This July, America celebrates its 243rd birthday and millions of Americans will join in the celebration. With the Fourth of July falling on a Thursday this year, it presents the perfect opportunity to take a long weekend and travel somewhere new. Here's how the folks in cities across the nation will be celebrating:
This year marks the 43rd annual Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Show—the biggest Fourth of July fireworks display in the country. Each year an average of three million people gather to watch as the fireworks flicker and boom over the East River. Already crowned America's biggest fireworks display, this year's show promises to be even bigger, with three times more pyrotechnic firepower.
For 2019, the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Show will be launching from the world-famous Brooklyn Bridge and four barges on the lower East River. If you plan on attending the show in person, be sure to snag your viewing spot early on July 4th. You can get the best views in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, close to the bridge.
And while you're in the Big Apple, be sure to catch a Broadway show; visit the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, and Central Park; or dine at some of the city's best restaurants.
If the thought of being surrounded by three million people seems a bit overwhelming, try attending a Fourth of July celebration that is a bit less populated but full of activity. Minneapolis' Red, White and Boom festival is just as magnificent, attracting a much smaller crowd of 75,000 people each year.
At the Red, White and Boom festival, you'll never get bored, as the festival offers a large variety of 4th of July activities to keep you entertained. If you like fitness, register for the Half Marathon that takes place at 6:30AM on July 4th. After the race, join in on the Fourth of July fun with plenty of family-friendly activities, live music, food vendors, and, of course, the fireworks show over the Mississippi River.
Grab a spot at the optimal viewing area: The Stone Arch Bridge. You can also get a great view of the show at Gold Medal Park, Mill City Museum—with VIP access for $35 per person that also lets you tour the museum—, or the Guthrie Endless Bridge. Or, catch dinner and a show by watching from one of the many Minneapolis rooftop restaurants or bars.
Bigger and better best describes our nation’s capital Fourth of July festivities this year. To kick off the day, join the hundreds of thousands lined up along Constitution Avenue, between 7th & 17th streets, to view the National Independence Day Parade, beginning at 11:45AM. The parade features fife and drum corps, floats, military units, national dignitaries, and a lot of red, white, and blue!
In the evening, head over to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for A Capitol Fourth, a star-studded salute to America’s birthday. This year’s concert features the legendary Carole King along with the Broadway cast of Beautiful, characters from Sesame Street celebrating their 50th anniversary, Vanessa Williams, Lee Brice, Colbie Caillat, and many others, along with host John Stamos. The concert begins at 8:00PM, but gates open at 3:00PM, so get there early to grab a good spot!
Fireworks begin around 9:00PM, and have been promised to be bigger and better than ever! They will be launched this year from West Potomac Park, rather than the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, to make room for more spectators on the National Mall. And word is President Trump will be addressing the crowds from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial sometime that evening.
If you want to experience a Fourth of July celebration with a side of sizzling heat, head to Houston. Despite a July average temperature of 94 degrees, Houston has much to offer for the patriotic holiday. Music lovers will want to attend the Freedom Over Texas concert at Eleanor Tinsley Park, with a lineup that includes multiple chart-topping singer/songwriter, Jake Owen, and country artist, Kellie Pickler. In between performances, be sure to check out the food tents and beer gardens, or take the kids to the children's entertainment area. The event is held from 4:00PM to 10:00PM on July 4th, concluding with a fireworks show. You can experience all this for $10.00 per ticket at the door, or an $8.00 advanced purchase through July 3rd.
If the Texas heat is a bit too much, take a trip to Chicago for the Fourth of July. Although Chicago has its hot and humid summer days, the average July temperature is 84 degrees—a whole 10 degrees cooler than Houston's July temperatures. Plus, having the option to watch the fireworks directly on Lake Michigan allows for a cool lake breeze.
The fireworks display on July 4th launches from Navy Pier, which offers plenty of activities to keep busy with, including the renowned (and recently updated) ferris wheel and other rides for kids (and adults) to enjoy. Grab a bite to eat or a cocktail to sip at one of the many restaurants along the Pier, but get there early because gates will close once capacity is reached.
If you would rather avoid the crowds at Navy Pier and still have a great view with live music, try visiting Millennium Park for the Grant Park Music Festival: Independence Day Salute. The festival is held from 6:30 to 8:00PM and features performances of classic patriotic songs.
