July 4th: a Tourist’s Guide to Independence Day in the U.S.

July 4th: a Tourist’s Guide to Independence Day in the U.S.

Travelers in the United States of America on 4th July are each year treated to the colorful Independence Day celebrations. Across the country, carnivals are prepared with parades through the streets, fireworks, concerts, and fairs.

Of course, the date also has great political and historical significance, the U.S. president and other prominent figures give speeches and there is a real sense of pride and patriotism across America.

Whilst 4th July is an important day for family reunions, foreigners are also warmly welcomed to take part in the events and festivities. To do so, Chinese citizens need a valid visitor visa and to register with EVUS prior to departure.

Tourists can find out about the best U.S. cities for spending Independence Day and learn more about 4th July facts and history before they travel.

What Does Independence Day Celebrate?

Independence Day, also known as July 4th or the Fourth of July, marks the day in 1776 on which the United States Continental Congress declared that the 13 American colonies were independent states, no longer under the rule of the British Monarch.

The fourth of July has become the national day and was converted into a paid federal holiday in 1938 and since then Americans across the globe have paid tribute to this momentous historical event.

Is July 4th America’s birthday?

The fourth of July is considered America’s birthday because it is the day on which the written Declaration of Independence was published.

What some people may not realize is that the agreement was made 2 days previously, on July 2nd.

It took 48 hours for the statement, which was written by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams, to be revised and signed by Congress.

This is the reason why the Independence Day date, or America’s birthday, is on the 4th of July.

How Do They Celebrate Independence Day in America?

July 4th is a public holiday in the United States, Independence day 2020 falls on a Saturday. A wide range of family-friendly activities are prepared and much of the day is spent outdoors.

It is common to see the American flag hung outside homes and other buildings as a display of patriotism.

Whilst festivities differ from state to state, visitors in the U.S. on 4th July are likely to see some of the following:

  • Hot dog eating competitions
  • Sporting events, baseball is particularly popular
  • Barbecues and picnics
  • Firework displays
  • Parades through the streets

What food is eaten on Independence Day?

There are a number of typical dishes that Americans cook and eat on 4th July. Tourists in the U.S. can enjoy some of the following delicacies which are served up and down the country:

  • Mac ‘n’ cheese
  • Hot dogs (an estimated 150 million are consumed)
  • Burgers
  • Barbecued meats
  • Potato wedges/fries with dips
  • Fruit pie

Where possible, foods will be made red, white, and blue to symbolize the American flag such as strawberry and blueberry pies.

Which Are The Best U.S. Cities to Spend 4th July?

As a federal holiday people throughout the United States are able to take part in the festivities. Whilst there are many common activities, each state and town has its own traditions unique to them.

Tourists in America are guaranteed to encounter celebrations wherever they are on 4th July however, for the best experience visitors may consider one of the following cities.

New York City: the biggest 4th of July firework display

Each year New York pays tribute to Independence day in style. The main event is an impressive pyrotechnic show over the Hudson River.

The best views of the fireworks can be enjoyed from one of the many rooftop bars in the city or from a restaurant with outdoor seating areas. Due to high demand, a table should be reserved in advance.

Another option is to take a river cruise during the show. Several boat companies run special Independence Day services including dinner and dancing.

Washington DC: the National Independence Day Parade

As the nation’s capital, Independence Day is huge in Washington DC. The National Independence Day parade along Constitution Avenue is well attended and there is a carnival atmosphere with people from across the world.

In addition, Washington DC is a great place for families to spend the Fourth of July, with many fun activities taking place including concerts for all age groups.

Chicago: the world’s largest food outdoor festival

In addition to fireworks, parties, and concerts, the city of Chicago holds a huge gastronomic function in honor of Independence Day.

The Taste of Chicago Food Festival is a vast outdoor event. In 2019, 82 restaurants took part, attendees can sample typical dishes as well as trying some of the best international cuisine to be found in the city.

Live concerts also take place in the evening.

Bristol: the oldest Independence Day celebrations

Bristol in Rhode Island is often referred to as the most patriotic city in America. It was the first place to begin paying tribute to the declaration of independence, commemorating July 4th for the first time in 1785.

The main affair is the annual Military, Civic, and Fireman’s Parade which starts in the morning whilst at night there are fireworks on the harbor.

Los Angeles: AmericaFest at the Rose Bowl Stadium

AmericaFest in Los Angeles combines music, rides, games, crafts, and fireworks. Thousands of people attend the famous event each year, tickets can be obtained online.

The festival takes place at the iconic Rose Bowl Stadium which, as National Historic Landmark in LA, is in itself worth visiting.

With many child-friendly attractions, AmericaFest is a great option for families.

Traveling to the U.S. for Independence Day

Chinese tourists who would like to experience Independence Day in the United States can take advantage of direct flights to most of the cities mentioned above.

Beijing Capital International Airport (IATA: PEK; ICAO: ZBAA) has direct flights in July to the following locations:

  • New York
  • Chicago
  • Los Angeles
  • Washington DC

As to high demand, it is advisable to book flights early and make hotel reservations well in advance.

Visa and EVUS requirements for Chinese citizens traveling to the U.S. for July 4th

When preparing a trip to the U.S. for Independence Day, Chinese passport holders are reminded that they need a B1, B2, or B1/B2 visitor visa in order to enjoy July 4th in the States.

In addition, travelers should ensure that they have updated their details using EVUS, the Electronic Visa Update System. The visa and EVUS must be valid on arrival in the U.S.

Whilst most EVUS applications are completed in under 20 minutes through the online form, EVUS enrollment times do vary and may take up to 72 hours in some cases.

What is the weather like in America in July?

Chinese tourists heading to the U.S. in July may be wondering what weather they can expect. July is one of the hottest months of the year in U.S. cities with maximum temperatures exceeding 80ºF (27ºC) in most places.

Visitors should also be prepared for a rain shower. In July there are, on average, 10 days of precipitation in both New York and Washington.

What to pack for Independence Day

As most of the main events are outdoors, it’s important to take clothing and other items suitable for the July weather in the U.S.

  • Cool clothing such as T-shirts and shorts for during the day
  • Extra layers to put on for the evening fireworks displays
  • A hat with a rim
  • Sunglasses
  • Comfortable shoes suitable for walking
  • A lightweight rain jacket
  • Umbrella
  • Sunscreen

Other recommended items include a camera and/or smartphone as there are plenty of photo opportunities throughout the day.

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