12 Top July Events and Celebrations Across the USA

Fireworks display on a hill

Vichien Petchmai/Getty Images

July is a busy and exciting time in the United States. With hot weather and school vacation, it's a popular time for families to travel to beach vacations along the coasts or lakes. Those who are not fans of hot temperatures head for the northern parts of the country where there are slightly cooler temperatures. 

No matter where you choose to visit in July, you're bound to experience an exciting festival, local events, or some delicious summer foods. 

The biggest July celebration across the country is the Fourth of July, which celebrates the country's independence from the British in 1776 with fireworks and festivals. Check out the largest Fourth of July festivities, the most popular events from big U.S. cities, and the top food-related extravaganzas.

01 of 12

Fourth of July Celebrations

The 4th of July Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular
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This is one of the biggest holidays in the U.S. All government offices, banks, and many stores will be closed on this day. Every town in the country holds some sort of fair, festival, or parade. Many neighborhoods host barbecues and set off fireworks. No matter where you are in the country, it will be festive.

Major cities such as New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Boston have the biggest July 4th celebrations. If you are in the Boston area, a memorable fireworks display is the iconic Boston Pops Spectacular where the famed orchestra accompanies the fireworks, launched from barges in the middle of the Charles River between Boston and Cambridge.

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New York Restaurant Week

Central Park Tavern on the Green
Jazz Guy / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

New York may be known for pizza and bagels, but many tourists flock to New York year-round for the world-class dining featuring all types of cuisines.

Twice a year, once in the winter and for two weeks from ​mid-July to August, food lovers have the chance to dine at some of the best restaurants in the city for a bargain ​prix fixe price. This week is meant to encourage New Yorkers to eat out and enjoy fine dining and it's perfect for anyone visiting the city. If you're a foodie, planning your New York City trip around New York Restaurant Week is a no-brainer.

03 of 12

Folk Art Festival in Santa Fe

Santa Fe International Folk Art Market
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Visit Santa Fe, New Mexico, for the International Folk Art Market (IFAM). Every July, the world's largest folk art festival features over 150 artists from 50 countries showcasing handmade, artisanal pottery, rugs, clothing, jewelry, artwork, and other items that honor their cultural traditions.

The market benefits artisans, many from third-world countries, whose art would never be seen if it were not for IFAM bringing the artists and their wares to market. Local volunteers staff the market and work alongside the artists to help them make sales and explain their work.

04 of 12

Taste of Chicago

Taste of Chicago

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Chicago's biggest event is the Taste of Chicago in mid-July. The festival features food from dozens of the city's restaurants and is known as the largest food festival in the world. The festivities take place in Grant Park and include music and other entertainment.

Entry is free but the food and drinks are not. Chicago is famous for its deep-dish pizza, the traditional Chicago-style hot dog, and Italian beef, and you can explore and taste it all of Chicago's favorite foods in one place. If you're still in town in late July, you check out the rootsy ​Pitchfork Music Festival.​​

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05 of 12

Frontier Days in Cheyenne

Frontier Days Festival wagon race rodeo, Cheyenne, Wyoming
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The Frontier Days festival and rodeo in Cheyenne, Wyoming, brings western culture to life and bills itself as the largest outdoor rodeo and western celebration. Events include the grand parade, rodeos, concerts, professional bull riders, U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, a street fair with crafts and barbecue, a western art show, carnival rides, an Old West Museum, and an Indian village.

06 of 12

America's Favorite Pastime

Progressive Field, home to the Cleveland Indians
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Perhaps nothing is more American than the country's favorite pastime: baseball. In July, the teams take a mid-season break for a week for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. A different major city hosts the "Midsummer Classic" each year. 

The Major League Baseball All-Star Game is a competition between the best players: American League stars square off against the National League's best in an annual rivalry.

The competition includes the Home Run Derby, the All-Star Futures Game starring young players from all over the world, and the All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game featuring a mix of former athletes, musicians, and actors.

The 2020 game will take place at Dodger Field in Los Angeles, California, on July 14.

07 of 12

Bite of Seattle

Waterfront and downtown district, Seattle, WA
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The premier food festival in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., the Bite of Seattle is like a one-stop party with foods from dozens of local purveyors, beer and wine gardens, and musical entertainment. Seattle specializes in fresh salmon and coffee, and there are many more delicious options from all of Seattle's local vendors.

The event, which includes music, chef demos, and fun for children, takes place at Seattle Center in the Uptown neighborhood. 

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Hemingway's Birthday Bash in Key West

Ernest Hemingway lookalikes at the Hemingway Day Festival in Key West, Florida
Joe Raedle/Getty Images 

Ernest "Papa" Hemingway, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and adopted poster boy for Key West, Florida, where he resided, is lauded annually around his birthday—July 21. There's a big party at his old haunt, the Sloppy Joes bar, a fishing competition, paddleboard races, a 5K run, and the ever-popular lookalike contest. This tropical destination at the southernmost tip of the U.S. comes alive to honor Hemingway.

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09 of 12

Jazz, Food, and Wine in Napa Valley

Person drinking wine, Mountain Vineyard, Napa Valley, California
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Experience 10 days of classical and jazz music, food, wine, and art exhibits held in California's Napa Valley. More than 70 local wineries ranging in size, specialty, and notoriety are represented at Festival Napa Valley—and this event can be celebrated on any budget. Some restaurants feature celebrity chefs preparing exquisite meals while others will offer gourmet take-out options. 

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Lebowski Fest in Louisville

Julianne Moore and Jeff Bridges being interviewed at Lebowski Fest in Louisville, Kentucky
Joe Poletta/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0 

Louisville, Kentucky, first launched Lebowski Fest in 2002—a bowling-centric celebration of the Coen Brothers’ cult film "The Big Lebowski." This madly successful festival has since popped up at cities all over the country. 

Typically held over two nights in July, Lebowski Fest features a screening of the film, live music, and a bowling party attended by fans of the movie, many dressed as characters from the film.

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Vermont Brewer's Festival

Burlington, Vermont, sits on Lake Champlain
Denis Jr. Tangney / Getty Images

Craft beer is very popular in the United States and the Vermont Brewers Festival in Burlington is touted as one of the premier beer festivals in the world. The Brewer's Fest is held annually on the third weekend of July on the waterfront of Lake Champlain overlooking the Adirondack mountains.

Year-round, you can tour the breweries of Vermont and enjoy the history and natural beauty of the state.

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Great Texas Balloon Race

Hot Air Balloon in the Texas Balloon Race
Bidgee

There's nothing like the beauty of colorful balloons against the blue sky and in east Texas, they celebrate hot-air ballooning in a huge way with the world-class Great Texas Balloon Race. Over 50 pilots and their balloons gather from all across the U.S. and the world in Longview, Texas. In 2013 Gregg County was proclaimed "The Balloon Race Capital of Texas" by the 83rd Texas Legislature.

There are balloon flights all weekend with Balloon Glows on Friday and Saturday nights. Live music follows the Balloon Glow and there are arts and crafts vendors, a kids' zone, food, and drink.

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