There probably won’t be any huge, in-person 4th of July celebrations this summer. But that doesn’t mean the festivities won’t resume next year. For the optimists and those planning ahead, here are the largest Independence Day celebrations in the US.
Boston’s Harborfest starts July 1st and goes all week until the 4th. Activities include an opening ceremony, arts festival, live music and a chowderfest. What’s a chowderfest, you ask? It’s when people come together and sample all kinds of clam chowder (the white and creamy New England kind, not the Manhattan version). After dark, a parade of lights and fireworks display complete the celebration. Elsewhere in Boston, there is a flag-raising ceremony, and people are encouraged to walk the Freedom Trail to tour the very scenes of the American Revolution.
Philadelphia’s Wawa Welcome America
Like Boston, Philly is central to the origin story of the United States. After all, it was in Philadelphia where the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, the day we now celebrate every summer. As such, Philly takes the 4th very seriously. The Wawa Welcome America week-long festival includes block parties, concerts, and three fireworks events. And unlike Bostonians who wait until July to start, Philadelphians start celebrating in late June.
NYC and the Macy’s fireworks show
If we’re talking about big parties, then, of course, New York City is on our list. There are no weeklong celebrations because frankly, New Yorkers are busy. But on the night of the 4th, after hitting the beaches, people can gather in any borough to watch the Macy’s fireworks show. There are several going on, including five on the East River alone. And for our friends across the Hudson River, there’s a fireworks show in Jersey City as well.
Washington DC’s parade and festivities
As you can imagine, Washington DC’s 4th of July celebration is extensive and elaborate. It includes a parade, a concert by the National Symphony Orchestra, military bands, fly-overs, and a speech by the President. While the 4th of July in our nation’s capital has never been quite as dramatic as the film Independence Day would suggest (no intergalactic alien attacks to date), Washington is still a great city to celebrate the holiday.
Atlanta’s AJC Peachtree Road Race
Atlanta’s 4th of July festivities may just be the healthiest. While everyone else is gorging on BBQ and clam chowder, Atlanta hosts the largest 10K run in the world. Sixty thousand athletes run 6.2 miles through the city while over 150,000 spectators turn up to cheer them on. Now, that’s how you celebrate independence!