Let freedom ring — preferably from the comfort of your couch or lawn chair this year.
This Saturday, we say happy 244th birthday to America, and because of the coronavirus, it’s mostly a virtual affair. But though the celebrations are toned down this year, there’s still plenty of opportunities to fête the country, including some spectacular firework displays.
Fire up the grill and check out these 4th of July 2020 events, whether socially distanced outdoors or from the comfort of your couch.
New York City
After weeks of illegal fireworks and a few days of sanctioned ones, the big July 4th Macy’s fireworks finale happens this Saturday above the Empire State Building. Find a rooftop or turn on NBC beginning at 8 p.m. for performers including John Legend, The Killers, Tim McGraw, Black Eyed Peas and the newly renamed Lady A.
President Donald Trump will pay a visit to Mount Rushmore on Friday, July 3, kicking off Independence Day festivities with a rally for 7,500 people, plus a flyover and the first fireworks display at the monument since 2009, when they were banned for their risk of igniting wildfires and damage to public health. Tickets for the event, which runs from 4 to 10 p.m., must were distributed through an online lottery, and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has said that social distancing will not be required. The state plans to livestream the event, with details to come on its website.
The capital’s National Independence Day Parade has been canceled, but President Trump, in partnership with the Department of the Interior, will bring 1,700 military troops to the White House and the Ellipse park for the “Salute to America” event. The bombastic affair will include music, flyovers through the D.C. sky and “an aerial salute to several cities that played roles in the American Revolution,” including, New York City, Boston, Baltimore and Philadelphia, capping off with fireworks over the National Mall. This is the second year for the event, which will start at 6:30 p.m. and be aired on Fox News and streamed on CBSN.
The Pacific Northwest city has reimagined its 4th of July event on the Washington State fairgrounds as the “Red, White & Kaboom Drive-In Fireworks Celebration,” with prizes for the best-decorated cars, streamed live music, food trucks and a fireworks spectacular. Tickets are $25 per vehicle. It runs from 5 to 10:30 p.m.
Concerts & more
A Capitol Fourth
This annual event is going forth with its concert virtually, with hosts Vanessa Williams and John Stamos. Usually held on the West Lawn of the White House, now you can enjoy pre-recorded sets by performers such as Patti LaBelle, John Fogerty and Renée Fleming from your own home, beginning at 8 p.m. on PBS. It will also be streamed on PBS.org and the network’s Facebook page.
Let Freedom Sing
Nashville’s “Let Freedom Sing” concert features fireworks and a lineup of Keb’ Mo’, John Hiatt, Tenille Townes, and Lilly Hiatt, honoring “health-care heroes, first responders and front-line workers.” It’s free, and can be streamed via their website beginning at 10 p.m. ET. For details, visit VisitMusicCity.com/July4th
Wawa Welcome America
Philadelphia is the site of the creation and signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and while the fireworks display on Benjamin Franklin Parkway is canceled, celebrations go big online. Begin Saturday at 10 a.m. with a guided tour of Independence Hall and cap it off at 8 p.m. with the “Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert” with Cynthia Erivo and Jason Derulo, broadcast live on NBC10 from The Met Philadelphia and streaming online at VisitPhilly.com.
Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic
The folk legend’s oeuvre is now accessible to fans outside of his ranch in Texas, as a virtual affair combining livestream and pre-taped concerts. Performers include Kurt Vile, Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle, Sheryl Crow, Ziggy Marley and much more, including Nelson and his band. Tickets for the virtual event, streamed on Luck.Stream at 3:30 p.m. Central Time, are $35 in advance, $45 on July 4, at Luck.Stream/WilliePicnic.com.
Independence Day Salute
Chicago’s Grant Park Orchestra has moved their “Independence Day Salute” online, offering patriotic tunes such as “Stars and Stripes Forever” and “God Bless America” to soundtrack your own personal hot-dog competition. It’s free, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time on the fest’s website.
A Celebration of All Black Lives
In Seattle, the “4th the Culture: A Celebration of All Black Lives” concert is free on July 4, from noon to 5 p.m., in Jefferson Park, featuring performances by KB Tha Genius, Alpha Patron, Nësträ, Northwest Tap Connection, and others.
Fourth of July AmericaFest Celebration
In Los Angeles, the Rose Bowl’s 94th annual “Fourth of July AmericaFest” goes online this year with music by cellist Cecilia Tsan, who will be performing for the free event from the 100-inch telescope dome on top of Mt. Wilson starting at 2 p.m. The event culminates with a flyover of Pasadena and its landmarks, which will also be streamed online.
Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest
The treasured Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest will go on, held this year at a private indoor location near Coney Island with eaters competing in groups of 5, instead of the usual 15. Although you can’t crowd around in person and cheer on your favorite professional dogger — or see if Joey Chestnut can beat his own record of 73 franks — you can watch all the action go down live on Saturday beginning at noon on ESPN.
Mount Vernon celebration
In Virginia, George Washington’s Mount Vernon will host Independence Day events with limited capacity, with several military demonstrations from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and an address by the first president himself. Social-distancing measures will be in place.
4th of July on the Pier
You won’t be able to climb aboard Alameda, California’s U.S.S. Hornet Sea, Air & Space Museum but you can celebrate near it, as the historic museum takes over nearby Pier 3 for a 4th of July afternoon of food, drinks, a DJ spinning big-band music in honor of the ship’s World War II legacy, and displays of items off the ship, including a jet cockpit. The event is free, and runs from 1 to 5 p.m. and masks are required.
The Santa Clara County town of Los Altos Hills in California has found a socially distant way to parade, revving up an hourlong caravan starting at 10 a.m. of 10 to 15 classic cars, the sheriff and the fire department.