1. Things to Do

Let freedom zing: Where to watch fireworks in Tampa Bay

Where are the fireworks?

Our listings here have all the activities and concerts leading up to the big bang, but if you just want to know where to see explosions in the sky, here's a quick look at Friday night's lights, all beginning around 9 p.m.


St. Petersburg Spa Beach at the Pier approach, 615 Second Ave. N, St. Petersburg

St. Pete Beach launched from Upham Beach, 6850 Beach Plaza

Clearwater Coachman Park, 301 Drew St.

Treasure Island Bilmar Beach Resort, 10650 Gulf Blvd.

Tarpon Springs Fred Howard Park, 1700 Sunset Drive, Gulfport, Beach Boulevard

• Madeira Beach, Archibald Park, 15100 Gulf Blvd.

Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive

• Safety Harbor City Marina, 110 Veterans Memorial Lane


• Tampa, Channelside Bay Plaza, 615 Channelside Drive

• Tampa, Hogan's Beach, 7700 Courtney Campbell Causeway

• Plant City Stadium, 1810 E Park Road


• Dade City , Pasco County Fairgrounds, 36722 State Road 52

Manatee/ Sarasota

• Palmetto, Sutton Park, Sixth Street and 10th Avenue W

• Sarasota, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 811 S Palm Ave., Sarasota

Fourth of July events

Clearwater Threshers

After the team plays the Dunedin Blue Jays today, they will have a huge fireworks show. $5-$9.50. Bright House Field, 601 N Old Coachman Road, Clearwater. (727) 467-4467. 7 p.m. Thursday.

Freedom Festival: Wesley Chapel Fourth of July

Wesley Chapel celebrates Independence Day early with this festival including a bicycle decorating contest, watermelon eating contest, Little Miss and Mr. Firecracker Pageant and fireworks. Free. The Shops at Wiregrass, 28211 Paseo Drive, Wesley Chapel. (813) 994-2242. 5-9 p.m. Thursday.

Jonny Reno's Third of July Party

Put on your dancing shoes for an early Independence Day party with live music by the Hunks of Funk. Free. Ferg's Sports Bar & Grill, 1320 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 822-4562. 8 p.m.

Clearwater Celebrates America: Fourth of July

The city's annual Independence Day celebration will feature a mascot parade (4:30 p.m.), Radio Disney kids zone (5 p.m.), a performance by the Mostly Pops Orchestra (7:30 p.m.) and the "Spark the Sky" fireworks display (9:30 p.m.). Gates open at 4 p.m. Free. Coachman Park, 301 Drew St., Clearwater. (727) 562-4700. 4-9:30 p.m. Friday.

Fourth of July in Downtown St. Petersburg

The fireworks set to go off at 9 p.m. can be seen from most of the city's waterfront parks. Weather conditions may bump up or delay the start time up to 30-minutes. Free. Spa Beach at the Pier approach, 615 Second Ave. N, St. Petersburg. 9 p.m. Friday.

Light Up Channelside

The Channel District salutes the Fourth of July with live music, food trucks and fireworks. Free. Channelside Bay Plaza, 615 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 223-4250. 5 p.m. Friday.

St. Pete Beach Parade and Fireworks

Kids are encouraged to decorate their bicycles and ride in an old-fashioned parade. Stick around for a treasure hunt among the museum exhibits. Free. Gulf Beaches Historical Museum, 115 10th Ave., St. Pete Beach. Fireworks begin around 9 p.m., launched from Upham Beach, 6850 Beach Plaza. (727) 552-1610. 8:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday.

Fourth of July at Shephard's

A performance by singer Justin Rhodes (from America's Got Talent) kicks off the celebration followed by the Freestyle Flashback Party with George Lamond, Rockell and Johnny O. $10 after 11 p.m. Shephard's Beach Resort, 619 S Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater. (727) 441-6875. 7 p.m. Friday.

Gulfport's Fourth of July Celebration

The day starts early with a kids fishing derby casting off from the sea wall adjacent to the recreation center at 8 a.m. Plan on sticking around the beach for the sand sculpting contest (11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.). Parents can take the children to unwind in the Kidzone (noon-5 p.m.). A craft area opens at 4 p.m., and the event's official live music kicks off at 5 p.m. Clear the street for a parade on Beach Boulevard at 6 p.m., but stick around the area for the fireworks finale at 9:05 p.m. Times are tentative, please check for updates. Free. Beach Boulevard, Gulfport. (727) 893-1118. 8 a.m.-9:05 p.m. Friday.

It's a Freedom Thing

Treasure Island's Fourth of July party also celebrates the grand opening of the snack shack with food, drinks and live music by Horses Wild. Fireworks close out the day at 9 p.m. Free. Archibald Park, 15100 Gulf Blvd., Madeira Beach. (727) 360-4121. 5-9 p.m. Friday.

