Everybody across the States has their own Independence Day tradition, from small family barbecues to great communal fireworks-at-the-beach festivals. But if you really want to mark the occasion on a grand scale – to get out there with your fellow Americans, an Olympian cohort of former Presidents smiling down from above – then you should try heading to one of these five towns, which celebrate in style with live music and immense firework displays.
Addison is a small town attached to the north of Dallas, and every fourth of July its 13,000 residents put on a show spectacular enough to attract half a million visitors. Kaboom Town! centers on a dazzling 30-minute firework display, choreographed with pop music that is simulcast on the radio. Before the fireworks, a troop of storied warplanes perform tricks in the Texas sky, and live music swings from a string of outdoor stages. The show is visible from all over town, but old-timers arrive early to squeeze into Addison Circle Park.
Boston explodes in a couple of ways on July 4th: fireworks rain glittering colors onto the Charles River, while on the opposite bank the Boston Pops Orchestra performs a live musical accompaniment. The Boston Pops were founded as a playful alternative to the more serious Boston Symphony Orchestra, and their legendary fourth of July performances are when they really let their imaginations loose: previous shows have seen Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture turbo-charged with church bells and howitzer cannons.
Macy’s, one of New York’s iconic corporate behemoths, sponsors some of the city’s most famous events: its colorful Thanksgiving Parade, and its fourth of July fireworks. The fireworks are among the biggest and longest running in the country, shooting off Brooklyn Bridge and flickering colors across the silvery surface of the Hudson River. The river’s West side is the best place to watch the spectacle unfold, unless you can snag a rooftop with a view of the NY skyline.
Unsurprisingly, Vegas kicks itself into a kaleidoscopic frenzy on the fourth of July, with parties sprinkled throughout the city and special mythic-American twists on some of the Strip’s world-famous shows. The options for activities are innumerable – hit up pool parties, touring the nightclub circuit, feast to live music, and so on. And if you’re thirsting for fireworks then Stations Casinos put on a spectacular show – simultaneous nine-minute displays paint the sky above five of their properties, to a soundtrack of Nat King Cole and Led Zeppelin.
Founding Father and prominent Revolutionary fighter John Adams wrote of his joy at the signing of the Declaration of Independence: "Bonfires and illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this time forward forever more." And, aptly, it is in Washington D.C. that his vision of a celebratory future is most vividly realized. The city’s vast arsenal of fireworks leap into the sky above the National Mall, illuminating its monuments to a soundtrack provided by the National Symphony Orchestra.