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America is getting ready to celebrate it’s greatest holiday (aside from Christmas, of course) and the skies across the country will soon be lit up like colorful exploding stars, bands will be marching, parties will be raging and our military heroes will once again be remembered.
Fourth of July events are marked by a lively, festive spirit. On this national holiday, Americans have the day off work, and everyone looks forward to celebrating the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. The 2018 July 4 celebrations vary across the country, with each region having their own traditions. Popular festivities include fireworks, parades, barbeques, fairs, picnics, and concerts. Many Americans would say that the best 4th of July party includes a barbeque and some fireworks. Break out your red, white, and blue and get ready to celebrate American independence.
On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed, signifying the colonies’ breaking free from Great Britain. Today, 4th of July events are some of the most festive in the year, when political parties and social issues are put to rest in favor of celebrating freedom. July 4 celebrations are colorful events, with plenty of flags waving and creative displays of red, white, and blue. The best 4th of July party will also include music. Cover bands are a popular tradition on the 4th, which play all American tunes that arouse the patriotic spirit. From Bruce Springsteen to Frank Sinatra, classic American music is a central part of the holiday.
There are 4th of July events across the country, and some are bigger than others. New York City is home to a fireworks display that many say is one of the best in the country. It is only fitting that our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., is also known for its fireworks. If you’re in Boston, this patriotic city also puts on an impressive show, while Chicago brings fireworks to Navy Pier. Beyond all of the fireworks displays, there are parades, picnics, carnivals, fairs, and concerts in every small town and big city across the country. No matter where you find yourself on the 4th of July, you are sure to find a party.
While some restaurants and pubs stay open on holiday, often the best 2018 4th of July party is the one you throw at home. The 4th is meant to be celebrated outside in the warm summer air, so break out the barbeque, dust off the outdoor furniture, and invite some friends for a day of festivities. The best part about throwing this kind of party is that it doesn’t require anything fancy. Throw some burgers and hot dogs on the grill and everyone will be happy! Traditionally, the 4th is also an important night for movie premieres, so keep your eye out for the release of major blockbusters, and be the first to see it! Whatever type of 4th of July events you choose, you are sure to feel a sense of pride and patriotism in America.
Fireworks illuminate the sky in small towns and big cities across America to celebrate the Fourth of July. Here are our selections for the top 5 July 4th fireworks displays around the country.
Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks
Fireworks light up the Big Apple’s West Side during the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks display. The country’s largest pyrotechnic show kicks off at 9:20 p.m. from 4 barges lining the Hudson River. These barges stretch for 1.5 miles between 24th and 50th streets.
The dazzling lights display, featuring more than 40,000 fireworks shells soaring up to 1,000 feet in the air, is rivaled only by the accompanying orchestration by the New York Pops Orchestra and Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Patriotic fans ooh and aah over the annual showstopper known as Macy’s Golden Mile. It’s a mile-long shower of golden sparks that makes the plunge to the Hudson River and also features mysterious Ghost Shells that flash into the air and quickly reappear in a new color.
Best viewing spots: You’ll need to arrive a few hours early (people start lining up before 4 p.m.) to claim a spot along the West Side Highway below 59th Street. There are access points from 11th Avenue at the following cross streets: 24th Street, 26th-30th Streets, 34th Street, 40th-44th Streets, 47th-52nd Streets and 54th-57th Streets. If you prefer to stick to the Jersey side of the river, prime viewing spots are also available along the waterfront in Weehawken and Hoboken.
The Boston Pops Concert Fireworks Spectacular brings the 1812 Overture and about 500,000 visitors to the Charles River for the annual July 4th celebration. Spectators head to the Esplanade alongside the Charles River and stand in line to secure some blanket space in the Oval, which generally fills to capacity by 2 p.m.
The conductor kicks things off at 8 p.m. with the national anthem and a flyover before the famed Boston Pops breaks into the 1812 Overture at 9:30. At 10:30, the dazzling fireworks display lights up the sky. If you’re in town for the fireworks, extend the fun with events sponsored by Harborfest, including concerts, children’s activities and a seafood feast at Chowderfest.
Best viewing spots: If you don’t want to jostle the crowds or you miss out on the necessary wristband, you can still view the fireworks from spots around town. Many locals argue that the best viewing spot is across the river in Cambridge, or even a canoe or kayak in the Charles, a safe distance away from the fireworks barges.
Celebrate America’s birthday in its birthplace of Philadelphia, surrounded by the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. The Wawa Welcome America festival is 8 days of city celebrations that can include outdoor films, all-you-can-eat ice-cream bonanzas and free museum admission. On July 4th, the patriotic scene is set with a parade of Army bands and bugle corps weaving through the historic neighborhood along 5th and Chestnut streets.
The Mummers, the city’s legendary parade mainstays dressed in outrageous costumes, join in the parade, too. The Party on the Parkway kicks off at noon with food and fun on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. What’s billed as the largest free concert in the country starts at 8 and transitions into the fireworks at 10:30 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Best viewing spots: If you forgo the concert but still want to see the fireworks, bring a blanket to Boathouse Row or Schuylkill River Park.
