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The Best Fireworks Shows Across the Country

May 21st, 2018 - 1:20 PM

The best fireworks shows — is one near you?

Fireworks shows are an integral part of many holiday celebrations in the United States. Memorial Day, the 4th of July and even Christmas are often commemorated with a spectacular display. Maybe it’s because they remind us of the “rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,” or maybe they just bring back happy memories from our childhoods. Either way, a good fireworks show is a great way to celebrate an event. If you’re looking for a famous show to watch this year, you’ll want to check out the lists below. 

The 20 best fireworks displays in the U.S.

Take a look at some of the best fireworks shows across the country for 2018. 
best fireworks shows in the US

Learn more about these awesome firework shows
These events are much more than fireworks! You’ll find air shows, concerts, food trucks and more. There are top fireworks displays in just about every area of the country, so there’s bound to be one near you. 

July 4th fireworks celebrations

1.    Nashville, TN — Let Freedom Sing

This 2018 celebration is a “don’t miss” event in the south. Music City delivers concerts all day with a headlining show from Lady Antebellum. The kids will enjoy climbing walls and water slides at the Family Fun Zone. The big display is set to live music from the Grammy Award-winning Nashville Symphony and features more than 60,000 shells that take over eight days to set up. Make sure to get comfortable at dusk because the show lasts over 30 minutes. Catch the full schedule here

2.    St. Louis, MO — America’s Biggest Birthday Party

This event used to be hosted at Forest Park, but it is headed back to the Gateway Arch grounds in 2018. The celebration spans from July 4 to 7th, with air shows and performances from Andy Grammer, Jason Derulo and Martina McBride (to name a few). There’s also a parade leading from Union Station in downtown to the arch. The entire event (including concerts) is free.  Learn more here

3.    Philadelphia, PA — Wawa Welcome America!

Enjoy a full week of activities in Philly. Start by taking advantage of free admission to the National Constitution Center on July 1st, and then explore events across town including a pub crawl, concerts, and pop-up food markets. The big finale concert for 2018 is international superstar Pitbull. The highlight of the week is the Philadelphia Orchestra performance at Penn’s Landing with an amazing post-concert fireworks show. Get the schedule online so you don’t miss anything.

4.    Tacoma, WA — Freedom Fair

The 2018 Freedom Fair features two full days of demonstrations as part of the Freedom Fair Air Show and Wings & Wheels. A highlight is sure to be the Smoke ‘n Thunder JetCar, which races a plane on the ground to the finish line. There’s also a car show with classics and hotrods. Live music, delicious food and games happen across seven stages and surrounding areas. The festival concludes with the fireworks extravaganza on Ruston Way Waterfront. See the schedule, get directions and buy online tickets.

5.    Washington, D.C. — A Capitol Fourth

One of the biggest 4th of July celebrations in the country is at our nation’s capital. This televised event will be hosted by John Stamos in 2018 and features concerts, patriotic marches and a fireworks display from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capital. Get details about the concert and event here.

6.    Minneapolis, MN — Red, White and Boom

Join more than 75,000 people for this event along the Minneapolis riverfront. Take in live music, food and other activities like a 5K and half marathon. The Family Fun Zone features jugglers, magicians, face painters and other exciting attractions. The big fireworks show happens from Water Power Park. Get the full schedule online.

 7.    Addison, TX — Kaboom Town

On July 3rd, gates open at 4:00 p.m. and guests can explore the area full of live music, food and other entertainment. A few hours later, an air show hits the skies, and then fireworks kick off at dark. If you don’t want to fight the crowd, there are a number of watch parties in parking lots across town. Explore the event and make plans to attend. 

8.    Cincinnati, OH — Patriotic Pops

You can enjoy a day full of Coney Island rides (free with admission), have a picnic on the Riverbend lawn and then take in a spectacular concert. The Cincinnati Pops play familiar music with a beautiful backdrop along the river, and the event concludes with Rozzi’s famous fireworks. Get tickets online. 

