Every year, on July 4th Americans around the globe celebrate their national day of Independence. The Fourth of July (also known as Independence Day) has been a federal holiday since 1941, however the tradition of celebrating Independence traces back to the 18th century. On 2nd July in 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favour of Independence, and two days later the Declaration of Independence was adopted.
On the first anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 1777, the city of Philadelphia celebrated the day with fireworks, commencing the tradition that has lasted over 200 years. Nowadays, fireworks, food and music are all part of July 4 celebrations throughout the USA. However, beyond that, celebrations can be as unique as the locations themselves. From small towns to big cities, locals have created a day that reflects both culture and history. In fact, visiting a new city for the celebrations can be a completely different experience.
If you’re keen to celebrate all things red, white and blue, these are 7 of the best cities for it!
From where it all began; Philadelphia celebrates its important role in American history with 6 days of festivities. From 29 June to 4 July, visitors to the city can enjoy free concerts, fireworks, outdoor movies, free museum entry, parades, patriotic ceremonies and of course, Philadelphia’s Historic District Block Party.
Naturally, America’s capital is a great place to celebrate the Fourth of July. Similar to Philadelphia, festivities in DC begin on 29 June, with the annual free Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall. There are also festive performances by the United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps at the National Archives, where the original Declaration of Independence is housed.
On Independence Day, visitors can enjoy the National Independence Day Parade, or make the journey to George Washington’s Mt Vernon home, where new US citizens participate in their naturalisation ceremony and the military perform reenactments and drills, there’s a concert, a “Happy Birthday America” cake and of course, fireworks!
New York City, New York
There are plenty of options for 4th of July festivities in New York City. However, to make the most with what’s on offer, we’d suggest hitting up two locations. During the day, make your way out to Brooklyn’s Coney Island; here you can witness (or participate if you’re brave!) in the annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, and then spend the day soaking up the sunshine and wandering along the boardwalk.
In the evening, head to Manhattan and watch the spectacular Macy’s 4th of July Firework Show, a 30-minute display that never ceases to amaze.
You’ll feel as if you’ve travelled back in time at the Williamsburg Independence Day celebrations. During the day, actors reenact the days before the American Revolution and hold readings of the Declaration of Independence by Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson. In the evening, visitors can enjoy a fireworks display from behind the Governor’s Palace.
America’s largest Fourth of July festival; each year almost 3 million visitors flock to Boston to celebrate. Commencing on 1st July with the Boston Harborfest, celebrations continue to the 4th of July, where the fireworks display is accompanied by the famous Boston Pops Orchestra ending with Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” and a blast of the cannon.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
There’s something for everyone at Myrtle Beach and its surrounds on Independence Day. Start the day early and watch or participate in the annual Myrtle Beach Independence Day Run. At lunchtime, watch the Salute from the Shore as Shaw Air Force Base. Then, in the afternoon, just 15km south of Myrtle Beach, there’s an annual Boat Parade at Murrell’s Inlet. Then, of course, in the evening there is a fireworks display, along with live music, entertainment and face painting.
Of course, it makes sense that music takes centre-stage at the Nashville Fourth of July celebrations. During the day, visitors to the city can enjoy the free “Let Freedom Sing” concert. In the evening, the 30-minute fireworks show is accompanied by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.
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