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Best July 4th fireworks shows include Washington, DC, St. Louis, NYC

As cities and households around the country gear up to celebrate the 246th birthday of the United States of America, some shows promise to put on bigger and better firework displays than ever before.

For many Americans today, fireworks are often accompanied with a day of other Fourth of July related activities, but the tradition of sending bright flares into the sky has been around since the very first Independence Day in 1776, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA). ).

“Early US settlers brought their love of fireworks with them… a tradition that continues every 4th of July when we celebrate as John Adams had hoped, ‘with pomp, parade….bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other,’ APA’s website states.

Out of all the dazzling firework displays in the nation, here are 10 of the most spectacular.

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St.Louis, Missouri

Framed by the iconic Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular – dubbed “America’s biggest birthday party” – boasts a “world-class” display, typically lasting 20 to 30 minutes, over the Mississippi River.

Officials say this year’s show will be the largest display in the fair’s history. Other activities include concerts, food vendors and more.

Washington D.C.

Fireworks launched from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool illuminate the sky behind the Capitol and Washington Monument during one of the most patriotic fireworks displays in the nation, which draws in about 700,000 people each year.

Fireworks explode over the Lincoln Memorial during the Fourth of July celebrations in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019.
Fireworks explode over the National Mall as the US Capitol and Washington Monument are seen on July 4, 2017, in Washington, DC

Celebrations occur every day throughout the city, beginning with a parade down Constitution Avenue.

Idaho Falls, Idaho

Celebrating its 29th anniversary, the Melaleuca Freedom Festival is the largest Independence Day fireworks show west of the Mississippi River, according to the event website.

It’s appeared twice on the American Pyrotechnics Association list of “must-see Independence Day fireworks displays.”

Over 18,000 shells will be launched this year over the banks of the Snake River in honor of America’s Founding Fathers, veterans, and service members.

Aerial Fireworks burst over the Snake River in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

New York City

The 46th annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks celebration in New York City is the country’s largest pyrotechnic display.

“Expect a rapid-fire succession of blasts to go off from each of the East River barges, creating a two-hour (spectacle) with round after round of rocking entertainment,” Macy’s website states.

Viewers can expect to see unique patterns, including a Whistling Jellyfish, snakes, a blinking smiling face, and swimming chrysanthemums.

A view of the fireworks during the Edge at Hudson Yard's 4th of July Celebration at Edge at Hudson Yards on July 4, 2021 in New York City.
Fireworks light up the sky above the Brooklyn Bridge during the 2019 Macy's Fourth of July fireworks show in New York.

San Francisco

San Francisco’s firework show can be seen along the waterfront with the city’s dramatic skyline in the background. Fireworks are launched from a barge off of Pier 39 and from the Municipal Pier.

Tourist attraction Fisherman’s Wharf hosts a number of local bands ahead of the celebration.

San Francisco's Fourth of July fireworks show is visible through the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, July 4, 2013.

Nashville

The annual Music City July 4th: Let Freedom Sing celebration in Nashville, the region’s largest fireworks show, will hold its longest show ever in Nashville this year.

There will be more than 1,000 floating flares, 40,000 pounds of explosives, and 200 miles of wire used.

Fireworks light up the sky over Broadway during the Let Freedom Sing!  Music City July 4th event in Nashville, Tenn., on July 4, 2021.

Spectators can expect to hear a symphony playing patriotic tunes and new popular music, including hits from Star Wars.

Addison, Texas

Kaboom Town, a top-ranked Independence Day festival with food vendors, entertainment, and an air show, host’s a dazzling 25-minute fireworks display annually.

Addison is only home to 16,000 residents, but the event brings more than 500,000 guests to the town from across the nation, according to the event website.

Alachua, Florida

A kids sits onto of a jungle gym near the Hal Brady Recreation Center and watches the fireworks display dubbed

Dubbed the “Largest Small Town Fireworks Display in America,” thousands of people will flock to Alachua, Florida, for the 22nd annual Fourth of July celebration. This free event positively impacts local businesses, according to the city’s website.

Amazing fireworks celebrationsin Florida

philadelphia

Independence Day fireworks erupt over the Philadelphia Art Museum on July 4, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

What better way is there to celebrate independence than in the birthplace of the United States?

The Philadelphia Museum of Art on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Pennsylvania provides the perfect backdrop for one of the nation’s greatest fireworks shows as part of the Wawa Welcome America festival.

Pasadena, Calif.

The Rose Bowl Stadium is recognized as home to one of the nation’s largest and longest running Independence Day shows.

Fireworks explode over the Rose Bowl during the 4th of July Taste of America.

The 96th Annual AmericaFest Celebration includes musical performances, a motocross show and other family-friendly activities.

Camille Fine is a trending visual producer on USA TODAY’s NOW team. She loves monochromatic outfits, making pizza, and spoiling her from her loving cat Pearl. You can see more of her work by Ella at camillefine.com.

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