Where to Catch Central Ohio’s Best Fireworks Displays

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From the July 2014 edition

Red, White & Boom

For years, one of the city’s most popular unofficial Boom-viewing spots has been just south of Downtown near the Whittier Peninsula, in the spot that now houses the Scioto Audubon Metro Park and the Grange Insurance Audubon Center. Though the park is typically open only until 10 p.m. (when the fireworks will launch from Veterans Memorial), on July 3 guests are permitted to stay late. Pro tip: Though less crowded than Downtown during the event, the park will still fill up with families early in the evening. Arrive by 5 p.m. for prime picnic spots—and bring a blanket. redwhiteandboom.org, metroparks.net

Dublin

Each year, Dublin celebrates the Fourth with a concert from a one-time megastar (previous performers include Chicago and Boyz II Men), followed by fireworks at dusk (just before 10 p.m.). This year’s concert features Earth, Wind & Fire and local favorite The Floorwalkers. Bleacher seating at Dublin Coffman High School is free, though residents can purchase reserved, on-field tables. Pro tip: The stadium fills up fast—get there by 5 p.m. to grab a spot. Entertainment from canine flying-disc performers Skyhoundz and the Emerald City Swing Orchestra will tide you over until the main event. dublinohiousa.gov

Hilliard

Mayor Don Schonhardt says Hilliard’s fireworks are a close second to Red, White & Boom. Sitting atop the sledding hill at Roger Reynolds Municipal Park provides a great view, but Steve Mazer, director of the Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department, suggests heading to the soccer complex just west of the park. Fireworks will launch at 9:45 p.m., and the surrounding festival, including music, carnival rides and food vendors, wraps up at 11 p.m. Pro tip: The park gets crowded on the Fourth (Mazer says the event draws between 25,000 and 27,000 people), so come a day early—festival attractions open on July 3—for games and rides. hilliardohio.gov

Upper Arlington

UA’s Fourth festivities are legendary—residents stake out parade spots days in advance—and their fireworks display is one of the area’s largest. Northam Park is your best bet, and Russell Golowin with the Upper Arlington Civic Association suggests a spot in the park near Andover and Ridgeview roads. The fireworks will launch at 10 p.m., and the free Party in the Park begins at 5 p.m. Pro tip: Though the reserved tables are available only for UA residents, Golowin says setting up a blanket near this location in Northam Park works well, too. Sit here, and you’ll be able to take in the tunes and watch the parade-float award ceremony. uaca.org