Independence Day is just around the corner, and we’re ready for barbeques, fireworks, and family fun. The Fourth of July is one of the most spectacular celebrations on the calendar, and every community in America puts on quite a show. Whether or not you’re just hanging out in the backyard with your family or planning a big trip for the long weekend, there are some cities that truly pull out all the stops on Independence Day. Are you going to be celebrating at one of our top five destinations for the Fourth of July?
It’s fitting that Boston hosts one of the biggest celebrations in the country. While you won’t be dumping any tea into Boston Harbor, the city abounds with music, food, parades, and fireworks. Boston is home to some of the best museums and historic sites from the Revolutionary War in the country. Just don’t forget to leave the museums and get ready for the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, one of the most amazing pyrotechnic displays in America set to the stunning performance of the Boston Pops Orchestra. Boston is home to “America’s First Family of Fireworks,” the Gruccis, who have pioneered spectacular displays since 1850. And if you prefer some entertainment from this century, catch a concert featuring Little Big Town, Demi Lovato, and Nick Jonas.
The birthplace of independence, Philadelphia pulls out all the stops on the Fourth of July! All over the city, you’re walking in the footsteps of the Founding Fathers. Over the weekend the Wawa Welcome America Festival transforms the Benjamin Franklin Parkway into the largest free concert in the country (this year featuring Leon Bridges) and culminating in a fifteen-minute fireworks display. Just be sure to secure a prime spot on the Parkway before the crowds fill the area.
New Orleans is already an infamous destination for music and dining, but the Fourth of July is almost as spectacular as Mardi Gras. “Go 4th On the River” launches two barges that put on competing fireworks displays across the Mississippi. You can watch from either bank of the river, including Woldenberg Park or Crescent Park, or take a ferry to Algiers Point and watch the show explode against the backdrop of the city skyline. After the show, explore the famous French Quarter or the Essence Festival at the Superdome, featuring Mariah Carey, Kendrick Lamar, Ciara, and more. Cruise down the river on a paddle boat and “laissez les bons temps rouler!”
Head to the beaches for a long weekend in San Diego and you won’t be disappointed—the ocean-side city has some of the best fireworks in the country and an array of fine dining, cultural events, music, and parties. Just thrown down a towel on Ocean or Pacific Beach and wile away the weekend or find a perfect spot to picnic and watch the show on secluded Shelter Island. The Big Bay Boom has seventeen minutes of pyrotechnic majesty fired from barges positioned strategically around the bay. You can even watch the show from the deck of the USS Midway Maritime Museum, with events for children and families. If you’re willing to skip the show, the charming Old Town State Historic Park hosts an old-fashioned Independence Day on the frontier.
The magnificent backdrop of Capitol Hill and the Washington Monument frames some of the most amazing fireworks in the country on Independence Day. Relive the story of America at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, an annual event including crafts, cooking, storytelling, music, and dance. This year, discover the “Basque,” “Sounds of California,” and “On the Move: Migration and Immigration Today.” Of course, don’t miss the annual parade starting on Constitution Avenue and grab a spot for the Capitol Fourth Concert and Fireworks. Happy Birthday, America!