Kids. Fireworks. Parades. Ice cream. The Fourth of July is a day for family fun. Whether you're taking a trip or looking for fireworks close to home, here's a sample of festivities.
4th of July Tips
- Top Vacation Rental Destinations for July 4th Weekend
Looking for a fabulous getaway for July 4th weekend? According to HomeAway.com, the largest online vacation rental listing site, Americans are planning to spend some serious quality time in America's beach towns, mountain areas, and cities.
- How to Avoid the Worst July 4th Traffic
From the folks at Waze comes a game plan for avoiding traffic snarls and delays during your Independence Day getaway.
- New England
Unsurprisingly, the historic towns and cities of New England celebrate Independence Day in a big way, with parades, family-friendly events and, of course, lavish fireworks displays. Here's a selection of destinations that promise the biggest, best and most charming celebrations in the Northeast.
New York City, New York
Tripsavvy's correspondent in NYC covers many 4th of July events, from Hot Dog Eating Contests to Cruises to concerts. A highlight in NYC is Macy's stupendous Fourth of July fireworks, set off from several locations from barges on the East River. About's Guide for Manhattan has best spots to view these pyrotechnics.
Beantown is famous for its fireworks display accompanied live by the world-famous Boston Pops Orchestra, which always ends the night with Tchaikovsky’s iconic 1812 Overture, complete with cannonfire. Fireworks blast off from seven barges along the Charles River. Watch the show from the DCR Hatch Shell or from Harvard or along the Longfellow Bridges.
- Washington DC
A giant National Independence Day Parade starts the celebration along Constitution Avenue; in the afternoon, the annual Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife entertains; the National Archives has a Family Day. In the evening, the biggest fireworks show in the country blasts off from the Reflecting Pool and lights up the sky above the Capitol, White House and Washington Monument for almost 20 minutes. See also: Best Places to View Fourth of July Fireworks.
Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia
Colonial Williamsburg is living history: real-life actors in the streets and in historic houses bring to life the days before the American Revolution. Expect fireworks, and the chance to ask a few questions -- ask Thomas Jefferson or Patrick Henry, that is.
- Virginia Beach, Virginia
It's a Stars & Stripes Explosion for July 4th: oceanfront stages with live performances; thousands of visitors; many styles of live music; spectacular fireworks over the ocean.
- Orlando, Florida
Expect great fireworks in this town! Find fireworks and celebrations at Universal Orlando, Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, more.
- Chicago, Illinois
On July 4th, Navy Pier -- which has fireworks all summer - will have a special fireworks display. See more about Chicago events.
- Addison, Texas
This Dallas suburb is usually only 19,000 residents strong but when July 4th comes around, the town swells to a staggering 500,000 people celebrating Independence Day. Its 30-minute show is not one to miss as 3,500 pounds of fireworks shoot up into the sky.
- Nashville, Tennessee
Music City hosts one of the biggest fireworks shows in the country, lasting just over a half and hour, accompanied by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Catch all the action on Broadway and First Avenue, along the Cumberland River.
- Austin, Texas
Bring a blanket and picnic basket, for fireworks and music by the Austin Symphony; other venues too.
- New Orleans, Louisiana
Celebrate Independence Day New Orleans style: Go 4th on the River is a major bash, with live entertainment followed by the "Dueling Barges Fireworks Extravaganza" on the Mississippi River.
- St. Louis, Missouri
The Fair St. Louis had previously been held along the Mississippi River at the Gateway Arch but have now moved to the 1,371-acre Forest Park where the World Fair was hosted in 1904. 15,000 pounds of fireworks light up the sky over three nights.
- Lake Tahoe, California
The fireworks reflecting on the calm waters of Lake Tahoe, with the gorgeous Sierra Nevada mountains in the background, really make this one of the most spectacular. The 25-minute show attracts some 125,000 people to the area. You can catch the show from the south of the lake, like El Dorado Beach, Nevada Beach and Timber Cove Marina.
- Phoenix, Arizona
Tripsavvy's correspondent in Phoenix suggests great venues for the 4th of July, with picnics, concerts, rides, etc., leading up to the fireworks.
- Salt Lake City July 4th Fun
Salt Lake City celebrates Independence Day in a big way with festivities throughout the Salt Lake area. Here's a list of SLC 4th of July events.
- Los Angeles: 4th of July Festivities
Where to celebrate the 4th of July in and around LA: festivals, fireworks, BBQ's, and more, including events in the Valley and Orange County. A standout event for July 4th for families in the LA area: the Rose Bowl stadium, in Pasadena, has a day-long festival with live music, food, entertainment, and "the biggest and best fireworks show in Southern California".
- Edited by Suzanne Rowan Kelleher