Celebrate Independence day in the USA

From hotdogs to cannons and colonial to skyscrapers enjoy our guide to the 4th July across the United States

From the smallest towns to the biggest cities across the United States, July 4th celebrates the US independence from Britain in 1776. Here is a selection of the traditional, sophisticated and always joyous festivities.

New York City

Fireworks were associated with Independence Day even before the declaration was signed, with President John Adams writing to his wife on July 3rd 1776 “The day will be most memorable in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, bonfires and illuminations (fireworks) from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” Nowadays there is no national event anywhere in the world that ignites more fireworks than the Fourth of July. The Macy’s display on the Hudson next to Manhattan is the grand daddy of them all. Barges line up opposite West 22nd to West 50th Streets and 40,000 ariel shells and effects are set off. The NYFD fire barges join in shooting red white and blue jets of water 300 feet across the water. You can enjoy the fireworks from an all night party at Pier 83, several roof top events in the city, or indeed anywhere with a view of the river or the famous skyline, including the river itself where hundreds of  craft gather for the spectacular.

  • Where: The Hudson River, New York City, New York (22nd to 50th street)
  • When: 9pm. 4th July 2013
  • Website: social.macys.com

Another great New York tradition is a trip to Coney Island in Brooklyn for  a great day at the fun fair and a visit to the Nathans’ Famous Hotdog Eating contest!

Colonial Williamsburg

The open air living museum of the historic buildings of Williamsburg is a wonderful place to celebrate the 4th July, surrounded by restored and rebuilt buildings of the 18th Century, when independence was declared. The 301 acre site is peopled by costumed guides showing how life was for the people of that time and helping teach lessons for the future based on experience of the past. The Fourth of July celebrations take the form of a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence, a traditional picnic and a concert by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. The main event this year is a military muster, with salutes to the original 13 states flying the flags of each state, firing cannons and muskets and marching to the Fifes and Drums. Of course the event culminates in a dazzling fireworks display over the aged rooftops.

  • Where: 101 Visitor Center Drive, Williamsburg, VA 23185
  • When 4th July from 10:am
  • Cost: To fully explore the historic area (4th July celebrations have no additional entry cost) From; Adult (13 yrs +) $41:95 Youth (6-12 yrs) $20.95 Child (Under 6 yrs) Free
  • Website: colonialwilliamsburg.com

Addison Texas

This small town in the Dallas area is a favourite of the American Pyrotechnic Association for its Kaboom Town fireworks extravaganza every July 3rd. The highly rated show held in Addison Circle Park can be seen virtually all over town and attracts 400,000 visitors. Many of the towns 170 restaurants host special watching parties and in the park there is also live music at the Don Equis Stage and a family fun zone at the Bowl Stage. The fireworks are preceded by the Addison Airport Air Show with the Cavanaugh Flight Museum historic Warbird flyover, and a Presenting of the Colours, both celebrating the military who have helped keep the United States independent.

  • Where: 4970 Addison Circle Drive, Addison, Dallas County, Texas
  • When: 5pm – Midnight on July 3rd (Fireworks launched at 9:30 and shown for approx 30 minutes
  • Cost: Admission to Addison Circle Park is FREE. (Restaurant watching parties may change a fee)
  • Website: addisontexas.net/events/KaboomTown


The home of country music celebrates the 4th July in style with a huge downtown music event on the banks of the Cumberland in Riverfront Park. This years confirmed artists are number one country group The Band Perry, Grammy award winning blues/roots artist Keb’ Mo’ and 85 member strong  Nashville Symphony. There is also a family fun zone with refreshments, cooling fountains, misting stations a climbing wall and loads of games and activities. The evening firework extravaganza is accompanied by patriotic music from the Symphony.

  • Where: The Lawn, Riverfront Park 100 First Ave North, Nashville, TN 37201
  • When: 4th July from Noon. Live music starts around 1 pm, main concert from 6:30 pm and fireworks around 9:30pm
  • Cost: Free (no refreshments or coolers are allowed on site so you will need money for refreshments.
  • Website: visitmusiccity.com/july4th