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Visiting the USA during summer's 4th of July Celebrations

Note: All UK travellers visiting America must apply for the ESTA authorisation

Visiting the USA during the summer holidays this year? Don’t miss the 4th July celebrations and enjoy a day of true American patriotism. 

Having to pay substantial taxes to the British crown, the thirteen colonies of North America signed the Declaration of Independence on the 4th July 1776, seceding them from the United Kingdom, and thus marking the day a national holiday in the USA: Independence Day. 

We’re all familiar with the vast array of events that take place around this date, thanks to many films and TV series that draw attention to them, but not everyone gets the chance to experience the magic of 4th July for themselves. If you’re amongst the holiday-goers headed to the USA this summer, this is THE event that must not be missed. And, before embarking on your trip, make sure to complete your authorisation ESTA online. It takes just a few minutes to complete, and before no time, you're back to planning your grand holiday.

The party is somewhat extreme, size XL, like almost everything in the USA. American towns, small and large, spare no expenses on the symbolic firework displays that mark the occasion. Spectators partake in family picnics, often in the form of a traditional barbecue in a public park, whilst the most adventurous take part in hotdog eating contests. 

Below are some good, free plans so that you can make the most of the best pyrotechnic displays in the USA this 4th July. 

If you’re visiting the US capital, there’s nothing more patriotic than a visit to the National Mall. The Capitol, seat of the United States Congress, the Washington Monument and several memorials in the park, make the National Mall the ideal location to admire the town’s traditional firework display. But first, you should follow the impressive parade down Constitution Avenue. 

If you’re more of a sun worshiper than a history buff, head over to Miami. This year, Miami has a great schedule planned: from 6pm, there’ll be a fantastic blues and jazz concert with Big Poppa E and the E band, followed by the South Florida Jazz Orchestra. Fireworks will begin after the concert and they’ll leave you gobsmacked. For more information, visit Miami’s website

If you’re in New York, you can’t miss the more famous firework display of the country that Macy’s put on. This year, the fireworks will be launched from the East River and not from the usual spot on the Hudson. This way, even more people can see them, from Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.

In New Orleans, it seems like they’re innovating this year. The fireworks, rated as the most spectacular in the country by the American Pyrotechnics Association, will arrive at the Mississippi to create the effect of coloured water fountains. They can be seen in full from both sides of the river. A great place to see them from is Woldenberg Park. 

In Los Angeles, the Grand Park celebrates its famous 4th July Block Party, an event for the whole family, full of music throughout the day, and brought to a close by a spectacular fireworks display. Doors will open at 1pm and the music will go on until 4pm, including a singing competition in which the Angelinos can present the piece of their choice to the public. Pretty cool! 

Keep in mind the fireworks tend to start at 9pm, but check local schedules with the relevant Tourism Office. Arrive early to get a good viewpoint, as there’s a high chance it will be packed with people. Locals always bring food and drink, as well as a blanket or fold-up chairs to fully make the most of the spectacle (which generally lasts between 15 and 20 minutes). On the other hand, there are always some refreshment stands nearby! 

UK citizens are required to complete an ESTA authorisation before departing to the USA. This quick traveler's permit suffices in place of a visitor visa, and the best part is - it's all done online. You only need your passport, email and credit card to get started.

Don’t forget your camera!  

Travelling to the United States? Do you have your pre-planning checklist in order? Visit our ESTA Guide for more information about obtaining your travel permit. We'd love to hear from you. Send us your comments or questions for travel assistance.