Tower of Americas — Photo courtesy of Al Rendon - VisitSanAntonio.com
San Antonio, Texas has always been a patriotic city. And, 2012 promises to provide a memorable 4th of July for several reasons. It’s the first time in many, many years that a fireworks celebration has been held downtown. In the past, the city has been plagued by severe drought preventing firework displays. This year, San Antonio is hosting a spectacular event to make up for lost time!
Live music, great food and family-friendly fun are all present at this downtown celebration. The event is set to take place in HemisFair Park at the base of the Tower of Americas. The event is free and the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce is promising a finale that can’t be beat. For an even more magical experience, reserve a table at the Chart House Restaurant located at the very top of the Tower of Americas. You can watch the display from above.
Patriot's Point USS Yorktown — Photo courtesy of Patriot's Point Naval & Maritime Museum
Charleston, South Carolina is undoubtedly one of the best places to celebrate the 4th of July. The city is buzzing, the weather is hot, and the beaches are filled with thousands of other Independence Day enthusiasts. Get in on the action and stay on Folly Beach in one of the hundreds of house and condo rentals, or at the Tides, Folly's only beachfront hotel. While you're here, grab some grub at Surf Bar, Folly Beach Crab Shack, or Blu at the Tides for a delicious sampling of local Charleston seafood.
On the 4th, try to arrive at Folly beach by at least 11:30 am, especially if you're planning on staying downtown or somewhere beyond walking distance from the shore. Some people start setting up chairs, coolers, and flags before 10:00 am! Fireworks and bonfires are prohibited on the beach, but a grand fireworks display is launched from the ocean at nightfall. If you're looking for the Independence Day party scene, head to 10th street (give or take a few blocks) for the epicenter of beach festivities.
For a more family-friendly atmosphere, take the kids to fish off of the Edwin S. Taylor pier, or to Patriot's Point in Mount Pleasant for their 4th of July Blast. Dubbed "one of the best 4th of July parties" by the New York Times, the festivities include discounted museum admission, food, live music, and a fireworks finale launched from the decks of the USS Yorktown.
San Francisco fireworks — Photo courtesy of tinou bao
Water is the centerpiece gem of San Francisco's Bay Area. South side, north side or right on top of the water are all excellent options for fireworks viewing this Fourth of July.
South Bay/ San Francisco: If you're someone who likes to be in the middle of all the action, then viewing the fireworks from San Francisco's popular Pier 39/Fisherman's Wharf is the place for you.
North Bay/ Treasure Island: If you'd like a smaller, trendier locale, check out The Winery SF party on Treasure Island.
The Bay: If you prefer to have your fireworks exploding directly overhead, it's well worth a ticket on the Fourth of July Fireworks Cruise on the Blue and Gold Fleet.
Fireworks at Chicago's Navy Pier — Photo courtesy of Marit and Toomas Hinnosaar
In Chicago, Illinois, Navy Pier is the place to be to celebrate 4th of July. Tons of family-centered activities can be found at the Pier, like free concerts and acts such as jugglers and magicians, music and dance. Catch one of the amazing acrobatic shows throughout the day performed by Cirque Shanghai: Year of the Dragon.
Enjoy the carousel and the many amusement rides at Pier Park, including the 40-gondola, 15-story ferris wheel. Or beat the heat by stepping in to see the current IMAX movie. At 9:30 pm, the fireworks show begins to synchronized music. For a romantic way to view the show, catch a dinner cruise on Lake Michigan with Mystic Blue Cruises and dance the night away to DJ tunes on board.