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10 of America’s Top Cities for 4th of July Celebrations

Entry #2613, July 3, 2013


Don’t know where to go for the 4th of July? You may be surprised how many places out there that you can enjoy and make the most of the Independence Day celebration. There are street parades, parties, special offers and a lot more! And you’ll never run out of fun and exciting events to include in your itinerary. To help us in our quest to find the 10 of America’s top cities for 4th of July celebrations, Coastal Living provides us with notable and impressive details about the cities to consider:


Find 4th of July Activities

  • San Francisco, California

For a superb musical entertainment and street activities, this is where you can experience everything. The City of San Francisco offers a free musical extravaganza and highlighted with a spectacular fireworks display that you can view from Pier 39 and Aquatic Park.

Where to go: Aquatic Park (at Jefferson and Hyde Streets) and PIER 39

What to do: Aside from dancing to the rhythm of the music and fireworks display, you can ride a cruise around San Francisco bay. You can definitely see the fireworks up-close while eating a delicious dinner meal. Also, roam around the pier market to experience a more fun party and wipeout bar and grill.

  • Navy Pier, Chicago

The fun never ends at Navy Pier, Chicago. Millions of Chicagoans and visitors will gather on the 50 acres of shoreline and promenade that make up historic Navy Pier. The Pier combines fireworks over Lake Michigan with a festival vibe: The waterfront Pier Park includes a musical carousel and—of course—warm, sugary fried dough.

Where to go: Navy Pier (best viewing from Dock Stage) and Pepsi Skyline Stage

What to do: Enjoy free live music, street entertainers, shopping, and two sandy beaches are within walking distance of the Pier.

navy pier chicago illinois

Navy Pier, Chicago Illinois

Image via: Pinterest

  • Honolulu, Hawaii

You shouldn’t miss the world famous fireworks display along the shores of Ala Moana and Waikiki and from the Ala Moana Center. Not only that, One of the world’s largest outdoor shopping centers, it offers 290-plus shops and restaurants near the Ala Wai Boat Harbor and Ala Moana Beach Park.

Where to go: Aloha Tower Marketplace, Hawaii Kai Towne Center, Kailua Beach Park, Pearl Harbor-Hickam Harbor, Battleship Missouri Memorial and pack a picnic and head to the Ala Moana Beach Park for a water view, or use the free open seating at the Makai-Ewa Parking Deck.

What to do: Take the family to the kid-friendly Islands Fine Burgers & Drinks. Concessions and free live Hawaiian music will be at the Ala Moana Center from the afternoon into the evening.

4th of july_wash dc

Washington D.C., 4th of July

  • Seattle, Washington

The Seafair Summer Fourth is the place to be for the 4th of July celebration. It’s a fun-filled party hub. Gas Works Park will be filled with live performances, activities for kids and adults alike and a fireworks show. Also, eat delicious seafood, enjoy the music, be amazed with arts, watch a lutefisk-eating contest and enjoy the beer garden at the Ballard Seafood Fest.

Where to go: Gas Works Park, Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center, Capitol Hill Block Party and Bellevue Square

What to do: Have fun at Gas Works Park, Seattle’s annual Lake Union 4th of July celebration will have food vendors, live entertainment, a beer garden, and games.

  • Marblehead, Massachusetts

You will never get enough in Marblehead, Massachusetts. This quaint harborfront town is packed on the Fourth with music, art, fresh-food vendors, and family-friendly activities. Expect a crowd, lots of walking, and plenty of traffic.

Where to go: Go early and stake out a bench, or bring a blanket and find a spot in Chandler Hovey Park to watch the lights over Marblehead Light Tower. Or settle in on a patch of grass at Fort Sewall or Crocker Park.

What to do: Grab a draft beer or a glass of wine and people-watch outside at The Landing Restaurant on the harbor on Front Street.

  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

With all the festive activities and fireworks display, no one does the Fourth of July quite like Myrtle Beach. Thousands of people will gather along the sandy shores with blankets and chairs to watch the fireworks. There are different piers that will launch fireworks display that will entertain people anywhere on the beach.

Where to go: Myrtle Beach (Broadway at the Beach), Surfside Beach (Surfside Drive and Ocean Boulevard), Murrells Inlet (Boat Parade and fireworks display) and North Myrtle Beach.

What to do: Locals say the show is best with barbecue. Grab a pulled-pork sandwich from the Little Pigs BBQ vendor, and find a spot on a blanket on the sand. Wander around the nearby fishing village of Murrells Inlet

New york city fireworks

New york city fireworks

Image via: Fourth of July 2013

  • Wilmington, North Carolina

Looking for family-friendly fun including music, food and lots of patriotic festivities and a spectacular fireworks display? Wilmington, North Carolina is the perfect place for you. Feel-good tunes and local food vendors (think funnel cakes) will pack Water Street until the show. The “Battleship Blast” fireworks will explode over the docked WWI Battleship North Carolina. It’s one of the largest choreographed fireworks displays in the Carolinas.

Where to go: Carolina Beach Boardwalk, Riverfront Celebration along Water Street and Ocean Front Park and Pavilion

What to do: Stroll along the Cape Fear Riverwalk and stop in at The Pilot House for homemade bread pudding and fruit cobbler. Feel-good tunes and local food vendors (think funnel cakes) will pack Water Street until the show.

  • Rockaway Beach, Oregon

Rockaway Beach is an ultimate 4th of July destination. One of the largest celebrations on the northern Oregon coast sees Rockaway Beach swell to more than 10,000 spectators for the fireworks. You will definitely have so much fun anywhere you go. Aside from the glamorous parade, the festivities also include a bake sale and Dachshund races.

Where to go: Rockaway Wayside (Fireworks Stand), Ocean’s Edge Wayside (Lions Club Hot Dog Stand) and Rockaway Beach Community Center (Line Dancing)

What to do: Bring a grill to the Wayside beach area for some post-fireworks burger-flipping and socializing. Have a fun day with food, craft fair, parade and fireworks.


Celebrate America’s birthday!

  • Jekyll Island, Georgia

Celebrate freedom day with exciting treats and fireworks on Jekyll Island, Georgia. Thousands of people travel to the island each year for the free festivities—often described as a giant family gathering. Fireworks and families from across the region will gather and have fun together Great Dunes Park. Ample open space for parking allows campers and RVs to accommodate crowds who want to tailgate. Otherwise, grab a blanket and head to Great Dunes Park or the public sandy beach.

Where to go: Great Dunes Park and Summer Waves Water Park

What to do: Make sure to catch the sea turtle release at the Great Dunes Park. At dusk, the beachfront crowd counts down from 10 to help launch the fireworks over the water.

  • Ilwaco, Washington

Expect a day of spectacular pre and post-show fireworks all throughout the length of our 28 mile beach. The Port of Ilwaco hosts a more intimate gathering of 300 or so locals and visitors. Don’t miss the Old Fashioned 4th of July Parade at Ocean Park. Plus, the celebration continues through Saturday with Independence Day fireworks at the Port of Ilwaco and a Feel the Thunder!

Where to go: Port of Ilwaco, Cape Disappointment State Park, Ocean Park (Old Fashioned 4th of July Parade), Long Beach (Fireworks on the Beach)

What to do: Watch the fireworks on the beach approach off of Bolstad Ave. in Long Beach. The Old Fashioned 4th of July will definitely highlight your experience.

So, what are you waiting for? Pack up your things and get ready for the ultimate 4th of July experience to any of these wonderful cities. Make your Independence Day celebration an opportunity to explore new places and meet new friends. That’s the luxury of having a freedom.

For more 4th of July ideas on Stagetecture, click here.

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