12 Perfect Places To Watch Austin Fireworks On The 4th Of July

As July 4 approaches, many Austinites have begun to plan their Independence Day activities. While there are a number of fireworks displays across central Texas, none compare to the magnificent Austin fireworks show put on (almost) every year at Auditorium Shores, hosted this year by H-E-B and the Austin Symphony Orchestra.

However, as attendance for the Auditorium Shores show is often over 100,000 people, you might want to think twice about braving that crowd. If you’re looking for a more relaxing, less populated area to watch the show from, any of these locations will do just fine…

12. Juniper Street

auditorium shores lady bird lake fireworks new years eve celebration artillery shell zilker park butler park

Right off of E. 11th Street downtown, the surprisingly small Juniper Street is said to provide a great view of the show, if you can find an open parking space.

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11. Barton Creek Square Mall


Photo: Flickr user Joey Parsons, Creative Commons licensed.

Apart from providing a solid view of the show, we hear that the parking lot at Barton Creek Square Mall is also relatively quiet—sounds perfect for tailgating!

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10. Downtown Rooftop Lounges

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Photo: Flickr user Peter Hall, Creative Commons licensed.

Many downtown bars allow paying customers rooftop access to view the fireworks. You’ll have tons of venues to choose from, including places like Handlebar or The Market, most of which feature live music in true Austin style. Many bars sell table packages for the best views and drink specials, so give your favorite venue a call ahead of time to see what your options are.

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9. Any Of These Parks: Zilker Park, Shoal Beach, Sand Beach Park, Butler Shores, Rock Island, Lamar Beach, Deep Eddy Park

Photo: Flickr user Gino, creative commons licensed.

Photo: Flickr user Gino, Creative Commons licensed.

It’s recommended that you scout out a location ahead of time at these spots, as the tree cover can be problematic depending upon where you lay your blanket. There are still lots of great viewing areas in Austin’s amazing parks, so if you’ve got a favorite give it a shot!

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8. Lady Bird Lake Trail


Find a quiet area anywhere along the shoreline on Lady Bird Lake Trail. Don’t be afraid to explore a little to find that perfect spot away from people.

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7. Parking Garages

Photo: Flickr user Sean Loyless, creative commons licensed.

Flickr user Sean Loyless, Creative Commons licensed.

Some downtown parking garages allow tailgaters to watch fireworks from their rooftop levels, for a fee of course. Try the garage near 360 Condominiums or the Chase Bank parking garage at 5th and Guadalupe.

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6. St. Edwards University


Become a “hilltopper” and watch from the St. Edwards University campus. Take a blanket or chair out to the sports fields, or just commandeer the bleachers.

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5. Downtown Condominiums

austin's new years eve 2009 auditorium shores

Photo: Flickr user Perry Hall, Creative Commons licensed.

If you live in a condo fac

\ing the lake or know someone who does, sit out on the balcony for a bird’s eye view. The Austonian and 360 Condominiums both provide breathtaking views.

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4. Congress Bridge

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Watch the fireworks from the Congress Avenue Bridge. While the bridge is bound to be crowded, at least you know that 100,000 people won’t be there. The view is so spectacular that you won’t mind standing for the whole show.

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3. Treat Yourself to a Downtown Austin Hotel Room

View from Four Seasons.

Some of the best views in the city come with air conditioning, as long as you’re willing to spend some cash. Hotels like JW Marriott, Hotel Van Zandt, and Four Seasons boast some pretty spectacular looks at the Austin skyline. Just be sure to ask for a room facing the lake when booking (and booking early is probably a good idea). This is also a great option if you’re wanting to hit some surrounding bars afterward and not have to fight with thousands of other people for cabs, ride shares, or parking.

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2. Head West to the Hill Country Galleria

Fireworks from Hill Country Galleria by Brian Birzer Photography, with permission.

For a truly family-friendly fireworks celebration, the Hill Country Galleria in Bee Cave can’t be beat. Their annual Independence Day Celebration is free and includes live music, face painting, and other kids’ activities, and an all-day sidewalk sale by all of the Galleria retailers. And of course, the centerpiece to the evening, they’ve got what they claim is the “best fireworks show in Central Texas” to end the evening (starting at 9 p.m.). Guests are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets and enjoy live music beginning at 6:30 p.m. Parking for the event is free.

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1. Lady Bird Lake

auditorium shores lady bird lake fireworks new years eve celebration artillery shell zilker park butler park

This is the best way to watch the Auditorium Shores fireworks, hands down: rent a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard from a spot like the Rowing Dock or another rental company by the lake, and launch either from the north side of the lake and row to S. First Street or launch from the south side and row to Lamar.

If you’d rather not do this alone, hook up with a community group like Hill Country Outdoors. Alternatively, you could always catch a leisurely ride on a Lone Star Riverboat, if paddling or possibly falling in isn’t on your agenda.

Happy Fourth of July!

Additional reporting by Laurie Lyons-Makaimoku.

*Note: The photos above don’t necessarily show the view you’ll get from any of the locations listed. Also, since these are all collected responses from Austin Internet users and the wisdom of our team members, let’s just agree that the author(s) of this piece won’t be held responsible if the spot you pick turns out to be crowded. Go early, people!

Featured photo: Flickr user Gino, Creative Commons licensed.