You don’t have to join the Parkway masses dancing to The Roots and Miguel to catch the fireworks. Instead, check out one of these prime viewing spots.
Pack a picnic and head to Fairmount Park to “a place called the Plateau where everybody goes” — boom box playing Fresh Prince optional. If this is your first time finding the Plat, just follow Montgomery Drive until you get to Belmont Mansion Drive. If you’re coming from the west, drive north on Belmont Ave. You’ll be rewarded with scenic views of the skyline and the fireworks.
TGI Fridays on the Parkway
Our first choice for watching from above the crowds is befriending someone with a roof deck in the Art Museum area. If you don’t have time to hunt down new acquaintances before Saturday, TG that Fridays on the Parkway has a roof open to the public, where you can dig into something smothered in Jack Daniels barbecue sauce while you catch the fireworks.
Schuylkill River Trail
The section of the Schuylkill River Trail alongside Center City will be one of the best places to see the fireworks, so make your way over there early to claim a spot on the grass for your lawn chair or picnic blanket. The lights reflecting off the water will give this view an extra edge.
Mace’s Crossing or McCrossen’s Tavern
This one requires a small crowd of your own. Step one: Bring friends to Mace’s Crossing at 1721 Cherry or McCrossen’s Tavern at 20th and Spring Garden. Step two: Order drinks and hang out. Step three: Take turns stepping outside to enjoy the concert and fireworks while someone else in your group mans the table.
Girard Avenue Bridge
Lean over the water with your summer romance a la Jack and Rose on the Girard Avenue Bridge, west of Boathouse Row over the Schuylkill River. This one is standing room only, and open to cars so make sure to stay out of the road. Bonus history lesson: The second incarnation of this bridge (we’re on the third now) opened July 4, 1874.