4th Of July NYC: How to Make the Most Of July Fourth On a Budget


The days of tricolored popsicles, broken-in mitts, and arguments for why you should be allowed to have a hamburger and a hot dog are sadly long gone. July 4 is a different holiday once you grow up, and you may be stumped on celebrations if you find yourself working, interning or taking classes away from home this summer.

Skipping out on the annual family barbecue and fireworks show is certainly sad, but there's still plenty of makeshift ways to enjoy Independence Day on your own this year. Even if you don't have money to blow on an extravagant club or dinner, July 4 in New York is open to an array of fun options.

The food

Barbecue is a staple of America's birthday, but you don't have to be married to making your own food on the grill. How about a frank at the original Nathan's, which hosts the (in)Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4. Hitting up Coney Island gives you access to Brooklyn's famous boardwalk, some of the best crinkle-cut fries in the country and a swarm of men eating enough hot dogs to feed a small nation. Now isn't that what America's all about?

Snag a free burger, dog or some pork at the Iron Horse in the city's Financial District. The Pig Roast Block Party benefits the Wounded Warrior Project, where donations in the spirit of patriotism are more than welcome. The usually-crowded midtown streets will be blocked off for picnic tables and wiffle ball games.

If you're looking to switch it up this year, pizza will be going for cheap at the Knockdown Center in Queens, courtesy of famous pizzeria Roberta's. Take the L to Jefferson, get a personal-sized pie for just $8, and listen to local band Dirty Fences.

The fireworks

Claim a prime spot along the Hudson and watch Macy's free 25-minute firework show that will sprawl across the Manhattan skyline. You can't sweat seating; the whole borough will be able to see the sky. An exploding winking happy face is hard to miss, and 60 pyrotechnics working all weekend in Staten Island sounds like something special is ready to go down.

The Mets and Brooklyn Cyclones will be offering firework shows after their ballgames as well.

The fun

Five bucks lands you a DIY show on Brooklyn's Meadow St., while $18 gets you a jazz throwback at the Louis Armstrong House. Free entertainment includes a set of performances at Bryant Park, a Star-Spangled Boogie Marathon in Williamsburg, and a concert from TriBattery Pops in Battery Park.

Bars will be running specials all night, and if live music isn't really your thing, you won't struggle to find a blowout or two on every major block of nightlife. After a day of free food and fireworks, maybe you can splurge a bit on drinks. After all, would America want you to celebrate its birthday any other way?