7 Things to Do on July 4th in NYC... That Don't Involve Fireworks

Like finding someone to kiss at midnight on New Year's Eve and eating pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, watching fireworks on the fourth of July is just like, what you're supposed to do.

But like most traditions, when does it ever really live up to the hype?

Don't cave to the societal pressure that makes you feel like you have to stand in a big crowd to watch things explode in the sky in order to celebrate 'Merica.

So if you're looking for something to do on the fourth that is red, white, and doesn't involve fireworks, here are 7 ideas that'll keep you busy. 

...And are way more fun, tbh.

1. Take the ferry to Governors Island

The island is about a five-minute ferry ride from South Seaport but feels like it's about 5 hours away from New York. Stroll around (yes, you can actually stroll here and not get screamed at for walking too slowly) and explore the history of the island. 

And lucky you, the Grammy Award-winning DJ/producer Tiësto will perform with the city skyline as his backdrop from 4 p.m. until Midnight. Snag your tickets here!

You can also rent a bike or kayak and then finish the day with some food and drinks from the open-air stalls. Get up early because you can spend all day and night on the island. Just make sure to catch the last ferry back home!

2. Head to Brighton Beach

If you're in the mood for a little fun in the sun, skip crowded Coney Island and soak up some rays at Brighton Beach. Stroll the boardwalk and enjoy lunch or dinner on the patio at Volna.

3. Catch a double feature

Most everyone else will be at a party or hoping to see some fireworks, leaving theaters emptier (and more enjoyable) than normal. Check out what's being screened at historic theaters like Village East Cinema, which shows independent and classic films, and occasionally, new releases. 

Not to mention the red velvet seats and golden ceiling inside, which feels way more luxurious than a regular theater.

4. Have a picnic in Socrates Sculpture Park

Pack up your picnic basket and head to Socrates Sculpture Park in Astoria. You can stay busy all afternoon exploring the various sculptures and art throughout the park. Usually, there's a chance for visitors to be part of a collaborative art piece, too.

5. Brooklyn Botanical Garden

Take a guided tour or explore on your own. The garden is home to more thousands of kinds of flowers and plants. Since it's summertime, make sure to visit the Cranford Rose Garden, Lily Pool Terrace, and Native Flora Garden which will only be in bloom for a short time.

6. Make a reservation at the restaurant you've always wanted to go to


The city will be emptied out with so many people traveling and 4th of July is one of the slowest restaurant days of the entire year. Have a place you've been wanting to eat dinner but haven't been able to get a reservation? You should have your pick of times on Independence Day.

7. And if all else fails, just start drinking.

But we didn't need to tell you that.

[Feature Image Courtesy TimeOut NY] 

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