In anticipation of Independence day, we’ve decided to highlight a few US cities known not only for their patriotic celebrations, but also for their historical influences. We think they’re worth a visit this Fourth of July (or any other time of the year)!
Boston was one of the most important cities in the United States’ fight for independence, and the city honors that legacy by throwing one of the best Fourth of July parties in the country! Boston Harborfest, which this year lasts from July 2 to July 7, features hundreds of activities to delight visitors of all ages. Watch the USS Constitution sail out into the harbor and fire a 21-gun salute to the nation, then compete in a scavenger hunt to find clues about how the Boston Tea Party got started. Or, spend the day following the Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile path that will take you by most of the city’s major revolutionary sites. Finally, you can end the day with one of the country’s most famous concerts, the Boston Pops Firework Spectacular. When you’re in the cradle of liberty, there’s no wrong way to celebrate Independence Day.
Take a trip out to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where they don’t celebrate July 4, 1776; they’re honoring July 4, 1863, the first day of the Civil War’s Battle of Gettysburg. The historic battle is reenacted every year, but since 2013 marks the 150th anniversary, you can be sure that it’ll be even bigger and better than ever. Watching the battle is far from the only thing on offer, as there are dozens of great activities on every day of the celebration. You can follow a discussion on Civil War-era medicine or attend a historical wedding, where you can get in on the action and renew your own vows! Or, visit with an interpreter playing one of the battle’s major figures – imagine hearing Robert E. Lee himself tell you of his plans for victory and how he’ll win the South its own independence! It won’t be the same Fourth of July that everyone else is celebrating, but it’ll be every bit as fun.
New York City
Some of the country’s most iconic Fourth of July celebrations hail from New York City. There’s Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island and the spectacular Macy’s July 4th Fireworks Show over the Hudson River. But, you may want to consider some patriotic stops that can serve as a great lesson in U.S. history. Little ones can don a colonial hat and declare their own independence (hopefully not from their parents) at the Lefferts Historic House Museum in Brooklyn. Or, head to the harbor and visit the Statue of Liberty, which is set to reopen on July 4 after being closed due to flooding from Superstorm Sandy. When planning your visit, come prepared – there are 393 steps from the main lobby to the crown platform!
However (and wherever) you plan to celebrate this year, we wish you a happy Fourth of July!