From big to small towns, there’s no shortage of spirit when it comes to celebrating our nation’s birthday. Whether close to home or a bit further afield, there are plenty of reasons to plan ahead to hit up these remarkable festivities for all that is red, white and blue:
With a new Museum of the American Revolution, there’s even more to see in Philadelphia’s Historic District. The city’s annual 4th of July Jam includes seven days of live music, fireworks displays and family activities. The week includes a parade and Party on the Parkway, concluded with a bang with a huge pyrotechnics display over the Philadelphia Museum of Art. If that’s not enough bang, hit up the Newtown celebration on July 5, with a parade and fireworks at the local middle school (an hour outside the city). Small-town charm is in order in New Hope, at its Liberty Canal Festival; enthusiasts re-enact George Washington’s 1778 encampment.
Each year, the Bay State’s capital brings the noise and funk to the Esplanade with a massive outdoor amphitheater where the public lines up days in advance for the best seats to the Boston Pops’ annual patriotic concert. Cannons go off, timed to the “1812 Overture,” and then the city’s entire harbor is lit up against the twinkling skyline lights. Just a short walk away is the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile-long path through downtown with 16 of the country’s most important historical landmarks. Don’t miss grabbing a gelato in the North End (Little Italy neighborhood), just a hop, skip and a jump from Paul Revere’s house on the Trail.
Little is as synonymous with freedom as the Statue of Liberty, and she’ll be resplendent during the nation’s largest fireworks display, according to sponsor Macy’s. Three million spectators (and millions more watching on TV) are expected to crowd the shores of Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn for a 25-minute extravaganza, bursting with crackling ghost peonies in purple, colors including lemon and aqua and color-changing chrysanthemums. The entire spectacle is choreographed to a musical score available on AM radio — or tune in to the national broadcast on NBC TV.
The good times roll in the Big Easy with some Dueling Barges fireworks on the banks of the Mississippi. There are plenty of good spots to watch the back-and-forth blasts, with business as usual on in the French Quarter — meaning no formal business at all, of course.
Enjoy fantastic fireworks over Lake Michigan in the Windy City at Navy Pier on July 4th (also repeated two nights a week for the whole summer). It’s worth spending a day at the pier, though, since Chicago’s fifth annual Freedom Fest promises a DJ and barbecue. Add on to your all-American fun in nearly Rockford, Ill., home of the Rockford Peaches of A League of Their Own. Besides fireworks, there’s also an unforgettable Ski Broncs water show, like Circ du Soleil on high-speed water skis with synchronized dance moves and glittery costumes.
Only the bravest of family travelers should venture to Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights. Every year, Universal Orlando turns into the spookiest place in Florida, if not in the country. On select nights throughout the season, visitors and locals alike can head to the popular amusement park for frights, scares and thrilling adventures. Explore 10 terrifying haunted houses; five scare zones; live entertainment; and themed attractions, food and merchandise.
As the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, United Airlines already hit a major milestone, and now the carrier celebrates another important — and historic — step as the inaugural class of United Aviate Academy pilots graduates, leading the next generation of aviators. The 51 students in the graduating class were majority, at 80 percent, women and people of color — another stride toward United’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030 with half women or POC.
With kids back in school and the grueling temperatures of summer finally behind us, life is starting to get back into the routine of fall. That doesn’t mean, however, that family fun has to stop. Big international trips may not be practical for all family travelers this time of year, but places like South County in Rhode Island offer so many fun things to do for families, a quick trip to this East Coast haven is practically a must.
Take Part in England’s Exmoor Dark Skies Festival Dusk Wildlife Safaris and Children’s Art Competition
Planning a trip to the United Kingdom soon? Time your travel for the Exmoor Dark Skies Festival in Somerset, England, from Oct. 13 to 29. The setting is Exmoor National Park, located within a gorgeous mix of farmland, wild forests, stunning valleys and moorlands in South West England.
United Airlines is in the midst of a major initiative to modernize its fleet over the next several years. After first announcing the plan in 2021, planes fitted with United’s signature interior are finally beginning to appear across the airline’s narrowbody fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes. United flyers are sure to notice these enhancements from the moment they step on board: Each new or updated plane sports remodeled seats, seatback entertainment screens for everyone, Bluetooth connectivity and more, all adding up to a better experience on every journey.
Part of a family who just loves a good scare or ghost story? This fall, wherever your travels might take you, chances are you’ll be near an Omni hotel or resort with a history of haunted sightings and other scary happenings. So, why not learn a bit about where you’re staying to make the experience all the more eerie …