the best fireworks show. period.

Since we moved here, everyone kept telling us we have to experience Boston's Fourth of July celebration at least once, so we convinced Jordan to join us on the Esplanade with the Reunion crew. Sarah owns a 600 square foot tarp and shows up at 6 a.m. every year with a rotating group to secure a prime viewing location for Reunioners to hang out and enjoy the show. And wow, what a show.


Everything started at 8:30 with a flyover and the national anthem to kick off the concert. At 9:30 p.m., the Boston Pops played the 1812 Overture. Nearby churches ring bells at the appropriate time, cannons explode, and fireworks light up the sky. This, mind you, is just a precursor to the big show. And that teaser was the best fireworks show we'd ever seen.

1812 overture fireworks teaser

From our vantage point, there was a bit of a lull in the action after the Overture. The national coverage started with host Craig Ferguson and special guest Toby Keith. They both sounded muffled on the giant speakers over our heads, which was disappointing in regards to Craig ("I know!") and less so with Mr. Keith (we're from Kansas, but we're not big country music fans).

After more great music by the Pops and a discussion on the music of John Williams, the fireworks began.

boston lights up for the fourth

We realized exactly how great our location was. The fireworks were directly overhead, with MIT across the river as a backdrop. And there were fireworks I'd never seen before. One of my coworkers informed me Boston's Fourth of July show is the pinnacle of a firework person's career, and they often debut new fireworks here. I'll admit, I caught myself jaw dropped a few times during the show.

boston lights up for the fourth
boston lights up for the fourth
boston lights up for the fourth
boston lights up for the fourth

I echo the sentiment that no one should pass up the opportunity to spend the Fourth in Boston. And we picked up a few tips for next year.
  • To snag a prime viewing spot, you should show up early (6-7 a.m.) and either have a rotating team or a picnic and games/books. And lots of sunscreen. And water.
  • Embrace the fact that you won't get home quickly. We hung around the Esplanade for 15 minutes and things had cleared up considerably. We then wandered through the Public Gardens and the Christian Science Center Plaza before hopping on the Green Line, which had cleared up by then.
  • A car downtown on the Fourth is really not a good idea. Drivers get grumpy when it's bumper to bumper on narrow, one-way residential streets at 11 p.m. And then people start honking, residents start yelling out their windows... it's not pretty. Parking then taking the T is a much less stressful option!
I hope you get to experience a truly spectacular fireworks show sometime in your life, and maybe we'll see you on the Esplanade next July 4th!