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Where to watch Austin’s 4th of July fireworks 2019

10 places with excellent views

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The traditional HEB Austin Symphony July 4th Concert & Fireworks event is scheduled for Thursday, July 4, starting at 8:30 p.m. As is also tradition, scads of people—tens of thousands, according to the Austin Symphony website—are expected to turn out. (The site also has advice on how to get to Vic Mathias Auditorium Shores, as well as other important tips.)

If you want to avoid the traffic and parking nightmare around the big event and don't have friends in high places (a downtown condo, a mansion atop Mount Bonnell), you might find this map of places to watch them helpful.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below.

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360 Bridge (Pennybacker Bridge)

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The panoramic view from the 360 Bridge Overlook near Pennybacker Bridge is spectacular, and even more so when you add in fireworks. Word is out about that, by the way, so get there early.

Rowing Dock

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For $22-$100, you can rent a kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddle board and watch the sky light up from Lady Bird Lake—as well as start out a bit north of the main action, with perhaps more parking and less chaos. Rowing Dock's rentals for night events are by reservation and prepayment only. Visit the site for details.

Lady Bird Lake Trail

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There are plenty of places along both shores of the lake that will put you practically underneath the fireworks (bring a flashlight for when it's time to find your way out, though). Bonus points for biking or walking to your destination rather than adding to the traffic and mess closer to the event. One exception: According to the Austin Symphony website, the lower portion of the Hike & Bike Trail on the north side of Lady Bird Lake (between the Seaholm intake structure and South First Street) will be closed at 10 a.m. on the Fourth. The upper sidewalk along Cesar Chavez will remain open.

Zilker Park

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Our sprawling central city park has many excellent vantage points from which to watch the very nearby explosions in the sky. Just like other fireworks-adjacent areas, though, it will be crowded and best reached by foot, bike, or bus if possible.

Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge

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You don't have to worry about cars on this bridge, of course, which is a distinct advantage. As always bears repeating, get there very early, as it will be packed way before the fireworks start. Also, it's generally bad form to bring a blanket or chair so that as many people as possible can get a spot.

South First Bridge

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This will get you even closer to the action than the Congress Avenue bridge, but just remember you'll have cars to deal with and will need to stand the whole time.

Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge

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Bats aren't the only thing to watch from the Congress Avenue bridge. Just as when the bats come out, though, the street remains open to cars and is usually busy, so keep that in mind. Safety first!

Vic Mathias (Auditorium) Shores

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The main event (HEB Austin Symphony July 4th Concert and Fireworks) takes place at Vic Mathias (aka Auditorium) Shores, from where you can see the fireworks explode majestically over Lady Bird (aka Town) Lake, if you can manage to get there early enough to find a spot. The Austin Symphony site events section has detailed information about best places to park and road closures. The orchestra will perform at 8:30 p.m., and the fireworks will begin at 9:30 p.m.

Barton Creek Square Mall parking lot

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Located atop a natural high point in Austin, Barton Creek Square mall has a spectacular view of downtown from its parking lot and, therefore, any fireworks happening above it. Plus a decent amount of, you know, parking.

View from Barton Creek Square mall
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St. Edward's University

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They don't call them the Hilltoppers for nothing. See the show from the spectacular viewpoint of one of the highest plots of land in Austin, conveniently home to a university where you can watch from a blanket (or bleacher) on its sports fields.

360 Bridge (Pennybacker Bridge)

The panoramic view from the 360 Bridge Overlook near Pennybacker Bridge is spectacular, and even more so when you add in fireworks. Word is out about that, by the way, so get there early.

Rowing Dock

For $22-$100, you can rent a kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddle board and watch the sky light up from Lady Bird Lake—as well as start out a bit north of the main action, with perhaps more parking and less chaos. Rowing Dock's rentals for night events are by reservation and prepayment only. Visit the site for details.

Lady Bird Lake Trail

There are plenty of places along both shores of the lake that will put you practically underneath the fireworks (bring a flashlight for when it's time to find your way out, though). Bonus points for biking or walking to your destination rather than adding to the traffic and mess closer to the event. One exception: According to the Austin Symphony website, the lower portion of the Hike & Bike Trail on the north side of Lady Bird Lake (between the Seaholm intake structure and South First Street) will be closed at 10 a.m. on the Fourth. The upper sidewalk along Cesar Chavez will remain open.

Zilker Park

Our sprawling central city park has many excellent vantage points from which to watch the very nearby explosions in the sky. Just like other fireworks-adjacent areas, though, it will be crowded and best reached by foot, bike, or bus if possible.

Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge

You don't have to worry about cars on this bridge, of course, which is a distinct advantage. As always bears repeating, get there very early, as it will be packed way before the fireworks start. Also, it's generally bad form to bring a blanket or chair so that as many people as possible can get a spot.

South First Bridge

This will get you even closer to the action than the Congress Avenue bridge, but just remember you'll have cars to deal with and will need to stand the whole time.

Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge

Bats aren't the only thing to watch from the Congress Avenue bridge. Just as when the bats come out, though, the street remains open to cars and is usually busy, so keep that in mind. Safety first!

Vic Mathias (Auditorium) Shores

The main event (HEB Austin Symphony July 4th Concert and Fireworks) takes place at Vic Mathias (aka Auditorium) Shores, from where you can see the fireworks explode majestically over Lady Bird (aka Town) Lake, if you can manage to get there early enough to find a spot. The Austin Symphony site events section has detailed information about best places to park and road closures. The orchestra will perform at 8:30 p.m., and the fireworks will begin at 9:30 p.m.

Barton Creek Square Mall parking lot

View from Barton Creek Square mall
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Located atop a natural high point in Austin, Barton Creek Square mall has a spectacular view of downtown from its parking lot and, therefore, any fireworks happening above it. Plus a decent amount of, you know, parking.

View from Barton Creek Square mall
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St. Edward's University

They don't call them the Hilltoppers for nothing. See the show from the spectacular viewpoint of one of the highest plots of land in Austin, conveniently home to a university where you can watch from a blanket (or bleacher) on its sports fields.