For many Americans, the Fourth of July is simply a family holiday. People fire up their grills, make potato salad, and it is one of the most wholesome holidays this side of Thanksgiving. You might even lay flags in a cemetery, or attend a local parade down Main Street. Many people will jam into parks to catch a late night fireworks show, or put on their own private and possibly illicit show. Other people, especially those visiting the U.S. from other countries, have much grander plans. They want to see a little razzle-dazzle, and we don’t blame them.
Luckily, there are many amazing places that deliver a fantastic Fourth of July punch, and really make it worth traveling for. It may be a bit conservative, but we recommend staying on the East Coast and visiting two former capitals and the fantastic District of Columbia, places which have an older and more Colonial history.
Let’s start our journey in the current U.S. capital, beautiful Washington D.C. Here you can catch a look at the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives, and witness the National Independence Day Parade. After you take in the legendary Capitol Fourth concert, stroll through the historic National Mall and find a great spot near the world-famous reflecting pool. The fireworks are amazing, and very loud, so arriving early and possibly even bringing some ear protection is in order. We promise you won’t be disappointed. If the fireworks aren’t enough for you, head into the posh Georgetown neighborhood and enjoy a few cocktails and the tremendous night life.
Now let’s head to a former U.S. capital, grand ol’ New York, New York. Every American citizen and every person around the globe should be so lucky as to visit the Big Apple once, not to mention on a fine summer holiday. New Yorkers are much friendlier than given credit for, and the city has an electric, open-minded vibe. Take in a Yankee game, or stroll through endless Central Park. At night there are many spectacular vantage points to witness the remarkable fireworks. Some people like to head to nearby New Jersey, or settle in on a pier in Brooklyn or Queens, and thus are able to see a tremendous patriotic encore over the unparalleled Manhattan skyline.
Finally, could there be a much better place to soak in the Fourth of July than in the city where the country was born? The Philadelphia Independence Day party runs from 5-11 p.m. and includes a parade through the historic city center and a concert on the Parkway. Hopefully, however, you can spend a few days in the City of Brotherly Love so you can really enjoy everything that the former capital has to offer. Independence Hall is a national landmark, and certainly everyone has to take a look at the famed Liberty Bell. Before you find a nice place to catch the fireworks, however, please sink your teeth into an artery-clogging Philly Steak Sandwich. You would also be remiss if you were not to visit the Rodin Museum, which holds over 140 bronzes, marbles and plasters representing every segment of Auguste’s robust career. You won’t find a bigger Rodin collection outside of Paris.
Now, you are in Philly, it’s the Fourth, and it’s time for your big crescendo. You near the Philadelphia Museum of Art. You hear the trumpet sound. You make your Rocky charge up the steps. You hold your hand high over your head, jumping and jab-stepping. You find a place with your friends, snap some photos, and the fireworks begin. Check a beauty off your bucket list.