Guide to Surviving the Boston Pops 4th of July Concert

Both as a public service and as a means of my own record-keeping, I present a list of things to bring and do’s and don’ts for anyone attending the Boston Pops’ 4th of July Concert on the Esplanade:


  • Pop-up camp chairs
  • Picnic blanket
  • Tarp or garbage bags to cover your stuff in case it rains
  • Umbrella(s)
  • Snacks – nothing TOO salty, but a variety of things to keep you going through the day
  • Plenty to drink – lemonade, iced tea, and water
  • Plenty to read – good chance to catch up on magazines
  • Card or board games
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • Hats – if its hot, you might sweat through one or two, believe me
  • Windbreaker or something else in case it cools off in the evening
  • Rolling cooler (worth buying one with wheels!!)
  • Napkins and/or paper towels
  • No-water-needed hand sanitizer
  • Wet wipes
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Decorations – people bring all sorts of thing to decorate their spot and themselves and it makes for a more festive environment

The earlier you get there, the better, but unless you want a spot RIGHT in the front, I don’t think you need to be there at four in the morning.  Just be prepared to wait in line for a while if you show up between 8:30 and 11:00 a.m.

Tents of various kinds are allowed during the day, but must come down before the show.

Be respectful of your fellow concert goers.  We let someone use our chairs to give his feet a break, and shared our refreshments with others.  We kept an eye on each ether’s stuff and felt safe and secure while we were there.  It would be a shame to see that change.

Its a long day and it will get more crowded as the day goes on – a lot of people get their wristband, stake out their location and then leave, coming back only before the concert – just realize that the nice spacious area you have at three in the afternoon might get more crowded by 8 p.m. – so don’t complain about it.

The bathrooms are porta-johns, but they do a great job keeping them clean and stocked throughout the day.  Probably the best job I’ve ever seen at any festival.

Think through your location selection carefully.  There are places you can’t see the fireworks from and other places where you can get a great view of the stage but will be baking in the sun all day.  There are some locations that offer a good balance of being able to see the show, sit in the shade, and see the fireworks, but you’ll have to figure that out for yourself, since I did and want to have the same spot next year!