Skip the 4th of July BBQ… and hit the road!
If a campus BBQ with fellow students doesn’t interest you, check out our ideas for a 4th of July mini-break. There are many ways to take part in this patriotic experience all around the States, where all ages are welcome and you get the chance to connect with local communities.
Where will you be on the Fourth?
Philadelphia – If you want to experience the real spirit of Independence Day, one of the best places to visit is Philadelphia, the birthplace of America! If you drop into Philly anytime between the 1st and 7th of July, you can enjoy an attractive array of celebration activities at the ‘Wawa Welcome America’ festival. The July 4th program starts with the ‘Celebration of Freedom’ Ceremony, the Philadelphia Independence Day Parade and an afternoon-long Party on the Parkway! This year’s top celebration event promises to be the largest free concert in America featuring The Roots, John Mayer, Demi Lovato, Jill Scott, Ne-Yo, Grace Potter, J. Cole and many special guests.
Boston – If you have the honor of studying in Boston, fondly known as ‘The Cradle of Liberty’, then the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular is a must-see! This year they celebrate their 40th anniversary playing Tchaikovsky’s ‘1982 Overture’ featuring real cannons and accompanied by the resounding ringing of church bells along the Charles River. It is recommended to get there about noon. Traditionally, everyone spends the day lounging on a rug with their picnic, so be sure to pack a picnic, and bring some blankets and beach-chairs. This year’s top performers are Susan Tedeschi, Howie Day, Ayla Brown, Ellis Hall, Keith Lockhart and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.
Washington, DC – Spend the day in the nation’s capital for a quintessential Fourth of July experience. Washington.org offers not one, but 10 different ways to enjoy the celebration this year. From the National Independence Day Parade, to the annual block party at the Willard InterContinental Hotel, there’s something for everyone.
Columbia, CA – Celebrate July Fourth the old-fashioned way! Independence Day has been celebrated in the US since 1852 and in Columbia, they’re still keeping tradition alive. Here, you get the chance to enjoy the activities that were popular back in the 1850s. The Parade and street dancing are only the beginning. There is also a watermelon eating contest, pie eating event, egg relay race, egg toss and a tug of war. Don’t forget to try other old school activities such as panning for gold, treasure hunting or stagecoach rides. One thing’s for sure – you won’t be bored in Columbia.
Long Beach, CA – Visit the All American 4th of July aboard the Queen Mary, the legendary ocean liner, built in 1930 and famous for carrying American celebrities on ocean cruises. Explore the ship, listen to live music and witness the fireworks from a prime spot. RMS Queen Mary, berthed in Long Beach Harbor since 1967 is now a floating hotel and attraction – why not stay overnight and enjoy the cultural significance of the authentically preserved ship. You can also go for some of the special tours so you can find out more about the story behind the glorious Queen Mary.
Chicago, IL – If you’re studying at the University of Illinois, then choose Chicago. The Navy Pier 4th of July Firework Display on the edge of Lake Michigan is the major event in the city. Get there early as it gets very crowded. Another option is to go for a Fireworks Cruise – various packages are offered, including food and drink. If you want to experience another culture blast, visit the African/Caribbean International Festival of Life, which opens on the 4th at the Union Park. Celebrations include plenty of live R&B, Reggae and Jazz/Blues music.
New York, NY – The Independence Day celebrations in The Big Apple will be more than outstanding this year. The Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks show is THE event. Running for its 37th consecutive year, the fireworks show will be displayed over the Hudson River, so there will be many optimal viewing spots along 12th Avenue between 23rd and 42nd street – make sure you reach your spot by 5pm. Before the 40,000 fireworks light up the sky, the pre-show concert promises to be a ground-breaking experience directed by the Grammy-winning recording artist Usher! The concert features performances by Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Mariah Carey and Selena Gomez. If you’re not going to make it to NYC for the show and you don’t want to miss the party, everything will be broadcasted on NBC at 8 pm EST.
No matter where and how you are going to celebrate US Independence Day, make sure you are with the right person and in the right mood. You don’t have to be an American to enjoy the festival – International students are just as likely to enjoy the 4th of July spirit, which is all about having a good time and creating some great memories.
So where and how are you planning to spend the Fourth? Share now in the comments below!
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