How to celebrate 4th of July in New York City

You won’t find a more American celebration than the 4th of July – it’s a country-wide holiday and is marked by parades, fireworks and barbeques across the land. However, New York City definitely hosts some of the most spectacular events in the entire country and there’s arguably no better place to celebrate the 4th of July than in The Big Apple. 

Macy’s 4th of July fireworks

The most impressive has to be Macy’s 4th of July fireworks, which is the largest in the United States and delivers a truly spectacular array of multi-coloured fireworks which are launched from four barges in the Hudson River. They’re visible from Manhattan’s West Side, and New Jersey, as well as being broadcast live on TV.

As an alternative, choose to watch the fireworks as you enjoy dinner, an open bar and live music on a sightseeing cruise in the New York harbour. It’s an ideal way to get an unobstructed view of the fireworks, but be sure to book in advance as they’re always popular. Or a cheaper option is to watch the display from a pier party at the Circle Line and World Yacht piers along the river.

July 4th International Hot Dog Eating Contest

For something a little different, head for Coney Island, where the Nathan’s Famous July 4th International Hot Dog Eating Contest takes place at the company’s flagship restaurant. The 10-minute, all-you-can-eat contests will feature men’s and women’s contests. Free to attend, the competition attracts in the region of 40,000 spectators who enjoy live music and entertainment too. Just one block south of Nathan’s is the legendary Coney Island Amusement park with rollercoasters, a boardwalk and the beach.

Street fairs

July is a month when many areas of the city hold street fairs. These tend to run from around 11am to 6pm, and can include all sorts of attractions, including food vendors, psychics. Stroll around and enjoy the sights and sounds as you cool down with a smoothie and soak up the atmosphere.

Parades in Manhattan

If it’s a traditional parade you’re after, Manhattan doesn’t hold one, but take the ferry to Staten Island for one of the oldest parades in the country. Its 102nd parade kicks off at 1230 from the Showplace Center, and houses along the route will compete to be the best decorated and most patriotic home in 2013.

Relax in Central Park

For a lazy, and cost-effective,  4th of July, head for Central Park for a nice picnic in the sun. Manhattan’s famous green space has good picnic spots everywhere, and if you enter from the most southwest entrance at Columbus Circle, you’ll find food carts and a supermarket where you can stock up on your picnic basket.

From the glitz and glamour of the spectacular fireworks display to the chilled-out and laid-back open air of Central Park, whatever you choose to do on the 4th of July in NYC, the celebrations will create unforgettable memories.

Morag Lee

Morag is the resident blog writer at Barrhead Travel. Can usually be found exploring a cruise ship or on a city break.