July 2, 2024 | Allison Robertson

The Most Incredible 4th of July Celebrations in the U.S.


The Best of the Best for America

The Fourth of July is approaching quickly, and you know what that means—barbecues, pool parties, and fireworks!

All over the country, people get together to watch the sky light up with stunning pops of color while they eat and drink the day away.

From parades and car shows to food trucks and carnivals, these cities celebrate Independence Day with a bang!

Fourth Of July Split

Fair St. Louis (Saint Louis, MO)

The Fourth of July party at Fair St. Louis boasts food trucks, live music, fun giveaways, family-friendly activities, an air-show, and, of course, fireworks.

This year, they’re celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Eads Bridge, which is has been a landmark since July 4, 1874.

4th of July at the Air Show in St Louis MO.Loco Steve, Flickr

Navy Pier (Chicago, IL)

Navy Pier, right on Chicago’s Michigan Lakeside, is an iconic destination for many events, but especially for its 4th of July celebration.

This event is a feel-good party for all ages, and includes thousands of pyrotechnics, fun renditions of patriotic music, a lit-up boardwalk and a Ferris wheel.

In 2023, Chicago was voted “Best Place to See Fireworks” by USA Today.

Chicago Navy Pier Ferris WheelPhil Yang, Shutterstock

Let Freedom Sing! (Nashville, TN)

Nashville’s festival is full of events, such as festival-like concert performances, and delicious Southern barbecue.

Music City has one of the biggest fireworks shows in the country. In fact, their display is fittingly synced to a live performance by the Grammy Award-winning Nashville Symphony.

Nashville, Tennessee, USA - July 4, 2017: Ryan Jason, Shutterstock

Wawa Welcome America (Philadelphia, PA)

Philadelphia’s Wawa Welcome America is truly a can’t-miss event. This incredible festival spans 16 days and features a plethora of family-friendly activities, which includes (but are certainly not limited to), a huge public concert, free museum admission days, a Freedom Day block party, and the annual Wawa Hoagie Day.

Don’t forget their incredible fireworks show!

Wawa Welcome America - exhibit at Philadelphia International Airport - 2015Philadelphia International Airport, Flickr

Tropicana Fireworks Show (Atlantic City, NJ)

If you’re looking for a beachfront event, this is the one.

This event features everything, from great food and live entertainment to family-friendly activities and a stunning fireworks display in the sky.

July 4 Little Red Wagon On The Algiers LeveeDerek Bridges, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Big Bay Boom (San Diego, CA)

What makes this event truly unique is that the Big Bay Boom happens to be on the bay—which offers a panoramic fireworks display that can be seen from a variety of locations.

Watch the sky light up in color from Shelter Island, Harbor Island, North Embarcadero, the Marina District, the Coronado Ferry Landing, or on boat.

Fourth of July Fireworks Over San Diego Bay - 2011Port of San Diego, Flickr

4th of July Spectacular (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

Every year, this warm coastal city puts on a spectacular Fourth of July event that features live bands, a kids zone, beach games, contests, family activities, and an incredible 23-minute fireworks display.

Celebrating 4Th Of JulyStaff Sgt. Julius Clayton, Wikimedia Commons

Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks (New York, NY)

Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks event in New York City is one-of-a-kind. Lighting up the Hudson River with an insane fireworks display isn’t the only action, though. This event will be broadcasted on TV and have several unforgettable stars in attendance.

The Manhattan skyline and the Macy's Fourth of July fireworks display in the Hudson River behind it.rblfmr, Shutterstock

Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular (Boston, MA)

The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular is the oldest public Independence Day celebration in the whole country, and the 2024 event will mark its 50th anniversary.

Aside from a plethora of festivities, the event also hosts an incredible orchestra concert that roars into a dramatic 30-minute fireworks display.

U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters perform with the Boston Pops for the July 4th Fireworks SpectacularU.S. NAVY, Picryl

A Capitol Fourth (Washington, DC)

What better place to celebrate the nation’s holiday than in its very own capital? This famous event not only has a grand fireworks display over many of the most historical monuments in the country, but it also boasts a number of traditional family games, like charades, bingo, and a scavenger hunt, and a live concert.

