Headed to the Esplanade for the Fireworks? Here's What You Need to Know

Get details on performances, event schedules, road closures and more.

Editor's Note: Massachusetts State Police and event organizers have rescheduled the Boston Fireworks Spectacular for Thursday, July 3 due to the weather forecast. For full updated information, click here

Planning to head into Boston for this year's Fourth of July events? 

We've got you covered with everything you need to know before heading into the celebration later this week, from guidelines for boats to where to access the venue, and even the schedule of events that begin Thursday night. 

Massachusetts State Police have also released a list of road closures to keep in mind as you plan your trip in town. 

For more information, visit the Massachusetts State Police blog for traffic and safety information, and visit july4th.org for all information regarding the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. 

Schedule of Events

Thursday, July 3

  • 8:30 p.m. Rehearsal concert Begins
  • 10 p.m. Concert Ends

Friday, July 4

  • 12 p.m. Recorded music begins in Boston
  • 4:30 p.m. Recorded music begins in Cambridge
  • WBZ News Radio AM 1030 broadcast begins
  • 8 p.m. Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular broadcast begins on WBZ-TV Boston and WCRB 99.5 FM broadcast begins
  • 8:30 p.m. Concert begins
  • 10:30 p.m. Fireworks begin
  • 11 p.m. Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular ends
For updates on the celebration, follow Twitter.com/bostonjuly4th.

This Year's Performers

  • The Beach Boys
  • Megan Hilty
  • The Phantom of the Opera (The two lead principals in the production will perform at this year's event)
  • Boston Children's Chorus

Where to Enter the Venue

July 3

Check points will open at 5 p.m. on Thursday or at a time designated by the Incident Commander, according to state police. 


The Oval Checkpoint will be located between the Lagoon's Clarendon Footbridge and the Berkeley Footbridge. Access to this area can be made by accessing the Esplanade from Berkeley Street after 4 p.m. Those arriving to the area before 4 p.m. should use Dartmouth or Fairfield Street footbridges over Storrow Drive.


This checkpoint will be located on the Island/Lagoon by the Clarendon Bridge. The check point will also open at 4 p.m. on July 3, and may be accessed from the Lagoon's Clarendon, Exeter and Fairfield footbridges. Access can be made via the Esplanade from Berkeley Street after 4 p.m. Those arriving prior to 4 p.m. should use Darmouth or Fairfield Street footbridges over Storrow Drive. 

July 4

Checkpoints are expected to open at 9 a.m. on Friday, July 4. 


The Oval checkpoint will be between the Lagoon's Clarendon Footbridge and the Berkeley Footbridge. Access can be made via the Esplanade from Berkeley Street. 


Access can be made by using Beacon Street to Clarendon Street or utilizing the Dartmouth or Fairfield Street footbridges over Storrow Drive. Checkpoints will be located between Clarendon and Exeter footbridges. The Fairfield footbridge over the Lagoon will be designated as "Exit Only" from the Island over the Lagoon. 

Guidelines for Boaters

  • Stay 100 feet from shore
  • Stay 1,000 feet from barges
  • Boats must anchor outside of the safety zone: 
  • East of barges, Safety Zone is marked by buoys and Public Safety vessels. 
  • West of barges, all vessels must anchor west of Mass. Ave. Bridge. 
  • Note: No boats will be allowed to anchor between the barges and the Mass. Ave. Bridge due to the new location of the fireworks barges, further west and closer to the bridge. 
  • Craigie Drawbridge at Museum of Science will not open after fireworks until 1 a.m., July 5. 
  • Vessels over 12 feet in height must stay upriver of the Longfellow Bridge after the fireworks. Vessels over 12 feet cannot clear the bridge. 
  • Boats will not be able to anchor within the restricted areas around barges or along the shoreline between Mass. Ave and the Longfellow Bridges. 
  • Boats will be allowed to transit the river in designated channels that will run along the Boston and Cambridge sides of the river until 8:15 p.m. on July 4. The channel will not reopen until after the fireworks. 
  • All Lagoons are closed to the public. 
  • Due to tidal conditions, longer-than-normal wait times may occur to pass downriver through the New Charles River Dam. 
  • All public docks between Longfellow Bridge and Massachusetts Avenue Bridge will be closed. No access of any kind will be allowed at these docks. 
  • State Police will monitor Channel 16 and enforce restrictions. 
  • The Charles River is a "No Discharge Area." Discharge of boat sewage or other waste if prohibited. Designated pump-out facilities are located at the Charles River Yacht Club (in Cambridge by MIT) and the Watertown Yacht Club.
  • Security Measures

    Prohibited Items

    The following items will NOT be allowed:

    • Coolers on wheels
    • Backpacks
    • Firearms, weapons, sharp objects or fireworks
    • Glass containers
    • Cans
    • Pre-mixed beverages
    • Liquids must be carried in sealed clear-plastic containers that do not exceed 2 liters in size
    • No grilling; propane tanks or open flames not allowed. 
    • Alcoholic beverages
    • No bicycles will be allowed through the checkpoints into the Oval or Island/Lagoon areas. Bicycles are allowed throughout the rest of the venue but must not be left unattended. Bicycles attached or locked to security fences, poles, or other structures may be subject to removal. No bicycles will be allowed through the checkpoints into the Oval or Island/Lagoon areas. Bicycles are allowed throughout the rest of the venue but must not be left unattended.

    The following items will be allowed:

    • For July 4 Only: Popup tents/canopies with no sides (maximum size: 10-feet by 10-feet)
    • Blankets or tarps, no bigger than 10-feet by 10-feet in size
    • Folding/beach chairs only
    • Coolers, which must be carried in by shoulder strap or single handle (no wheeled coolers)
    • All personal items must be carried in clear bags only. 
    • After inspection, small clutch bags/purses may be taken into the venue with the clear bag. 


    State police have established a dedicated "Text-A-Tip" line for this year's July 3 and July 4 events on the Esplanade. 

    As part of the line, anyone at the event or in the area who may see anyone or anything suspicious or "out of the ordinary" is urged to contact police by calling 911 or texting a tip to 67283. 

    Note: Those using this service should include the characters "B4" as the first two characters of their text, according to State Police.

    Sherlock H. June 30, 2014 at 06:02 PM
    Another thing you should know is that it's on tv!
    Julie the Jarhead June 30, 2014 at 06:44 PM
    "10:30 p.m. Fireworks begin" ----- Ordinarily, I would disagree with a party-pooper, but this one's not for the faint of heart. Hot, limited bathroom facilities, overpriced concessions (if you can get through the fifty-person-long lines). If you really want to watch live, consider watching it from the Meadow Glen Mall area or another point with a decent view. Or ... TV!
    Rob C June 30, 2014 at 09:40 PM
    Went there once years ago, never again. Far too crowded, if you take the T and want to get out quickly, make sure you run like the wind to the nearest T stop the second the last firework goes off or you will be stuck forever waiting for a train. As already covered, very limited bathrooms and extremely over priced food and drink. I think that the new security limitations were thought up by the concessions operators to make a little more money. Better to watch on TV or go to one of the many smaller town fireworks displays. http://www.bostoncentral.com/events/massachusetts_fireworks/p21018.php


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