Compass

The best Fourth of July fireworks shows in 2013

Compass

The Fourth of July show in New York City. (Photo: iStockphoto)

The rocket’s red glare will light up U.S. skies this week as the nation celebrates its 237th Independence Day with a traditional mix of over-the-top fireworks displays, back yard barbecues and red-white-and-blue parades.

When it comes to fireworks, the biggest of the big, as usual, will be Macy’s annual New York City blowout, an incredible display with more than 40,000 effects that will be seen by millions of viewers.

After that, there’s a scramble for the other nine places in our top 10 fireworks shows list, which is based on a combination of factors, including length of show, cost, location, theme and number of viewers.

Some big cities have had to cut back or eliminate their displays because of budgetary problems, which has left room for some smaller cities to take starring roles this year. Many of those holding Fourth of July fireworks shows won’t reveal the price tag, but a display can cost anywhere from about $10,000 for a small-town show to several million dollars for a multi-day extravaganza.

New York City

When/where: Macy’s 37th annual show, this year titled “It Begins with a Spark,” will be on July 4 at approximately 9:25 p.m. Barges will be positioned between 24th and 42nd streets; the show will be over the Hudson River. "Macy's 4th of July Fireworks,” a two-hour entertainment special on NBC, begins at 8 p.m. ET/PT, 7 p.m. CT/MT

How much does it cost? Undisclosed.

How long will it last? Approximately 25 minutes.

Why is it one of the coolest shows in the nation? Macy's 4th of July Fireworks is the nation's largest Independence Day display. In an average minute, more than 1,600 shells will be fired, a rate 80 times bigger than the average show in the nation. This year Usher has collaborated with the show's producer, Pyro Spectaculars by Sousa.

(Photo: iStockphoto)

Washington, D.C.

When/where: July 4 on the National Mall, at approximately 9:15 p.m. The visibility is terrific, whether you’re watching from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol or the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, with the reflection in the refurbished Reflecting Pool.

How much does the display cost? $222,000.

How long will it last? Approximately 17 minutes.

What makes it one of the coolest shows in the nation? The nation’s capital offers the most stirring landscape against which to see a first-class fireworks display. The concert this year will feature popular personalities like Tom Bergeron, Barry Manilow, “American Idol” winner Candice Glover and John Williams conducting the National Symphony Orchestra in a program of popular and patriotic songs.

(Photo: Photos.com)

San Francisco

When/where: The “City of San Francisco Fourth of July Waterfront Celebration" kicks off its 40th annual show at 9:30 p.m., with bursts fired from two bayfront locations, the Municipal Pier at Aquatic Park and a barge off Pier 39.

How much does it cost: Undisclosed

How long will it last: 25 minutes.

What makes it one of the coolest shows in the nation? Watch from a boat on the bay, from a waterfront promenade, from one of San Francisco's restaurants, or from a high-rise hotel. And only in San Francisco are fireworks sometimes presented behind a veil of fog – like flashing colored clouds.

(Photo: Courtesy of Addison, Texas)

Addison, Texas

When/where: Kaboom Town 4th of July celebration begins July 3 at 5 until midnight with live entertainment, an air show and fireworks at 9:30 p.m. It is held at Addison Circle Park.

How much does the display cost? Nearly $300,000

How long will it last? The display lasts 30 minutes and is simulcast on JACK-FM. Thirty percent of the shells go off in the last 90 seconds in a spectacular finale.

What makes it one of the coolest fireworks shows in the nation? Flat surroundings and climate in north Texas mean that fireworks can be seen for miles in any direction. While about 500,000 people see the fireworks from within Addison’s tiny 4.4-square-mile borders, many more view from outside the town. In addition, it’s preceded by a high-flying air show.

(Photo: Michael Branscom)

Philadelphia

When/where: The Wawa Welcome America Fourth of July Jam Concert and Grand Finale Fireworks show is an 11-day festival that culminates with fireworks on July 4th at approximately 10:45 p.m. on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The bursts can be seen over the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

How much does the display cost? Undisclosed

How long will it last? 15 minutes

What makes it one of the coolest fireworks shows in the nation? The fireworks are the finishing touch to the Fourth of July Jam Concert, the largest free outdoor concert of its kind on Independence Day. There’s nothing better than celebrating America’s birthday in America’s birthplace.

(Photo: Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.)

Nashville

When/ where: Nashville’s “Let Freedom Sing” show will offer two days of entertainment and fireworks, July 4 and 5at downtown Nashville’s Lawn at Riverfront Park. The larger fireworks show will be July 4.

How much does the display cost? $175,000

How long will it last? Approximately 26 minutes, the city’s longest fireworks show ever held.

What makes it one of the coolest shows in the nation? The fireworks show, the largest and longest in the South, is choreographed to music that will be performed live by the Grammy-award winning Nashville Symphony.

(Photo: Tom Briglia/Atlantic City Alliance)

Atlantic City, N.J.

When/ where: The DO AC Fireworks Spectacular show – actually four shows -- will be July 4 at 9:30 pm, with fireworks originating from four separate locations, the beach near New Hampshire Avenue; Martin Luther King Boulevard; Hartford Avenue; and MGM Resorts Boulevard in the Marina District.

How much does the display cost? Undisclosed

How long will it last? 20 minutes

What makes it one of the coolest shows in the nation? Four shows will be going off at the same time against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. Imagine standing on the famous AC Boardwalk at the legendary Steel Pier and seeing fireworks everywhere—to the left, to the right and behind you.

(Photo: Steve Dunleavy)

Lake Tahoe, Nev.

When/where: Lake Tahoe has several shows with "Lights on the Lake," the largest taking place in Tahoe South, Calif., on July 4, beginning at 9:45 p.m.

How much does the display cost? Undisclosed.

How long will it last? 25 minutes

What makes it one of the coolest shows in the nation? Watching the fireworks burst and then dance onto the water while illuminating the sky, combined with the hip nightlife scene, outdoor recreation playground, cool summer breeze, and backdrop of the Sierra as the sun sets makes it one of the most memorable and must-see events in the West.

(Photo: Yoon Byun)

Boston

When/where: The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular will take place over the Charles River between Boston and Cambridge on July 4th starting at 9:35 p.m. Fireworks are shot from four barges on the river.

How much does the display cost? Undisclosed.

How long will it last? 20 minutes

What makes it one of the coolest shows in the nation? This is the 40th year doing this event, which is copied throughout the country. It draws on average of 500,000-800,000 people.

(Photo: Gareth Simpson / Flickr)

Pasadena, Calif.

Where/when: Americafest, the 87th annual 4th of July celebration at the Rose Bowl, begins at 2 p.m. with entertainment and music. Fireworks are at 9 p.m.

How much does the display cost? Undisclosed

How long will it last? 30 minutes

What makes it one of the coolest shows in the nation? This is the 87th year for this event, which is the largest in Southern California and one of the largest in the nation.

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