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The (Unofficial) Best Places to Celebrate America’s Birthday

Tomorrow’s the Fourth of July, which means the entire country will be celebrating America’s independence with some combination of fireworks, parties, and parades (and hot dogs, we hope).

In anticipation of one of our favorite days of the year, we’ve decided to highlight a few of our favorite US cities.

Not only do they have some of the best Independence Day celebrations around, they’re also some of the most historically significant cities in the country. They’re worth a visit this Fourth of July (or any other time of the year)!

 

Statue of George Washington in Boston

I don’t know how much more patriotic you can get than that.

Boston

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.

Battle Reenactment

Way cooler than history class.

Gettysburg

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. 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.

 

Statue of Liberty against the New York Skyline.

Now THAT’S a view.

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 East 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, but 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!

By Meghan Brennan

Tags: American History, Boston, fourth of july, freedom, gettysburg, Independence Day, New York, philadelphia

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