Where to see Fourth of July fireworks in the Twin Cities: Hot spots, fun facts and more


Updated 7/5/2014 3:35 pm

Ready or not, the Fourth of July is Friday, and so are some of the biggest fireworks shows of the summer. Minnesotans will watch fireworks burst and streak colors against the night sky, as people have since the invention of fireworks in seventh-century China. So where are the best places to see the two big shows in the Twin Cities, or fireworks displays wherever you are spending the Fourth?  Scroll down for lists, tips and resources, and check TC Weekend for happenings around town to keep the good times rolling!

The Twin Cities’ two big shows — Red, White and Boom! in Minneapolis, and Saint Paul’s big fireworks show at the state Capitol — lead the list of great fireworks displays across the state. The St. Paul show is usually produced as part of Taste of Minnesota, but plans were rearranged due to flooding at Harriet Island.

One popular fireworks show is missing — no fireworks at Powderhorn Park this year. 

Photos by Aaron Shaffer were submitted as part of last year’s Fireworks Photo Challenge (except where noted). Click the link to see more great photo entries.
Want to see your photo in the Daily Planet? Send Fourth of July photos to tcweekend@tcdailyplanet.com or hashtag them with #tcfireworks. 

Fireworks in the Twin Cities:
Get a head start on the Fourth!
The St. Paul Saints are playing and they’ll have post-game fireworks after the game on July 3. (If you want to go to the game, it’s Thirsty Thursday, with one-dollar beer.) Details here


Red, White, and Boom! – July 4

Main Street and 3rd Ave., Minneapolis (riverfront between Stone Arch and 3rd Avenue Bridge)

Free family-friendly festivities from 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm in Father Hennepin Park, 420 Main St. SE Minneapolis; Fireworks at 10 pm

More details here


Saint Paul Capitol Mall Fireworks – July 4

Capitol Mall will open at 8 pm; Fireworks at 10 pm

Additional info from stpaul.gov:

The family friendly event is free and the Capitol Mall will open to the public beginning at 8:00 p.m. Pre-packaged food and beverages are allowed, but grills, alcohol, and personal fireworks are prohibited. Additionally, the fireworks will not be visible from the Mississippi River area and residents are reminded to use commonsense and abide by all park and road closures, which are clearly marked. 

The event area will be closed to vehicle traffic from Rice Street to Cedar Street and from University Avenue to 12th Street West. While there are parking ramps around the area, visitors are encouraged to take public transit, including light rail and bus, to and from the show.

(Photo by Bala Sivakumar. Some rights reserved, published under Creative Commons license)

Best places to see the fireworks:

Minneapolis.org has provided a great list of places to see fireworks in Minneapolis (and Excelsior) — including insider tips:

“1. Stone Arch Bridge: This is the absolute best place to see the skies. Watching fireworks on the Stone Arch Bridge is like watching history, as the bridge is a link to the rich past of Minneapolis. You’ll be right above the Mississippi River and right below the action. Get her early, though; as this is the best spot, it fills up quick.

2. Gold Medal Park: One of the most underrated spots in downtown Minneapolis, Gold Medal Park offers a more traditional viewing experience. Throw a blanket on the grass, throw a ball around and gaze up at the fireworks while you lie down and relax.

INSIDER TIP: “Bring bug spray.” -Scott 

3. Mill City Museum: Watching fireworks from the Mill City Museum Observation Deck is as close to a VIP setting as you’ll get. Only 50 people get access, and you have to pay ($35), but the view is absolutely worth the cost. As an added bonus, you get admission into the museum beforehand.

INSIDER TIP: “If you’re reading this, then you need to stop what you’re doing and order tickets NOW! These tickets go very quickly and the view is sublime.” -Kristen

4. Guthrie Endless Bridge: A more unconventional place to watch fireworks, true, but it has that same VIP feel that the Mill City Museum Observation Deck has. You’ll be off the ground and closer to the action, and you’ll have a completely unobstructed view of the fireworks.

5. Restaurant Rooftops: A lot of people don’t generally think of restaurants as prime places to watch fireworks, but we say, “Why not?!” You’re up in the air, you’ll have a great view AND there are people that will serve you food and alcohol. Check out a map of some cool places here, or read this Top 10 Patio list we compiled.

6. Lake Calhoun: Parks are great, and buildings are very cool places to get closer to the fireworks. But, if you want the most authentic 4th of July “I LOVE AMERICA” experience, Lake Calhoun is where you want to be. Grill out, play some volleyball, kayak/paddle on the lake and chill on the beach while you get a great view of the downtown fireworks.

7. Commons Park – Excelsior: If you are in the west metro enjoy the only public 4th of July fireworks event on the shores of Lake Minnetonka can expereinced at Commons Park in downtown Excelsior. 

*All fireworks start at 10pm.”

You can also plug your zip code into twincitiesfireworks.com to find fireworks in places like Blaine, Chaska, Apple Valley and more. If you will be outside the Twin Cities for the Fourth, you can also use this website to locate fireworks in other parts of the state. 


Fireworks Fun Facts: 

Curious to know the origins and popularity of fireworks? Statistic Brain compiled firework statistics, while CBS News gives a peek behind the science of fireworks (including an explosive video breakdown from American Chemical Society). And if that isn’t enough information for you, the U.S. Census Bureau provides a few tidbits about fireworks and the Fourth.


Where will you go to see fireworks this year?  Do you like one of the places listed above, or do you have another spot? Use the comment section below to share your favorite spots or firework shows. Also, if you take a great photo of the fireworks and want to share, tag your photo with #tcdpic or the name of the event, and check back to find your photo added to the Storify over the weekend (refresh you browser if you don’t see the Storify). You can also send your suggestions or photos to tcweekend@dailyplanet.net.

Have a happy and safe Fourth (and don’t forget your bug spray!)


Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Funders Collaborative.