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    A guide to the Fourth of July on the Esplanade

    Boston MA 04/04/17 The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular from the roof of Boston University Dorm at 33 Harry Agganis Way. (Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff) topic: 05IndepenceDay reporter:
    Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff/File
    The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular in 2017 from the roof of a Boston University dorm at 33 Harry Agganis Way.

    BostonGlobe.com will provide a livestream of the Boston Pops show and fireworks display at 8 p.m.

    An estimated half-million people crowd the banks of the Charles River Esplanade for the annual July Fourth celebration. As you prepare to travel to Boston for the party, music, and fireworks, there are a few things you’ll need to know:

    Let’s start with the basics. What is the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular?

    The celebration is a two-day event, starting July 3 with a concert. There are no fireworks associated with the event that day.

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    July 4 is the main event (no surprise there). The evening includes a concert by the Boston Pops and fireworks, but many visitors camp out on the Esplanade early in the day, enjoying a picnic or some lawn games. It can be an all-day celebration if you choose!

    Do I need a ticket?

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    No. For last-minute planners, that’s the good news. The bad news? You’ll need to be an early riser if you want to be close to the Hatch Shell stage for the big concert.

    When to arrive

    The gates for the Hatch Shell area open at 9 a.m. on July 4, so pack your snacks and be ready to enjoy a long day on the grass if you want a seat up close.

    The concert begins at 8 p.m., and the fireworks begin at 10:30 p.m. So if you’d rather grab a spot elsewhere along the Esplanade, you can arrive whenever you’d like. Just prepare for crowds.

    In addition to the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, led by conductor Keith Lockhart, the 2018 performers include Rachel Platten, Rhiannon Giddens, The Indigo Girls, and Rita Moreno. Also on the bill are Natalie Cortez and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.

    How to get to the Esplanade

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    If you can walk or take public transportation to the Esplanade, that is recommended.

    The two closest MBTA stations on the Boston side of the Esplanade are Charles-MGH on the Red Line and Arlington on the Green Line. The two closest MBTA stations on the Cambridge side are Kendall/MIT and Central, both on the Red Line.

    Many roads near the Esplanade will be closed to traffic and/or parking leading up to and through the program. (More on that towards the end of this article.) If you drive to the event, there are several public parking garages within walking distance of the Esplanade.

    There will also be accessible shuttles between the Esplanade and the parking lot of Massachusetts Eye and Ear.

    More details can be found on the program website.

    What you can bring along (these regulations also apply to the events on July 3, except where noted)

      Blankets or tarps (maximum size: 10 feet x 10 feet)

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      Folding and beach chairs

      Coolers with a shoulder strap or single handle (coolers with wheels are not allowed)

      Small clutch bags and purses, which will be inspected, and then allowed into the venue in a clear bag

     All other personal items must be carried in clear bags, and all liquids must be carried in clear, plastic containers with a maximum size of 2 liters

      Bicycles, except through the checkpoints into the Oval and Island/Lagoon areas

     Pop-up tents and canopies without sides (maximum size: 10 feet x 10 feet) — Only allowed on July 4

    What you should leave at home (these regulations also apply to the events on July 3)

      Backpacks

      Firearms, weapons, and sharp objects

      Fireworks

      Alcoholic beverages

      Premixed beverages

      Glass containers and cans

      Coolers on wheels

     Grilling, propane tanks, or open flames

      Drones or other unmanned aerial vehicles

    MBTA schedule

    The local subway and bus lines will run on Sunday schedules, in addition to the RIDE.

    The commuter rail and ferry lines will all run on Saturday schedules.

    Check the MBTA website for more information.

    Watching from home

    Not a fan of the crowds? You can tune into the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular from the comfort of your own home.

    You can also stream the event online at BostonGlobe.com, Boston.com, Bloomberg.com, and BostonPopsJuly4th.org.

    You can watch the program on television on WHDH (Channel 7) or on Bloomberg Television.

    Road closures

    Beginning at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Berkeley at Beacon streets will be closed, according to the city.

    Additional information on road closures can be found on the Boston Pops’ website.

    Starting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, the following roads will be closed:

    • Beacon Street, from Charles Street to Massachusetts Avenue, and all streets feeding into Beacon Street

    • Berkeley Street, from Commonwealth Avenue to Beacon Street

    • Dartmouth Street, from Commonwealth Avenue to Beacon Street

    • Fairfield Street, from Commonwealth Avenue to Beacon Street

    • Hereford Street, from Commonwealth Avenue to Beacon Street

    Additionally, anyone parked on Beacon Street’s north side (even number addresses) from Berkeley to Clarendon streets from Saturday through Wednesday could face being towed.

    Parking on the following streets could put you at risk for towing Tuesday and Wednesday:

    • Arlington Street both sides, from Beacon Street to Commonwealth Avenue

    • Berkeley Street both sides, from Marlborough Street to Back Street

    • Clarendon Street both sides, from Marlborough Street to Back Street

    • Dartmouth Street both sides, from Marlborough Street to Back Street

    • Exeter Street both sides, from Marlborough Street to Back Street

    • Beacon Street both sides, from Charles Street to Dartmouth Street

    • Back Street both sides, from Dartmouth Street to David G Mugar Way

    • Chestnut Street both sides, from David G Mugar Way to Brimmer Street

    • Mount Vernon Street both sides, from David G Mugar Way to Brimmer Street

    • Pinckney Street both sides, from David G Mugar Way to Brimmer Street

    • Revere Street both sides, from David G Mugar Way to Charles Street

    Parking on the following streets could put you at risk for towing on Wednesday:

    • Arlington Street both sides, from Commonwealth Avenue to St. James Avenue

    • Berkeley Street both sides, from Marlborough Street to Boylston Street

    • Clarendon Street both sides, from Commonwealth Avenue to Marlborough Street

    • Dartmouth Street both sides, from Commonwealth Avenue to Marlborough Street

    • Exeter Street both sides, from Commonwealth Avenue to Marlborough Street

    • Fairfield Street both sides, from Commonwealth Avenue to Back Street

    • Gloucester Street both sides, from Commonwealth Avenue to Back Street

    • Hereford Street both sides, from Commonwealth Avenue to Back Street

    • Massachusetts Avenue both sides, from Commonwealth Avenue to Back Street

    • Beacon Street both sides, from Dartmouth Street to Charlesgate East

    • Boylston Street both sides, from Berkeley Street to Arlington Street

    Felicia Gans can be reached at felicia.gans@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans.