July 3-4: What You Can Bring, and What You Can't

Detailed information about what items people can/cannot bring while celebrating July 3-4 on the Charles River


The following information details the items people can and cannot bring while viewing the fireworks and festivities on the Charles River on July 3-4.

Event Grounds

The Department of Conservation & Recreation's (DCR) mission is to protect, promote and enhance our common wealth of natural, cultural and recreational resources.

The DCR is steward of one of the largest state parks systems in the country. Its 450,000 acres is made up of forests, parks, greenways, historic sites and landscapes, seashores, lakes, ponds, reservoirs and watersheds. Please visit us at www.mass.gov/dcr or on twitter @MassDCR.


There are two secured areas for this event: The Oval and the Island. Spectators entering these areas will be required to pass through one of the bag check/screening entrances and will receive a wristband specifically for that area, which must be worn at all times during the event to ensure access in and out of that secured area. When the Secured areas are full on July 3rd and July 4th, NO additional wristbands will be distributed. Both checkpoints (Oval and Island) will open at 4PM.

The Oval checkpoint will be located between the Island's Clarendon Footbridge and the Berkeley Footbridge. Access to the checkpoint can best be accomplished by accessing the DCR Esplanade from Berkeley Street after 3PM on July 3rd and anytime on July 4th. Those arriving to the Esplanade prior to 3PM, to begin lining up, should use the Dartmouth or Fairfield Street Footbridges over Storrow Drive.

The Island checkpoint will be located by the Clarendon Footbridge. On July 3rd, this checkpoint will open at 4PM and can be accessed from the Island's Clarendon, Exeter and Fairfield Footbridges. Access to the checkpoint can best be accomplished by accessing the Esplanade from Berkeley Street after 3PM. Those arriving to the Esplanade prior to 3PM, to begin lining up, should use the Dartmouth or Fairfield Street Footbridges over Storrow Drive. On July 4th, checkpoints will be located at the Clarendon and Exeter Footbridges. Access to the Island checkpoints can best be accomplished by using Beacon Street to Clarendon Street or utilizing the Dartmouth or Fairflield Street Footbridges over Storrow Drive. The Fairfield Footbridge over to the Island will be designated as EXIT ONLY.


Unless noted below, no backpacks, shopping bags or similar type containers may be carried onto the DCR Esplanade, and all carried items are subject to inspection.

Prohibited Items

  • No coolers on wheels
  • 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 not to exceed 2 liters in size
  • No grilling, propane tanks or open flames 

Allowed Items

  • Pop up Tents/Canopies with no sides - maximum size 10x10 (no Tents/Canopies allowed on July 3rd)
  • Blankets or tarps no bigger than 10 x 12
  • Folding/Beach Chairs only
  • Coolers, must be carried in by shoulder strap or single handle (no wheels)
  • All personal items must be carried in clear bags only
  • After inspection, Small clutch bags/purses, may be taken into the venue with the clear bag.


On July 4th all ALLOWABLE ITEMS must be checked and carried through security checkpoints by 4:00PM. After 4:00PM, nothing will be allowed through the security checkpoints except chairs, tarps or blankets not to exceed 10'x12'. If you plan to bring any of the ALLOWABLE ITEMS, they must be checked and cleared prior to 4:00PM.


There are food vendors located in Boston and Cambridge. All vendors are permitted by, and come under the supervision of, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).


We encourage spectators to recycle. Recycling bins will be located next to trash receptacles scattered throughout the DCR Esplanade on July 3rd and 4th.


There are over 350 portable restrooms located in Boston and Cambridge. Handicap accessible restrooms are at all restroom locations.


Official Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular T-shirts and hats are for sale at the B4 merchandise tent located in the main concession area.


There are 18 sound towers in Boston and Cambridge. The sounds system is operational in Boston from noon to 10:00PM on July 4th. Public service announcements and recorded music are broadcast throughout the day. The sound in Cambridge is operational from 6:00PM until 10:00PM. On the Boston side, there are two large video screens on each side of the DCR Hatch Shell stage and there will also be video screens spread throughout the DCR Esplanade that will carry the concert.


“The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular” hosted by Lisa Hughes and Jonathan Elias can be seen locally on July 4th on CBS Boston's WBZ-TV from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. The concert and fireworks score are simulcast on WBZ News Radio 1030 starting at 6 p.m. hosted by Jordan Rich and Joe Mathieu and on 99.5 WCRB Classical New England starting at 6 p.m. hosted by Ron Della Chiesa and Laura Carlo. 89.7 WGBH Boston Public Radio will simulcast the concert and fireworks score starting at 7 p.m.

Visiting CPD

Hours of Service

Monday: 8:30am-8pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-5pm
Friday: 8:30am-12pm

Cambridge Police Department

Branville G. Bard, Jr.
Police Commissioner

Email Us with general inquiries about the department or questions about resources/programs offered by the police. DO NOT use this form to submit tips or report crimes in progress.

125 Sixth Street
Cambridge MA 02142