7 of the Best 4th of July Celebrations in America
Fourth of July plans usually involve barbecue with friends and family, enjoying a few cold beverages, and ending the day with some fireworks. Some might call it tradition, others might call it a rut. If you’re getting tired of the same old schedule, then it’s time to take your plans to the next level. Our country’s birthday just happens to be on a Saturday this year, so heading out of town is easier than ever. Love craft beer? Then Portland, Ore., is the place to be. Kids will absolutely love the activities in St. Louis, and if you’d like to skip all of the craziness, opt for a low-key trip to Hawaii. We’ve picked seven of the best bashes in the country tailored to just about every interest. Go with one of these spots for a 4th of July to remember.
1. Music (Nashville, Tenn.)
It’s no surprise that a place nicknamed Music City is the spot to head for some of the best tunes. Live performances start Friday and continue all day long on Saturday. The headliner might be Martina McBride, but you don’t have to be a country fan to appreciate a trip to this song-loving city. Mikky Ekko, the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, and plenty of indie rock bands are also in the lineup.
As for the pyrotechnics, Nashville’s planning to outdo themselves this year. WKRN News 2 reported the city is planning to take New York’s spot for the largest fireworks display in the country. If you’re just looking for tunes without all the chaos, AT&T is offering live streaming of the performances.
2. Craft Beer (Portland, Ore.)
Craft beer may be booming across the country these days, but Thrillist said this town is still the reigning champ. If you’d rather sit back and toast America’s birthday with a cold brew than sit through another parade, you’ll want to head west for the Portland Craft Beer Festival. The festivities begin on Friday at 4 p.m. and last until Sunday evening. In addition to plenty of beverages, the festival features eats from some of the city’s best food trucks. Tickets are available at the door, or you can purchase them ahead of time.
3. Family-Friendly (St. Louis)
Plenty of celebrations have kids in mind, but St. Louis might be the best place to take little ones. You’ll be treated to loads of live music, three nights of fireworks, and a parade. What really sets this bash apart from others is the Family Festival Zone, which has everything from face painting to rock climbing. And don’t worry about having to walk for miles, because the festival provides free shuttle services.
If your kids are looking for something more adventurous, you can head to Six Flags for the weekend. The park is hosting a nighttime dance party, fireworks displays, and plenty of opportunities to enjoy rides. If you bring a can of Coca-Cola with you, they’ll even let you get in an hour early.
4. Fireworks (New York)
For some folks, the pyrotechnics are the best part of the day. Consistently ranked as one of the best fireworks displays in the country, Macy’s annual display in New York is going to be bigger and better than ever this year. NBC revealed the show will take place from two locations: the Brooklyn Bridge and midtown. The display will include 50,000 shells over the course of 25 minutes, and spectators can expect to see some new colors.
While it’s pretty easy to see the fireworks from just about anywhere, there are a number of elevated areas for the best views. Musical guests include big names like Ed Sheeran and Meghan Trainor. And if you’re not able to make it to the city to check out the show, NBC will be broadcasting the festivities.
5. Food (Austin, Texas)
Nothing says 4th of July like barbecue, and Texans know their smoked meat. But it’s not all about the brisket, either. Condé Nast Traveler named this city as one of the best places to eat in the country thanks to their delicious Tex-Mex, unique food trucks, upscale eateries, and yes, barbecue. On the 4th, you can head to the Hill Country Galleria Independence Day Festival for food and wine from some local favorites, plus additional vendors. For a day-long affair, head to Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic where you can hear a pretty stellar show while you chow down. For something more elegant, the Austin Symphony Orchestra hosts a concert with food and fireworks.
If crowds aren’t your thing, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy some seriously good food in Austin. Eater Austin reported southern picnic food like fried chicken and salads will be offered at newcomer Proof & Cooper, which plans to open on the big day. For barbecue, beer, and ice cream, check out the celebration at Independence Brewing Co.
6. Fitness (Frankenmuth, Mich.)
Road races are hardly a new phenomenon for celebrating the 4th of July, but not all are created equal. Head to Frankenmuth’s Volkslaufe, to pick from a 5k, 10k, or 20k. Men’s Journal picked this location as one of their top choices for running a road race on Independence Day thanks to scenic routes, friendly locals, and the chance to celebrate at the Frankenmuth Brewery afterwards. And unlike many other races, you can still register up to 30 minutes before each event.
7. Relaxing (Lahaina, Hawaii)
Not everyone is in the mood for crowds and noise on the 4th of July. If you’d rather spend your weekend kicking back and soaking up some sun, jetting off to Hawaii gives you a tropical escape without leaving the country. Travel + Leisure likes this locale for it’s spontaneity when it comes to Independence Day. There are a number of events, but you might just want to hang out at the beach before catching a ride on a charter boat to watch the fireworks. This destination also happens to be home to the amazing Kapalua Golf courses, so bring your clubs.