Almost 50 million people traveled from July 1st to July 5th last year. That's an enormous number of folks hitting the road, taking to the skies, and probably double-checking if they packed enough sunscreen. For many, the 4th of July is more than just a holiday; it's a cherished tradition and a time to reflect on the nation’s history and shared values. It’s an opportunity to gather with loved ones, enjoy barbecues, partake in parades, and witness spectacular firework displays. Here’s a look at the top ten cities where you can have an unforgettable 4th of July experience. 🎉✨🧨

Seattle, WA

Seattle's 4th of July celebration is called Seafair, and it’s a big deal. Imagine a day packed with festivities at Gas Works Park and Lake Union Park, both prime spots for the grand firework shows known as "Overlake Union." These start around 10 PM because, fun fact, the Pacific Northwest stays light a bit longer. Growing up in Southern California, fireworks kicked off a little before 9 PM, but Seattle does things its own way.

Gas Works Park is where the main action happens: live music, beer gardens, food trucks, and classic 4th of July activities like pie-eating contests, sack races, and bobbing for apples. It's the Midwest meets the Pacific Northwest with free admission starting at noon. Despite Seattle’s reputation for rain, they've got a solid track record for clear skies on the 4th. Fingers crossed for sunshine!

Charleston, SC

Charleston is a food lover's paradise, especially if you’re into BBQ. South Carolina's cookout culture makes Charleston a prime spot for the 4th, with an estimated $6.7 billion spent on cookouts and barbecues nationwide. North Charleston’s 4th of July Festival at Riverfront Park is the largest local event, but downtown Charleston offers fireworks views from anywhere in the city.

Charleston Harbor is buzzing with firework cruises, and the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum hosts a celebration at the Copper River’s mouth. Goose Creek and the South Carolina Aquarium also join in. Basically, if you’re in Charleston, climb up on your roof and enjoy a 360-degree fireworks spectacle.

Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia, the birthplace of American independence, goes all out for the 4th of July. Philly’s celebration kicks off nearly a week-long festival. The Graff House, where Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence, is just one historic highlight.

Philly’s first 4th of July celebration was in 1777, and they’ve kept the tradition alive with the nation’s largest free concert and fireworks display. Previous performers include Ray Charles, Elton John, and Jennifer Hudson. Starting July 2nd, the National Constitution Center opens its doors for free, turning into a 1776 Revolutionary War encampment on the 3rd. The grand finale, the Party on the Parkway, starts at noon on the 4th with food, live entertainment, and a family-friendly vibe. Concerts lead into a fireworks extravaganza.

Nashville, TN

If fireworks and music are your jam, Nashville is your destination. Dubbed Music City, it hosts a 4th of July celebration that’s off the charts. This event draws around 200,000 visitors annually, but in 2021, they shattered records with 350,000 attendees.

The days leading up to the 4th are a musical extravaganza. Picture concerts at Nissan Stadium with rock legends like Mötley Crüe and Joan Jett, alongside Ben Folds with the Nashville Symphony. Even Dude Perfect made an appearance at Bridgestone Arena. On the 3rd and 4th, the Family Fun Zone downtown keeps the party going. The riverfront fireworks show, synchronized with the Nashville Symphony, is the longest in the city’s history: 31 minutes and 30 seconds of pure explosive glory, powered by 40,000 pounds of explosives and 200 miles of wire.

Boston, MA

Boston, with its rich history, takes Independence Day seriously. Boston Harborfest kicks off on July 1st, offering four days of festivities. Boston was among the first to celebrate with fireworks in 1777, and Massachusetts was the first state to recognize the 4th as a holiday.

Today, the Boston Pops Orchestra accompanies the city’s famous fireworks show. If you’re planning to visit, get there early to soak in the city’s historic sites before the celebration kicks into high gear.

San Diego, CA

San Diego, a city with a strong naval presence, is a firework lover’s dream on the 4th. The Big Bay Boom is Southern California's largest fireworks show, launching from barges in San Diego Bay. Another local favorite is the Mission Bay Summer Fireworks, starting around 9 PM near the Mission Bay Yacht Club.

To get the best view, you’ll want to book a hotel well in advance. How far in advance, you ask? Think three years. Yes, it’s that popular. San Diego’s patriotic spirit shines bright, lighting up the sky for an unforgettable 4th of July.

New York City, NY

New York City’s 4th of July celebration is the largest in the country. The 46th annual fireworks show will launch more than 60,000 shells. Watching from a cruise is ideal, offering dinner, drinks, and the best views.

The show draws about 3 million spectators and lasts 25 minutes. Great viewing spots include Long Island City, Greenpoint in Brooklyn, and Midtown Manhattan. Once, I caught a glimpse from an airplane—talk about a unique perspective!

Chicago, IL

Chicago’s 4th of July celebration is a foodie’s dream. Chicagoans love their hot dogs, pizza, and sausages—150 million hot dogs are consumed on the 4th nationwide! With high temps in the low 80s and lows in the mid-60s, it’s the perfect time to visit.

Navy Pier hosts multiple celebrations, but the best way to see the fireworks is from a lake cruise. These cruises offer spectacular views without the crowd crush at the pier. Trust me, it’s the way to go.

Washington, DC

Celebrating the 4th in the nation’s capital is a must. Washington, DC hosts an all-day event starting with a parade along Constitution Avenue. The parade, featuring marching bands and floats, draws around 800,000 spectators.

The Smithsonian Institution hosts a festival, the National Archives are open, and the White House Visitor Center offers family activities. The U.S. Army Concert Band performs, and fireworks, launching from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, begin at 9:15 PM. It’s a celebration steeped in history and patriotism.

Dallas, TX

Dallas knows how to celebrate the 4th, especially in Addison, home to Kaboom Town. This 30-minute show uses 3,500 pounds of fireworks, attracting over 500,000 people. Addison Circle Park’s 12-acre site is the epicenter of the festivities, which include an air show—a unique touch that sets it apart.

Pro tip: Texas in July is hot. Pack sunblock and stay hydrated because the sun will scorch you faster than you can say “fireworks.”

So there you have it Happy 4th of July and enjoy the fireworks! Just know anywhere you go Atlantic Luggage has got your back. With sleek carry-ons that fit just right in the overhead bin or you can go big with our check-in luggage collection. Oh, and don't sleep on grabbing one of those handy under-seat bags for all your in-flight essentials. 🌍✈️


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