Swiss National Day Celebrations on the Rhein
Although the Schweizer Bundesfeiertag (Swiss National Day) is actually August 1, in Basel, more than 120,000 people come into town on the eve of the holiday, July 31, to celebrate along the Rhein. There are water-sports events to watch as well a festival area with over 100 festival stands and music on various stages along the Kleinbasel bank of the river between Johanniterbrücke and Wettsteinbrücke. The spectacular fireworks display, which are launched from two barges on the Rhein near Mittlere Brücke, starts at 23:00. Therefore, areas on or near the bridge make for great viewing areas, but are also very crowded. Afterwards, the party continues on both sides of the river as well as on the stretch between Schifflände and Marktplatz until about 02:00. Note also that private individuals can and will be setting off their own fireworks and firecrackers throughout both celebration days (July 31 and August 1), so take care and wear good shoes (no open-toe sandals) if you get close to the festivities.
The official national celebration for Basel-Stadt actually takes place on the Bruderholz on August 1.