visual producer on USA TODAY’s NOW team. She loves monochromatic outfits, baking pizza and spoiling her loving cat Pearl. You can see more of her work at camillefine.com.

Leave a Comment