What’s Happening in Boston for 4th of July 2024

The 4th of July Celebration in Boston offers a series of events and activities to celebrate the Holiday starting on the 1st. Many of the activities are apart of Boston Harborfest 2024.   As one of the city’s premier annual events, Harborfest brings together locals and visitors alike to commemorate the historical significance of Boston Harbor and its role in shaping American independence. With a diverse array of activities, from historical reenactments to harbor cruises and spectacular fireworks displays, Harborfest continues to honor Boston’s heritage while offering a vibrant tapestry of experiences for all to enjoy.

With so many activities happening this week, we have curated a smaller list of happenings, which also includes other events like the Boston Pops and a movie night. For a full list of Boston Harborfest 2024 events visit their website.

July 1st

8AM – The Arrival of the USS OSCAR AUSTIN

Explore the remarkable Navy vessel, USS OSCAR AUSTIN. The destroyer, which has served the U.S. Navy since 1998, will be making a grand entrance into Boston Harbor at 8AM on July 1st. For the best view of this impressive ship docking at Black Falcon Berth, head to Castle Island. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to witness a piece of naval history up close!

11:30AM – Boston Harborfest Kick-Off Celebration

The official kick-off for Boston Harborfest will take place with a live performance by the U.S. Navy Band. At noon, public officials and hospitality leaders will participate in the ceremonial cake-cutting, marking the official start of the festival. Adding to the historical atmosphere, re-enactors and staff from the USS Constitution will be onsite. Head to Summer Street, Boston, at the intersection of Washington Street and Summer Street, for this unforgettable start to Boston Harborfest 2024.

4PM – Downtown Boston Beer Garden (ongoing)

Celebrate the 4th of July week in Boston with a drink. Make sure to stop by during Harborfest to try local favorites. All alcohol must be purchased and consumed within the enclosed garden area. Entry is restricted to those 21 and over. Cheers to a fantastic Harborfest!

July 2nd

2PM – Chowderfest 

At the annual Chowderfest taste mouth-watering chowders from the finest local restaurants and vote for your favorite. Enjoy all the samples while they last! In keeping with the lively lineup, there will be a DJ at the Franklin Steps, sure to keep your toes tapping throughout the event.

7PM – Revelry on Griffin’s Wharf

Join the Sons and Daughters of Liberty for a night filled with history, games, and merriment themed around the Boston Tea Party! The event will also place you at one of the viewing locations for the fireworks which will come later in the evening. Costumed interpreters will engage and educate with interactive activities, including knot tying, feather quill writing lessons, and colonial games like Nine Men’s Morris, Road to Boston, and Shut the Box. Visitors can also board the 18th-century replica ships, Eleanor and the brig Beaver, to throw tea crates into Boston’s historic harbor. In Abigail’s Tea Room, sample the five tea blends central to the iconic event. Enjoy beer, wine, clam chowder, cookies, scones, and more, available for purchase. Tickets can be purchased in-person at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum: $15 for adults and $10 for children.

7:45PM – US Navy Northeast Pre-Fireworks Concert

Serving as a prelude to this evening’s fireworks, the Navy Band will lead spectators into an evening of celebration culminating with fireworks over the Boston Harbor. Patriotic music followed by spectacular fireworks make an unbeatable combination.

9:15PM Boston Harborfest Fireworks 

Visible from several points along the Inner Boston Harbor, the Harborfest Fireworks return to light up Boston with an incredible display for all to enjoy! The fireworks will be launched from a barge at Boston’s Long Wharf.

The best views can be found at the following locations…
– Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park
– Fan Pier
– Flagship Wharf
– Piers Park
– LoPresti Park East Boston
– Griffin’s Wharf

July 3rd

1PM – Christopher Columbus Park Music & Activities

Take part in variety of free activities at Christopher Columbus Park. Whether you are dancing to the music or getting your face painted, there is something for everyone and all ages.

Additional live entertainment from local artists will appear throughout the afternoon:

1:00 – 2:30PM: Sons of Levin
3:00 – 4:30PM: Boston Music Project
5:00 – 6:00PM: Boston Music Project

4PM – Shore Leave: U.S. Navy Week Public Block Party

Stop by the block party to say hello to members of the United States Navy as they celebrate Boston Harborfest in Downtown! Admission is 21+.

7PM – Writing a Revolution: The Letters of John & Abigail Adams 1773-1776

From the “destruction of the tea” to the Declaration of Independence, witness the founding of America through the lives of one of colonial America’s most iconic couples. John Adams, a delegate at the First and Second Continental Congresses in Philadelphia, and his wife Abigail, who remained in Massachusetts as the American Revolution unfolded, offer a unique perspective through their correspondence. Their letters provide insight into the conflicts, the struggles of the people, the tedium of the Congress, and the strength of their loving marriage amidst the birth of a nation.

