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The Biggest American Party of the Summer: Independence Day!

The History, Traditions and Places to Celebrate 4th of July in 2021

The Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day, is the celebration of America’s birthday. The Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776, declaring the United States its own nation. Americans celebrate the nation’s birthday with family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, girlfriends, boyfriends, children, cousins – EVERYONE – at various local and travel destinations across the country. From festivals and parades to fireworks and barbecues, there is a little something for every American to celebrate the sparkle and shine of our great country with that patriotic spirit!    

THE MORE YOU KNOW!  

We are totally into research and love learning about the history and the importance of every holiday. It's pretty cool to see how each individual holiday came to be nationally recognized. Not every holiday is as important and historically commemorative to our nation’s existence, but we like to look up cool facts that don’t get talked about much – and that’s the reason behind The More You Know!   

John Adams, a Founding Father of our great country and the second President of the United States, strongly believed Independence Day should have been celebrated on July 2nd. The second day of July was the day the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence. He refused to attend Fourth of July events because he felt so strongly about July 2 being the correct date to celebrate and recognize this huge American milestone.

It wasn’t until 1801, twenty-five years later, that a President at the White House actually celebrated Independence Day and recognized the Fourth of July as the Nation's freedom holiday. Thomas Jefferson celebrated the American holiday with horse races, parades, food, and drinks. It is pretty crazy how similar these Fourth of July celebrations are to the activities we know and love to celebrate the summer holiday today. 

Although the 4th of July has been celebrated each year since 1776, it wasn't until nearly ONE HUNDRED (100) years later that it became a federal holiday. In 1870, the patriotic holiday became a federal holiday. And in 1941, Independence Day was made a paid holiday for federal employees. Despite losing some of its political relevance over the years, Independence Day is still a national holiday that most corporate companies recognize. Since 4th of July is on a Sunday this year, most companies recognize the holiday on Monday, July 5th. Do you get to celebrate the biggest American party of the year with a 3-day weekend?   

Top Traditions to Celebrate Independence Day 

You know we LOVE our holiday traditions – no matter what time of the year or what holiday - traditions are the reason to celebrate! And this summer, we want to have fun with the American traditions of the season and our favorite associated holidays – especially after last summer. Amirite?  

Tradition #1 | Barbecue | BBQ | Bar-B-Q 

However you spell it, most Americans host or attend barbecues on Independence Day with family and friends (and all the neighborhood kids). Hot dogs and hamburgers are often the most popular 4th of July BBQ dishes. But don’t forget those traditional American sides – like fruit salad (with blueberries and strawberries for the patriotic color palette), potato salad, pasta salad (all the “salads” with all the carbs), baked beans, and you know the Fourth of July wouldn’t be complete without an American flag designed cake of some variety!

Favorite Recipes for 4th of July Cookout

  • Apple Pie
  • Flag Cake 
  • Potato Salad 
  • Macaroni Salad 
  • Fruit Salad 
  • Pasta Salad 
  • Coleslaw 
  • BBQ Ribs 
  • Cheeseburgers 
  • Hot Dogs 
  • Mac and Cheese 
  • Corn on the Cob 

Explore summertime recipes on this Pinterest board we created just for you - these recipes are perfect any summer celebration - especially the 4th of July! 

Tradition #2 | Fireworks 

There are many ways to celebrate the holiday with fireworks this 4th of July. You can buy your own fireworks at a local fireworks stand (you know, the kind that pops up every June along every highway and you always think – when did this get here?). You can watch a local fireworks display in-person – and you already know this is our favorite way to view the beautiful colors and bright flashes of freedom each Independence Day! Or you can observe fireworks through a screen from the comfort of your own home – on a big screen TV, your smartphone or tablet, or even your computer by streaming some of the best firework shows anywhere in the country – oh, technology! As many people love to celebrate Independence Day with a bang, setting off fireworks on the Fourth has been a long-standing tradition for all Americans!  

Best Fireworks to See or Stream in the United States in 2021 

The first organized Firework displays were held in Philadelphia, PA and Boston, MA on July 4, 1977. Since then, fireworks have become a well-known summer tradition – especially on the 4th of July! If you’re searching for the most impressive illuminating light show, we created a list of the best displays to watch or stream your favorite 4th of July tradition at locations all around our beloved nation.  

