Are you looking for a memorable place to celebrate the Fourth of July? How about a place rich in American history, filled with natural beauty or known for awesome fireworks? Try these places on for size, but if you don’t have reservations already, you might want to think about next year.
Fireworks are set off near the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool just after 9 p.m. Find a good place to watch near the U.S. Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, National Mall, East or West Potomac Park, Jefferson or Roosevelt memorials, or near the White House Ellipse. You can also try any of several rooftop bars or high-rise hotel rooms.
For outdoor viewing, you must arrive early to get a spot. Be prepared to pass through security checkpoints, and allow 1-2 hours to get home afterward.
Website: www.nps.gov (Note: a typo on the page incorrectly lists the date as 2010, but the information is current.)
San Diego Harbor
San Diego’s Big Bay Boom draws 850,000 patriotic guests to its yearly fireworks extravaganza. Check the official website for information on parking and free shuttles. You’ll be able to watch from almost anywhere along the waterfront, and from several high-rise hotels. For the best view, with the city as a backdrop, watch from a boat. Hornblower offers a fireworks dinner cruise for $115.
Statue of Liberty
Does it get more patriotic than the Statue of Liberty? New York is king for just about anything, and fireworks are no exception. The Statue of Liberty turns 125 this year, and Macy’s is pulling out all the stops for a July 4th spectacular. How big? Think 40,000 shells.
The secret to uncrowded viewing is to be on the water instead of next to it. Bateaux and Spirit of New York offer 5-hour fireworks dinner cruises for $395 and $264, respectively.
Fireworks at California’s Disneyland are extra special. In addition to the standard ooohs and ahhhhs, you’ll see fireworks shaped like hearts, cubes and, of course, Mickey. There are plenty of viewing locations in the parks and Downtown Disney, but the best spots are at nearby parking garages. Try the Mickey and Friends parking structure near Downtown Disney ($15) or the convention center parking structure ($12 – $15, rates may vary) on Convention Way.
Tip: If you’re in the park, start making your way out by 8:15 p.m. Grab a snack such as caramel corn, cotton candy or caramel apples on the way and make a tailgate party out of it.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole puts on a big city fireworks display with small town charm and one of nature’s best backdrops – the Grand Tetons. Start your day with a Jaycees pancake breakfast (adults $10, kids $5), stay for a parade and games for the kids, then enjoy your fireworks with a side of natural beauty at the base of Snow King mountain.