The Best and Worst 4th of July Fireworks of All Time (For Your Viewing Pleasure)

 Photo courtesy of Ben Baller.

Photo courtesy of Ben Baller.

The appearance of a fireworks display at any old civilian's birthday party might seem pretentious and over-the-top, but that's just how the United States likes it.

Our country's time-honored tradition of a grandiose fireworks display on the 4th of July, our country's Independence Day, is maybe the most important part of America's birthday. We've been setting off fireworks on July 4th since 1777, when the first display went off in Philadelphia. You'd think that after almost 250 years of blasting balls of fire into the sky, we'd be experts. (You'd think that after 250 years, our country would be experts at a great many things.)

The U.S. has had countless ups and downs since its inception—it's only right that our fireworks traditions follow that same logic.

Here's our list of the best and worst 4th of July fireworks shows to date.

BEST

Washington D.C., 2013

This was a classic fireworks show. Who wouldn't love to watch colorful explosions with our country's most famous national monuments in the background? This display might be the epitome of Independence Day pride.

WORST

Tampa, 2007

A 4th of July accident, a Tampa resident decided to light off one of the largest fireworks on the market... under a tent. The cherry on top? He stayed under the tent, too.  He was sentenced to three years in jail. Not a very patriotic move.

BEST

Lake Tahoe, 2014

Rated one of the best shows in the United States by the American Pyrotechnics Association, these huge fireworks colorfully reflect off the lake. Viewers can watch from the beach, or in boats not too far from where the fireworks are detonated.

WORST

San Diego, 2012

The finale is always the best part of any fireworks display, but what happens when every single firework goes off at the same time? The views were brilliant, but lasted less than a minute. Hope it was worth it.

BEST

New York City, 2017

Last year's fireworks over the East River were part of a big display by Macy's, and included 10,000 shells. They featured 23 new colors, and the show was nearly half an hour long, all set to powerful patriotic ballads.