9.    Southport, NC — 4th of July Festival

In 1792, colonial ships put anchors in the harbor here and shot their cannons to celebrate Independence Day. Today, crowds gather along the Southport Waterfront for a festival packed with music, games, crafts, food and a 20-minute fireworks display. They promise to double the display in 2018, so it’s one not to miss. Learn more about the festival

10.    San Diego, CA — Big Bay Boom

Spanning the entire San Diego Bay, four barges launch choreographed fireworks across the water at dark, filling the natural amphitheater with lights and a literal “big boom.” You can view the show from Shelter Island to Coronado Ferry Landing or visit the San Diego Midway Aircraft Museum for top-deck viewing. Several restaurants also offer spots to watch, but reservations are recommended to get a prime table. Learn about the best spots to see the fireworks and get parking information. 

11.    Lake Tahoe, CA — Lights on the Lake

The American Pyrotechnics Association ranks this as one of the top-five best fireworks shows in the country. The over 25-minute display reflects over the water, making it even more beautiful to watch. You can view the show from the beach, nearby viewing areas, a boat, a yacht or even a chartered helicopter. Learn more about what to expect from this event

12.    Hudson Oaks, TX — Boomin 4th

Just outside of Fort Worth, you’ll find a spectacular day of events and a great fireworks show. Live music happens all day, so bring a lawn chair or blanket to spread out and enjoy the shows. Kids can explore Kids Korner with fun games and entertainment options. There’s free parking and shuttles, so no worries about a crowd. Bring a picnic to enjoy dinner on the lawn and finish with the big fireworks show. Check the schedule online.

Other fireworks events throughout the year

While you may think 4th of July when you think of fireworks, there are shows happening year-round across the country.

13.    Louisville, KY — Thunder over Louisville

This show often tops the list of “best fireworks shows” but it happens for a unique reason — to start the Kentucky Derby season in mid-April! It starts with an air-show and then finishes with a fireworks display along the banks of the Ohio River, which is choreographed to exciting music. The display is shot from eight barges on the river, and it usually lasts over 30 minutes. Learn more about the event

14.    Jackson, MI — Summer Kick Off Fireworks at the Cascades

On May 26, 2018, Jackson is the place to be! The event begins with a performance by Bernadette Kathryn and the Lonely Days Band, one of the youngest members of the Country Music Association. Then at dusk, watch fireworks with the colorful backdrop of The Cascades. Get details here

15.    Branson, MO — Memorial Day Celebration

From above Table Rock Lake, an amazing fireworks display will shine from the Chateau on the Lake. While you can watch from just about anywhere around (or on) the lake, at the Chateau you can enjoy live music, BBQ and other activities. Find out the specifics about the event

16.    Chicago, IL – Navy Pier Fireworks

Every other week on Wednesdays and Saturdays from Memorial Day to Labor Day, you can catch a summer fireworks show set to music. Watch as Lake Michigan lights up with the reflections in the water. Look at the schedule online to plan your trip. 

17.    Boston, MA — Labor Day Weekend

Two dueling barges light up Boston Harbor with an amazing fireworks show on August 31, 2018. You can watch from a fireworks cruise on the Harbor, from Christopher Columbus Park, the Downtown Waterpark or Piers Park. Check out the entire Labor Day guide here. 

18.    Manhattan Beach, CA — Manhattan Beach Holiday Fireworks

Christmas may not seem like the ideal time for fireworks, but with the beautiful California weather, there’s no better place to be than out on the beach. On December 9, 2018, the holiday season begins with live music and the community gathering for a fireworks display over Manhattan Beach Pier. The schedule is posted online. 

19.    New Orleans, LA — New Year’s Eve Fireworks

It probably comes as no surprise that this party town rings in the New Year with fireworks. Instead of a ball drop, you can watch “Baby New Year” drop in Jackson Square, then party until midnight, when they celebrate with fireworks over the Mississippi River. Continue the party on Bourbon Street or in a quieter spot that’s open late. Check out what the city has to offer on New Year’s

20.    Marina Del Ray, CA — New Year’s Celebration

The night begins with a family-friendly glow party with face painting, music and food. There’s an early fireworks show at 9 p.m. for the kids (or those who want to call it a night early) and another at midnight. Free admission is a plus! Get details here

fireworks shows

Which fireworks show will you watch?

Whether it’s one of these big celebrations or a local one near you, we would love to hear your favorite spots to take in the sights. We’re always looking to add to our list, so leave us a comment below.