From sea to shining sea – and over the beaches, through the rivers and lakes and beyond – Americans celebrate the Fourth of July in grand style befitting such a large country.
Independence Day – as it’s known by its more formal title – involves fireworks and friends and/or families, backyard barbecues and beer, parades and parties, a day at the ol’ ballpark, or, at the beaches, martinis and bikinis.
It’s sporting Uncle Sam costumes, waving the Stars & Stripes, singing the national anthem and wearing red, white and blue.
This is a much-anticipated multi-day event with the Fourth being the natural pinnacle of celebration. In 2018, the holiday is on Wednesday, which is the toughest day from a party standpoint. Look for a lot of the 4th house parties and even some fireworks shows to on the previous weekends.
So strike up the band and read about where to spend the Fourth of July in the great US of A. In 2022, the 4th of July falls on a Monday.
Americans celebrate their independence with fireworks across the USA.
This article focuses on the major party places for Independence Day. It features city celebrations around the country, the best boat parties on the rivers and lakes and sports the key sporting events. It includes essential information, times and places of fireworks shows, links to official event websites and/or city sites (the ones without links either don’t have specific event websites or the city’s websites are so weak they offer little helpful information).
– USA’S TOP CITY CELEBRATIONS & FIREWORKS SHOWS –
All-day event starting at noon with entertainment at Inner Harbor Amphitheater located at Light and Pratt streets.
Fireworks: Inner Harbor. Watch from Federal Hill, Fell’s Point, Canton and Rash Fiel. Or the Top of the World Trade Center ($5 adults, $4 seniors, $3 children).
Annual concerts held July 3 & 4 on the Esplanade. Charles River between the Longfellow and Mass Ave., bridges on both the Boston and Cambridge sides of the river. The Oval is the area in front of the Hatch Shell. People and boats pack the area. On the Fourth, The Boston Pops concert starts at 8:30 p.m.
Concessions: Food and merchandise.
Cost: Free First come, first serve for best seating.
Fireworks: July 4, 10:30-11 p.m. Event Website
Boston Harborfest. June 30-July 4. A multi-day event along the waterfront that showcases the colonial and maritime heritage of Boston and the American Revolution. The starting point is City Hall Plaza across from Faneuil Hall. Daily concerts on City Hall Plaza (times vary but roughly noon-7 p.m. On July 4, there’s a “dramatic reading” of the Declaration of Independence (1 p.m.)
More Information: Event Website
Navy Pier Fireworks: July 4. Starts 9:30 p.m. Show set to patriotic music. The Navy Pier also has fireworks displays every Sunday and Wednesday from Memorial Day thru Labor Day, on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
More Information: (312) 595-7437. Navy Pier Fireworks Website
The Mile High City reaches a peak with several events on and around the 4th. The highlight is the Red Rocks & Blues extravaganza on July 2-4 in scenic Red Rocks Amphitheater and State Park in nearby Morrison. July 4 is Blues Traveler Fest.
More: Event Website
Also in Denver, the Shriners hold a parade downtown on Independence Day. Denver’s weekend also features the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, July 1-3 in Cherry Creek in north Denver. This is an this outdoor festival featuring artists working in photography, wood, clay, pottery, fiber and metal.
More Information: cherryarts.org
• LOS ANGELES
The biggest fireworks show is at the Rose Bowl but the biggest parties are at the beach. So take your pick. Or apply this knowledge: families go to the Rose Bowl – or for fireworks in Long Beach or Marina del Rey – and single partiers head for the beaches.
The Rose Bowl: Concessions inside and outside the stadium beginning at 2 p.m. The the Drum Corps International performs inside the stadium at 7; fireworks at 9 p.m. Parking: $15. Rose Bowl admission $13, $25 for preferred seats, kids under 7 free (no alcohol sold inside). Tailgate beforehand at “the backstop” outside of the Rose Bowl’s signature entrance. This event attracts 25,000+ people.
