The Fourth of July is one of the most awe-inspiring summer celebrations in the United States.
Cities throughout the country light up with fireworks displays, accompanied by backyard barbecues and parades. Formally known as Independence Day, the national holiday commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1776. From steamboat cruises to riverfront concerts, here are five memorable places to experience the Fourth of July from coast to coast.
Fourth of July Jam — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Home to landmarks like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, the East Coast city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — called by some the “Birthplace of America” — celebrates with block parties, historic reenactments and parades. The main attraction takes place after nightfall at the Fourth of July Jam on the scenic Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Billed as “the largest free concert in America,” past performers have included Nicki Minaj, the Roots and Sugarland. It concludes with a fireworks finale above the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Fourth of July Fireworks in Philadelphia
Go Fourth on the River — New Orleans, Louisiana
For a Southern-style Independence Day, head to the historic port city of New Orleans, Louisiana, to watch red, white and blue fireworks explode from dueling barges over the Mississippi River. Find a spot on the grassy waterfront at Woldenberg Park or while strolling the nearby French Quarter, where you will find live music, street performers and a thriving nightlife scene. For a closer view of the fireworks, book a deck seat on the Creole Queen, a paddle wheeler that offers jazz bands and a buffet-style dinner.
Fourth of July Fireworks in New Orleans
Boston Harborfest — Boston, Massachusetts
As one of the oldest cities in the USA — and a pivotal spot during the Revolutionary War — Boston, Massachusetts, doesn’t just celebrate the Fourth of July on one day alone. For nearly a week, Boston Harborfest pays tribute to the city’s colonial roots and role in the revolution with reenactments, walking tours and educational programs. But no Independence Day celebration would be complete without nighttime festivities. Watch Boston’s symphony orchestra perform a free concert on the banks of the Charles River, followed by a half-hour fireworks show.
Fourth of July Fireworks in Boston
Lights on the Lake Fireworks — South Lake Tahoe, California
Situated on Lake Tahoe and nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains, South Lake Tahoe, California, draws crowds for its winter sports. But summer offers just as much fun in this idyllic resort town 302 kilometers east of San Francisco, especially when it plays host to a monumental pyrotechnics show on the Fourth of July. Pack a picnic and watch the nighttime fireworks from any of the city’s beaches, such as Timber Cove Marina. Arrive early to find a spot before the crowds or buy a ticket on the M.S. Dixie II or the Tahoe Paradise paddle wheelers to enjoy the view from the water.
Fourth of July Fireworks In Tahoe
Big Bay Boom — San Diego, California
Thousands of revelers head to San Diego, California, to experience the largest fireworks display on the West Coast at the city’s annual Big Bay Boom celebration. Four barges launch hundreds of fireworks along North San Diego Bay at this seaside city 204 kilometers south of Los Angeles. Bring a lawn chair and stake out a spot on the beach at viewing destinations such as Coronado Ferry Landing or Seaport Village. Both spots have plentiful restaurants and shopping but few options for parking. If you need transportation, the city provides a free shuttle service to and from popular fireworks destinations Shelter Island and Harbor Island.
Fourth of July Fireworks in San Diego
More experiences nearby
Tour Philadelphia with John Avildsen
Explore Northeast Beaches
Dine with a View in California
TripAdvisor's Top U.S. Destinations
City Tour - Boston, Massachusetts
City Tour - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Explore Northeast Beaches
Plan a Camping Trip You'll Never Forget
Pony Express National Historic Trail