Top 4th of July Weekend Getaways

The 4th of July is around the corner: have you decided where you'll be traveling yet? We've rounded up top cities around the country for a 4th of July weekend getaway. Get the scoop on each city's Independence Day activities and the details of their amazing fireworks shows.


If you're looking for a hot spot on the East Coast to celebrate the 4th of July, look no further than the Big Apple. Catch a concert at Battery Park, where you can enjoy views of the park and the Statue of Liberty. Or head to Coney Island and catch the popular Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest, held annually since the early 1900s. There are free events and concerts throughout the city, so get your walking shoes on and enjoy the day's festivities!

And of course, wrap up your day with a spectacular 25-minute fireworks display featuring 40,000 fireworks. The display is put on by Macy's, which suggests the best spots for watching the fireworks as being along 11th Avenue, at various access points between 24th and 56th. Or you can opt to watch the fireworks from one of the numerous boat tours and dinner cruises offered. The fireworks show begins at 9:20 p.m.

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San Diego

San Diego offers a wealth of activities for 4th of July fun. Spend the day at one of the many beautiful San Diego beaches or head to the Del Mar Fairgrounds for a day of good old-fashioned entertainment at the San Diego County Fair. If you're on a family vacation, take the kids to one of the area's many family-friendly attractions such as Sea World. The park will be open late until 11:00 p.m. and will feature a fireworks show at 9:30 p.m. But if it's a big fireworks show you're looking for, catch the Big Bay Boom July 4th Fireworks Show.

More than 850,000 spectators are expected to watch the 17-minute show, in which the fireworks are launched from barges in the bay. The show begins at 9 p.m. recommends the following locations to watch the show:

  • Shelter Island
  • Harbor Island
  • Embarcadero
  • Seaport Village/Coronado Landing
  • Plus Imperial Beach Pier

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Charleston's annual Fourth of July Blast at Patriots Point has been named by The New York Times as one of the "Top 5 Independence Celebrations."

The event features live music and entertainment, with attractions for the kids such as an 83-foot inflatable aircraft carrier replica. This year the events onboard the USS Yorktown begin at 6:00 p.m. Traditionally the fireworks go off around 10:05 p.m. From the landside of the museum, it's free to watch the fireworks, but to board the Yorktown tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children. Also note there is a $10 fee for parking at Patriots Point.

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The Ala Moana Center in Waikiki will host its 22nd annual 4th of July fireworks show, with live music and entertainment by day and a spectacular fireworks show by night. More than 10,000 people are expected to watch the show, which takes place off Magic Island, Ala Moana Beach Park.

The 20-minute fireworks display will begin at 8:30 p.m. The best places to watch are the Ala Moana Beach Park and the Ala Moana Center's Makai-Ewa parking deck. Note that on the parking deck, seating is on a first come, first served basis, and some attendees start looking for the perfect spot as early as 3 p.m. Also note that vehicles will not be permitted in the Ala Moana Beach Park from 10 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3rd to 4 a.m. on July 4th.

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Plans for this year's Seattle 4th of July fireworks show were called off in April but are now back on in full force. The 4th of July celebration will take place at Gas Works Park, and as in past years, include a beer garden, displays, food booths and activities.

The 20-minute fireworks display will be launched from a barge on Lake Union, near Gasworks Parks. Favorite places to view the show include Gas Works Park and a boat on the lake. Dinner cruises are also offered as an option for fireworks show spectators. In past years, the fireworks have begun around 10 p.m.

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Washington, D.C.

We saved the classic 4th of July destination for last, Washington, D.C. It's hard to beat the nation's capitol for patriotic celebrations.

Start your Independence Day celebrations with the incredible parade along Constitution Avenue. The National Independence Day Parade begins at 11:45 a.m. at Constitution and 7th and runs down to Constitution and 17th. Then head over to the Capitol Building's West Lawn for an outdoor concert. Or catch the free Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which is held outdoors on the National Mall, between the Smithsonian Museums. Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with regular special events. Or visit the White House Visitor Center, which hosts crafts, games and other activities. Cap off your day viewing the Washington D.C. fireworks show, which is launched from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, illuminating the sky above the Washington Monument. The show begins around 9:15 p.m.

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Post by Anis Salvesen.