ATTENDING THE BOSTON POPS FIREWORKS SPECTACULAR
Wondering if the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular is worth it? Give our story a read about our experience and check out our 5 recommendations if you decide to go!
We’ve been to New York 4 times but we hadn’t yet made it to Boston or Washington D.C. because we always got too excited and stayed in New York. Well, July 2 2015 we sought out to do it all, Boston, New York, and Washington D.C. We were incredibly excited to be in the US for the 4th of July! And where else better than the state of Massachusetts!
I of course wanted to see the fireworks because I love fireworks and even Trevor was excited to see them. Now, when we saw the fireworks, this was two years after the Boston marathon bombings so we were aware that security would be tight… well, it was. We saw every single police force present, local police and neighboring city police, the state police, sheriffs, the National Guard, and even the FBI. Being Canadian, seeing someone with an FBI jacket right in front of you was like being in a movie. We had major respect for the police presence and were thankful for the enforced safety, but there’s something about seeing so many police, and big dog police not just locals, that puts you a little on edge.
In order to get into the official standing area for the fireworks there were two security checks, one to get into the area and one to go over a bridge to get to an additional area. We didn’t go over the bridge and instead, found a spot on the blocked off street to stand. We got there around 7pm because we had an idea there would be a line and the fireworks started at 1030pm. After we found our spot, slowly… more and more people came. It got to the point where people were standing side by side on this blocked off road. We read online before hand that there’s an expectation of 500,000 people to be in the area for the fireworks. I honestly had no idea what 500,000 people looked liked and it was a little freaky, but I’ll get to that. The waiting wasn’t too bad, we were able to hear the music from the concert and watched the sunset, so we were entertained.
The fireworks begin and they were awesome. Think of all of your favorite fireworks and times that by 100. It says the fireworks only last 30minutes, but it honestly felt like it lasted 2 hours. It went on FOREVER! There were so many fireworks that the smoke from the fireworks started to block the actual fireworks, which was pretty hilarious. As far as fireworks go, as good as Disney Land so I was happy.
Now, at the end of the fireworks, us and 500,000 other people began to leave. We didn’t all arrive at once, so it didn’t feel like there were so many people at the outset. However, once we went to leave, which was all at the same time, it was pretty terrifying. I was very uncomfortable and felt like at any moment if people started running we could easily be trampled. We climbed over a fence because we had lost track of where we were, followed the crowd, and basically funneled 100,000 people who also took this route through a narrow alley that fit the length of about 4 people wide. It felt like it was taking forever. We finally go out to the main street and Trevor and I couldn’t walk fast enough to just get away from the crowd. It was crazy!
So – wondering if the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular is worth the visit while you’re on holidays for the 4th of July? Here’s what you need to be aware of.
1. You cannot bring a backpack.
Do not bring a bag, period. You can get away with a small purse, and I had a side shoulder small North Face bag, but I was lucky. To go over the bridge I would have had to forfeit my North Face bag, but was allowed to at least get through the first round of security with my bag. Anything bigger than a purse, leave it at home. Your bag will also be searched so be prepared for heighten security surrounding your belongings.
2. If the size of a concert makes you uncomfortable, watch the fireworks on tv.
5x the attendance of probably the biggest concert you’ve been to, and that’s how many people were there. Yeah, I love fireworks, but the amount of people and heightened security had us on edge the whole time. If you don't like crowds I'd recommend that the fireworks might not be worth it. Or better yet, research where else you can watch the fireworks from that you can get a decent angle to see without having to deal with the crowd.
3. Unless you want a spot on the grass, don’t bother going 3 hours early like we did.
Yes prepare for security, so an hour before would be worth it, but avoid the random line that takes you over the bridge, find a spot on the street, and just stand in front of those who wasted their time getting there so early. They won’t notice, 1000 people have already stood in front of them while they were waiting. You look up into the sky, you’ll see them. Also, the orchestra is pretty incredible, if you really are going to get there early, get some concert seats, otherwise show up just on time.
4. Stay clear of the line to go over the bridge
In the official firework watching area, right after the first security, you will see a long line – do not get in this line. We didn’t know what was going on so we got in the line and waited for an hour only to realize hundreds of people were cutting into the line in front of us and finally we gave up and just wandered off. There was literally no point to this line. Going over the bridge to be near the waterfront would have made no difference to our view of the fireworks. If you do get in this line, be aggressive. Walk as close as you can and butt in because everyone else is going to so you may as well too. If you hate line cheaters (like we do) then just avoid the line, it’s not worth the wait, plus, you may have to forfeit your bag. And yes, they do have bathrooms but the lines for those were also ridiculous.
5. Stay calm while you leave
When you're leaving just follow the crowd and be prepared for it to take longer than you expect. Just because the fireworks are over doesn’t mean the crowd management ends so be patient and just follow the person in front of you, slowly but surely.
Overall, if you love fireworks, go out and have a great time, go super early for the concert seats – like HOURS early – or show up just before to see the fireworks. Or, be like us, hang around, buy some glow sticks and listen to the concert music as the sun sets. Being Canadian, it was super exciting getting to be a part of an incredibly 4th of July event and we were happy we went. We just want all of you to be prepared for the crowd because it was a bit unnerving for us.
Happy 4th of July to our America friends!
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