Boston Harborfest is a family friendly event that includes historical reenactments, Freedom Trail walks, boat tours, live entertainment, and more. The opening ceremony, with remarks from Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, features the cutting of a custom-designed cake on the West End of Faneuil Hall Marketplace on Tuesday, July 2. And don't miss the Freedom Trail Changing of the Guard, where you can transport yourself back to 1775 to see colonists interact with British soldiers. Boston Harborfest continues through July 7, 2019.
Boston POPS Fireworks Spectacular
At 8:30 pm Conductor Keith Lockhart directs the Boston POPS Orchestra at the Hatch Shell, on the Esplanade, performing the identical concert which will be played on July 4th minus the fireworks display. Seating for this free event is on a first-come basis. It will be crowded, but not as much as on the 4th.
The City of Boston's Official Independence Day Commemoration (Flag Raising Ceremony & Parade)
At 9 am, there is a flag raising ceremony on City Hall Plaza followed by a parade to the Granary Burial Ground, where wreaths are laid on the graves of patriots. The parade then continues to the Old State House.
Reading of the Declaration of Independence
At this event held at 10 am, you can hear the Declaration of Independence read from the balcony of the Old State House—by the current Captain Commanding of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company—just as it was read to the citizens of Boston on July 18, 1776.
Boston POPS Does the Fourth & Fireworks
At 8:30pm Conductor Keith Lockhart directs the Boston POPS at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade, the seating for this free event is on a first-come basis (area opens to the public at 9am). This year's event features Grammy-, Emmy-, and Golden Globe award winner and Academy Award nominee Queen Latifah, musical icon, songwriter, storyteller, and singer Arlo Guthrie, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent and Massachusetts native Amanda Mena, and three-time Emmy Award-winning classical crossover vocal trio, the Texas Tenors. This televised event is followed by a spectacular 23-minute fireworks display over the Charles River. The best place for viewing the fireworks is along Memorial Drive on the Cambridge side of the Charles River.
The Top of the Hub restaurant, located on the 52nd floor of the Prudential Tower at 800 Boylston Street, pipes the concert into the restaurant and offers spectacular viewing of the fireworks display while enjoying dinner and/or cocktails, call 617-536-1775 for reservations.
Other Special Events
Boston by Foot Boston by Foot offers several tours on the 4th, including "Footloose on the Freedom Trail" and "Road to Revolution" during the day and the "Dark Side of Boston" at 6pm.
Charlestown Navy Yard
Come celebrate the amazing progress of USS Constitution's current restoration. After viewing hidden parts of the ship now revealed during dry dock, visit the museum and discover the secrets that made her so successful. The USS Constitution Museum's interactive exhibit, "Forest to Frigate", lets you examine the science, technology, and engineering that created a superior warship and challenges you to put your knowledge and skill to use in designing your own. Hands on/minds programs and exhibits ongoing throughout Harborfest and beyond!
Watch a short film that tells the stories behind Massachusetts' national parks including a glimpse at our revolutionary history. Or take in a Faneuil Hall talk with a National Park Service Ranger, discovering its importance as a marketplace and meeting place from the 18th-century to the present. At 11am the "Great Oration," in The Great Hall is delivered by a prominent citizen.
Freedom Trail Foundation
Walk Into History Tours along Boston's iconic Freedom Trail led by 18th century costumed guides (90 minutes) Tours depart from the Boston Common Visitor Center as well as the BosTix kiosk next to Faneuil Hall. At Noon there's an African American Patriots Tour departing from the Boston Common.
Meetings, Mobs, Martyrs Tours - From Faneuil Hall to the Old South Meeting House
Join a National Park Service Ranger for a 60 minute walk focusing on Faneuil Hall, Old State House, Boston Massacre Site, and Old South Meeting House.
Old North Church
Guided tours of the Church's bell ringing chamber and crypt offered on the hour and half hour all day except for 12:00 and 12:30. At 10am, join costumed interpreters for a lively reading of the Declaration of Independence. And don't miss the Chocolate Demonstrations!
Old South Meeting House Old South Meeting House is free for children 18 and younger. Eavesdrop on meetings leading up to the Boston Tea Party, participate in scavenger hunts, and take a quiz to determine whether you would have been a patriot or a loyalist.
Old State House
Characters from the pages of history will return to the Old State House after 240 years to share with visitors what it was like to live in Boston in the days leading up to the American Revolution. Declaration of Independence will be read from the balcony at 10am as it was on July 18, 1776.