NYC & Company/Julienne Schaer
June 30, 2015

The July 4th holiday is one of the most popular in New York City, with millions of people turning out to celebrate from near and far. No surprise, then, that the city’s rich in options for Independence Day celebrations.

The iconic Macy’s 4th of July fireworks are the largest in the nation (though they're getting some competition this year). Planned a year out, it’s a dazzling spectacle of visual effects: for this week's show, expect more than 50,000 shells (1,600 shells per minute) during the half-hour production, which is fired from five barges along the city’s East River. The best place to watch them? Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

Related: America’s Best Towns for July 4th

If crowds aren't your thing, consider bypassing them for a prime deal from the New York EDITION, which launched just last month. The hotel is guaranteeing a room with a view of the fireworks to guests who book over July 4 (package starts at $525). With its proximity to Madison Square Park in the landmark Clocktower building, guests can enjoy a BBQ or burgers in the park, then return for a private view of the fireworks from their room.

Revelers are sure to be abundant at the Freedom Festival at the Intrepid Museum, with performances by no less than Queen Latifah, Amy Schumer, Rachel Platten, Will Hoge, the Alternate Routes and Sara Evans. (Proceeds benefit the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.)

Need more ideas? The Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest draws an alternative crowd to Coney Island during the day; while families my be interested in the Fort Wadsworth Celebration—it includes free fort tours, art activities and a scavenger hunt for the kids. It’s a perfect spot for a picnic to watch the fireworks. And Staten Island's Travis Parade is a community affair that’s more than 100 years old.

Partiers, however, should head to the beach: Jacob Riis Park’s “Get Summered” celebration in the Rockaways has several live DJs lined up for a beach-side extravaganza—perfect for all the killer food options they have on hand (Ample Hills Creamery, Brooklyn Star, Court Street Grocers), and Warm-Up at MoMA PS1 draws a crowd eager to dance with Studio 54 DJ Nicky Siano, Cut Copy and Bobbito Garcia.

Corina Quinn is digital travel editor at Travel + Leisure; find her on Twitter and Instagram.

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