Last Updated on June 3, 2024 by Elizabeth

Photo credit: Boston Harborfest

No holiday screams summer quite like the Fourth of July, when people revel in picnics, parades and pyrotechnics. Break out the red, white and blue for the best July 4th celebrations in America.

New York City

Since 1976, Macy’s has been putting on the country’s largest fireworks display in the Big Apple, launching the spectacular pyrotechnic display from barges on either the East or Hudson River. This year, look to the Hudson River, with multiple viewing opportunities in Manhattan between West 14th and West 34th Streets and in New Jersey. >> Recommended hotels in Midtown Manhattan

San Francisco

San Francisco’s famed Pier 39 hosts a fireworks display every Independence Day. Our recommendation: Stay near Union Square, then take a cable car ride to Fishermans Wharf. If you prefer a nice, 45-minute walk, head east from Union Square to Grant Avenue, then north on Grant through Chinatown until you get to Columbus. Follow Columbus northwest (cutting through North Beach) to the end, and go north until you get to the pier. >> Recommended hotels near San Francisco’s Union Square

Bristol, Rhode Island

Looking for a celebration to go down in the history books? The Rhode Island town of Bristol (pop. 22,000) has been putting on a July 4th celebration longer than anywhere else in the United States. The New England town started celebrating the nation’s independence in 1785 and the festivities now include a parade, concerts and even a Fourth of July Ball. >> Recommended hotels in Newport, Rhode Island (14 miles away)

Washington, D.C.

The nation’s capital kicks off Independence Day festivities with the annual National Independence Day Parade on Constitution Avenue, complete with drum corps and bands marching alongside floats. At the National Mall, a live concert will feature top musical acts at “A Capitol Fourth.” Next up, the big fireworks show, hosted by the National Parks Service, launches a dazzling display from both sides of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. The National Mall is a popular place to watch, with some of the best views near the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and Jefferson Memorial. >> Recommended hotels near the National Mall

St. Louis

Arguably the best place in the Midwest to celebrate the nation’s independence is Gateway Arch National Park, the smallest national park in the country. The city’s “America’s Birthday Parade” has been going strong since 1878 and was modeled after New Orleans’s Mardi Gras celebration, complete with an array of world-class floats. For the best viewing, pick a spot along Market Street in Downtown St. Louis and later catch the fireworks by the Gateway Arch. >> Recommended hotels in St. Louis


Beantown celebrates the nation’s independence with Harborfest, a weeklong Fourth of July festival that’s among the country’s largest—and is now in its 43rd year. By day, you can attend live concerts in Downtown Crossing, indulge in family fun in Christopher Columbus Park, or go chowder-sampling at Chowderfest. The celebration culminates with the Boston Pops July 4th Spectacular at the Hatch Memorial Shell on the Esplanade. >> Recommended hotels in Boston’s Back Bay


As you might expect, Music City steps up its July 4 celebrations with its “Let Freedom Sing! Music City July 4th” concert in Downtown Nashville, which ends in a firewords spectacular. Headliners in 2024 include Chris Young along with YOLA, Girl Named Tom, Blessing Offor and more. >> Recommended hotels in Nashville