Best time to go to Boston

Boston Harborfest 4th of July 2024

Naval ship cruising, historical reenactments, walking tours, and concerts—tonnes of fun, and all of it for free!​

Dates: July 1–4, 2024

Boston Harborfest 4th of July
Boston Harborfest 4th of July
Boston Harborfest 4th of July
Boston Harborfest 4th of July

Also known as Boston 4th of July Festival, Boston Harborfest is the greatest patriotic celebration of this city and highlights the city's colonial past and revolutionary way to the freedom they have today. The five-day celebration features historical reenactments of the revolutionary events, cruising demonstration of the legendary USS constitution, numerous concerts, arts market and Chowderfest, a tasting event. Most events are free and take place either across the waterfront districts or in the downtown area.​​

Opening Ceremony (July 1, 2024)

Festivities start with the opening ceremony at Downtown Crossing. Local public officials give a speech on the value of Independence, followed by the cutting of the giant cake. The kick-off celebration doesn't stop there. The audience has a chance to interact with roving re-enactors and the USS Constitution crew.

A welcome addition to the ceremony is the live performance of the Massachusetts 215th Army Band on Downtown Crossing and Downtown Boston Beer Garden at the Summer Street Plaza The formalities are set to begin at 11:30 pm and will last about an hour, until 1 pm, while the rest of the festivities will continue until 8 pm.

Boston Harborfest Fireworks (July 2, 2024)

The second day of the festival has even more fun in store for its visitors. From 1 pm until 6 pm, Christopher Columbus Park opens its gates to the public for a day of family-friendly attractions, sponsorship auctions, food vendors, and all kinds of live entertainment, featuring Sons of Levin and Sweet Harmony. From 4 pm to 8 pm, the Summer Street stage will fill up with local performers, showcasing the best of the Bostonian music scene. The Navy Band pre-fireworks concert at 7:45 pm is meant to build excitement for the pyrotechnic display later in the evening.

Finally, the most anticipated spectacle of the night, the Boston Harbor Fireworks, will begin at 9:15 pm. The fireworks will be set off from a raft at Boston's historical pier, Long Wharf. To catch the best view of the show, consider saving a spot at Flagship Wharf, Christopher Columbus Park, Griffin’s Wharf, or Piers Park.

Chowderfest Tasting (July 2, 2024)

During the annual Chowderfest, you'll have a chance to taste a part of Boston's culinary heritage—clam chowder. The origins of this seafood delight link back to the French settlers making a stew out of clams found in the local waters. Being a coastal city, Boston has a fair share of local seafood eateries, which will present their versions of chowder to the attendees.

The feast will begin at Downtown Crossing at 2 pm until 4 pm and is completely free. However, supplies are limited, so consider arriving earlier to grab a bowl of delicious goodness that is chowder.

Boston Harborfest Flag-Raising & Parade (July 4, 2024)

The final day of the event is packed with activities. The traditional annual Ancient and Honorable Artillery Parade begins at 9 am with a flag-raising ceremony at the City Hall Plaza. The procession marches from the City Hall Plaza to the Granary Burial Ground to lay wreaths on the graves of American heroes.

The final stop will be the Old State House, on a balcony of which the Declaration of Independence was first read. The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company will read the Declaration again as part of the annual tradition. After a formal speech, you'll have a chance to witness the USS Constitution frigate ceremonially sail from its dock to Castle Island before returning.

Art Fair

Arts at Harborfest is a great opportunity to get an insight into Boston's art scene and mingle with the local artists. The art fair usually takes place at Downtown Crossing at Summer Street Plaza for three days, featuring dozens of participants and vendors. If you'd like to get a piece of Boston's culture, there's no better place than the arts & crafts market!

Freedom Trail

Finally, an insightful Freedom Trail takes visitors 250 years back in history. Special programs and activities are offered at 16 official sites along the tour. For full immersion, tours are led by guides wearing 18th-century costumes. While walking the Freedom Trail, you'll have a chance to learn about the most impactful moments in American History and see pivotal landmarks, such as Massachusetts State House, Old Corner Bookstore, and Faneuil Hall, with your own eyes.

During the Boston Harborfest, A Walk Into History trail will take place at 11 am, 12 pm, and 1 pm. The excursion lasts 90 minutes and departs from the Boston Common Visitor Information Center. Tickets cost $17 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $8 for children 6 to 12 years old.

4th of July in Boston

As one of the oldest cities in the United States with a vibrant history, Boston has a reputation to live up to during the 4th of July. Besides the annual Boston Harborfest, the city and its neighboring towns offer other options for celebration, including Boston Pops Firework Spectacular, Somerville 4th of July Fireworks and Braintree Day. You can learn more about these festivities in the article about 4th of July in Boston..

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