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4th of July – the best time to visit the USA

Independence Day is a federal holiday in the US and celebrated throughout the country. With the flag and independence center stage, people meet friends and family at parades and cookouts. But why is the 4th of July celebrated in particular and how do the festivities differ in different parts of the country?

It was the day in 1776 that the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress and the 13 British colonies formed an independent nation. Already the following year, the day was celebrated with parades and independence speeches, both of which remain a big part of American Independence Day traditions to this day.

Since 1938, the day has been a paid federal holiday for all Americans, many of whom take the opportunity to celebrate passionately – the celebrations often last the entire week to ensure everyone is able to join in. On Independence Day itself, it is usual for families and friends to get together to have a cookout or a picnic in a local park. The celebrations are concluded with fireworks in the evening. While many of the celebrations are very similar all across the country, each city also has its own 4th of July traditions.

4th of July in Boston

BOSTON

Even though the Declaration of Independence was written in Philadelphia, several of the Founding Fathers came from Boston and New England. This is something the city has taken to heart and its celebrations are amongst the most popular. The day begins with an Independence Day Parade, followed by a reading of the Declaration of Independence from the balcony of the Old State House to the people of Boston. In the evening, there is a big festival called Boston Pops, featuring many famous artists. This nationwide televised event  is followed by a spectacular 23-minute fireworks display over the Charles River.

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Fireworks in New York City

NEW YORK

The biggest city in the country also has the biggest Independence Day celebrations. New York hosts the biggest annual Independence Day fireworks display, which lasts over 25 minutes and attracts around three million spectators. The fireworks are televised nationwide so everyone can watch. If you want to celebrate the 4th of July in a slightly different way, you can head to Coney Island for “Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest”. There, anyone is welcome to compete to eat as many hot dogs as possible in 10 minutes. You’d better arrive hungry, last year's winner managed to down 74 hot dogs in that time.

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WASHINGTON D.C

Naturally, the US capital has mighty celebrations. One of the most popular parts is the big Independence Day Parade through the city's streets. The parade is a sea of red, white and blue, with military personnel, drill teams, giant balloons and celebrities marching past the various national monuments en route. If you want to get in the historic mood, a reenactment style celebration is held at Mt. Vernon, the private residence of the first US president George Washington. You can even meet General and Mrs Washington.

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MIAMI

In Miami, it's all about the beaches, even on Independence Day. Many celebrate the 4th of July with a day on the beach. Several big festivals are organized to celebrate the Day. One of the most popular is the Fire on the Fourth Festival held on North Beach.
The Festival starts in the morning with family fun activities, outdoor yoga and live music.
In the evening, there’s a fireworks display over the water. To ensure everyone who wants to, can join in the fun, free shuttle buses run all day

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CHICAGO

One classic way to celebrate the 4th of July in Chicago is to make your way to Navy Pier.
Here, you can watch a big fireworks display accompanied by music. However, Navy Pier is extremely popular and when full, it’s closed to further spectators. Get there early to avoid the risk. If you do miss out, you can head to the beach promenade to watch the fireworks over Lake Michigan.
Grant Park is an obvious choice for music lovers. A concert is held here every year that is a salute to Independence Day, with rousing marches and patriotic anthems played by a symphony orchestra. 

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LOS ANGELES

Los Angeles is a city for pleasure, even on Independence Day. Many different parties are organized for the day. One of the most spectacular of which is the Block Party, where eight blocks are closed off to create a giant festival. Two stages with music and children’s activities ensure there’s something for everyone. And take the opportunity to sample some food and drink from some of the 25 local producers there. Los Angeles is famous for its gyms, and they also feature on Independence Day, in the shape of a big body building competition, which is open to anyone who would like to take part.

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SAN FRANCISCO

Booking a place on a Firework Ferry is one of the best ways to experience the city's pyrotechnics. There are numerous different boat trips that vary in duration and price. 
Head over to Sausalito for the three-part celebration. First a parade, including classic cars etc., after which you make your way to Dunphy Park for food, drink and dancing to live music plus traditional games. Part three is at Gabrielson Park with live music and food trucks. Naturally, the day concludes with a fireworks display. Bear in mind that the Golden Gate Bridge is closed to traffic for the fireworks, if you were thinking of going back to the city afterwards.

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