For many, the 4th of July is all about spending time with family and just enjoying a BBQ or local party before heading to a small local fireworks show, or maybe holding their own Fireworks display at home. This is of course perfectly fine, but from time to time it’s good to do something different and get out and enjoy the 4th Of July in a slightly different way. So we have pulled together a list of the 13 Best Cities To Celebrate 4th July in the USA!
If you are looking for Where To Celebrate The 4th Of July our list will show you a variety of different Cities and Locations where you can take a mini break to get away from it all and just soak in the Independence day Celebrations. There is so much going on across the country and you are sure to find the perfect location on our list. From Bustling Cities, with EPIC Firework displays, to quiet backwaters with a slow rural pace. We have tropical Getaways, Party Centrals, and places steeped in historical significance.
So if you are looking for a change from the family bbq, or visiting from out of the country and looking to see what the 4th is all about we are sure to have something for everyone.
Where To Celebrate The 4th Of July?
Let’s start at the beginning, after all the Declaration of Independence was Signed in Philadelphia and the whole City is considered the birthplace of America, so it’s fairly fitting to spend at least on 4th of July in the place it was created.
Philadelphia does not take this accolade lightly and really amps up the 4th of July celebrations with the Welcome America festival hosts concerts, parades, and endless historic things to see and do. Philadelphia is packed with museums and historical locations all-embracing the Holiday.
The finale is a huge fireworks display launched over the Philadelphia Museum of Art offering a stunning and pretty unique backdrop for the fireworks.
#12 San Diego
The Big Bay Boom is a really impressive and unique Fireworks display that is launched as the culmination of San Diego’s Fourth Of July Celebrations. Launched from the middle of San Diego Bay there are endless viewing opportunities from either side of the bay.
San Diego is a City that likes to party even without a good reason so expect things to really get going over the holiday. There are endless beach opportunities, some incredible attractions, and amazing dining throughout the City, and on the fourth, and surrounding days, expect some really big parties and events popping up around the City.
We love San Diego for the beach life and laid-back atmosphere, this translates perfectly to a fourth of July celebration with the day spent o the beach and then assembling around the bay for the truly spectacular Big Bay Boom Display.
#11 San Francisco
There is plenty going on in San Francisco over the 4th of July period. most notably is the stunning fireworks display launched out over the Bay. The display is launched from multiple locations that can change year on year but offer stunning displays over San Fran’s Iconic Waterfront. The main display is usually one of many in the area and the whole city is lit up for the culmination of the day.
Being a waterfront display getting a good view can be challenging as the entire city turns out to watch the fireworks. One of the best options is via a bay cruise and the various fleets turn out in force to offer cocktail and dinner cruises that offer the perfect location to watch the fireworks as well.
The Climate up in northern California is a little warmer than down south and over on the sweltering east coast, making this a great place to spend the summer celebration. There is a lot going on in the City and Fishermans Wharf becomes a hub of festivities during the day.
Definitely not the most obvious choice for a tourist destination but Detroit is host to one of the biggest celebrations and fireworks displays in the country. Partially as is shares it’s celebrations with Windsor, Canada, just across the Detroit River. Canada Day is celebrated on the 1st of July so the two cities combine festivities for a multi-day international Freedom Festival.
This culminates with a colossal Fireworks Display, courtesy of the Ford Motor Company that lights up both sides of the river. The Ford Fireworks Display is one of the biggest in the country but it is not always delivered on the 4th but at a convenient date during the festival. There are plenty of other displays going on that will be launched o the 4th and even some to mark Canada Day n the 1st.
The Festival really brings the city to life and is definitely a reason to check out Motor City which has really lagged behind other US Cities in terms of tourism.
#9 Disneyland (Anahiem, CA)
Ok, this is not a City, but in a way, it sort of acts like one and you can treat a visit to Disneyland like you would a City and it’s simply a great place to celebrate the 4th July weekend, with a couple of caveats: One you have to be into Disney. If you don’t like visiting Dinsey at normal times then the 4th is not going to improve matters, but if you are a huge fan of the Mouse, then visiting on the 4th is a real treat. And secondly, it’s going to be Busy, really busy, about as busy as it gets!
