Independence Day is one of the most festive holidays in the United States, and as such, it's a great time for traveling. Cities all over the country celebrate by having large Fourth of July fireworks displays, patriotic parades, and street parties.
In New York City, the fireworks are set over the Brooklyn Bridge and in Washington, D.C. the skies above the Nation's Capitol are ablaze with patriotic color. It's a thrill to experience one of these iconic Fourth of July events.
An Independence Day highlight in New York City is Macy's stupendous Fourth of July fireworks, exploding in the skies over the Brooklyn Bridge. Barges will be close to Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport and smaller fireworks will be shot from the bridge itself.
You can find a great viewing place anywhere you can see the iconic bridge, like lower Manhattan and the close-by Brooklyn neighborhoods, or watch the event televised on NBC.
The historic towns and cities of New England played a big role in America's independence, so it's no surprise that they go all out for Fourth of July with parades, family-friendly events, and lavish fireworks displays.
Bristol, Rhode Island, has the longest-running Independence Day celebration (held since 1785) while other small towns, like Bar Harbor, Maine, put on New England-style events, including seafood festivals, lobster races, and sailboat shows.
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 cannon fire. Fireworks blast off from seven barges along the Charles River while fans watch from the DCR Hatch Shell on the Esplanade or along the Longfellow Bridges.
The event actually starts the evening of July third with performances by noted entertainers but no fireworks. On July Fourth, the concert begins at 8 p.m. followed by fireworks at 10:30 p.m.
Colonial Williamsburg is living history—real-life actors take over the historic houses and bring to life the days before the American Revolution. You'll have a chance to ask a Thomas Jefferson or Patrick Henry replica a few history questions.
Fireworks are launched at 9:20 p.m. from behind the Governor's Palace. Arrive early enough to find a seat in the Palace Green for viewing and listen to the concerts.
Nothing tops the afternoon National Independence Day Parade along Constitution Avenue. Then, at the U.S. Capitol, sit on the lawn and enjoy "A Capitol Fourth" concert which begins at 8 p.m. and features noted musicians and a performance of Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" by the National Symphony Orchestra. The day in Washington, D.C. is topped off with a massive fireworks display over the National Mall.
Virginia Beach puts on its annual Stars & Stripes Explosion for July Fourth. Thousands of visitors flock to the waterfront stages to see marching bands, tribute bands, and local entertainers followed by spectacular fireworks over the ocean in this free patriotic celebration.
On July Fourth, Navy Pier—which has firework shows all summer—will have a special red, white, and blue fireworks display. On the Fourth of July, Navy Pier is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m. Organizers expect large crowds filling parking garages and the pier itself so it's wise to go early and spend time there in advance of the evening celebrations.
It actually gets so crowded that they may close the pier and grounds allowing only people with approved advance tickets or official reservations entry.
This Dallas suburb is usually only 19,000 residents strong but when the day before July Fourth comes around, the town swells to a staggering 500,000 people. Its 30-minute show is not one to miss as 3,500 pounds of fireworks light up the sky.
Addison's Kaboom Town held on July third, has been named among the top fireworks shows in the country. There's a carnival, air show, and the huge fireworks display which is launched at dusk.
Music City hosts one of the biggest fireworks shows in the country along the Cumberland waterfront, lasting just over a half hour. Accompanied by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, the fireworks and music, starting at 9:30 p.m., are the finale of a jam-packed day of entertainment and music.
The main concert stage is located at Fifth Avenue and Broadway and will include a DJ and live music starting at noon and into the evening.
Festivities and live entertainment at Eleanor Tinsley Park, in the heart of downtown Houston, lead up to the nation's largest land-based fireworks show.
CITGO Freedom over Texas, featuring noted artists including Jake Owen and Kelli Pickler, starts at 4 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m. after the fireworks. Entry is $8 online and $10 at the door.
Missouri's free Fair St. Louis is held along the Mississippi River at the Gateway Arch. Here, 15,000 pounds of fireworks light up the sky over three nights.
There are events that take place during the day including the STEAM Expo, an engaging, educational area featuring free hands-on activities in science and engineering. There's more to do over in the "Festival Zone," with face painting and kid's activities.
L.A. has Fourth festivals, fireworks, BBQs, and more, from downtown to the Valley. 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.
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 scenic celebrations. The 25-minute Lights on the Lake show attracts some 125,000 people to the area.
Head to the south end of the lake, in areas like El Dorado Beach, Nevada Beach, and Timber Cove Marina for the best views.
Salt Lake City celebrates Independence Day in western style, with rodeos, live country music, horse races, and more. Don't miss Park City's fireworks displays, which are the largest in the area.
Park City, located 32 miles from central Salt Lake City, is a historic mining town and ski area. The parade there begins at 11 a.m. on Main Street. Starting at 3 p.m., musicians play on the Green until the fireworks light the skies at dusk.