The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on July 4 will once again bring the sounds of the Boston Pops to the Esplanade and light up the sky with fireworks over the Charles. Whether you’re heading out to see the fireworks or watching them from your home, here’s what you need to know about the iconic Independence Day event.
What time it starts, and where:
The Spectacular is held at the DCR Hatch Shell on the Esplanade in Boston. Gates open to get into the secured areas near the concert space at 9 a.m. The concert kicks off at 8 p.m., and the fireworks show begins at 10:30 p.m. You do not need tickets to the event. Visitors are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis.
Grammy-, Emmy-, and Golden Globe-winning singer, rapper, and actress Queen Latifah will be the headliner for the 2019 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, joining conductor Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops. Other performers include singer-songwriter, storyteller, and Massachusetts resident Arlo Guthrie, who will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Woodstock with songs he performed there in 1969, and two performers from “America’s Got Talent”: 16-year-old Massachusetts singer Amanda Mena and The Texas Tenors.
What you can and can’t bring to the Esplanade:
The two security-cleared areas include the Oval in front of the Hatch Shell and the Island/Lagoon, and visitors will need a wristband to pass through a security checkpoint into those areas. The checkpoints will open at 9 a.m. on July 4. All personal items must be carried in a clear bag, and liquids less than two liters must be in sealed, clear plastic containers, according to organizers. Guests can report any suspicious activity using a Text-A-Tip line set up by the Massachusetts State Police. Visitors must type B4 directly before their tip and send to 67283.
Here’s the full list of items you can and can’t bring:
- Coolers on wheels
- Firearms, pepper spray, sharp objects, or fireworks
- Glass containers
- Alcoholic beverages
- Pre-mixed beverages
- Liquids in sealed plastic containers over 2 liters
- Propane tanks or open flames
- Bicycles aren’t allowed through the checkpoints, but you can bring them to other parts of the Esplanade as long as they are not left unattended. Bicycles attached or locked to fences or poles or other structures may be subject to removal.
- Pop-up tents and canopies, up to 10-by-10 feet, without sides (allowed only on July 4; not on July 3)
- Blankets or tarps no bigger than 10-by-10 feet
- Folding or beach chairs
- All personal items must be carried in clear bags only
- Small clutches or purses can be taken in following inspection with your clear bag
- Coolers carried by shoulder strap or a single handle (no coolers on wheels)
How to get there:
If you’re planning to drive into Boston to see the fireworks, it’s a good idea to plan your route before you go, as many streets will be closed to traffic or impacted by parking restrictions. Here’s the full list of streets affected by the festivities.
How to hear and see the festivities if you’re not there:
If you’re not attending the event, you can still catch the concert and fireworks display on your TV, computer, smartphone, or radio. The show will be broadcast on Bloomberg TV and Boston’s WHDH-TV starting at 8 p.m. The entire concert and fireworks display will be live-streamed on Bloomberg.com and on the Bloomberg mobile and OTT platforms. For mobile listeners, the program can also be heard on the Bloomberg Radio app.
If you prefer listening on the radio, the show will be streamed through Bloomberg’s Boston and Newburyport stations at 106.1 FM, 1330 AM, 1450 AM, and 92.9-HD2. Plymouth’s WPLM will also broadcast the event to listeners on the South Shore and Cape Cod and in southeastern Massachusetts and parts of Rhode Island. You can find the audio stream nationally on SiriusXM channel 119, at bloombergradio.com, and on Bloomberg Radio and iHeart Radio apps.
What else is there to do on the Fourth of July?
Not feeling a day spent on the Esplanade waiting for the show to begin? You can head to the Old State House for a reading of the Declaration of Independence from the balcony, the place where the document was first read to Bostonians in 1776. The reading starts at 9:30 a.m. If you want to tour the inside of the museum, which opens immediately following the reading at 10:30 a.m., admission is $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors over age 62, and free for children under age 18.
Over at the Massachusetts Archives and Commonwealth Museum, you can view an original copy of the Declaration of Independence. The museum will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on July 4, and admission and parking are free.
Photos: Boston’s Fourth of July celebration through the years
Additional reporting by Dialynn Dwyer and Kevin Slane.