Top 10 Places to Celebrate July 4th

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The Fourth of July is the best holiday, end of story. Other holidays have family obligations, religious implications and the chore of gift buying. Halloween has its intimidating “will your costume be good enough?” factor and St. Patrick’s Day has its “will your bar be fun enough?” issues. But the 4th is all about picnics, parades, “The 1812 Overture,” flag waving, backyard barbeques, baseball games, swimming at the pool, and watching fireworks. In a word, it’s all about freedom. So, if you’re looking for some 4th of July ideas, here’s where I’d go if I were you:

10. Your backyard

With minimal effort, you can celebrate by sitting outside with a cold beverage. Maybe put up a flag while humming “God Bless America.” Sparklers are strongly encouraged.

9. Your neighbor’s backyard

With a little more effort you can convince your neighbor to let you sit with them in their yard while enjoying a cold beverage. Bonus points are awarded if you can convince them to feed you.

8. Philadelphia

Blah, blah, Liberty Bell, blah, blah Ben Franklin. I have nothing to say about this city. I mention it out of duty, not because I want to.

7. A baseball game

From a Cincinnati Reds press release on MLB.com – “All MLB teams playing on July 4th will be wearing blue “Stars & Stripes” caps. The caps are part of series of national fundraising and awareness initiatives over the July 4th weekend … for Welcome Back Veterans, which addresses the mental health and job needs of returning American Veterans.” Looks like the Atlanta Braves are at home (against Houston) and planning an All American Fireworks Spectacular and the Arizona Diamondbacks are hosting a Military Appreciation Day (they play San Diego). Shouts also go out to the AAA Richmond Braves for their post game fireworks display.

6. Any place with a large body of water

The founding fathers adopted the Declaration of Independence in July – in some sweltering heat, no doubt. Therefore it is important that you celebrate in a way they could not, by staying cool. Boating, beaching, water skiing and tubing are good ways to work up an appetite so you can enjoy some corn on the cob and the aforementioned cold beverage. Plus, beaches, lakes and rivers also afford you the opportunity to see other fireworks displays in the distance.

5. On the couch, with your remote in hand

You can catch “A Capitol Fourth” (Washington, D.C.’s celebration) on PBS starting at 8:00 PM, the “Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular” (New York’s celebration) on NBC starting at 9:00 PM and the “Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular” (Boston’s celebration) on CBS starting at 10:00 PM. Plus you can DVR these shows and enjoy them whenever you’re feeling patriotic.

4. Denver

Denver is a dark horse. Not known for its 13-original-colonies legitimacy or its proximity to the East Coast, Denver is working its patriotism. There are plenty of free events, the Rockies are playing at Coors Field and Blues Traveler will be doing their jam-band-best at Red Rocks. Plus the Colorado Symphony Orchestra is playing another free performance on July 6 at Red Rocks featuring “The 1812 Overture.”

3. New York

Of course New York is going to go big on the 4th. Besides lots of free concerts, there the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest (which you can also catch on ESPN, I believe). Plus Macy’s does their annual Fourth of July fireworks. (They’ve also go that little Thanksgiving Day parade they like to put on…) Four barges in the East River set off fireworks. And the New York Fire Department has fire boats that shoot red, clear, and blue water over the river.

2. Boston

Fireworks over the Charles River. The Boston Pops playing the “Star Spangled Banner” in the Hatch Shell. A flyover by the Air National Guard. Bostonians baking in the sun all day on the Esplanade to stake their claim to a plot of land for fireworks and music.

1. Washington, D.C.

The National Independence Day Parade on Constitution Avenue. The National Symphony Orchestra. Wandering from the WWII Memorial, along the reflecting pool, past the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials and up to the Lincoln Memorial. Setting up on the National Mall to watch the fireworks with the Washington Monument in the foreground.

Honorable Mention: Hong Kong – I have never seen so many fireworks in one place.

Have I missed any favorites? Please share in the comments below.

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Submitted by Alyssa Duvall


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6 Comments

  1. I spent the fourth in 1997 and 2003 in London. Great place to be with some other American lads to celebrate our independance from the tyranny of English rule. We got drunk as lords and were walking down the street singing the American national anthem. We damn near got arrested in 2003 when we walked up to a cadre of police officers and barked out the pledge of allegiance. There we were, 5 pissed drunk American guys bellowing out the pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, holding little american flags on sticks. The English cops didn't really know what to do, they couldn't really do anything, but looking back I know they were trying to think of ways to arrest us. We were a nuisance.

  2. Despite the fact that this list was pretty lame, I have to mention that I was at the Arizona Diamondbacks 4th of July game, and it turned out awesome! The Military Appreciation aspect was very nicely done, and the fireworks off the Jefferson St. parking garage were great. Plus – added bonus: the stadium when they turned out all the lights was really cool!

  3. Lititz, Pennsylvania. It's all about brass bands, beauty pagents, baby parades, bicycles with crepe paper in their spokes and Americana. I have celebrated the 4th of July at the ballgame, Philadelphia Boston and Washington, DC. You can't beat a fire works disply put on by the local volunteer fire department. I'm sure there are other small towns across the country that also do a good job. Let's hear from them.

  4. State College, PA. Better known for Penn State University. We have the LARGEST display of fireworks in the country. Even bigger than D.C.

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