Fourth of July in Boston

Old Dec 3rd, 2001, 07:50 AM
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Fourth of July in Boston

We will be in Boston for the Fourth of July and are wondering where to watch the fireworks display from. We will be bringing our two young children, so we really can't wait at the Esplanade all day. Also, we were thinking of staying at the Doubletree Guest Suites and are wondering how incovenient the location really is. Thank you.
Old Dec 3rd, 2001, 10:09 AM
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Which Doubletree are you talking about? There are about 3 or 4 of them in Boston now. As far as the fireworks are concerned, I always go the the esplanade in the late afternoon and worm my into the crowd-however, if you want to be on the part of the esplanade where the Hatch Shell is (Pops Concert), people get there in the wee hours of the morning to get a place. There are jumbo-trons and speakers set up everywhere so you can hear the concert, even if you are a mile away. It is wall to wall people wherever you go along the esplanade.
Come to think of it, if the Doubletree you are talking about is on Soldiers Field Road, and you get a room facing Boston, you may be able to see the fireworks from there.
Old Dec 3rd, 2001, 10:13 AM
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I've done both the "camp out all day" thing as well as the last minute arrival, and I would suggest the latter (ESPECIALLY with little kids).

One year, about 45 minutes before sunset, I just decided to go to the fireworks. A 20 minute subway ride and five minute walk and I had (almost) a completely unobstructed view. That time, I viewed them from the Cambridge side, near MIT (Kendall "T" stop).

Another time, we decided to camp out all day (by this time, I lived 3 blocks from the Esplanade, which was excellent for bathroom breaks!!!!). We set down our blankets about fifteen feet from the river's edge. 20 minutes before showtime, all the last-minute folks crowded in and I had no better view than my vantage point at MIT. Lesson learned.

Storrow Drive on the Boston side of the River, as well as Memorial on the Cambridgeside are closed to car traffic, which, in addition to the Esplanade, adds plenty of viewing space.

Regarding the hotel, there really is nothing in the immediate vicinity. I would suggest crossing the bridge immediately outside the hotel, talking a left onto Memorial Drive, and walking to Harvard Square (10 minutes, max). Harvard Square is interesting, plus from there you can catch the "T" to downtown Boston, which is about 10 minutes away by car).

Have a great time!!!
Old Dec 4th, 2001, 06:06 AM
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I agree with Liam (having done all the options...including my favorite, watching from the roof deck of a relative). He's absolutely correct that the all day people get overrun by last minute folks anyway, so don't waste your day. I've watched from the Mass. Ave. bridge twice, and for pure fireworks viewing it can't be beat. Unfortunately, the big TVs and sound towers were not positioned for us, but the fireworks viewing made up for it. As long as you're anywhere in the basin (Mass ave bridge inward to the Hatch shell) you'll have a great view. For a real splurge, can you get a room at the Sonesta or the Kendall Sq. Marriott? They do overlook the area and would be amazing places from which to watch.
Old Dec 4th, 2001, 10:16 AM
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Last year there were over 600,000 people at the esplanade concert. Please understand that maybe only 5000 have a view of the stage and that well over half a million others are crowded around as jam packed as possible. It's unbelievably crowded and the crowds stretch for miles. If you expect to see any action, or even find a place to sit down (or stand for that matter) it might be tough to find.

Saying that, me and my now fiance went last year around 11am with chairs and got a spot to sit until the show started much much later. By the time that we came, they projected that over 100000 people were already down there. We really had a great time. Everybody brings blankets, chairs, coolers, food, cards and we hung out along the charles surrounded by hundreds of thousands of others waiting for the show to start. The jumbotrons are on the bridges (Mass Ave and Longfellow). I'd brought binoculars just to be able to catch a small glimpse of the Jumbotrons. The bridges are *very* far apart. They set up speakers all down the Charles so you can hear, but the sound was a little bit soft. The coolest part was seeing the fighter jets flying overhead at the beginning and wow the fireworks at the end were simply fantastic.

The concert is held at the Hatch Shell which is on the Esplanade, basically a thin spit of land or "River walk" that snakes up the Charles. During the 4th, the place is so overflowing wth Patriotism it's simply fantastic. I assume that 2002 - in the wake of 9/11 - will be even more special.
Old Dec 6th, 2001, 05:32 AM
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Thank you for the help. As the date grows closer, I am sure I will have more questions. I appreciate the quick responses you have given. Thanks again, JG
Old Dec 6th, 2001, 06:20 AM
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Worrying about getting there -- when and where -- is only 1/2 the issue. We were there last summer and we went over to the MIT side ca. 7 pm and found a reasonable place to sit, not all that far from the "T" stop.

But remember that all those people who amble over to the river over the preceding 1-7 hrs. ALL leave at the same time. Getting back on the T was out of the question, so we ended up walking the 2 miles back to my brother's place north of Harvard Sq. It wasn't bad for us (weather ok and we weren't exhausted), and there were plenty, plenty of others doing the same thing so it was 100% safe. But I would have hated to have 2 young kids have to survive that after a long day and a long evening.

If you were thinking of the Doubletree across the river from Harvard Sq., it isn't really in good walking distance from things (except the hike across to H. Sq.), nor does it have a view of the fireworks area. I'm wondering about the Hyatt, etc. that are further down the river -- do any of them have a view of the f'works? What about from the Prudential/Hancock bldgs? Can anyone tell us?

Old Dec 6th, 2001, 06:36 AM
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The group that organizes this event has a website: You will find, as the date gets closer, lots of information about the logistics, guest performers, etc. As someone mentioned here, I would expect the celebration will be extremely patriotic (although it always has been) this year as the founder and benefactor of this event is himself a very patriotic man. (You can also read all about him on the website.)
Old Dec 7th, 2001, 05:54 AM
mimi taylor
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If you are booked into the Doubletree overlooking the Charles River, ask right away for a room facing the direction of the fireworks and you'll have one of "the best seats in the house"
Old Dec 7th, 2001, 07:30 AM
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We are considering the Doubletree on Soldiers Field. I called the Sonesta and asked about a room overlooking the Boston skyline and they quoted me $489 just for the 4th itself. That's a bit out of our range. The Hyatt Regency Cambridge is already booked up. I am considering the Marriot Hotel Cambridge Center, but am still looking for alternative options. Thanks, JG

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