Harrisburg is a city that loves fireworks. In fact, fireworks in Harrisburg are so common that you’ll have time to check them out from every vantage point listed below over the course of a year.
Whether they are celebrating a major holiday or simply the end of the baseball game, there are many great places to view fireworks in Harrisburg, PA. Here’s everything you need to know so you can best enjoy one of these great shows.
When are the fireworks in Harrisburg?
Harrisburg has typically has two big fireworks shows every year: July 4th (or thereabouts) and the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend. These are the biggest fireworks shows over the city and are definitely worth dealing with the crowds to see.
There is also a smaller fireworks show to ring in the new year on midnight on New Year’s Eve/Day.
Finally, the Harrisburg Senators baseball team has frequent shows after their games at FNB Field on City Island. In 2018, there were 22 fireworks shows, generally after Friday home games, though there were also fireworks on other days of the week.
The team’s schedule indicates which dates have fireworks shows after the game.
Where are the Fireworks in Harrisburg Shot From?
The location of the fireworks varies depending on which fireworks shows you are referring to. Note that while these are where they have been shot from in the past, locations can change, so it’s always best to double check before heading out.
The large fireworks shows on Independence Day and Labor Day Weekend are shot from the northern end of City Island. Generally, if the city is putting on a fireworks show, it will be shot from here.
The one exception to that is the New Year’s Eve fireworks in Harrisburg. These are set off immediately after the dropping of the strawberry from the Hilton in Market Square (Yes, Harrisburg drops something weird on New Year’s Eve).
Because of this, these fireworks have typically been set off from the middle of 2nd Street just south of Market Square.
The most frequent fireworks in Harrisburg are those from FNB Field, and these are set off directly behind the right-field fence at the conclusion of games.
Keep in mind that this time varies as they are set off after the game. This can sometimes make it difficult to plan properly to see these fireworks if you aren’t attending a game. On the plus side, if you go out to see them, there is likely going to be no one else to compete with you for the best viewing spots.
Where are the Best Places to View Fireworks in Harrisburg?
Probably the best spot to view the fireworks in Harrisburg is from Negley Park, which lies directly across the river from the city.
This bluff overlooking Harrisburg has a commanding view and offers the chance to see the fireworks from both FNB Field and the two large fireworks shows. Note that it’s likely hard or impossible to see the New Year’s fireworks from the park.
Negley Park is probably the most popular spot to watch fireworks on Independence Day. If you plan to go here for this show, arrive early and expect hundreds of others to be watching with you from the park, which complicates both parking and getting the best viewing spot.
The second most popular spot from which to view the fireworks shows in Harrisburg is Riverfront Park in the city. This park, which extends several miles along the Susquehanna River, offers great views of the fireworks, especially those on Independence Day and Labor Day Weekends.
The only downside to viewing the fireworks from here is that you don’t get to enjoy the beautiful Harrisburg skyline behind the fireworks. However, the ample parking in the city and the amount of space to spread out might make up for this if you simply want to enjoy the show.
If you want to view the fireworks in Harrisburg on New Year’s, the best (and possibly only) spot for a good view is in Market Square.
After the strawberry drops at midnight, the fireworks are shot from the middle of 2nd Street. However, while this is a nice, though shorter, show, the fireworks don’t go high enough in the air to provide a good view from elsewhere in the city.
Fortunately, the drop in Harrisburg isn’t horribly crowded, and getting a spot to see the show shouldn’t be too challenging.
Pennsylvania Capitol Steps
One of my favorite spots to view the Independence Day and Labor Day Weekend fireworks in the city is the steps of the Pennsylvania Capitol. Not only does this area tend to be uncrowded, but there are ample places to sit along the stairs, which help elevate you above the surrounding roadways.
From here, the fireworks are shot nearly straight down the road, providing an excellent view.
If I had to pick one spot to view the major fireworks shows from, this would probably be it.
If you are planning to see fireworks after the Harrisburg Senators’ baseball games, there is probably no better spot than from within FNB Field.
While this is the only spot that costs money to view the fireworks from, you are assured of not only great seats, but you also have the entertainment of the game to watch until it’s time for the fireworks to start.
If you do opt to head into FNB Field for the fireworks, a seat along the third base line is going to offer you the best viewing for the after-game show.
Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Bridge
If you are looking for a unique spot to view the large fireworks shows in Harrisburg, head behind the Capitol to the Soldier and Sailors Memorial Bridge (also known as the State Street Bridge). From the downtown side of the bridge, there are fantastic views of the fireworks over the dome of the Capitol.
Keep in mind that this view is more for photographers, as you won’t be able to see all of the fireworks from here. Also, this spot will ONLY work for the large fireworks shows that are shot from the end of City Island.
However, if you want some excellent and unique photos of fireworks in Harrisburg, this is probably my favorite spot to go. Also, as a bonus, you are unlikely to encounter more than a handful of other spectators, even for the large shows, and it’s usually not hard to find parking nearby.
Riverside Park is a tiny park located on the banks of the Susquehanna River on the west shore opposite the city. From here, both the large shows and the fireworks at FNB Field look quite beautiful. Plus, you can also get a great view of the Harrisburg skyline.
Since this park is located north of the downtown core near the Harvey Taylor Bridge, the view downstream towards the fireworks and the city is excellent.
Located on a hill on the eastern edge of the city, Reservoir Park offers commanding views over the city and is a great spot from which to watch the major fireworks shows in Harrisburg. However, if you are looking for photos, it’s not really a great location, in my opinion.
From the top of the hill near the National Civil War Museum, there’s a great view of Harrisburg, and the fireworks can be seen really well from here. For those that want the fireworks to be a bit quieter, they aren’t very loud at all from this viewing area.
While you are unlikely to be alone up here, there is enough room for everyone to spread out and enjoy a great fireworks display.
Do you have a favorite spot to view fireworks in Harrisburg, PA, that we missed? Let us know in the comments section below.