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4th of July Celebrations


July 4th fireworks - photo courtesy of Disney World.

July 4th fireworks - photo courtesy of Disney World.

Kids. Fireworks. Parades. Ice cream...

The Fourth of July is a day for family fun. Whether you're taking a trip or looking for fireworks close to home, here's a sample of festivities.

(When clicking through to a web site check event details carefully, in case a site hasn't updated for 2013.)

4th of July 2013

  • Philadelphia: Welcome America Festival
    Philadelphia's annual Independence Day festival celebrates for almost two weeks, starting the last week in June with concerts, food events, and much more, and leading up to a full day of festivities on July 4th.

    Events on the Fourth include a parade, a Liberty Bell tapping ceremony, a "Party on the Parkway", and an evening concert followed by fireworks. Read more about Philadelphia's Welcome America Festival.
  • A highlight in NYC is Macy's stupendous Fourth of July Fireworks, set off from several locations from barges on the Hudson River. About's Guide for Manhattan has best spots to view these pyrotechnics.
  • Boston's Fourth of July Harborfest
    "America's Biggest Independence Day Party" is a multi-day bash with hundreds of events -- from historic tours to Children's Day to Chowderfest-- and attracts more than 2.5M visitors. Fourth of July Pops Concert at the Esplanade is a tradition, leading up to fireworks over the Charles River.

  • July 4th in Chicago
    Chicago's biggest fireworks spectacle took place for decades on July 3rd at Grant Park, with over a million people -- with blankets, coolers, picnics -- watching from the lakefront, but this event was discontinued. On July 4th, Navy Pier -- which has fireworks all summer - will have a special fireworks display. See more about Chicago events.
  • Fourth of July in Colonial Williamsburg
    Colonial Williamsburg is living history: real-life actors in the streets and in historic houses bring to life the days before the American Revolution. Expect fireworks, and the chance to ask a few questions -- ask Thomas Jefferson or Patrick Henry, that is.

  • Virginia Beach
    It's a Stars & Stripes Explosion for July 4th: oceanfront stages with live performances; thousands of visitors; many styles of live music; spectacular fireworks over the ocean.
  • Fourth of July in Orlando
    Expect great fireworks in this town! Find fireworks and celebrations at Universal Orlando, Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, more.
  • Other Florida: About.com's Florida for Visitors site covers other Independence Day festivities too.
  • July 4th Celebrations in the Southeast
    Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia - About's Guide for Southeast for Visitors covers Independence Day celebrations in all these states.
  • Austin, Texas
    Bring a blanket and picnic basket, for fireworks and music by the Austin Symphony; other venues too.
  • New Orleans
    Celebrate Independence Day New Orleans style: Go 4th on the River is a major bash, with live entertainment followed by the "Dueling Barges Fireworks Extravaganza" on the Mississippi River. Other events, too.
  • Top Picks for 4th of July in St. Louis
    The Fair St. Louis has a parade that's been rolling for over 130 years, a Family Fun Village, free concerts, and of course fireworks. Other celebrations too in nearby towns.
  • Phoenix Independence Day
    About's guide for Phoenix suggests great venues for the 4th of July, with picnics, concerts, rides, etc., leading up to the fireworks.

  • LA: Americafest at the Rose Bowl
    A standout event for July 4th for families in the LA area: the Rose Bowl stadium, in Pasadena, has a day-long festival with live music, food, entertainment, and "the biggest and best fireworks show in Southern California".
  • San Francisco
    The Fourth of July Celebration takes place at Pier 39, part of the popular tourist complex that includes Fisherman's Wharf, the Cannery, and Ghirardelli Square. Free family fun, bands, street performers, marionettes, face-painting, and (do we need to say it?) fireworks.
  • Seattle
    Celebrations include the day-long Family Fourth at Lake Union which ends with a fireworks extravaganza, Tacoma's Fourth of July Freedom Fair, and more.

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