Fourth Of July Esplanade Security And Travel

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Spectators heading to the Esplanade to celebrate the Fourth of July will face added security measures this year. The event, which has attracted half a million people in years past, is the largest gathering in the city since the Boston Marathon bombings.

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All attendees in the area of the Hatch Shell and the Lagoon will have to pass through security checkpoints where all bags will be searched. No backpacks, shopping bags or similar containers will be permitted. Massachusetts State Police released a list of what is and isn't allowed past checkpoints, but after 4 p.m. Thursday, nothing will be allowed except chairs, tarps or blankets.

Prohibited items:

  • No wheeled coolers
  • No backpacks
  • No firearms, weapons, sharp objects or fireworks
  • No glass containers
  • No cans
  • No pre-mixed beverages
  • All liquids will be carried in sealed clear plastic containers less than two liters
  • No grilling, propane tanks or open flames

Allowed items:


  • Pop-up tents or canopies up to 10 feet x 10 feet with no sides (Not permitted for July 3 rehearsal concert)
  • Blankets or tarps smaller up to 10 feet x 12 feet
  • Folding/beach chairs
  • Coolers carried in by shoulder strap or single handle (no wheels)
  • Personal items carried in clear bags
  • Small clutch bags/purses will be allowed after inspection

To report any suspicious activity or report a tip about criminal activity on the Esplanade on July 3 or 4, text the keyword Boston4 to 67283 or call 911.


Boston meters are free Thursday, but city and state officials urge those coming into the city to utilize the MBTA, which will operate on a holiday schedule with additional service added beginning at 2 p.m. Thursday. Fares will be free after 9:30 p.m.

The DCR will close portions of Storrow Drive in Boston, Memorial Drive in Cambridge, the Longfellow and Massachusetts Ave bridges on July 3 and 4. Areas of the Esplanade will be periodically closed to bikers and pedestrians for event preparation and the city is putting in place multiple parking restrictions.


The Harborfest website includes a full schedule of events happening in the city to celebrate the Fourth through Sunday. More details about Wednesday's rehearsal concert, Thursday's main event with the Boston Pops and fireworks is offered here.

More Resrouces:

This program aired on July 3, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.