Travel News Best Destinations to Watch the Fourth of July Fireworks

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Best Destinations to Watch the Fourth of July Fireworks

The United States boasts many impressive Fourth of July fireworks shows to celebrate our country’s freedom. Here are ten cities from sea to shining sea that have July 4th fireworks displays every American should see at least once:

1. Washington, D.C.

The nation’s capital is one of the most patriotic cities in the country and has a firework show to match. The display is held on the National Mall, which is home to some of America’s most famous structures such as the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. The colorful fireworks shine brightly in the sky and create a beautiful mirror image in the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool below. With a bevy of patriotic sights in this city, many of which offer free admission, you can easily fill up a multi-day vacation to this city. 

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2. Boston

From the Tea Party in 1773 to Proclamation of Independence in 1776, Boston has been at the heart of our country’s birth. Boston Harborfest is the start of the holiday celebration running from July 1st through 4th. As the name suggests, the festivities are focused around Boston Harbor with historical walking tours, revolutionary reenactments, and the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. The Boston Pops has been around for more than 130 years with only 3 conductors over the past 86 years: Arthur Fiedler, John Williams (yes, the Star Wars, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, and Jaws guy), and Keith Lockhart (celebrating his 21st year). If you have ever heard a recording of Star & Stripes Forever, it was probably performed by the Boston Pops Symphony Orchestra.

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3. New York City

The annual Macy’s fireworks show is one of the most iconic in all the land, and it’s easy to see why. This Fourth of July bash returns to the East River as the fireworks are shot off from the Brooklyn Bridge and barges below. Take your pick of spectacular places to see the action – Lower Manhattan’s east side, Brooklyn Bridge Park or the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Another great spot for this Independence Day celebration is Flag Plaza near Liberty State Park because it’ll give you amazing shots of the Statue of Liberty with the fireworks popping off in the background.

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4. Philadelphia

You just know the city where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were drafted is going to pull out all the stops when it comes to 4th of July fun. Historic sites like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center show you the spirit of freedom still courses through the city’s veins. As if the incredible Independence Day fireworks display behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art wasn’t enough, guests can catch amazing concerts during the Philly 4th of July Jam. 

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5. Chicago

Navy Pier in Chicago knows a thing or two about fireworks. All summer long, the Lake Michigan hotspot hosts biweekly firework displays, so you can expect the Independence Day blasts to be quite the celebration! For a twist on watching Fourth of July celebrations from the land, book an evening cruise on Lake Michigan. Whether you’re traveling with family or in an adults-only group, you’ll find a cruise to suit your needs to view the fireworks.

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6. San Francisco

Unlike some cities where the Fourth of July and sweltering temperatures go hand in hand, San Francisco typically boasts some of the best holiday weather of the whole country. July temperatures are usually in the 60s and low 70s, so you can comfortably lounge about in jeans and a light jacket.

The annual fireworks display takes advantage of its waterfront setting on the San Francisco Bay. Fisherman’s Wharf, a popular area of the city for visitors, hosts live music shows before the evening’s main event begins. Once night falls, the fireworks blast off from the city’s pier and barges in the bay as spectators take in the show from scenic spots throughout the area.

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7. Atlanta

Built for the 1996 Summer Olympics, Georgia’s Centennial Olympic Park is home to one of the largest fireworks shows held anywhere in the South. Visitors begin camping out on the lawn several hours before the nighttime display begins, but live musical performances fill the time while they wait. What could be better than a free concert followed by a magnificent Independence Day firework extravaganza?

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8. New Orleans

There are a wide variety of holiday festivities in NOLA to enjoy on and around the Fourth of July. Events like the Lebeau Zydeco Festival and the Houma Independence Day Celebration include food, music and activities for children. While you’re there, end the night with a fireworks display like no other. Go 4th on the River is a fireworks show where two barges duel it out on the Mississippi, culminating in a breathtaking display visible from either of the river’s shores.

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9. Orlando / Walt Disney World

Theme parks may not be the first place you think of when you consider a Fourth of July celebration, but why not? With elaborate shows, fireworks, and character actors on a daily basis… theme parks were designed for the 4th. This is no truer than at Walt Disney World, where you can actually celebrate for two days in a row. And what’s even better is that the celebrations are free with admission.

On July 4th, head to Epcot to celebrate our nation’s birthday. The center pavilion of the World Showcase is the American Adventure. Here you will find a fitting tribute to our country’s history from the pilgrims and the civil war (the North vs. South not Captain American vs. Iron Man) to more recent figures like Steve Jobs and George Lucas. You can also hear the acapella group, The Voices of Liberty, perform or catch the drum and fife corps read Proclamations of Independence. At the conclusion of the day, watch Epcot’s nightly fireworks show, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, with a special Independence Day finale.

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10. Myrtle Beach

Combine your beach vacation with your Fourth of July celebrations at Myrtle Beach. There are several quirky events for you to enjoy, including a cupcake eating contest at Croissants Bakery and the Murrells Inlet July 4th Patriotic Boat Parade. If you’re looking to add a little culture to your holiday, try the Independence Music Blast at La Belle Amie Vineyard, which offers music and wine tastings along with the traditional barbecue. At the end of the day, you can enjoy fireworks displays from the beach at several different locations.

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