Philadelphia is America’s birthplace so it’s no surprise they host a week-long Fourth of July celebration. On July 4th, one of the largest (and free) celebrations in the country takes place on Benjamin Franklin Parkway. First up is Party on the Parkway, where, from noon to 7:00PM, you can enjoy five blocks of games, arts and crafts, live music, dancing, food, and a zip-line. Be sure to stick around for the Wawa Welcome America Concert from 7:00 to 10:00PM. This year’s lineup includes Grammy and Academy Award winner, Jennifer Hudson, along with Grammy Award winner, Meghan Trainor. Immediately following the concert is an unforgettable fireworks show to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence in this very city.
Take a trip to Seattle for a Fourth of July your kids can get on board with. The town of Bellevue—just across Lake Washington from Seattle—holds a Fourth of July celebration tailored towards families with young children at the 20-acre Bellevue Downtown Park. Called the Bellevue Family 4th, the celebration begins in the early afternoon with Bellevue Park’s Family Fun Zone, where families can enjoy live music, food, and rides. At night, attend a fireworks show choreographed to a live performance of the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra continues to perform once the fireworks have completed, closing the day-long celebration.
Travel just beyond Dallas to Addison, Texas, a suburb home to just 16,000 residents. What makes Addison so special for the Fourth of July? The answer is the fact that nearly 500,000 people make the visit each year to experience the spectacular fireworks show called Kaboom Town. The celebration takes place on July 3rd, and is made up of 3,500 lbs. of fireworks that span a full 30 minutes. In addition to an impressive fireworks show, you will also experience a carnival, an air show hosted by the Cavanaugh Flight Museum, as well as an endless amount of delicious fare—Addison has the most eateries per capita of any other town in the country!
Another great option is to head west to San Francisco this Fourth of July. This city's fireworks display sets off from two locations—Municipal Pier in Aquatic Park and Pier 39—and boasts 10,000 effects in an approximately 30-minute period. You can catch a prime view of the fireworks from Aquatic Park, Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, or Coit Tower in Pioneer Park.
While visiting San Francisco, there are an endless amount of activities to enjoy. In addition to the gorgeous beaches this city has to offer, you can attend the Filmore Jazz Festival, running July 6th and 7th. This free, twelve-block-long festival is the largest free jazz event on the West Coast. Or, choose from dozens of free walking tours, including Golden Gate Park, Haight-Ashbury, and Alfred Hitchcock's San Francisco, guided by volunteers.
If you prefer the East Coast to the West Coast, check out one of America's most historic cities for the Fourth of July. The Boston POPS Fireworks Spectacular is famous for its choreographed performance to the Boston POPS Orchestra's rendition of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, complete with real cannon fire! The free show takes place on July 3rd and 4th, following performances by Grammy, Emmy, and Golden Globe award winner, Queen Latifah, showcasing a selection of her top hits, and folk singer/songwriter, Arlo Guthrie, performing a musical tribute commemorating the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. Note that the fireworks display shoots off on July 4th only, following the concert.
The gates open at 5:00PM on the 3rd, and 9:00AM on the 4th, so be sure to get there in time to secure a spot, as the venue tends to fill up quickly. Also be aware of prohibited items, such as coolers, backpacks, glass containers, cans, grills, and bicycles. In order to get a glimpse of the fireworks show without attending the concert, grab a spot along Memorial Drive on the Cambridge side of the Charles River.
In addition to quite literally a spectacular fireworks show, there are plenty of other sights to see and activities to keep you busy during your stay in Boston. On July 4th, begin your day with the flag-raising ceremony at 9:00AM on City Hall Plaza, followed by a parade to the Granary Burial Ground. After the parade, enjoy a reenactment of the July 18th, 1776 reading of the Declaration of Independence from the balcony of the Old State House.
And finally, if you really want to experience a relaxing, yet exciting, Fourth of July vacation, head to Lake Tahoe. The Lights on the Lake fireworks show is unlike any other, thanks to the beautiful, mountainous backdrop joined by the glimmer of fireworks in the lake's reflection. Plus, there are countless activities to partake in across the many shoreline towns.
Take a cruise on the lake, complete with dinner, unlimited beer and wine, dancing, and a front-row view of the fireworks display. Or join one of the many beach parties along the shore, such as the July 3rd Fireworks and Beach Party at Kings Beach.