As the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence approaches in 2026, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will continue to commemorate historic events from this pivotal time period.

This performance takes place in Abigail’s Tea Room at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum located at 306 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02210. Doors open at 6:30 PM and the performance begins promptly at 7:00 PM Tickets are $25.

9PM – Watch Top Gun at The Anchor Boston, 1 Shipyard Park, Charlestown*

Apart of a summer movie series, catch a screening of Top Gun this evening. Comfortable lounge seating, free-standing tables, and bar offer a  great place to relax, complete with views of Boston from the Charlestown Naval Yard. Enjoy food and drink options while you watch with The Anchor’s full bar and kitchen – open daily until 11 pm! If you enjoy the outdoor setting, come for their weekly movie night starting, always free and always starting at 9PM. For more information read about the Outdoor Movies Screening Across Boston this Summer.

July 4th

9AM – City of Boston 4th of July Procession

The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company will lead the procession, which will leave Boston City Hall at 9AM. The procession includes stops to lay wreaths at Granary Burial Ground and concludes with a reading of the Declaration of Independence at Old State House.


Visit the iconic “Old Ironsides” and the USS CONSTITUTION Museum. On July 4, cheer on USS CONSTITUTION’s Independence Day “underway,” as you you witness history sail through Boston Harbor and celebrate the Military community. USS CONSTITUTION will cruise through Boston Harbor and pass Fort Independence in South Boston at 11:30 AM for a 21-gun salute! Welcome the ship’s return to the Pier and enjoy CONSTITUTION-themed mini golf, live music, along with other games and activities.

Please visit the USS CONSTITUTION or USS CONSTITUTION Museum website for more information. Ship: Tue – Sun, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM Museum: Daily, 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM; July 4 Event, 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

10AM – Reading of the Declaration of Independence

The Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Boston, MA is a cherished tradition that brings the history of the occasion to life. Each year the crowd gathers in historic locations such as Faneuil Hall or the Old State House to hear the powerful words of our founding document being recited. Passionate readers help to highlight the ideals that shaped our nation’s journey towards independence.

10:30AM – Annual Oration

Another cherished tradition that has taken place for two centuries is the Annual Oration. Uniting generations of Bostonians during the Fourth of July, the Annual Oration started in 1771 to commemorate the anniversary of the Boston Massacre but eventually evolved into an event to celebrate independence. Past orators have included John F. Kennedy and John Hancock, who will make history at this years Oration?

8PM – Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular*

The Boston Pops 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular will be held at the Hatch Memorial Shell on the Esplanade, starting at 8:00 pm. Conductor Keith Lockhart will lead the Boston Pops orchestra, featuring special guests Darlene Love, Kelli O’Hara, and The Mavericks.

This event is free and open to the public, with entry on a first-come, first-served basis. The concert concludes at 10:30 pm, followed by a fireworks display from 10:30 to 11:00 pm (subject to change).

About the Pops & 4th of July on the Charles…

Over 90 years ago, before Arthur Fiedler became Conductor of the Boston Pops, he envisioned transforming the orchestra’s connection with Boston by making symphonic music accessible to all, much like free literature in libraries and affordable art in museums. Fiedler, then a violist in the Boston Symphony and conductor of his own ensemble, raised funds to realize this vision. On July 4, 1929, the first free Esplanade Concert took place at a specially built acoustic shell along the Charles River, featuring half of the Boston Symphony musicians. The overwhelming success of this inaugural season, drawing over 208,000 attendees, led the Boston Symphony management to sign Fiedler to a three-year conducting contract, marking the beginning of his five-decade tenure with the Pops until his passing in 1979.

In 1974, businessman David Mugar collaborated with Fiedler to rejuvenate the July Fourth tradition, introducing fireworks and cannons to the finale. The bicentennial event in 1976 was a pinnacle, drawing over 400,000 attendees and setting a Guinness World Record for the largest orchestral concert audience (a record later surpassed in 1998 and subsequent years). Mugar, the event’s founder and executive producer until 2016, personally funded it until 2000 and established the Boston 4 Celebrations Foundation (B4) to manage live events and television broadcasts. B4 secured sponsorships, including a decade-long deal with CBS for a primetime network special. In 2016, leadership of the event and its broadcast shifted to the Boston Pops.

The Boston Pops began a new era in 2017 with its first self-produced Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. Bloomberg, a leading global business and financial news provider, serves as a major sponsor and media partner. Over the next three years (2024, 2025, 2026), this tradition will continue, commemorating significant regional and national milestones: the 50th anniversary of the Fireworks Spectacular in 2024, Maestro Keith Lockhart’s 30th anniversary with the Pops in 2025, and the 250th Anniversary of the United States Declaration of Independence in 2026

*not a Harborfest event

Image by picjumbo.com at pixabay


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