For most Americans, the 4th of July conjures up plenty of vivid, nostalgic sentiments: American pie, barbecues, friends, family and fun. Whether you're setting off your own fireworks or making a road trip to see a big city display, the 4th of July is sure to be an exciting time. In fact, the holiday is so popular that big cities like Washington, D.C. and Nashville spend millions of dollars to entertain the masses.
Breathtaking firework displays, live music and tons of good old American food like hot dogs and hamburgers, are just a few of the top attractions to celebrate the Independence of our Nation. With so many cities doing their own big events now, where is the best place to celebrate America's birthday?
Here we take a look at some of the best places to celebrate the 4th of July, from booming big cities to lesser-known towns, you are sure to have a great time on America's idyllic day.
It's not surprising that one of the best 4th of July celebrations in the country takes place at our nation's capitol, home to some of America's most treasured pieces of history. The all day event culminates with probably the most famous fireworks display in the nation, "A Capitol Fourth," that is televised for all to see. The celebration takes place on the iconic National Mall, with Washington DC's monuments and the U. S. Capitol in the background, to form a beautiful and patriotic backdrop to America's Independence Day celebrations. It kicks of with a parade along Constitution Avenue that features marching bands, military and specialty units, floats and some of the nation's political VIPs. After you're done there, head over to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which includes daily and evening music and dance performances, crafts and cooking demonstrations, storytelling and discussions of cultural issues. Round out your day with the concerts at the Washington Monument grounds before the fireworks display.
Nashville's Music City July 4th "Let Freedom Sing" event is consistently ranked one of the best in the nation and for good reason. The festival lasts all day and includes great opportunities for family fun, including free inflatables, rock climbing walls and tons of food vendors to purchase American snacks from. The fireworks take place at Riverfront Park, overlooking the Cumberland River in downtown Nashville and are accompanied by Music City's best singers and musicians. The festival lasts from July 2-4 and each day features new performers and events, so make a weekend out of it and take in all that beautiful Nashville has to offer.
Eastport, Maine is not only the easternmost city in the U.S., it is also home to the state's largest 4th of July festival. The city hosts festivities over a long five-day weekend to celebrate the nation's independence and "Old Home Week" when Maine natives return from all over the world. Participate in cooking demonstrations, talent shows, pet shows, water sports and tons of other exciting events for the whole family to enjoy. The festival features food and drink from some of the most popular local restaurants and there are fireworks displays nightly for those wishing to celebrate in traditional 4th of July style. If you're into sporting events and activities, the festival offers a good amount of opportunities to stay active, whether you are a runner participating in one of the road races or pumping up your adrenaline in a boat race, there is certainly something for everyone.
San Diego, California
San Diego's "Big Bay Boom" attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, with its spectacular fireworks displays that are set off from a variety of locations around the bay, including Shelter Island, Harbor Island, Embarcadero North, Seaport Village, Embarcadero South Marina Park and Coronado Ferry Landing. The show has recently been expanded to include nearby Chula Vista and Imperial Beach so the already huge display is sure to be even more impressive.
St. Louis, Missouri
Touted as "America's Biggest Birthday Party," St. Louis' 4th of July celebration, Fair St. Louis, has become one of the best in the nation. The party begins with the Annual Veiled Prophet Parade on July 2nd, which features marching bands, floats, large character balloons and more, and goes well into the weekend with dazzling air shows and the infamous outdoor concerts set under the iconic Gateway Arch. The concerts feature big name acts, while families can keep busy in the kid's zone, which features everything from dog shows and theatre performances, to video games and displays from the St. Louis Science Center. There is food from hundreds of local vendors and firework displays every night, culminating in the big show on the evening of the 4th. The Mississippi River and Gateway Arch in the backdrop make the display one of the most awe-inspiring in the country.