A guide to Pittsburgh area Fourth of July fireworks


Image via Btezra, Wikimedia Commons

There are fireworks to enjoy right at the heart of Pittsburgh, just a quick car drive away in the neighboring suburbs or further away in about an hour’s commute.

By Diana Velasquez, Culture Editor

Nothing says summer like fireworks, and luckily for those who will be in Pittsburgh on the Fourth of July, there are plenty of firework shows to choose from in the area. Each site has its merits, and while some are closer to Oakland, some you’ll need a car to get to.

Either way, you have all of western Pennsylvania’s Independence Day excitement at your fingertips. After the year we’ve all had, a spirited celebration complete with good greasy food and giant exploding color bombs is well-deserved.

There are fireworks to enjoy right in the heart of Pittsburgh, just a quick car drive away in the neighboring suburbs or further away in about an hour’s commute. There are good reasons to go to each, and if you have the time you can even go to more than one. Many of these celebrations don’t stop after the Fourth, as the firework shows just keep on coming.

Point State Park

The city of Pittsburgh’s official firework show will take place, as it usually does every year, at Point State Park. And there’s plenty for you to explore while you’re waiting for the show to begin.

The festivities start long before the fireworks do — you can head over to Point State Park at noon and dive right into the party. The Fort Pitt Museum on site has family-friendly activities for all ages from 1 to 5 p.m. There will be multiple musical acts to peruse, two of which feature local Pittsburgh bands the East Wind Symphonic Band and the Munhall Community Band.

The fireworks kick off at 9:35 p.m., but you’re going to want to get there a few hours in advance to secure yourself a good spot. It’s hard to beat a firework show over Pittsburgh’s iconic rivers, but even better, this firework show comes to you free of cost.

Kennywood Park

Want to combine your Fourth of July celebrations with a head-spinning and stomach-flipping roller coaster ride? Kennywood has got you covered. And if you can’t make it to the festivities on the Fourth or if one day of fireworks isn’t enough for you, Kennywood is having nightly shows from Independence Day until July 30th.

Of course, you’ll have to pay for admission to the park. The gate price for one ticket is $60. But you can get them for cheaper online if you plan and purchase ahead of time. Keep in mind that their Fourth of July lineup of events is, to no one’s surprise, the most packed. So ride wait times most likely will be pretty long. But if you’re going that day look forward to special events like the hot dog eating contest and the Weiner 100 dachshund race.

The Big Butler Fair

This fireworks show will be more of a trip. Located in Prospect, Pennsylvania, about a forty-five-minute drive north of Oakland. But for the wonder and craziness of The Big Butler Fair, the drive is very much worth it. Ask your friends to pitch in for gas money.

Running from July 2 to July 10, The Big Butler Fair will be having their fireworks on the Fourth, but no matter what day you go there are quite a lot of events to choose from to occupy your time. If you’re going on the Fourth, the fair opens at 9 a.m. and has such festivities as a school bus demolition derby and an antique tractor pull for you to attend.

General admission to the fair costs $8 per person, with admission to extra areas of the fair costing more.

Carnegie Park

If you want to get the Independence Day shenanigans started a day early, you should head for Carnegie Park, just a twelve-minute drive west of Oakland. Located in the borough of Carnegie, this local fireworks event has everything you need for a party, with food trucks, live music and even a local skateboarding competition.

While the skate competition has a $10 entry fee, this show is free for all who attend. So if you can’t wait until July 4 to see some fireworks this is the place to go. Or if you’re feeling like your skating skills are up to snuff, throw your hat in the ring and show up all the neighborhood kids.

Canonsburg Celebration

Combine your Fourth of July fireworks with a parade in Canonsburg, located minutes south of Oakland. The party starts bright and early in this Pittsburgh suburb as they celebrate the parade’s fifty-three-year anniversary.

But this year, the parade has been moved to the day before, on July 3, so make sure you don’t get the dates mixed up. Once the parade ends the fireworks will kick off later in the night at around 10 p.m., but the gates to the Canonsburg Memorial Stadium, where the fireworks can be viewed, will open at 9 p.m. It’s free for all, as long as you get in line and wait your turn. Overall, a great option, with a two-in-one day event to attend on July 3.