While it can be tempting to kick back and celebrate the Fourth of July in the comfort of your own, sun-soaked backyard, there’s a whole land of amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesties out there with enough patriotic pomp to go around. We’ve rounded up five cities with travel-worthy Fourth of July celebrations (and a top-tier hotel in each) so pack up the family and get ready to experience Independence Day from sea to shining sea.
From its founding in 1630 to the famous Tea Party and significant role in the American Revolution, historic Boston makes for a splendid choice to celebrate Fourth of July. It comes as no surprise that the city has a bevy of events for visitors and locals alike to enjoy. Spend the week of the Fourth enjoying events during Boston’s Harborfest (running from July 2 to 7).
From Children’s Day on June 3, with balloon art, face painting, the New England Aquarium traveling tide pool—located on City Hall Plaza—to Chowderfest on July 7 (also on City Hall Plaza), where you’ll get to sample some of the city’s best chowders from restaurants such as Chart House and Anthem Kitchen + Bar, Harborfest activities will keep you entertained before and after the fireworks. You can have a relaxing Fourth on the Boston Esplanade before watching the 40th anniversary of the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on the banks of the Charles River. Can’t watch the legendary fireworks show on the Fourth but want to hear the famed orchestra? You can catch a full concert on July 3.
Stay here: Check in to The Langham, Boston for a marvelous blend of classic architecture (the hotel sits inside Boston’s former Federal Reserve Bank), great location (near the waterfront and excellent shops and restaurants) and rooms decorated in a nautical style with blue and gold featured throughout (plus, modern amenities such as an iHome docking station and Bose sound systems in suites keep technology at your fingertips).
Or you can sleep by the sea at Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center, where you’ll have a prime spot along the water in the trendy Seaport District. Grab one of the hotel’s bikes (you can take them out for free) and explore the city before or after the Fourth events. And when you’re ready to return, a spacious room with marble bathrooms, Bose Wave radios, complimentary Wi-Fi and more awaits.
Venture out to the picturesque island for a classic New England beach experience for the Fourth. Start your all-American holiday exploring the quaint town of Edgartown and the rest of Martha’s Vineyard. Then, head to the Edgartown July 4th Barbecue on the Old Whaling Church Lawn around 4 p.m. Claim your spot with your blanket, enjoy the à la carte selections (hamburgers and hot dogs, perfect for the occasion) and get ready for the traditional Edgartown parade; then head over to Memorial Wharf for the fireworks display over the coast later in the evening.
Stay here: Book a room at The Charlotte Inn for a cozy escape from the hustle and bustle (as much as that can be on The Vineyard, at least) of the nearby Edgartown city center. The charming Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel is full of Edwardian style and flair, and you’re sure to be enamored with the beautiful décor and 19th-century antiques filling the rooms and public spaces—not to mention the gardens, which are a tranquil respite at the elegant estate.
Having served as the nation’s capital, and the birthplace of the American Revolution, the City of Brotherly Love might be the prime place to celebrate our country’s founding. In between visiting the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed, check out the Wawa Welcome America festival going on from July 1 to 7. The Taste of Philadelphia festival gives guests the chance to sample some of Philly’s best eats, while the Fourth of July parade through historic parts of the city will entertain and delight you. But the big event is the Philly 4th of July Jam and Fireworks with performances by The Roots, John Mayer, Demi Lovato and others with fireworks following the last performance.
Stay here: With a room at Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia, you’ll be in a prime location for all of the fun Fourth of July events. The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel sits on Logan Square, within walking distance of Benjamin Franklin Parkway (where the Philly 4th of July Jam is held). Be sure to make a reservation at the hotel’s Fountain Restaurant, the only Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurant in Philly, and you’ll experience chef Rafael Gonzalez’s fresh American cuisine with a dash of French influence. You can go for a three-course tasting menu between Tuesday and Thursday or try the five-course spread on Friday and Saturday with selections such as oysters on the half shell with wild trout caviar, yuzu and soy to start and a sautéed Norwegian salmon filet as an entrée.
Get in the mood for some tunes for the Fourth in Portland. Running July 4 to 7, the 2013 Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival brings more than 100 performances to the city’s Tom McCall Waterfront Park on the bank of the Willamette River. It’s the second-largest blues festival in the country and will feature artists such as Nikki Hill, Allen Stone, and Backyard Blues Boys. And make sure you stay until Sensational Sunday (July 7), as that’s when many of the headliners (Mavis Staples, Taj Mahal Trio, Robert Plant presents The Sensational Space Shifters) will take the stage. And while music fills the waterfront, fireworks will take over the sky on the evening of July 4. Proceeds and donations for the festival go to the Oregon Food Bank.
Stay here: Just a 15-minute walk away from the festival sits The Benson Hotel. You’ll also be close to fantastic shopping and dining options, but when you need a quick retreat back to your room, you’ll find a classic and comfortable room with an iHome docking station, Gilchrist & Soames bath amenities, an LCD TV and more.
If the Pacific Northwest is calling your name this summer, go on the Fourth of July—if only for a little break in summer heat with average highs of about 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Explore Seattle’s Pike Place Market, take in the views from the Space Needle or get a cup of joe from the original Starbucks. And for a Fourth festival and fireworks show you won’t forget, you’ll have a blast at Gas Works Park for the Seafair Summer Fourth, with games, food, local vendors and a ton of fun starting at noon and leading up until the fireworks display over Lake Union at 10:15 p.m.
Stay here: Sorrento Hotel, a Forbes Travel Guide Recommended hotel in the heart of downtown on First Hill, gives guests a stay close to some of the city’s best attractions (including the Seattle Aquarium and Pike Place). You’ll find comfy accommodations in one of 34 rooms or 42 suites here with marble bathrooms and furnishings inspired by the hotel’s historic past—it first opened its doors in 1909.
If you’re looking for a more contemporary stay in Seattle, Hotel 1000, with its modern, yet understated, design and inclusive in-room amenities (Keurig coffee makers stocked with Starbucks) will certainly fit the bill.
Photos Courtesy of Coast Hotels Limited, Michael Branscom for Welcome America, Inc. and ESM Productions, and Jay Connor