Largo Fourth of July Celebration

Largo gets set to "Light Up the Park" with this Independence Day celebration including DJ music, activities, food vendors and fireworks. Free (limited $5 parking available). Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive, Largo. (727) 587-6740. 6-9:15 p.m. Friday.

Patriotic Picnic in the Park

Pack a picnic basket and bring the family for a fun day in the park. Free. Craig Park, 5 Beekman Way, Tarpon Springs. (727) 942-5628. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday.

'Patriotic Evening' Fourth of July Celebration

Old-fashioned hometown festival at Liberty and Wallace Brooks parks that includes live music by the Velvet Jones Band, games, an honor guard, food vendors and a fireworks extravaganza over Lake Henderson. Free. Liberty Park, 286 N Apopka Ave., Inverness. (352) 726-2611. 6 p.m. Thursday.

Fourth of July at MFA

Groove to live tunes by Dean Johanesen while you enjoy your fill of a gourmet barbecue buffet, art and the best seat in town for the St. Petersburg fireworks. $45, $38 members (reservations required). Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg. (727) 822-1032. 6 p.m. Friday.

Florida Aquarium

Enter the Florida Aquarium for a front row seat of the fireworks, extended hours, family entertainment starting at 3 p.m. and all-American themed dinner options for purchase. $23.95, $20.95 for seniors 60+, $18.95 for kids 3-12. Prices are generally about $2 cheaper if you buy them online at the aquarium's site. Florida Aquarium, 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 273-4000. 9:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Friday.

History Center Celebrates

The History Center celebrates Independence Day by offering free admission and extended hours on July 4. Costumed re-enactors will share hands-on displays of artifacts, uniforms, crafts and music representing the Civil-War, Seminole War, Spanish American War, and WWII-era soldiers, sailors and citizens. Stick around in Cotanchobee Park for a view of the Channelside fireworks (9 p.m.). Free. Tampa Bay History Center, 801 Old Water St., Tampa. (813) 228-0097. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday.

Red, White and Zoo

In honor of Independence Day, the zoo holds a military appreciation program. Members of the military and up to three direct dependents will be admitted to the zoo free of charge. Includes active duty, retirees and veterans. Regular admission: $24.95, $22.95 seniors, $19.95 ages 3-11, 2 and younger free. Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa. (813) 935-8552. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Sunday.

July 4 Weekend at Hogan's Beach

An Independence Day barbecue and fireworks show hosted by Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart will kick off the weekend celebration with performances by Pitbull Toddler, DJ Gemini, Barry Carew, Kid-Unot, Chris Craze and Tony Puccio. On Saturday the DJs leave to make room for a country line-up with headliners, Love and Theft along with Trailer Choir, Soul Circus Cowboys and Mixin Dixie. On Sunday, DJ Carnage will perform. $15-$30. Hogan's Beach, 7700 Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa. (813) 281-8900. 2-8:30 p.m. Friday, 7 p.m.-midnight Saturday, noon Sunday.

Lutz Independence Day Celebration

Lutz shows its hometown pride with this holiday celebration themed "Saluting Lutz Volunteer Fire Department." The day includes a bake contest (6 a.m.), 5K race (8 a.m.), one-mile fun run (8:45 a.m.), flag raising ceremony (9 a.m.), parade (10 a.m.) and a vendor area (11 a.m.). Free. Lutz Train Depot, U.S. 41 and W Lutz Lake Fern Road, Lutz. (813) 949-1937. 6-11 a.m. Friday.

Plant City Fourth of July

Plant City's family style Fourth of July celebration features old fashioned picnic games including volleyball, corn hole and tug-o-war, inflatables, face painting, live music and a 20-minute fireworks finale. Free, $5 parking. Plant City Stadium and Randy Larson Softball Four-Plex, 1810 E Park Road, Plant City. (813) 659-4255. 6-9:15 p.m. Friday.

Safety Harbor Fourth of July

Find a good seat at the Marina or the back lawn of the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa and enjoy a day of children's activities, live entertainment, food vendors and fireworks. Free. Safety Harbor City Marina, 110 Veterans Memorial Lane, Safety Harbor. (727) 724-1572. 5-10:30 p.m. Friday.

Safety Harbor Fourth of July Parade

Wear your red, white and blue and join the American Legion Auxilliary for a short parade down Main Street. Free. Safety Harbor Main Street Parade Route, Main Street and Second Avenue N, Safety Harbor. (727) 726-9601. 10 a.m.-noon Friday.

