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  • Annelise Richards

8 Ways to Celebrate July 4th

The United States of America is many things, the third largest country in landmass, beaten by Canada and Russia respectively, owner of the title of most geographically diverse, and strangely, also the title of the most deaths by reptile in the world. America is perhaps one of the strangest countries in the world, but that’s why we love it. America turns 242 this year, and we wanted to tell you a few different ways you can celebrate this country’s unique America-ness properly.

1. Host a Barbecue- What’s July 4th without the smell of hotdogs, hamburgers, and dads that think cargo shorts are still a useful fashion statement? Nothing, really. A Fourth of July party is incomplete without someone grilling at least SOMETHING outside, even if that something ends up being pineapple or asparagus. Regardless, barbecues are about as American as it gets, and they deserve the top spot on our list because of it!

2. Go to a Public Fireworks Show- Whether it be you have small children, can’t afford enough fireworks for an incredible show, or are just too lazy to go out and buy these ancient explosives for you to play with yourself. Most cities in the US will host free firework shows, especially in big metro areas like New York and Los Angeles, where fireworks are illegal. The great thing about public shows is that by the end of the night, the sense of unity between everyone who decided to come is a dewy haze that lingers for a few days, where everyone can put aside their personal differences and be proud of the country they call home. Also the fireworks are loud so you’re kind of deaf for a while afterwards…

3. Visit American History- The United States is unique in the fact that its history doesn’t span nearly as much time as the rest of the world, so we are all more connected to the past than it may seem. This year, you might want to visit a civil-war battleground, or take time to visit somewhere on the east coast like Boston or Philadelphia and remember the actions our founding fathers took to get us where we are today. After all, these people are your grandparent’s grandparents.

4. Visit a National Park- Along that line, America is one of the most unique countries in the world because it boasts every type of biome on our whole planet. From Hawaii, to Alaska, to New Mexico and Kentucky, there’s deserts, rainforests, tundra and more, and within these beautiful ecosystems lie our greatest treasure: our National Parks. Miles upon miles of pristine untouched wilderness for all kinds of unique wildlife to be free. National Parks are usually free or inexpensive to get into, but the experience of seeing the Grand Canyon or Yosemite falls in person is absolutely priceless.

5. DIY-an American-themed outfit- No fourth of July party is complete without plastering the stars and stripes on every possible surface imaginable. Among these surfaces are T-shirts and pants and other clothes, and you can easily throw together something that would make Uncle Sam proud! Tie-dying shirts, printing custom logos, and even throwing water balloons full of red and blue ink at people with white clothes on are all fun ways to DIY a patriotic ‘fit without breaking the budget.

6. Have a pool-day- Taylor Swift’s favorite fourth of July activity is well documented on her social media, and for good reason. A fun pool day to relax in the boiling weather is perhaps the easiest and best way to celebrate July 4th. If you’re lucky and have a pool at home, you can combine it with a barbecue to make a truly all-American day!

7. Watch an America-Centric Movie- We like to celebrate American Independence on July 4th, but we don’t usually look back at how our country gained its singularity as a country or how it's defended its independence over the years. I always suggest watching war movies or America-centric movies because, aside from the idealism presented, they typically have a relevant message for Americans today. Even if it’s something totally fictional like Captain America or Independence day, it’s good to celebrate American Pride and ideals, the fictional movies just have more explosions.

8. Drink responsibly- The final and most important point on this list is to drink responsibly. July 4th is the most dangerous week in the year for alcohol-related car fatalities, 51% of all accidents during July 4th weekend involve an impaired driver. This year, be wary, be sober, and be smart. Uber exists for a reason. Taxis exist for a reason. Regardless of how much you think you can handle it, the safest and best decision is to abstain from drinking entirely or be sure there’s a sober person capable of taking you home.

July 4th is perhaps the greatest week in America, all the bonfires, sparklers, and food trucks galore make for a truly unique American experience. For 242 years we have defended the United States. We love our independence, and we love our liberties and culture. It’s important to remember those freedoms in the face of adversity, and above all else, respect your country and what it stands for, from sea to shining sea.

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