Why Boston is the place to be on Independence Day

By: Virgin Atlantic

June 10, 2018

Boston skyline framed by the USS Constitution © Shutterstock / cdrin

With a recently announced increase in our services from Manchester to Boston, you could soon be celebrating July the Fourth in one of the most historic cities in the United States. Read on to find out why Boston is the place to be this Independence Day.

Old State House, Boston © Shutterstock / Tono Balaguer

The annual celebratory Fourth of July traditions kicked off in the city of Philadelphia, when it marked the first anniversary of Independence in 1777 with cannons, a parade, fireworks and the ringing of bells. But it’s Boston – where the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed from the balcony of the Old State House in 1776 – that today claims the largest Independence Day festivities in the United States.

Boston Harborfest has been spearheading the celebrations for the past 37 years, and this year’s outing is set to be the best yet. The patriotic festival, which runs from 28 June – 4 July, begins with an opening ceremony at Faneuil Hall, and includes a multitude of family-friendly activities, live entertainment, guided Freedom Trail walks and historical re-enactments over the course of the week, including the Redcoats Changing the Guard and British soldiers interacting with colonists as though it was 1775.

Other events include the chance to scoff some clam chowder at the annual Chowderfest in Christopher Columbus Park on 1 July, and the Harbor Fireworks at 9 p.m on Saturday 30 June, visible from East Boston and along the shoreline from Charlestown to the Seaport.

Fireworks over Boston Harbor © Shutterstock / Keith J Finks

Few cities give you the opportunity to enjoy not one, but two fireworks displays over the course of the July Fourth celebrations, but that’s exactly what you’ll get in Boston. The main Boston POPs Fireworks Spectacular takes place at the Hatch Shell on the Espalanade on 4 July, featuring an all-female line-up of entertainers including Massachusetts-raised singer/songwriter Rachel Platten. The concert starts at 8 p.m, followed by the fireworks at 10.30 p.m – and the entire event (minus the fireworks) also takes place the night before. Entrance to both concerts is free, with gates opening at 5 p.m on the 3rd and 9 a.m on the 4th.

Other highlights of the day itself include:

  • a flag-raising ceremony on City Hall Plaza, followed by a parade to the Granary Burying Ground, where the three signers of the Declaration of Independence – John Adams, Samuel Adams and Robert Treat Paine – are laid to rest.
  • special guided walking tours from Boston by Foot, including the three-hour Footloose on the Freedom Trail.
  • two Independence Day sightseeing cruises along the Charles River to celebrate the historic turn around cruise of the USS Constitution, which has spent the last five years in restoration. Choose from the Valiant luxury yacht, or the bi-level paddle wheel boat, the Lexington.
  • the Great Oration in the Great Hall of Faneuil Hall at 11 a.m, delivered by an influential Boston citizen.

Looking for the best views? Reliable bets are the Top of the Hub restaurant on the 52nd floor of the Prudential Tower on Boylston Street, or the rooftop of XV Beacon hotel on Beacon Hill.

Virgin Atlantic operates daily flights to Boston from London Heathrow and three times a week from Manchester. A new route to Los Angeles, coupled with an increase in services to both Boston and Las Vegas means we’ll be offering customers up to 14,000 seats a week directly from Manchester to the USA and Caribbean.

Granary Burial Ground, Boston © Shutterstock / Diego Grandi

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Categories: Our Places