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How to Enjoy the Fireworks (and Get Home Safely) This 4th of July

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Mengwen Cao for KUT
The city's fireworks celebration will begin as early as 5 p.m. on Saturday. It's the first time the event's been held at Auditorium Shores in two years.

It’s nearly time for the Fourth of July celebration in Austin.

There’ll be warm weather and probably plenty of sun, all capped off by fireworks at Auditorium Shores for the first time in years. But there’s also going to be plenty of traffic, road closures and scarce parking. Here's a look at when and where to see the fireworks, closures and alternate ways of getting around. 

The city's celebration will take place for the first time in two years at Vic Mathias Shores (the east lawn of Auditorium Shores which was renamed after the longtime Austin Chamber of Commerce CEO last year) starting at 5 p.m. The Austin Symphony's annual concert starts at 8:30 p.m. and the fireworks will kick off at 9:30 p.m.

Before that, there will be several road closures on Cesar Chavez and Riverside Drive, so the city is encouraging folks to either park north of Lady Bird Lake, or bike to the fireworks on the hike and bike trail. For a full list of street closures, you can check out the city's website.

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Credit City of Austin

Capital Metro also wants you to know there’s other ways to see the sparks fly this Saturday.

“We’re really encouraging people to use public transit not only to avoid having to park and having to leave the show early to get out of the congestion, but really to have safe Fourth of July,” says Amy Peck with Capital Metro.

She says the MetroRail train will be running later Saturday night, until 2:30 a.m. Cap Metro’s rapid buses will have added service that night, running every fifteen minutes until midnight. Cap Metro suggests using its app to plan your trip. But, if you don’t end up taking public transportation, you’ll want to make sure you have a safe, sober ride home.

If you decide to take a car, the city's encouraging drivers to park north of Lady Bird Lake and cross the First Street bridge to get to the event. Below is a map of available parking meters, lots and garages. 

Remember, it’s a no-refusal weekend, and Austin Police will be stepping up DWI enforcement for the holiday. APD has more information about transportation options here

If you want to avoid driving and parking altogether, the on-demand ride service Lyft will have fares reduced by 20 percent for the holiday.