USA kid celebrate independence day 4th of July.Volodymyr TVERDOKHLIB, Shutterstock

Mount Rushmore (South Dakota)

For those who may not enjoy obnoxious fireworks displays, this destination may be worth considering. This is a Fourth of July event that does not do fireworks. Instead, it features a presidential re-enactment where visitors can even ask questions.

Aside from that, there will also be live music and performances, food, and a traditional sculpture lighting ceremony.

Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration - 2020Trump White House Archived, Flickr

4th of July Celebration (Huntington Beach, CA)

More than 500,000 people flock to Huntington Beach for its incredible Fourth of July celebration that spans over four days. This event includes a 5K city to surf race, a parade, the Pier Plaza Festival, live entertainment, amusement rides, and an array of food vendors.

Don’t forget the stunning fireworks display over the ocean.

Huntington Beach 4th of July ParadeJonathan Cook-Fisher, Flickr

Palace Green for Lights of Freedom (Colonial Williamsburg, VA)

This authentic 18th-century town celebrates American history like no other. First re-enactors will take you back in time with the Freedom’s Paradox tour to investigate the contradiction of American liberation and slavery.

Then, at 8pm, join the crowds at Palace Green for Lights of Freedom. The concert features various musical talent and finishes with a stunning fireworks display.

Women reenacting in Colonial Williamsburg - 2008Harvey Barrison, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Wild West Americana (Jackson Hole, WY)

The scenic Jackson Hole boasts the Wild West Americana Fourth of July festival. This event kicks off with an annual community pancake breakfast, followed by a parade packed with horses and clowns.

But, that’s not all.

Cowboy riding a horse in the Fourth of July parade carrying an American flagMarty Castrogiovanni, Shutterstock

The Rodeo

The evening gets even better with a old-school rodeo at the Teton County Fairgrounds, and a stunning evening fireworks display over the mountains at Teton Village and Snow King Mountain.

Benton County Fair & Rodeo Queen carrying the American flag - 2014Kirt Edblom, Flickr

Seward’s Fireworks (Alaska)

Seward’s Fireworks display doesn’t actually start until 12:01am because of Alaska’s midnight sun, but believe it or not, there are still about 30,000 people who show up for it.

The fireworks aren’t the main event here though.

Fireworks At Wiseman, Alaska ,UsaNina Matthews, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

The Mount Marathon Race, Alaska

The Mount Marathon Race, founded in 1915 has been dubbed the world’s most challenging 5K. Adventurers ascend and descend a 3,022-foot peak, and the trek itself scrambles over thick roots, loose shale, and muddy waterfalls.

Mt. Marathon RaceKate Geraets, Flickr

Aptos Fourth of July Parade (Aptos, CA)

If you’re looking for more small-town America vibes, Aptos is where you’ll want to be. This sleep hamlet on the Monterey Bay known for hosting the world's shortest parade.

Aptos 4th of July Paradesgrace, Flickr

Aptos, California

The route is only 0.6-miles long, but has thousands of people in attendance each year. Celebrations kick off at 10am. After the parade, make your way to Aptos Village Park where locals lounge around ten acres and celebrate all afternoon.

Aptos 4th of July Parade - The shortest parade in the world!sgrace, Flickr

Kaboom Town! (Addison, TX)

If you love fireworks, this is your jam. With over 3500 pounds of fireworks and over 500,000 spectators—it’s true that everything is bigger in Texas.

Restaurants and hotels in the area host parties all day and a patriotic airshow precedes the fantastic half-hour pyro-palooza that sets the sky ablaze.

Kaboom Town - Addison, Texas - 2011Mahanga, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

The Invasion of the Pines (Fire Island Pines, New York)

For a flamboyant Pride-infused party, Fire Island Pines is where it’s at. Every summer, queens and kings of all kinds take the ferry from Cherry Grove to the Pines, two LGBTQI+ havens off the coast of Long Island.

This event commemorates an important moment in American history.

The Line Waiting To Board The Ferry To Fire Island PinesDavid Shankbone, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Background

The Invasion of the Pines is an event that commemorates the summer of 1976, when a Pines restaurant refused to serve a Cherry Grove drag queen because of their outfit. July 4th, a group of queens "invaded" the Pines in protest, only to be met with free drinks and admiration.

Today, the event caters to thousands of visitors with music, food, and family-friendly activities.

Fire Island Ferry unloading summer at the PinesCarol Vinzant, Flickr


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