Food, Fireworks and Festivities
Apple pie, anyone? Independence Day is the iconic summer holiday, complete with barbecues, beer, and the “‘oohs” and “ahs” as the night sky lights up. And even if your hometown has a killer fireworks display, a 3-day weekend is the perfect excuse to head somewhere a bit more iconic for an all-out 4th of July celebration.
Not sure where to go? Check out our guide to the top “4 for the 4th” cities that really know how to celebrate America!
Few will argue Boston’s 4th of July cred, steeped in Revolutionary War history and Founding Fathers trivia. Fewer still will argue that it’s one of the top 4 cities – maybe even the top city – to spend your 4th of July weekend.
Harborfest, as Boston’s Independence Day celebration is called, is a weeklong city-wide party in honor of the red, white, and blue. Events include parades, live music, and harbor cruises – many of them free and pretty much all of them kid-friendly.
But the biggest party in town happens on the 4th. The day starts off casually enough, as thousands of residents and tourists grab a spot along the Charles River. Think picnics and frisbees!
As the day winds down and the sun sets, the world-famous Boston Pops takes over the bandshell for a free outdoor concert. You’ll know it’s time to get your camera ready when you start hearing the 1812 Overture… it kicks off one of the most glorious fireworks shows in the country!
Pro Tip: The fireworks can be viewed from anywhere along the 3-mile esplanade, so don’t worry about finding the perfect spot!
Quick, which holiday doesn’t the Big Apple rock? Trick question: NYC rocks them all! And what could beat a 4th of July celebration in the same city as Lady Liberty?
The quintessential NYC experience is, of course, hopping on the subway. On the 4th, that means a quick ride over to Coney Island for an American institution: the annual hot dog eating contest. Believe it or not, this tradition has been going on for over 100 years!
Afterwards, head back to the city in time to catch the country’s largest fireworks display, Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Show. Book an evening cruise in the harbor for a truly unforgettable view of this 25-minute extravaganza. Another option: hit up a rooftop bar along the East River for an equally stunning view.
Philly played a starring role in our country’s quest for independence, and they haven’t forgotten. They’ll make certain you don’t forget, either, with a rousing week of 4th of July celebrations! Outdoor movies, free museum days, block parties, food trucks, free concerts, parades… you name it, Philly’s got it.
It all comes to a head on the 4th, when the massive “Party on the Parkway” kicks off at noon. A day’s worth of food, live music, and outdoor games is followed by a star-studded outdoor concert.
And there’s only one way to cap off the 4th in the City of Brotherly Love, and that’s with spectacular fireworks over the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
There are few cities better for a 4th of July celebration than the nation’s capital, surrounded by our most cherished symbols of democracy. Crowded? Sure. Worth it? Absolutely.
Spend the weekend exploring monuments and museums. Or, if you prefer the outdoors, head over to the Potomac River for kayaking and paddleboarding.
On the 4th, don’t miss the military-themed parade, with floats, military bands, and VIPs making their way up the 10 blocks of Constitution Avenue. Unlike some cities, which have more of a “block party” celebration, DC leaves no doubt that this celebration is official-with-a-capital-O.
The National Symphony Orchestra takes over at dusk on the West Lawn with a rousing concert that ends with fireworks-cuing cannons. There’s nothing like seeing the monuments and memorials lit up by breathtaking fireworks to leave you feeling red, white and blue all over.
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