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Boston’s 4th of July fireworks: Where to watch

These nine spots for the sparks from the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular are all free or close to it

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Beginning at 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 4, the annual Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular will send actual fireworks soaring and popping over the Charles River.

Getting a good view is not always easy. Even peak points such as the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown fail to offer decent vantages. And seemingly unobstructed spots such as Castle Island in Boston Harbor don’t really reveal anything but the topmost explosions.

Plus, Somerville’s Prospect Hill Park and its tower—always popular vantages for seeing the fireworks—are closed this July 4 for ongoing construction.

These nine points do provide a solid viewing chance—and then some in most cases. Better yet, they're all free (or close to it). Best to get to some of them early as the Boston fireworks are never a sparsely attended affair.

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1. Robbins Farm Park

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51 Eastern Ave
Arlington, MA

This Arlington park—spruced up during a months-long initiative two years ago—offers a particularly choice vantage for the Boston fireworks.

Boston Globe via Getty Images

2. Larz Anderson Park

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292-334 Goddard Avenue
Brookline, MA
(617) 522-6140
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The Brookline park is a (relatively) hidden gem for watching the fireworks, perfectly situated for the long view.

A photo Brookline’s Larz Anderson Park Boston Globe via Getty Images

3. Wright's Tower

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Middlesex Fells Reservation
Medford, MA

Get near this Medford vantage in the Middlesex Fells Reservation and see down all the way to the Boston skyline and to the fireworks over it. Do not attempt to scale the tower itself or enter it: It's closed for the night.

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4. Charles River Esplanade

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Can't go wrong with this riverside expanse, though it will likely be crowded even before the sun goes anywhere near down.

We would also suggest perhaps the Cambridge side for a little more elbow room.

Basically, any vantage along the river between the Mass. Ave. and the Longfellow bridges will offer a more than decent chance of seeing the fireworks (though spectators should not congregate on the bridges themselves).

People ride bicycles along a river esplanade. The bike path has grass on both sides. There are trees on one side of the path. Shutterstock

5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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77 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA
(617) 253-1000
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The campus' open spaces are perfectly situated for catching the fireworks.

The university has been known to set up speakers to enhance the nighttime festivities.

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6. North Point Park

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6 Museum Way
Cambridge, MA 02141
(617) 626-1250
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The 8.5-acre greensward is right on the Charles with clear views of the waterway as it turns farther inland from the harbor.

A photo of the view from North Point Park in Cambridge Shutterstock

7. Red Line over the Longfellow Bridge

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Alewife to Ashmont, Braintree, Mattapan
Boston, MA
(617) 222-3200
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If you can time it just so, you can be on a train crossing the Longfellow Bridge between Cambridge and Boston as the fireworks are popping off.

Bonus: The Red Line and the rest of the T will be free on July 4 after 9:30 p.m.

A Red Line train going over the Longfellow Bridge Shutterstock

8. Rose Kennedy Greenway

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185 Kneeland St
Boston, MA 02111
(617) 292-0020
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The famed 17-acre linear park won’t have the best direct views of the fireworks, but it will offer a simulcast of the whiz-bangery and the Boston Pops performance on a giant screen.

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9. Wollaston Beach

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Quincy Shore Dr.
Quincy, MA

Look northward from this stretch of shore in Quincy—one of the best beaches in the region—and behold a decent view of the sky-high kablooms a few miles away.

A sandy beach and a body of water. There is a pier in the distance. Shutterstock

1. Robbins Farm Park

51 Eastern Ave, Arlington, MA
Boston Globe via Getty Images

This Arlington park—spruced up during a months-long initiative two years ago—offers a particularly choice vantage for the Boston fireworks.

51 Eastern Ave
Arlington, MA

2. Larz Anderson Park

292-334 Goddard Avenue, Brookline, MA
A photo Brookline’s Larz Anderson Park Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Brookline park is a (relatively) hidden gem for watching the fireworks, perfectly situated for the long view.

292-334 Goddard Avenue
Brookline, MA

3. Wright's Tower

Middlesex Fells Reservation, Medford, MA
Shutterstock

Get near this Medford vantage in the Middlesex Fells Reservation and see down all the way to the Boston skyline and to the fireworks over it. Do not attempt to scale the tower itself or enter it: It's closed for the night.

Middlesex Fells Reservation
Medford, MA

4. Charles River Esplanade

Boston, MA
People ride bicycles along a river esplanade. The bike path has grass on both sides. There are trees on one side of the path. Shutterstock

Can't go wrong with this riverside expanse, though it will likely be crowded even before the sun goes anywhere near down.

We would also suggest perhaps the Cambridge side for a little more elbow room.

Basically, any vantage along the river between the Mass. Ave. and the Longfellow bridges will offer a more than decent chance of seeing the fireworks (though spectators should not congregate on the bridges themselves).

5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA
Shutterstock

The campus' open spaces are perfectly situated for catching the fireworks.

The university has been known to set up speakers to enhance the nighttime festivities.

77 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA

6. North Point Park

6 Museum Way, Cambridge, MA 02141
A photo of the view from North Point Park in Cambridge Shutterstock

The 8.5-acre greensward is right on the Charles with clear views of the waterway as it turns farther inland from the harbor.

6 Museum Way
Cambridge, MA 02141

7. Red Line over the Longfellow Bridge

Alewife to Ashmont, Braintree, Mattapan, Boston, MA
A Red Line train going over the Longfellow Bridge Shutterstock

If you can time it just so, you can be on a train crossing the Longfellow Bridge between Cambridge and Boston as the fireworks are popping off.

Bonus: The Red Line and the rest of the T will be free on July 4 after 9:30 p.m.

Alewife to Ashmont, Braintree, Mattapan
Boston, MA

8. Rose Kennedy Greenway

185 Kneeland St, Boston, MA 02111
Shutterstock

The famed 17-acre linear park won’t have the best direct views of the fireworks, but it will offer a simulcast of the whiz-bangery and the Boston Pops performance on a giant screen.

185 Kneeland St
Boston, MA 02111

9. Wollaston Beach

Quincy Shore Dr., Quincy, MA
A sandy beach and a body of water. There is a pier in the distance. Shutterstock

Look northward from this stretch of shore in Quincy—one of the best beaches in the region—and behold a decent view of the sky-high kablooms a few miles away.

Quincy Shore Dr.
Quincy, MA