More Information: (626) 577-3101.
Long Beach Fireworks: Two locations to watch: downtown and the Belmont Pier, both offering a combination of family fun and young adults. Downtown fireworks over the Queen Mary can be seen from several places along Marina Green and the patios of the seaside bars in Shoreline Village and Rainbow Harbor (free). There is also viewing from the Belmont Pier for those in the Belmont Shore section of Long Beach.
Marina del Rey Fireworks: Annual event over the main channel attracts thousands; best place to view is Chase Park where music to the fireworks is played over loudspeakers. Fireworks begin 9 p.m. Earlier in the day, there’s a parade in adjacent Westchester, from Loyola Blvd. to Loyola Marymount University.
For activities on the Southern California beaches, scroll below.
• NEW YORK CITY
New York is so big they have to launch fireworks from three locations. which together comprise the Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks over the Manhattan skyline.
Fireworks: Fireworks will be launched from the East River between 23d and 42nd streets. Visible in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. Live on NBC at 9 p.m, with fireworks at 9:20. People will begin to gather at 7 p.m.
Other Events: Hot dog eating contest at Nathan’s on Coney Island (for best viewing, arrive by 11 a.m.). More than 30,000 people have witnessed it in the past and the event is televised on ESPN. There are Fourth of July parades in Port Jefferson, Southampton and Southhold and fireworks in Jones Beach State Park, in Mantauk at Umbrella Beach and Shelter Island on Crescent Beach.
Independence Day ceremony, Independence Hall, 10-11 a.m,, Parade 11 a.m.-Noon, through historic Philadelphia. , the “ringing” (tapping, actually) of the Liberty Bell, 1:30 p.m. (Liberty Bell Center, 500 Market Street). Party on the Parkway, Ben Franklin Parkway,20th Street to Easkins Oval, noon-8 p.m (free).
Fireworks: The Roots perform at July Jam in what the city calls the largest free concert in America,, followed by fireworks. Benjaman Franklin Parkway, 8-11 p.m. People are advised to go early to this event. Firworks start at 10:30 p.m. Places to watch the fireworks are: Lemon Hill, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Boathouse Row, Kelly Drive, Martin Luther King Drive and Schuylkill River Park.
More Information: Visit Phily Event Website
Family 4th at Lake Union with topped by fireworks set to music over Lake Union.
Concessions: At the free Fourth, it’s hot dogs, pizza, corn-on-the-cob, gyros and non-alcoholic beverages. Coolers are allowed for personal picnics and people are free to use BBQs inside the park. No alcohol can be brought in, but that’s where the beer garden, with a view of the lake, comes into play. Be sure and bring the i.d. Noon-10 p.m.
Beer Garden: Noon-9:30 p.m.
Fireworks: Starts at 10 p.m. Also can be seen from the Space Needle’s Observation Deck and SkyCity Restaurant at a price – $35 for adults, $15 for children.
• WASHINGTON, D.C.
The nation’s capitol naturally makes a big deal out of the Fourth with a huge parade and fireworks.
Events: America’s Independence Day Parade featuring more than 100 marching units, noon, along Constitution Ave., between 7th and 17th streets. Marching bands, floats, military units and VIPs. Attracts 500,000 spectators. Popular music groups play from mid-afternoon until the fireworks. The National Symphony Orchestra, with guest stars and soloists, performs at 8 p.m.
Fireworks: The fireworks are over the Washington Monument. Bands leads up to the main show, a concert by the National Symphony Orchestra performing patriotic music on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building. Fireworks begin at 9:20 p.m., and last approximately 30 minutes with the orchestra playing the 1812 Overture and live cannon fire from the US Army Presidental Salute Battery. Viewing at the National Mall. Some prefer to watch from the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va. Gates open 5 p.m.
• WILLIAMSBURG, VA
Actors portray life in the days leading to the revolution in the town and historic houses. Fireworks at dusk.