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Fireworks and fun: Find your ideal Fourth of July

From coast to coast, North and South, we’ve got your Independence Day celebrations sorted. | By Paul Oswell | June 27, 2022

For almost 250 years, U.S. Independence Day has been a chance for Americans to gather, celebrate and feast. This year, festivities are likely to go big, from fireworks and parades to more casual, family gatherings and cookouts. If you’re raring to celebrate the Fourth of July, then here are some of our suggestions:

  • Fill your plate: Celebrate with fancy cocktail breakfasts and mouthwatering barbecue

  • Turn up the volume: Live music and parades create a party atmosphere

  • Find your spark: No Fourth of July celebration is complete without fireworks

Welcome to Las Vegas sign
The neon lights of Las Vegas ensure a bright Fourth of July celebration.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas is a party city all year round. People flock here for the lavish, star-studded shows, luxurious spa treatments and Michelin-starred menus. At any time, it’s a city of complete escapism, where you can lose yourself in any number of sensory delights.

As brightly lit and spectacular as The Strip is on any given day, on July Fourth, you’ll find a huge fireworks display across the neon-lit downtown is an even more dramatic panorama. Pool parties are the best way to get into the celebratory spirit, and Resorts World Las Vegas promises a party filled with DJ sets, splash time and summertime barbecue faves.

Friends hanging out on a beach holding the American flag
Let your flag fly at one of Miami’s many oceanside celebrations.

Miami

People come to Miami to be around a jet set, glamorous lifestyle and to live out their A-list (or at least A-list adjacent) fantasies. It’s the place to pose and be seen posing with a local flair that celebrates hip, artistic vibes. Sure, you can spend the day at South Beach topping up your suntan, but it’s the pulsing nightlife that keeps the young and the beautiful coming back to Miami.

One of the best Fourth of July parties here is the Fire on the Fourth Festival, held in and around the Miami Beach Bandshell. It includes an outdoor roller disco, dedicated Family Zone, fireworks and more.

Two girls smiling and walking through Coney Island
This Independence Day, find fun, games and funnel cake (hopefully) at Coney Island’s Riegelmann Boardwalk.

New York City

Fashions come and go, but New York remains as iconic an American city as there is. Talk about the Big Apple to anybody, anywhere in the world, and you’ll immediately evoke images of the Statue of Liberty, The Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge and some of the best restaurants around.

After a short hiatus, the fireworks display to top them all — Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks — returns, with live music, celebrity guests and an awe-inspiring pyrotechnic display. Alternatively, head to Coney Island, where you can catch the annual, world-famous Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. You can hit the day party at Coney Art Walls and then sit back and take in the firework display that lights up Coney Island Beach.

Adorable little girl smiling and waving American flag outside
Los Angeles’ July Fourth celebrations promise fun for the whole family.

Los Angeles

LA brings to mind sun-kissed glamour and Hollywood dreams. From the expansive green spaces, popular theme parks and world-famous beaches to world-class performing arts venues and celebrity sightings, it’s a city obsessed with entertainment.

Independence Day is no exception. Grand Park’s 4th of July Block Party is a huge, family-friendly event with DJs, live music, dancing and fireworks. For beachside festivities, head to Marina Del Rey, where pyrotechnics are launched from the Marina’s south jetty, all synchronized to music for maximum effect.

Fourth of July parade passes by as the kids enjoy waving the American flag with Mom.
Get up-close to all the parade-day action and activities this Independence Day.

Atlanta

Atlanta is a city that’s brimming with hospitality and charm. Nowhere is that charm more apparent than in hip neighborhoods such as Little Five Points, with its colorful murals and craft beer bars and trendy East Atlanta Village with its live music venues and thriving LGBTQ+ scene.

There are dozens of fireworks displays across the metro area all weekend, one of the biggest being the Look Up Atlanta fireworks display at Centennial Olympic Park (actually held on the night of July 3 this year). A huge Atlanta tradition is to cheer on the runners in the annual Peachtree Road Race, which winds through the streets of Buckhead to the corners of Midtown. Later, you can join the festive Pied Piper Parade, a costumed parade that takes place in Decatur from 6pm and is followed by free live music.

No matter how (or where!) you choose to celebrate this Independence Day, Fourth of July weekend is guaranteed to be a good time for all.

Paul Oswell is a British award-winning journalist and published travel author based in New Orleans, Louisiana in the United States. His books include Bucket List North America and The Great American Road Trip, as well as New Orleans' Historic Hotels. He has also been an editor of and contributor to several guide books/editions published by Dorling Kindersley (owned by Penguin), including New Orleans, Florida, Orlando, Los Angeles, California and The United States. His work has appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure (both of which he has written multiple online travel guides for) and The Guardian, as well as dozens of international newspaper and magazine titles, and inflight magazines for major airlines.