  • Navy Pier hosts fireworks each Wednesday and Saturday all summer in Chicago, IL 
  • Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks in NYC  
  • Music City’s Let Freedom Sing from Nashville, TN  
  • A Capitol Fourth in Washington, DC  
  • Boston Pops July 4th Spectacular in Boston, MA  
  • Wawa Welcomes America in Philadelphia, PA  
  • Freedom Over Texas in Houston, TX  

Tradition #3 | Parades, Festivals + Concerts 

Local communities gather to march in the streets to celebrate America’s birthday. You can see extravagant floats and homemade floats, music, and lots of red, white, and blue! Parades are oftentimes followed by festivals, carnivals or fairs that provide lots of fun activities to celebrate the day with family and friends of any age. Some events have face-painting, games, hot dog stands, jewelry-making and more!    

Tradition #4 | Wearing Red, White + Blue  

Another fun tradition that really brings out the patriotic spirit is finding holiday-inspired clothing with American flags or the colors of our great country. Some retail stores even provide a variety of sizes that allow you to match your favorite people – from a newborn baby to your great grandmother! So no matter who you want to celebrate the summer holiday with, show your love of America’s sparkle by sporting the red, white and blue!  

Tradition #5 | Weekend Getaway 

Whether you’re planning a destination vacation or you want a quick commute to a local spot for a weekend stay-cation, Americans love celebrating Independence Day at tourist venues around the country. The most popular destinations to celebrate the 4th of July are typically near water – like a local lake or even the beach of your favorite American ocean. We also see that families like to get outdoors and explore America's great land by camping or hiking local trails and exploring the adventure of the USA's national parks. And some folks will choose to tour new exciting venues whether they travel far or stay near home. If you’re looking for a place to go to celebrate America’s birthday in 2021, check out our top places to visit this weekend below.  

Top Places to Visit for 4th of July 2021 

In case you have some light (or heavy) travel plans for this weekend, check out these great experiences we gathered for you from all over the United States. And remember to capture your Fourth of July holiday memories by bringing home a photo souvenir - like this souvenir photo Santa got on Chicago's Tall Ship Windy at the Navy Pier during his summer vacation! 

Navy Pier is where you go in Chicago for events, free public programs, attractions, culture, dining, shopping and more. It’s where fun lives large with family and friends, whether you’re a visitor a local. 

As a nonprofit organization, the People’s Pier offers a diverse and eclectic range of activities and experiences that ignite the imagination, stimulate the senses and allow your spirit to soar - the perfect place to capture the magic of Independence Day! It’s no surprise Chicago's Navy Pier is a place that continues to inspire discovery and wonder after more than a century. Check out Navy Pier this 4th of July to find out what it has to inspire you! 

Celebrate the 4th of July in style with the Spirit of Philadelphia provided by City Experiences by Hornblower. They’re offering 4th of July cruises to help you celebrate the patriotic holiday just the way you imagined! You can choose to hop on the lunch cruise or the dinner cruise to capture the magic of the fireworks show. While we know both cruises provide a truly magical experience, the evening cruise comes with a great view of  an amazing firework display - and that's just the most perfect way to celebrate the holiday! 

Explore all the Alamo has to offer this holiday weekend. Historic buildings, priceless artifacts, dramatic living history, and peaceful gardens – there’s something for everyone at the Alamo. The Alamo has a unique way of celebrating America’s Independence Day. Whether you’re into live music, demonstrations or other patriotic activities, you can enjoy them at the Alamo starting Friday, July 2nd throughout the weekend until the evening of July 4th.  

Not Planning on Traveling this Weekend? 

No worries! Check out our Pinterest boards we curated just for you! A great collection of hiking and exploring destinations and national parks to visit – right in your backyard!    

Maybe you just want to get outside and sunbathe – like Santa! Whatever you choose to do to celebrate this holiday, we support you! Holidays are meant to be remembered by doing the things that you want to do!  #CaptureTheMagic

Don't miss these alternative ideas to celebrate America's birthday on this awesome Pinterest board

Independence Day has existed for hundreds of years, but the importance hasn’t changed. This is our country – this our freedom – this is our independence! So whatever you do this 4th of July, however you choose to commemorate the holiday, make sure to capture the magic and tag us on our social media pages! 

                @createholidaymagic     |     #ShareTheMagic

Every day is a holiday because you choose to celebrate it! And for that, we celebrate you!Happy Birthday, America! And Happy Fourth of July to each of you!  

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