This means access to rides and attractions is going to require longer than usual waits. Shows, events, and parades are going to be chocker, and Genie+ and dining reservations like Pixie Dust. Overall you will get less out of your time there compared to a visit at a more low-key time of year…BUT, Dinsey really does go the extra mile to celebrate America’s Birthday. Everything just has more Red, White, and Blue Sparkle and feels even grander and more magical than ever. If you can cope with the crowds, it’s one of the best times to be at Disneyland. And the fireworks, which are usually pretty epic, are even more amped up for the big day!
For those with more of an East Coast tilt, basically, everything we said about Disneyland can be applied to Disney World as well, particularly Magic Kingdom.
Miami is a city that REALLY likes to party so it’s pretty unsurprising they really get behind the 4th and ap the party to the max for the 4th of July.
There are two main fireworks events: America’s Birthday Bash, which is held at Bayfront park, where huge amounts of pyro are sent skyward with the dazzling Miami Skyline as a backdrop. Or head to South Beach where Fire on the Fourth is a smaller but still spectacular display out over the Atlantic ocean.
There is just a fantastic Carnival Party atmosphere going on all week with ticketed parties and various events going off all over the City.
#7 Lake Tahoe
Nestled up on the border of Northern California and Nevada is Lake Tahoe. Not most people’s first choice for a 4th July Celebration, but this location offers something most others don’t. The great outdoors.
Most of the entries on this list will see you in a crowded city, sharing your celebration with many complete strangers as you battle through hot noisy packed out streets. It’s all part of the fun, but for many, this is pure hell. While you can head off into the wilderness to escape this as many do for the 4th, you will miss out on some of the traditional celebratory elements. Lake Tahoe gives you the opportunity to get away from everything and still get all the trimmings of a traditional 4th July celebration!
The Lights on the Lake is the finale of the Lakes celebrations and is launched from the shore at South Lake Tahoe. The display ranks as one of the country’s best displays and offers are real spectacle as the pyro erupts over the lake. Visible from most shoreside locations on the south of the lake, this is one of the few displays where you may really be able to find a little peace and solitude to watch the show.
That said one of the most popular ways to watch the show is from the lake on a cruise or even from your own watercraft.
We include Bristol for a couple of reasons really. One it’s home to the Longest Running Fourth Of July Parade in the Country. This is essentially the home of Independence Day Celebrations. While July 4th, 1776 was the official day of independence, America didn’t really start celebrating it the way it does now for a few years after. 1786 was Bristol’s first Parade and 4th of July celebration and started a trend that had been adopted throughout the country.
This makes this parade a really historic and poignant event and one that is well worth seeking out.
The second reason is more of a generic point. Bristol represents the whole New England region and has that really iconic small-town American feel. Leafy Boulevards, White Picket Fences, Quaint little harbors. Bristol is everything you expect from this very American part of the country. But we don’t intend to limit this entry to just this small town, the whole of the coastal area here has that iconic 4th July vibe with thousands of small parades, fairs, and fireworks displays.
This part of the country feels more so American at this time of year as it just fits the whole “Hollywood” image of historic small-town America by the sea. Think Jaws like Amity Island vibes, with fewer teeth!
Anywhere along the east coast, from Maine, through Rhodeisland, The Hamptons, and Long Island, right down to even as far south as Wilmington NC. These coastal resorts are all great places to spend the Holiday.
#5 Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
Lahaina hosts, compared to others, a pretty modest 4th July Celebration. But it’s still a pretty special place to celebrate the day. The 4th is one of a few times a year that Front street is closed off and the whole Sea-front takes on a party vibe.
Once the sun set there is a large Fireworks Spectacular launched from a barge moored just off the harbor. It’s a really beautiful spectacle watching the sum dip into the ocean before the pyro lights up the nights sky. The party then continues on Front Street as revelers make us of the many bars and restaurants still open along the strip.
We also included Lahaina as a nod to all of The Hawaiian Islands. There is something very special about spending the 4th on the beach, cooking up some hotdogs in the sun, and then still enjoying a fireworks display in the evening. There are very few tropical beach destinations that really celebrate the 4th as, well they are not American, but Hawaii is and it does the 4th in its own special way with plenty of Aloha.