Capitol Fourth Concert on DC’s National Mall
Celebrate Independence Day in our nation’s capital during July 4th festivities in Washington, DC. Start the day by watching bands and floats at the Independence Day Parade along Constitution Avenue or celebrating America’s past at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Settle in for A Capitol Fourth, a star-studded concert event on the West Lawn of the US Capitol Building. Admission is free, but it will take stamina to get a spot after the gates open at 3 p.m.
The concert begins at 8 and features television and movie stars, rock legends and queens and kings of country music. For the grand finale, the US Army Herald Trumpets play the 1812 Overture with live cannon fire and additional music by the US Army Ceremonial Band, the US Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, and other military bands. Around 9:15, fireworks launched from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool illuminate the sky behind the Washington Monument.
Best viewing spots: Join the masses on the National Mall or head to the streets by the US Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial or the FDR Memorial. If you really want to avoid the crowds, book a boat cruise on the Potomac River.
Never one to disappoint, Houston upholds the reputation that everything is bigger in Texas with the largest land-based fireworks show in the U.S. The Freedom Over Texas event has live country music, followed by an impressive show of dazzling fireworks lighting up the sky at Eleanor Tinsley Park.
Before the show, check out the military artifacts and vehicles at KBR Liberty Park, or visit the kids’ zone for music, magic and stories. The show incorporates patriotic favorites with modern rock ‘n’ roll for an explosive and spirited celebration. The fireworks show is set off from Buffalo Bayou in the park, just west of Sabine Bridge and the downtown area.
Best viewing spots: The best views of the fireworks are from within the park.
4th of July, travelers should consider stopping by America’s Hometown for patriotic festivities, historical sites, and affordable family fun. From botanical gardens, road races, concerts, to firecrackers, there are plenty of activities for any interest or budget.
Whether it be a quick getaway trip for family fun, a girls trip, a romantic getaway, or for the adventurers – there are plenty of festivites happening during the July 4th holiday week!
- Firecracker 4 Miler
Stretch those legs after a long road trip with the Firecracker 4 Miler. Join the Fayetteville Running Club for the fifth annual Firecracker 4 Miler! This 4-mile course winds through the beautiful, historic sites of Downtown Fayetteville, highlighting what our city has to offer both visitors and locals alike.
2. Garden Railway
For those who would rather enjoy a casual ride, enjoy a nice tour through the Cape Fear Botanical Garden and check out the Garden Railway! Visitors of all ages will be wowed by a miniature model railway system set up throughout the Friendship Garden. The track includes 450 feet of curves, bridges, plants and of course, trains. You and your family will enjoy watching the trains ride through the Friendship Garden and over the pond to where your imagination takes you.
- Visit the Field of Honor
The Cool Springs Downtown District and the Airborne & Special Operations Museum (ASOM) are proud to host the annual Field of Honor, which is a living display of heroism that flies as a patriotic tribute to the strength and unity of Americans. Hundreds of American flags fly on the Parade Grounds of the ASOM in Downtown Fayetteville every year, and the public is invited to visit the field and pay their respects. It celebrates the veteran, regardless of time served, branch of military, or war-time service. This specific field is one of the longest-running Fields of Honor in the United States.
- Visit Gillis Hill Farm for a free self-guided walking tour with the purchase of ice cream
Gillis Hill Farm has been a working farm since the 1700’s whether it has been farming trees, corn, soybeans, tobacco, cotton, or the essential vegetables that were so important for the survival of the farm family. Stop by and enjoy a self-guided walking tour with the purchase of ice cream, and witness firsthand all the farm has to offer.
- Explore the exhilarating outdoors with ZipQuest Waterfall & Treetop Adventure
Named one of USA Today’s 10 Great Ziplines, ZipQuest is a world-class zipline tour and nature adventure in Fayetteville, North Carolina! Zippers will experience the exhilaration of flying through the treetops of the most pristine forest in our area and viewing beautiful Carver’s Falls from many awe inspiring perspectives. One of the best things to do in Fayetteville NC.
- Experience the most family friendly brewery you’ll ever see at Dirtbag Ales
Craft brews, live music, sports, and a Farmers Market all at Dirtbag Ales! The grounds even have a dog park and playground! Check out their upcoming events for more information!
- Cheer on the Fayetteville Swampdogs at J.P. Riddle Stadium
Four baseball games each summer end with a fireworks show that lights up the sky! A few extra dollars spent on seats will land you an upgrade to the Miller Lite Liberty Lounge where hot dogs, burgers and beers are just $1 each on this patio, while the popcorn, peanuts and soda are free!
- Witness Fort Bragg’s 4th of July Celebration
Come out to Fort Bragg and experience one of the most spectacular 4th of July shows in the region. The festivities include some of today’s hottest musical acts, parachute free-fall demonstrations, the popular flag ceremony, fireworks, and food and beverages. There will be a mix of country and rock ‘n’ roll at this year’s celebration, with country artist Trace Adkins headlining the concert. The event is open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early due to heavy traffic flow.