July 4th In New York: Fireworks, Music, & Hot Dogs

In keeping with years past, Macy's will be providing the not-to-be-missed fireworks this Fourth of July. Luckily, there are plenty of great places to not miss them.

Macy's recommends watching from Piers 54 and 84, but those will most likely be a zoo. The West Side Highway should offer a much less chaotic alternative, with entrances along Eleventh Avenue, below 59th street.

Hoboken is also a recommended destination to view the fireworks. According to New York Magazine, the Garden State has a "zero-tolerance policy for rooftop parties and open containers." But fun can still be had here! A street festival on Frank Sinatra Drive (between 1st and 7th streets) will usher in the Independence Day festivities at noon, and Hoboken should have a pretty clear view of the 9:20 pm fireworks.

If you'd rather not sit cross-legged in a park for hours, head over to the Empire State Building. The 86th Floor observatory is closing early, but with a ticket you can watch fireworks while munching on snacks and soft drinks from 8 to 10:30 pm.

However, the best view may in fact be in your living room. The fireworks will be on NBC starting at 9 pm featuring the soothing soundtrack of the New York Pops Orchestra and Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Those sounds can't really travel to Hoboken.

Like Paul Revere -- who deserves a shout-out on this special day -- we too can appreciate the value of having both a land and sea option. Fortunately, there are several great seaside places to see the 'works.

The Water Taxi Cruise departs from South Side Seaport and travels westward to ensure a winning view of the fireworks. Tickets are still available here.

The Jewel also still has tickets. More importantly, with a ticket, it has an open bar.

But let's be honest -- who really needs fireworks? The coolest thing to do this July Fourth may be in Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park. Come between 1-4 pm on Saturday or Sunday and sign a replica of the Declaration of Independence. You can also make a plumed hat!

Interested in other esoteric options to celebrate America's independence? There's really no shortage of them.

Hit up Lincoln Center for a salsa lesson, as part of their Midsummer Night Swing Series, or Pole Dance to indie band Delorean at MoMA PS1.

World-famous competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi may not be in Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island, but that doesn't mean you should forgo watching the other eaters battle it out. Be sure to get there early for a prime spot.

But the real place you should head to at the crack of dawn is Governors Island, where She & Him will be playing a much-hyped free concert. The folky duo released their second CD, Volume Two, in March of this year.

They're currently on a major North American tour, but their music was meant to be listened to outdoors. So don't stress about their Terminal 5 show selling out, and make sure to get to Governors Island before it reaches capacity (which it undoubtedly will). Water taxis run between Manhattan and Governors Island from the Battery Maritime Building on 10 South Street.