It’s not always everyone’s first thought as the celebrations are smaller than many on the mainland, but it’s a great way to incorporate a stunning vacation and a 4th of July Celebration.
Boston played a major role in the War Of Independence and many of the most notable events took place in and around the historic part of the City, as such it has always played a large role in America’s 4th July Celebrations.
While Boston is a modern and vibrant City it still retains some of its colonial charms and visiting Boston at this time of year feels like a walk back in history as many of the scheduled events are based around the locations and events of the revolution. You can follow the freedom trail and hear the declaration of independence read out from the old state house. The Boston Harborfest is a four-day event featuring re-enactments, parades, and a general fair-like atmosphere down at the docks.
The Celebrations conclude with the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. A high-energy Variety Concert culminating in a huge fireworks display over the Boston Harbor.
St Louis really takes 4th Jul celebrations to the max with the stunning 3-day Fair St. Louis. The whole Mississippi waterfront, under the Gateway arch, is converted into a massive fair. Here you will find a carnival atmosphere with endless food concessions, games, and fun things going on. There is a series of Concerts and shows at various points across the city usually featuring some fairly high-rated acts, it’s not A-list stuff, but wells known and popular acts.
America’s Birthday Parade is one of the biggest in the country and marches from the Gateway Arch right through downtown St Louis. It’s a really impressive parade and is probably only topped all year but the Macy’s Thanksgiving.
Unsurprisingly the finale of the event is the fireworks show launched from a barge on the Mississippi river. With the Gateway Arch and the Iconic Skyline as a backdrop this is one of the best displays in the country, and to add to the spectacle nearly a dozen other displays launch at the same time turning barraging St Louis with light and noise of unimaginable levels.
For most nations when there is any kind of celebration the capital and the seat of government end to be the center of these celebrations, so it’s not surprising to see DC so high on this list, maybe it is actually surprising it’s not number 1?
There are several events taking place throughout the 4th starting off with the National Independence Day Parade. This 2+ hour extravaganza is one of the biggest parades in the country and hosts flats, balloons, and marching bands amongst other participants.
Things then move on to the televised Capital Fourth Concert hosted o the west Lawn of the Capitol Building. This is a variety performance featuring a mixed bag of past and present celebrity performers. Music, Magic, and comedy acts are all represented and it’s an integral part of the day.
Finally, attention turns to the National Mall where the second (see below for the No1) biggest and best fireworks display of the holiday erupts over the Lincoln Memorial and the reflecting pond and national memorials. It really is a stunning end to a fantastic day of celebrations.
#1 New York
New York was always going to be the winner here. The city really does go the extra mile with Independence day celebrations. It’s such a clear winner it actually feels lazy putting it at number one, maybe we should be more controversial? But really there is just no other option.
Like most locals, we highly recommend getting out of the City for the morning and early afternoon and heading to the beach. Attend the Nathans Famous Hotdog Eating Contest at Coney Island, take a walk down the boardwalk, and maybe tip a to in the ocean.
Then head back into the city to take your place along the east river for one of the biggest Fireworks displays in the world. 25+ Tons of pyro and over 48,000 shells are launched skyward from several barges stationed along the East River. It easily ranks as one of the biggest and best fireworks displays in the world and when set against the stunning Manhattan Skylie it is one of the most patriotic sights you can imagine.
While it is REALLY busy in the City over the holiday, New York can cope with these sorts of numbers so it doesn’t feel too crowded, certainly not compared to other holidays.
We absolutely love spending the 4th here and it really is highly recommended at least once to experience the biggest 4th July show anywhere in the country.
Have Your Say
What are your favorite places to spend the 4th of July? Which Cities have you visited during the Holiday and which Fireworks Spectaculars have you seen? Where are you planning on going next year? Do you have a favorite City or Location you really feel belongs on this List? Maybe you are visiting the country and have never experienced the 4th of July before? Whatever you have to say we would love to hear from you, just fire away in the comments. And if you have any questions just ask.