Sparklebration Star-Spangled Spectacular

Festivities include live music, a food court, watermelon eating and seed spitting contests, a hot dog eating contest, petting zoo, bounce houses, pony rides, face painting and a fireworks finale. No coolers, alcohol, pets or personal fireworks. Bring blankets and chairs for the fireworks show. $5, 12 and younger free; parking $5. Pasco County Fairgrounds, 36722 State Road 52, Dade City. (352) 567-6678. noon Friday.

Tampa Bay Rowdies

Stick around after the Rowdies take on the Strikers for a post game view of St. Petersburg's fireworks. $17-$40. Progress Energy Park/Al Lang Field, 180 Second Ave. SE, St. Petersburg. Toll-free 1-877-769-3437. 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Tarpon Springs Fourth of July Fireworks

The fireworks will be launched from Sunset Beach, but the City of Tarpon Springs says the best viewing spot is Howard Park. They're set to go off at "dusk," which is estimated to be 8:30 p.m. Free. Fred Howard Park, 1700 Sunset Drive, Tarpon Springs. (727) 938-3711. 8:30 p.m. Friday.

Treasure Island Rockin' Red Glare: Fourth of July

Come out to the beach and join Treasure Island's salute to the holiday with a giant fireworks extravaganza. Free. Bilmar Beach Resort, 10650 Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island. (727) 547-4575. 9 p.m. Friday.

Tropical Fourth of July

Bring your blankets and chairs to the gardens for a tropical celebration with bayfront fireworks, live music from Impulse, children's activities, a bounce house, lawn games and food. No coolers. $20, $17 members, 11 and younger free. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 811 S Palm Ave., Sarasota. (941) 366-5731. 6 p.m. Friday.

Summer Fireworks Dinner Cruise

This week, the fireworks and cruise moves to Friday to honor Independence Day. Join Yacht StarShip for a 2.5-hour cruise including reserved table, a three-course seated meal, DJ dancing and a view of the Light Up Channelside fireworks display. $74.95, $39.95 ages 4-13, 3 and younger free. Yacht StarShip, 603 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 223-7999. 6:30-9:30 p.m. Friday.

Family Funfest at American Victory Ship

The holiday family festival features face painting, arts and crafts, food trucks, entertainment, drinks and fireworks viewing from the deck of the former WWII supply ship. $12, $7 children, $10 seniors/military. SS American Victory, 705 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Toll-free 1-866-468-7630. 6:30-9:30 p.m. Friday.

Channelside Fireworks Cruise

Resort casual attire is required for this floating Fourth of July party with an open bar, American buffet, DJ dancing and a front row seat for the fireworks at Channelside. $119.95, $59.95 children. Yacht StarShip, 603 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 223-7999. 6:30-9:30 p.m. Friday.

Patriotic Water Ski Show

Skiers ages 6-60 perform a theatrical water show with a patriotic salute to Independence Day. Expect to see a lot of red, white and blue, along with barefoot, jump, ballet, adagio and pyramid acts. Free. Tower Lake, 130 Burbank Road , Oldsmar. (727) 480-9365. 6 p.m. Saturday.

Pier 22 Fourth of July Celebration

Dine under the fireworks at Pier 22, with live music, a pig roast, prime rib, sushi, shrimp, oysters, barbecue chicken. Reservations required. $69.95, $19.95 ages 11 and younger. Pier 22 Restaurant, 1200 First Ave. W, Bradenton. (941) 748-8087. 6 p.m. Friday.

Theme parks


The park has created a fireworks show that will include music from The Lego Movie on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Park hours on those nights extended to 9 p.m. Songs such as Everything Is Awesome! will be incorporated into the fireworks, which are enhanced by viewing glasses that make the pyrotechnics look like Lego bricks. Legoland Florida, One Legloland Way, Winter Haven. (877) 350-5346. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Sunday.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Get to Hollywood Boulevard for the Rockin' Fourth of July celebration at the sorcerers hat with DJ dancing beginning at 6 p.m. A special fireworks show set to a rock 'n' roll soundtrack follows at 10:15 p.m. $94, $88 ages 3-9, 2 and younger free. Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, 1515 N Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista. (407) 939-6244. 6-11 p.m. Friday.


Meet and greets with characters decked out in patriotic garb and performances by the Voices of Liberty starting at 12:30 p.m. A special patriotic finale, the Heartbeat of Freedom, is tacked on to the IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth lagoon show (10 p.m.). $94, $88 ages 3-9, 2 and younger free. Epcot at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista. (407) 934-7639. 12:30-10 p.m. Friday.

Disney's Magic Kingdom

Fourth of July extends to two days this year with the 14-minute 360-degree Celebrate America: Concert in the Sky fireworks show at about 9 p.m. nightly. $99, $93 ages 3-9, 2 and younger free. Walt Disney World, 1515 N Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista. (407) 934-7639. 9 p.m. Thursday-Friday.

Compiled by Kelly A. Stefani