Skip those small town fireworks and celebrate our nation's birth in style.
With the holiday on a Friday this year, take advantage of the long weekend with a visit to one of the nation's most patriotic spots.
These special sites are marvels in themselves, but many offer special events to celebrate Independence Day.
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1. Statue of Liberty, New York City
The Statue of Liberty is one of the most recognizable symbols of the American spirit. Standing over 150 feet, Lady Liberty is a great place for families to celebrate the Fourth the July and learn about France's gift to the U.S. Lady Liberty is also the backdrop for the Big Apple's famous fireworks. Book a boat cruise and watch the Green Lady light up the night.
2. Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.
The Lincoln Memorial anchors the west end of the National Mall. The monument itself was inspired by classical Greek architecture as echoed by the sturdy columns Visitors to Washington can spend hours outside, hopping from monument to museum-- for free. Visitors can even enjoy a free tour of "America's front yard" with a park ranger.
3. World War II Memorial, Washington, D.C.
Completed in 2004, the World War II Memorial is one of the newer additions to the Washington, D.C. monument collection. The stunning plaza is dedicated to the men and women who served America during this defining war. The memorial is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to all tourists who wish to pay their respect.
4. Liberty Bell Center, Philadelphia
An impressive symbol of American freedom, the Liberty Bell is 12 feet in circumference and weighs about 2000 pounds. The signature crack has been repaired once but when it cracked again, no further repairs were made giving it a signature look though it is not rung. A visit to the center will have you feeling like a true patriot with historic reenactments and an extra video presentation and exhibits.
5. Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Va.
Go back in time and discover what life was like for early English settles in the New World. The Independence Day Celebration is one of the area's biggest yearly events. Enjoy dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence, patriotic children’s games and activities on the Virginia Lawn, and concert by Virginia Symphony Orchestra as the sun sets. And of course stick around for the spectacular firework show.
6. Independence Hall, Philadelphia
Independence Hall is where it all really began. The hall houses the original inkstand used to sign the Declaration of Independence and an original draft of the Constitution on displayed. Enjoy a guided tour through the historic property and relive the birth of a nation. During "Freedom Week," visitors can enjoy a host of patriotic activities including a Civil Rights film series, a free concert and Independence Day parade.
7. Gettysburg Battlefield, Gettysburg, Pa.
Considered to be the turning point of the Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg was also the most fatal with causalities estimated over 50,000 for both sides. Today, Gettysburg is a National Park that honors those who fought for freedom with reenactments and grounds tours. During the Fourth there will be Civil War reenactments that include field demonstrations, live mortar fire demonstrations and more.
8. Washington Monument, Washington, D.C.
This grand obelisk on the National Mall is the world's tallest stone structure at over 555 feet tall and was built to commemorate the first president of the United States. Tickets are required to go inside but visitors can get free tickets-- but those usually sell out fast so paying an advance fee is recommended to get to the top.
9. Mount Rushmore, Keystone, South Dakota
According to the National Park Service, nearly three million people visit Mount Rushmore each year. Tourists can explore the beauty of the Black Hills while taking in a national treasure. Visitors can take advantage of a host of patriotic activities this Fourth of July weekend, including performances by recreators representing the four presidents featured on the mountain, held at the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center. Check the schedule so you don't miss a chance to meet your favorite president.
10. The Alamo, San Antonio, Tex.
Although the Alamo wasn't part of our nation's birth, it was pivotal for Texas' fight for its independence from Mexico. Patriotic festivities at this historic site begin early on the 4th, which include musket and rifle firing demonstrations, performances by the Bexar Bones Quartet, and a reading of the Declaration of Independence. Kids will have a chance to take photos with reenactors, too. After the Fourth here, you certainly won't forget the Alamo.