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Boston Harborfest & Fireworks 2023

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Dates:Saturday, July 1, 2023 - Tuesday, July 4, 2023
Hours:9:00am - 9:00pm
Cost:Free see below

boston harborfest  fireworks 2023 photoBoston Harborfest is a decades-old tradition celebrating Boston’s harbor and history, and it’s back for 2023!

The 42nd edition of Boston Harborfest runs June 30 through July 4 with events stretching from Downtown Crossing to the North End and from the Boston Common to Boston Harbor.

With hundreds of activities over Independence Day weekend at Boston’s best landmarks, this family-friendly event is one of the country’s largest Fourth of July festivals.

Activities include the annual opening ceremony in Downtown Crossing, historical reenactments, Freedom Trail walks, boat tours, live entertainment, and much more!

Traditional historical reenactments and Freedom Trail tours, along with other historical sites, will offer interactive experiences and festivities throughout the weekend, along with live musical entertainment and events that reflect the city’s seafaring heritage and innovative spirit.

2023 Event Highlights

DAILY: Daily events June 30 through July 3 include live performances from local performers and musicians across genres will entertain visitors from stages in Downtown Crossing, kid-friendly puppet shows from Through Me To You Puppetry, roaming musicians, historical re-enactors, and costumed characters.

JUNE 30: 12 noon to 1 PM - Harborfest Opening Ceremony. A ceremonial cake-cutting with public officials and hospitality leaders kicks off Boston Harborfest 2023. Roving re-enactors and staff from the USS Constitution engage with visitors, while the Massachusetts 215th Army Band begins an afternoon of performances. Includes cutting and serving of the ceremonial cake, “living historians,” and more. FREE. (The Steps at Downtown Crossing)

11 AM to 5:30 PM – Downtown Boston Arts Market. A vibrant market in the heart of downtown highlights a wide selection of goods from local artisans. Shoppers will find handmade items from around Massachusetts – everything from jewelry and clothing to textiles, beauty and personal care items, and more. (Summer Street Plaza)


In addition to this evening’s Boston Harborfest Fireworks viewable at Long Wharf at 9:15p and the Pre-Fireworks Concert at Christopher Columbus Park at 6p, today’s Downtown Boston highlights include:

1 to 4 PM – Middlesex County Volunteers Fife and Drums. Historic ensemble performs throughout the neighborhood, bringing authentic folk music and iconic patriotic hymns from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Performance locations include Summer Street Plaza, Old State House, Old City Hall, and Old South Meeting House. FREE.

2 to 3 PM – Macy's Fashion Show. A festive Macy’s Independence Day-themed fashion show highlights the latest streetwear looks on citizen models from the neighborhood, including the best of new summer trends. FREE (Steps at Downtown Crossing)

6 PM Pre-Fireworks Concert at Christopher Columbus Park

9:15 PM Fireworks viewable at Long Wharf at 9:15p


12 Noon to 3 PM – Patriotic Poochapalooza. Costumed four-legged patriots face a guest panel awarding prizes for Best in Show, Best Team, Most Creative and Most Patriotic. A doggie marketplace pop-up includes treats for pets. FREE. (Steps at Downtown Crossing)


In addition to the Christopher Columbus Park Harborfest Concert from 1-5p, today’s Downtown Boston highlights include:

12 Noon to 7 PM – Live Performances and Entertainment. An array of local performers and musicians across genres will entertain visitors from stages in Downtown Crossing, while historical re-enactors and costumed entertainers engage the crowds with family-friendly programming. FREE. (Summer St. Plaza; Steps at Downtown Crossing)


9 AM – City of Boston’s 247th Independence Day Celebration. A short parade steps off from City Hall Plaza and passes the Granary Burial Ground, where wreaths will be laid on the graves of patriots. Parade continues to the Old State House where the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company will continue its tradition of reading of the Declaration of Independence from the balcony. FREE. Parade viewing available along the route.

10 AM – The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company reads the Declaration of Independence from the balcony of the Old State House.

1:30 PM – A Day of Unity: Reading Fredrick Douglass. This event centers on a community-led reading of Frederick Douglass's abolitionist speech 'What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?' Embracing both stirring historical and joyful contemporary elements, the “A Day of Unity” includes live music from Darlene Wynn, Tempo International Rhythm & Steel, African Drum Circle, and DJ Joe Johnson. Uprising Dance Theatre performs. Event concludes with an ice cream social. FREE (Steps at Downtown Crossing)

The award-winning festival strives to honor and remember the past, celebrate the present and educate the future with reenactments, concerts, historical tours and much, much more.

View the full list of events

Over 200 Daily Events during the weeklong festival are concentrated in Boston's historic downtown and waterfront districts, with Main Sponsored Events on Boston's City Hall Plaza.

Over the years, Harborfest has grown from a local event to a national celebration. In 1982 there were 35 activities over the course of three days. Harborfest is considered to be the largest patriotic celebration in the nation with visitors enjoying more than 200 activities during the weeklong festival.

There's no better place to celebrate our nation's independence than at Boston Harborfest.

Find lots more fun things to do in Boston during the summer in our July & August guides to family fun.  And since summer is a great time to be outside, check out our guide to Boston outdoor activities, featuring lots of cool places to enjoy a beautiful summer day. 

Find lots more ideas on fun things to do in Boston.

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Most events are free however there is a cost associated with certain ones. Please visit to see a full list of events.



City Hall Plaza, Boston, MA map

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2-starChildren's Day Is Lame
A large presence of the Naval recruiting folk at an event for young children. Free samples of processed meat and high fructose corn syrup for the kids. Ridiculous lines for a single person making balloon animals and for face painting. Mayor Mumbles just Barely sounding out a children's book. This was one of the few days this summer I think we were glad it started raining.


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