Where to take your family on 4th of July in and around Boston

Boston Weekend. 4th of July.

I might be biased, but there is a hardly a better place to experience everything that 4th of July weekend has to offer than in and around Boston.  Here are just some ideas for you on where to take your family next weekend in Boston, Rhode Island and Western Massachusetts.

Where to take your family during 4th of July weekend in and around Boston
4th of July Fireworks in the town of Pepperell, northwest of Boston

(Photo credit: Angela Tseng of Mommy Bytes)


1. Explore Some of 200 Events at Boston Harborfest.

This Fourth of July Festival runs July 1 through July 5 and showcases our colonial and maritime heritage.  With over 200 events planned in Boston’s City Hall Plaza and waterfront (concerts, tours, Naval ship visits and even a chowder fest!) you are sure to find your family’s favorite. Use this link for a full schedule of Harborfest.

2. Try to Find a Spot during Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. July 3rd and 4th, Boston’s Charles River Esplanade.

This is Maestro Keith Lockhart’s 20th anniversary as conductor of both the Pops and the July 4 concert (8:30pm-10:30pm). This year the Pops are joined by Broadway performer Michael Cavanaugh; American Idol finalist Melinda Doolittle; Boston-based quartet, the Sons of Serendip; the Boston Crusaders drum and bugle corps; gospel singer and The Voice contestant Michelle Brooks-Thompson, and the USO Show Troupe.

The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular will of course conclude with a 21-minute pyrotechnic extravaganza.

Check out event’s  webpage for more information (including on what NOT to bring) and arrive early (before noon!) with your picnic blanket and sunscreen to find a good spot to sit (or stand!).

You may have much better luck with seating during The Pops’ July 3rd Dress Rehearsal Concert 8:30pm-10pm (no fireworks following July 3rd concert).

Where to take your family during 4th of July weekend in and around Boston
Waiting for Boston Fireworks to start. (At the Mass Ave Bridge)

(Photo Credit: Evan and Lauren’s Cool Blog.)

3. Enjoy Free Admission and Festivities at Boston Children’s Museum on July 3rd – as part of Free Fun Fridays Project. There will be music, live animal presentations, and sidewalk games outside the Museum – as well as the “usual” family friendly exhibits inside the Museum.

In the BERKSHIRES (approximately a 2-hour drive from Boston in Western Massachusetts)

4.  Connect your kids with the music at Tanglewood Family Concert on July 4th in Ozawa Hall.

This special performance designed for kids ages 3-8 and their families is called A Brass Carnival and is featuring members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s brass section and an Instrumental Playground for young concert goers. Instrument Playground will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the concert to take place at 11 a.m.   (Free admission for kids 17 and under, $11 for adults. )Tickets can be purchased at the Tanglewood Box Office, online at www.tanglewood.org, or through SymphonyCharge at 888-266-1200.

There will be fireworks following the evening’s James Taylor concert (on July 4th); while that concert is sold out, you could still find a spot around the Stockbridge Bowl to watch the fireworks).

Where to take your family in and around Boston during  4th of July weekend
Vi at the Tanglewood Concert

5. Check out Naumkeag Estate House and Gardens  in Stockbridge, MA.

(Also part of Free Fun Friday fun on July 3rd,) Hours: 10am-8pm; special family friendly activities are planned for the day.

For a complete guide to the Berkshires’ 4th of July activities, check out this link from the Berkshire Visitors Bureau.


6. Attend the Nation’s Oldest Continuous 4th of July Celebration in  Bristol.

We discovered this summer gem (about an hour drive South of Boston) and its famous East Bay Bike Path just last weekend.

Bristol’s Annual Fourth of July Celebration, (established in 1785), is held at Independence Park on Thames Street on Bristol Harbor. Here is a link to more information on Bristol’s Celebration. Bristol’s fireworks start around 9:30pm.

Where to take your family in and around Boston during  4th of July weekend.
Bristol’s 4th of July Celebration

(Photo Credit: Nicole from Playing All the Way. You can’t help it but get inspired by this family’s enthusiasm for Bristol’s 4th Celebration – Here is their report from last year’s  festivities).

7. Another Spectacular Harbor fireworks awaits in Newport, Rhode Island (July 4th, at approximately 9:15 PM). More details here.

Here is the link to information on Massachusetts fireworks by town.

(And specifically on towns in Western Mass., use this link).


This post is part of the exciting collection of travel stories: #WeekendWanderlust at Brit and a Southerner and #TheWeeklyPostcard at Travel Notes and Beyond. Be sure to check them out for your travel ideas!


Travel Notes & Beyond

21 thoughts on “Boston Weekend. 4th of July.”

  1. Oh wow, there really is a lot to do! I just recently returned from Cape Cod, MA and am sad I won’t be around for 4th of July events. I also am really interested in visiting Newport Rhode Island! Maybe next time 😉

  2. The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular must be quite something, Victoria. I’d love to be there for a 4th of July, but now that my son moved from Connecticut there is very little chance. Your little daughter is so cute, I can’t help looking at her pictures when you post them online. Thanks for joining me this week for #TheWeeklyPostcard.

    1. Victoria@celebratetheweekend

      I am going to be at the beach myself, Lo:) (fireworks in the evening in one of the towns on the Cape)

  3. What a great list! We haven’t been to the fireworks on the esplanade for years, because I don’t like crowds, but it’s worth seeing at least once in your lifetime. Where I live (central Massachusetts) the locals like to take their kids to the Fruitlands Museum fireworks. It’s usually the day before, and earlier than the Boston fireworks.

    1. Victoria@celebratetheweekend

      Yes, Jolanta, I agree- Esplanade might be once in a lifetime thing, but a rehearsal concert the day before sounds interesting to me! Thanks for Fruitland tip.

  4. I would like to be in Boston one year for the Fourth celebration. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy music played by the Boston Pops and a top-notch fireworks display.

    Years ago I lived in Maryland and often spent the holiday on the Washington Mall. There’s something special about celebrating such a fun national holiday with all your compatriots.

    Thanks for participating in #TheWeeklyPostcard with us.

    1. Victoria@celebratetheweekend

      Thanks for reading, Linda! The Pops Spectacular is an amazing experience indeed, if you are not afraid of crowds, that is.

    1. Victoria@celebratetheweekend

      I agree, Connie. There are just sooo many different things to do- both the arts and nature related!

  5. What a great place to celebrate the 4th. I feel so patriotic just going through the list of activities here. It makes me wish I was vacationing there instead. The Boston Harborfest sounds so fun! Happy 4th and hope you have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Victoria@celebratetheweekend

      Happy 4th, Mary! I am sure you are doing something fun yourself! (wherever you are on the 4th!)

  6. Victoria@celebratetheweekend

    Thanks for your comment, Eileen! I had a feeling the rehearsal concert would be great to attend!

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