The Fourth of July is the ultimate summer holiday. It’s the time to fire up the grill, get the family together, watch some fireworks, and celebrate. And if your celebration is happening here in St. Augustine, you’re in for a treat. We do fireworks and parties pretty well, and this holiday is no exception. But if you’re just not sure where to go or what to do, you’re in luck. Because we’re here to give you the low-down on the Ancient City’s Fourth of July 2019. For all the fireworks shows, the activities, and the parking, here’s your guide.
FIREWORKS OVER THE MATANZAS
A beloved local tradition and one heck of a fireworks show, Fireworks Over the Matanzas promises to be just as amazing this year as it has been before. It’s all happening on Thursday, July 4, but before the fireworks get underway, The All Star Orchestra will put on a show in the Plaza de la Constitucion starting at 6pm. Their two-hour set will be filled with swing music, big band, and all the hits that get you on your feet. The concert is free and open to the public, but those attending should bring their own lounge chairs for seating.
Then it’s time to line the streets along the Bridge of Lions and South Castillo Drive for one of the area’s most spectacular fireworks shows. It will start at 9:30pm. The 20-minute show is choreographed to sync with the sounds of patriotic music reverberating over the bayfront.
Parking and the Park & Ride Shuttle
As it is on every national holiday, parking in city lots and on-street parking is free. Please note that the parking lot in front of the Castillo will be closed. But if you don’t want to fight the traffic, the city offers and free Park & Ride Shuttle from locations on Anastasia Boulevard. The shuttle will run from 6pm-midnight and pick up from four locations on the Boulevard. The locations are Anastasia Baptist Church, St. Augustine Amphitheatre, R.B. Hunt Elementary School, and the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park (which is parking only).
The shuttle will drop passengers at the east end of the Bridge of Lions, and pick them up from that same location after the fireworks show is over.
Rerouting of traffic begins at 8pm and continues until 11pm and includes prohibiting vehicular traffic on the Bridge of Lions, Avenida Menendez, Cathedral Pl., and S. Castillo Dr. Additional street closures include:
- Picolata Rd. between US-1 & San Marco Ave. (8–11pm)
- San Carlos between US-1 & San Marco Ave. (8 – 11pm)
- King Street will have two westbound lanes and one eastbound lane, west of MLK Blvd. (8 – 11:30pm)
- King Street will have one westbound lane and one eastbound lane, east of MLK up to Avenida Menendez
- There will be NO east bound traffic on West Castillo from US-1 to N. Cordova (8 – 11:30pm)
- N. Cordova will be closed from Orange Street to the entrance to the Historic Downtown Parking Facility (8 – 11pm)
Arriving by Water
Starting after the 8pm opening until approximately 11pm, the Bridge of Lions will not be open to marine traffic. Vessels will be prohibited in an area north of the Bridge of Lions to a point approximately in line with Castillo de San Marcos National Monument.
Arriving by Bicycle
Beat the vehicular traffic by taking your bike to explore downtown. Bicycle parking sites are located throughout the downtown making it easy to secure your bike before going to dinner or taking that pre-fireworks stroll. You can explore all of the permanent bicycle parking spots here.
To find out more details about the Fireworks Over the Matanzas, visit www.citystaug.com/Fireworks. Featured image by Jason Green.