Looking for a place to celebrate America’s 241st birthday this year? We’ve handpicked 10 of the most explosive fireworks shows in the country—complete with old-timey reenactments, symphony orchestras and even light shows.
If one of these is within driving distance for you, we recommend getting together with your friends and family and finding a nice spot on the grass. Fair warning: Don’t bring the dog.
9:30 PM ET
Most of the shows on this list include pretty fireworks at scenic locations and maybe some funnel cake stands. The forward-thinking folks at Stone Mountain Park near Atlanta take their celebration all the way up to 11 by adding in a laser show. The Founders would be proud.
9:00 PM PT
Billed as “the largest fireworks show on the West Coast,” San Diego’s Big Bay Boom features four separate fireworks launch points for amazing views throughout the city. For a half-million people, it’s worth the trip every year, if only for the chance to witness a repeat of 2012’s spectacular all-at-once fail.
9:00 PM PT
Tailgating, concerts, football stadiums, America. Head to Pasadena to see the biggest fireworks show since Christian McCaffery torched Iowa in 2015.
10:00 PM MT
What better place to listen to “America the Beautiful” than nestled among purple mountain majesties of the Grand Tetons in Wyoming? If you arrive early enough, you can witness a “reenactment of frontier justice” in the Town Square. Not quite Westworld, but close enough.
Activities begin at 5:00 PM CT
Texans take pride in several things, including high school football, the size of stuff and pyrotechnics. Independence Day fireworks are such a big deal in Addison (just outside of Dallas) that they provide a glossary of fireworks types to educate novices like me. Head to Kaboom Town this year and leave knowing the difference between a Chrysanthemum burst and your run-of-the-mill Crackling Rain.
9:30 PM CT
Many people are saying Chicago is one of the best summer cities in America, and it’s tough to argue with them. There are plenty of good views all around the city, so grab a hot dog, head to the beach or a rooftop bar, and see how Chicago celebrates when the Cubs are reigning World Series Champions.
9:30 PM ET
The Declaration of Independence was signed July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia, PA. And not only is this historic city the birthplace of our United States, but it’s also the birthplace of Boyz II Men, who will be honored before the big show on Tuesday. Not sure why you’d need any other reason to hit the road to Philadelphia this year.
10:30 PM ET
Short of an original Grant Wood painting, peak Americana might just be July 4 fireworks in New England with the classical sounds of the Boston Pops Orchestra. And also traffic. Heavy,heavy traffic, so take the T.
9:09 PM ET
We’re celebrating the birthday of our great country, and there is no more fitting backdrop for fireworks than the national monuments and memorials of Washington D.C.