Fourth of July – The 4th of July – When any country commemorates its independence, you can be sure of extravagant celebrations and festivities.
However, for the United States of America, the fourth of July is a truly momentous occasion, with millions of citizens up and down the country taking to the streets to display their undivided patriotism.
Even so, there are still plenty of opportunities for tourists to take part in the day’s events, with numerous traditions and activities on offer for the whole family.
No matter what part of the United States you’re in, when the calendar hits the 4th of July, you’ll be more than ready to celebrate America’s birthday with the rest of the nation.
The 4th of July is huge everywhere in the country, and it’s something many Americans look forward to even months and months before.
There are some Fourth of July Traditions however that have existed ever since, and these are the traditions that make this holiday extra special for many:
Fourth of July Fireworks
Even though fireworks can be used at any old party or festival, America’s night sky on the fourth of July is far from an everyday occurrence.
Numerous households are sure to buy their own display for the backyard, but the best fireworks will be seen at the nation’s major tourist attractions.
It’s never the 4th of July without fireworks, and this is true no matter what state you live in.
Whether you’re headed to the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Show in New York, one of the top things to see in Central Park.
Or you’re in a cruise ship by the San Francisco Bay watching the sky light up, fireworks are the most traditional way to celebrate America’s independence.
Each key city has its own dazzling display of fireworks for everyone to enjoy, but even smaller neighborhoods also set up their own fireworks displays.
It is said that this tradition dates back to 1777, when Congress wanted to use fireworks to celebrate the first anniversary of American independence, a year after the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia.
Since then, fireworks have been used to commemorate this very important day in history.
Known for the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island and Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco is a holiday hot spot throughout the year.
But for the best views of the Independence Day fireworks here, head out to the bay on a Red & White Fleet Cruise.
Block Party, BBQs and Picnics
Independence Day is a chance for the whole street to get together, show some neighborly love and pay tribute to the country’s forefathers.
Although the popularity of suburban block parties has declined in recent years, organised events in major cities look to recreate that community spirit.
The nation’s capital Washington DC will be hosting its annual block party just steps from the White House, while Los Angeles’ Grand Park hosts live music, traditional food and maybe even the occasional drink.
Celebrating the 4th of July doesn’t have to be elaborate and commercial.
It can be as simple as a BBQ or picnic with your friends and family in the comfort of your own backyard.
What’s important is keeping the spirit of people gathering together and enjoying the holiday with the best food.
There’s also added fun when you grill the burgers and hot dogs by yourself.
There’s also no stopping you from getting together with the entire community, with a bigger picnic, say in the park.
Some other communities also mount their own fairs, concerts, and booths in an outdoor location, and everyone is welcome to participate.
Independence Day Parade and Other Colonial Attractions
It is easy to get carried away with the celebrations and forget why the fourth of July is such a significant event.
With numerous colonial attractions taking place, tourists can learn about America’s history alongside the locals.
From the Gettysburg re-enactment, to the Boston Pops performance of the 1812 Overture, adults and children alike will enjoy these educational activities.
The 4th of July, first and foremost, is a historical day that sparks patriotism in every American.
It’s a celebration of the day that the final draft of the Declaration of Independence was signed by the Second Continental Congress.
Many states have their own parades because it’s a great way to bring people together and celebrate the day, but Philadelphia always takes it a notch higher, especially because the Declaration was signed there.
Celebrating the 4th of July in America’s birthplace is unlike any other, with a 1.2 mile parade joined by around 6,000.
The parade starts in front of the historical Independence Hall, continues on towards Market Street and all the way down Delaware River.
Philadelphia is home to many colonial attractions during this day, but so is Boston.
The USS John F. Kennedy will usually sail into the harbor while the orchestra is playing on the riverbanks.
This is sure to give you a dose of history and nationalistic pride.
Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest
Another well-loved tradition that only happens once a year is Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, Brooklyn.
Here you will find thousands gather to cheer on the contestants eating as many hotdogs and buns as they could in 10 minutes.
Red, White, and Blue
You will be seeing these 3 colors together the most during this time of year, and you should embrace it.
During the 4th of July, expect red, white, and blue everywhere: from the flags on the streets to decorations in restaurants and shops.
You can even use these colors to decorate your own home and car to show off your patriotic side.
During picnics and BBQs, you get themed cups, paper napkins, paper plates, and even party hats.
You will have balloons, streamers, and confetti of this color, and it’s the perfect way to show your patriotic spirit even in your own backyard.
No matter where you plan to be on the 4th of July, just remember that these well-loved Fourth of July Traditions are there for a reason, and everyone is more than welcome to try them out.
It’s good to plan your 4th of July holiday beforehand, so you can either stage your own party and gathering or participate in the best parties with your friends and the bigger community.
If you’re planning to visit other states to check out what they have to offer, this is also an option that may prove to be the most memorable 4th of July for you yet.