4 Festivities for Your 4th of July

National Independence Day Parade – Washington D.C.

If you’re into large crowds then viva the July 4th with the masses and head to D.C. for the largest annual 4th of July parade in the country. Every year, Washington D.C. fittingly sets off Independence Day with a bang that’s highlighted by a parade of elaborate floats stretching down Constitution Avenue. With more than 25 bands and 400,000-yes 400,000 spectators, there will be plenty of opportunities to indulge in entertainment. Plus, this celebration has the all day factor.

Why travel somewhere else for just two hours of fireworks?

After you’ve scoped out the parade explore the sights and museums then head over to the Capitol Building where the National Symphony Orchestra will perform to the tune of the largest televised fireworks exhibition in the country.

Plan to arrive the night before to prep for the crowds and plan to stay for at least two nights to recover from the fun. Don’t rent a car, the streets will all be closed off and driving in the district is hell anyway. Take a taxi and book a hotel somewhere close by, like the Hilton Garden Inn on 14th street; this will give you a mere 5 block walk down to Constitution Avenue. There is no better reminder of diversity in America, than this 4th of July fiesta. Whether, you like to Fiesta, Partay, or Petit Fete…come to DC, for the ultimate Partay.

Boston Harborfest – Boston Massachusetts

20 years ago, Boston Harborfest began as a humble festival with 30 events. Today, the 7 day celebration has grown to more than 20 concentrated events and is considered “THE” national Independence Day celebration in the country. The Boston Harborfest showcases the Maritime and Colonial vale of the revolution. Critics have heralded it as one of the best family celebrations to attend because of its vast array of booths, activities and entertainment. Events take place in the historic district and on the waterfront but the main events held exclusively on Boston’s City Hall Plaza. Because of its colonial heritage, the festival trumpets, the austere aura of archaic American culture that has fizzled out over the last couple centuries. The immersion into colonial Americana is completely outfitted with opulent revolutionary war costumes. Tours reenact the American revolution regularly. I guarantee the 4th of July will move up a notch on your top 3 holiday places to celebrate list. Otherwise, send me an email and tell me why YOUR local holiday celebration takes the cake.

Summerfest 09′ – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Welcome to the self proclaimed “World’s Largest Music Festival”. Summerfest begins the week prior to the 4th and is the culmination of events and concerts that ushers in summer. This cornucopious music-fest is one of the best annual music event on the planet. If you don’t believe us, you might listen to the Guinness Book of World Records, that has made the same proclamation about Summerfest, the event has comedy acts, shopping vendors and of course, fireworks. Known as the “Big Gig”, Summerfest takes place in Henry Maier Festival Park and has been an annual tradition since 1968. Everyone who is a real musician has taken part, including the Grateful Dead, Sting, Prince and Eric Clapton, all whom have graced the main stage at this ultimate celebration. The 11 day playbill featuring over 700 bands that culminates in the the ultimate fireworks show on the 4th of July. If you’ve been looking for something more than your standard-issue snap, crackle and pop fireworks show, then Summerfest 09? may just be your calling.

Macy’s Firework Celebration – New York, New York

40,000 shells at a rate of 1,200 explosions per minute is a lot of sparkle that is a kaleidoscope you must see to appreciate. Take a gander at some of the photos and see if you can wrap your head around the cacophony of colors crackling in the summer sky of New York City. Save this piece of endless summer memory for your scrapbook and experience the ultimate July 4th fireworks bonanza, and try to attend Macy’s Fireworks show and parade on the Hudson River.

This global event is complete with NBC coverage, featuring international performers and the ultimate in fireworks. Besides, it’s New York, and everybody needs a good excuse to get away to the Big Apple. If you are looking for a crowd then New York is the place to be-fireworks or not. The show sets the Manhattan skyline ablaze as skyscrapers reflect and intensify the explosions overhead and the familiar smell of summer sulfur fills the night sky.

We must warn you about the patriotic themed scores that will trumpet in the background, bringing flashbacks to emotional movie moments, which has brought many to tears. You won’t catch me crying, but, if we run into each other, I will have a box of tissues ready for you.

The best views for this year will be between the 23rd and 59th blocks of Manhattan’s west side. These public spots will fill up quick so get there early to snag a good patch of real estate.

New York City parking guru “Gridlock Sam” says the best viewing area will probably be south of 42nd Street along the pier by the Circle Line. Other prime West Side public viewing spots include:

Dewitt Clinton Park (Access from 11th Avenue)

Pier 54 (Limited access from 14th St.)

Pier 84 (Limited Access from 44th St.)

Needing a more upscale location to enjoy the show? There are plenty of premier venues in up for grabs. Try the Chandelier Room at the new W Hotel in Hoboken (New Jersey). If you’re feeling really ambitious the 86th Floor Observatory at the Empire State Building is selling tickets for $125 dollars per person. And our third pick would have to be the Hudson Terrace located off the west side highway (621 West 42nd St.) for $125 dollars you can get an all you can eat gourmet buffet and for $75 dollars more you get a private cabana for 15 to watch the show in private (ish) luxury.

Check out some of the top 10 4th of July hot spots!

1. Boston

2. Cape Cod, Marthas Vinyard, Nantucket

3. Chicago

4. Mount Rushmore

5. Philadelphia

6. Queen Mary 2 (docked in Long Beach, CA)

7. San Diego

8. San Juan Island

9. U.S. Virgin Islands

10. Washington D.C.