Things to Do on July Fourth in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill

An aerial view of downtown Raleigh as fireworks light up the sky on July 4, 2014 in Raleigh, North Carolina.
••• Lance King/Getty Images

Food, fun, and fireworks are iconic Fourth of July traditions. But North Carolina cities really go above and beyond the typical Independence Day celebrations. From the cool capital of Raleigh to the college town of Chapel Hill, you'll find music festivals, street fairs, and baseball games in honor of July Fourth.

Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Cary are all within a 30-mile radius of each other, making it an easy road trip for locals and out-of-town visitors. So head over to this bustling area of North Carolina to check out these Independence Day events.

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    As North Carolina's capital and the second biggest city in the state, Raleigh is a destination that has a lot going for it. The City of Oaks is famed for its tree-lined streets and Southern charm. Visit downtown Raleigh over the Fourth of July to see the city’s epic firework display. The big July Fourth festivities take place on the grounds of the State Capitol building. There will be everything from street performers and games to food and art vendors.

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    Chapel Hill is home to one of America's most beautiful campuses, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The college's many leafy quads spill out onto Franklin Street, the main artery that is dotted with quirky coffee shops, fashion boutiques, and inventive eateries. All of these perks make Chapel Hill the perfect home base for your Fourth of July stay. Start the holiday off in Carrboro, a small town just five minutes west of Chapel Hill. Here, you can watch the bike parade before heading to Kenan Memorial Stadium on the UNC Chapel Hill campus for the evening fireworks.

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    Sports fans will want to head to Durham for Independence Day, when the Durham Bulls play their annual Fourth of July baseball game, followed by a dynamic fireworks show. The game will be played at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, adjacent to the Durham Performing Arts Center in the heart of downtown Durham.

    Meanwhile, culture vultures shouldn't miss Festival for the Eno. This music and arts event is held in West Point on the Eno, a 388-acre city park just 15 minutes north of the baseball stadium. The four-day extravaganza features a craft fair, beer garden, and music lineup of more than 70 bands across four stages. The best part? Tickets start at an affordable $18 a pop.

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    Ten miles west of the capital, Cary is a central town in The Triangle, a historic region bordered by Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. The cute hamlet holds an old-fashioned Fourth of July celebration on Independence Eve. Then, on July Fourth, there will be fireworks and a free performance by the North Carolina Symphony at Koka Booth Amphitheatre.