Top 10 Places to Enjoy Awesome July 4th Fireworks

Starting with our favorite part of the world:

Awesome Washington D.C.:
There are few more historical places to see fireworks than Washington D.C. (and by “few” we mean Boston and Philadelphia). Thomas Jefferson hosted the first official Fourth of July celebration on the lawn of his mansion more than 200 years ago and now fireworks soar over the D.C. skyline each year as the National Symphony commemorates our independence.

Boston: More than 200,000 people take to the shores of the Charles River every Fourth of July in the city that started the American Revolution and threw the wildest tea party ever in the country. The Boston Harborfest kicks off at the end of June and continues until the Fourth of July, celebrating the city’s colonial and maritime heritage.

San Francisco: There are a few options if you’re in the Bay Area for the Fourth. The best in show (depending on your preference) goes to the fun at Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf. Local bands play and other live performances start at 1 p.m., and fireworks begin at 9:30. For a prime viewing locale, sign up in advance to take an Alcatraz Cruise in the dark.

San Diego: There’s nothing like summer in southern California and San Diego is the beach town that celebrates the Fourth in pure sunbathing style. Carnivals, Ferris wheels, parades and county fairs spring into action days before the event and on July 3rd, firework fanatics camp out on the sand all the way from Mission Beach to Pacific Beach to guarantee a position with superior views.

Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard: These islands showcase New England tradition at its finest. Lighthouses, sand, parades and picnics welcome tourists and locals alike to celebrate the Fourth in style. Check out the annual barbecue at the Old Whaling Church on Martha’s Vineyard for a taste of New England-style cooking. For more nautical events, attend the Hyannis Boat Parade or Nantucket’s Independence Day Celebration on Jetties Beach to see boats and yachts get all dressed up for the occasion. Between all three islands, the best spot for firework-gazing is to hop on a cruise from Woods Hole to the Vineyard Sound for $40.

Philadelphia: Technically the birthplace of our country, festivities in Philadelphia last the entire week leading up to the Fourth, and events like concerts and movies fill the calendar. (George Widman/Greater Phila.

Chicago: Chi-town has a reputation for doing things right, and it does it again with the Fourth of July. While the Navy Pier has fireworks shows throughout the entirety of the summer, the ones on the Fourth are blatantly worthy of more attention. Take a dinner cruise before the show, or head outdoors to catch them from the shores of Lake Michigan while the symphony plays outside.

U.S. Virgin Islands: This archipelago might not be the first place you think of when you recall true blue American pastimes, but it gives a fantastic twist to the summer holiday. St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John usually celebrate with more coconut rum than they do beer. Visit St. John for the biggest parties, both on July 3 (Emancipation Day) and July 4, when marching bands, parades and dancing troupes happily infiltrate Cruz Bay.

Lake Tahoe: “Lights on the Lake” is considered to be the largest light show in the West. Droves of partiers flock to the south shore of Lake Tahoe to see brilliant fireworks shoot from a barge – so high and bright that they can be seen from anywhere on the lake. Music is broadcasted by local radio stations, and shores and docks fill with food vendors and entertainment. Grab a paddleboat and watch from the water for a truly captivating experience.

New Orleans: It doesn’t have to be Mardi Gras for New Orleans to have a good time. NOLA beats out other firework displays because it doesn’t just light up the sky in a typical way — it doubles the action by having two barges battle it out in a fireworks competition on the water.

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