Going to the Esplanade on July 4?

Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/File

It’s a Fourth of July staple: the Boston Pops concert at the Hatch Shell and fireworks over the Charles to mark Independence Day.

You can find more details at the event’s website , but here’s a handy cheat sheet of what you need to know.

The 44th annual Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular takes place July 4. Gates to the Hatch Memorial Shell, along the Esplanade, open at 9 a.m. The Pops Orchestra takes the stage at 8 p.m. Fireworks blast off at 10:30 p.m. It’ll be time to roll home at 11 p.m.


This year’s slate of performers includes Andy Grammer, Melissa Etheridge, Leslie Odom Jr. of “Hamilton” fame, and the US Army Field Band.

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Even if you’re not at the Hatch Shell to see the concert, you can hear it throughout the Esplanade and on the Cambridge side of the Charles River.

The preliminary forecast for Tuesday calls for mostly sunny conditions, with a high of 80 degrees and a low of 63. That’s tame compared with some past Fourths, but do expect to sweat. And as Baz Luhrmann once intoned, “Trust me on the sunscreen.”

Getting to the Hatch Shell (hint: don’t drive)

Don’t even think about taking your car into the city, unless you want a lengthy walk and some headaches. A number of roads will be closed, including Storrow Drive.

The Charles (Red Line) and Arlington (Green Line) subway stops are each about a 10-minute walk from the Hatch Shell. A number of other stations are less than a mile away, including Copley, Downtown Crossing, Park Street, and Science Park.


If you choose to watch the fireworks from the Cambridge side of the Charles, your best bet is to take the Red Line to Kendall.

State Police have released a list of road closures and parking restrictions, which include shutting down large stretches of Storrow and Memorial drives and many nearby feeder streets. Some of the closures begin Monday, July 3. To reiterate, public transportation is your best bet. Leave the car at home.

If you insist on driving, organizers recommend parking at the 201 Stuart St. garage. Google Maps says it’s about a 15-minute walk. There’s also parking under the Boston Common, but that will no doubt fill up early — and getting out can be a major pain.

Where should I watch the fireworks?

Watch on the Boston side of the Charles. You’ll find good views anywhere along the Esplanade between the bridges. Keep in mind, it will be crowded.

You can also catch the spectacular from the Cambridge side. That’s slightly less crowded. Sound towers are erected on the Cambridge shores, too, so you can listen to the Pops concert.


Get on a boat. You can take a fireworks cruise. In past years, boats under 12 feet in height have been allowed in the river, as long as you stay 100 feet from shore and 1,000 feet from the fireworks barges.

If you know someone who knows someone who can get you on the top floor of a building — the higher the better — you’re golden.

* There will be no fireworks viewing from the Longfellow Bridge because of construction issues, nor will there be viewing from the Mass. Ave. Bridge. Same as last year.

What you can’t bring

Booze, aluminum cans, glass containers, premixed beverages: These are no-nos, and with police officers crawling all over the place, you’ll probably get caught. If you bring beverages, they must be in unopened plastic bottles no larger than 2 liters.

Also on the banned list: backpacks, coolers on wheels, shopping bags. The Globe’s Emily Sweeney has a thorough guide here.

OK, I really don’t want to leave my air-conditioned house . . . is this on TV?

In recent years, the concert and fireworks were aired on WBZ-TV (Channel 4). This year, it’s on Bloomberg Television, which you might or might not get. The audio will be streamed at and on Bloomberg Radio’s app, or you can tune your radio to 1200 AM. Read a whole story about how to catch the show on TV, computer, or radio here.

I just want to see the Pops play but avoid the bedlam. Can I?

As is tradition, the Pops will hold its rehearsal concert, weather permitting, July 3 at the Hatch Shell. It does draw a crowd, but you won’t feel like a sardine. The concert runs from 8 to 10 p.m. No fireworks, though.

Sean Smyth can be reached at