Here in the United States, the Fourth of July is a remarkable occasion. Across the country, we gather to celebrate our nation’s independence with friends and family, while enjoying the views of extravagant fireworks shows. But many of the nation’s notable fireworks shows take place on the East Coast, which is good news for New England and disappointing for those of us west of the Mississippi.
And while California certainly lays claim to some fantastic shows (noted below), you may be surprised by some other hidden gems in the Western Frontier’s backyard. So if you’re looking to celebrate country, culture, and community this Fourth of July, take a look at our list of the best fireworks shows west of the Mississippi! Read to the end to see our Editor’s Choice.
Melaleuca Freedom Celebration – Idaho Falls, Idaho
Taking first place on the list, prepare to be dazzled by the 29th annual Melaleuca Freedom Celebration. You may be surprised by this one, but this awe-inspiring fireworks display is actually the largest Independence Day fireworks show west of the Mississippi River. Just a day’s drive from LA, head to Snake River Landing in Idaho Falls, ID for a perfect view of this spectacular show that features 18,237 high-flying fireworks that will light up the night sky. Firing at an average of 9.8 shells per second, choreographed shell-for-shell and beat-for-beat with music and spoken word for 31 minutes, this dazzling display will be sure to amaze you.
The Melaleuca Freedom Celebration is privately funded by Melaleuca and, therefore, free to the community and includes a fun-filled day at Snake River Landing packed with pre-show live entertainment, food trucks, bounce houses, helicopter rides, antique car and tractor display, and more.
AmericaFest – Pasadena, California
A little closer to home, the 96th annual AmericaFest at the Rose Bowl Stadium is one of the largest patriotic celebrations of all things red, white, and blue. Thousands of special effects fireworks will be launched from the stadium as part of one of the nation’s largest and longest running 4th of July fireworks shows.
This year’s AmericaFest in Pasadena welcomes tens of thousands for a full day of festivities and entertainment, including a 30-minute motorcycle stunt show, musical performances, and their world-renowned fireworks display.
San Francisco Fireworks – San Francisco, California
If you are looking for a day filled with live music, fun activities, and, of course, the best view of the traditional fireworks show, head north to San Francisco’s top spots. This wondrous waterfront firework show holds two sets of synchronized displays that can be seen across the Bay Area—one at the end of the Municipal Pier and another from the barges of Pier 39.
Start your day off with hometown parades, live music in the park, festivals, and other community events before the main nighttime event. San Francisco’s annual fireworks extravaganza will last for 30 minutes and is just the thing to make your 4th of July in the Bay complete.
Seafair Summer Fourth – Seattle, Washington
Amazon Seafair Summer Fourth is one of the best ways to experience the 4th of July in the Pacific Northwest. This fantastic firework show takes place in one of the best natural amphitheaters in Lake Union with a fully choreographed firework presentation that can be enjoyed from three different places—Gas Works Park, Lake Union Park, or from the lake itself, if you have access to a boat!
Seafair Fourth features a fully choreographed fireworks presentation accompanied by a musical score and a host of pre-show activities during the day. 2022’s show is expected to feature more than 10,000 pounds of fireworks, so you don’t want to miss it.
Kaboom Town – Addison, Texas
For more than three decades, Kaboom Town has been held every July 3rd, in the Texas town of Addison, located just north of Dallas. This Independence Day celebration is town wide, with watch parties hosted at multiple Addison hotels and restaurants, as well as a gathering at Addison Circle Park. There, you will get a front row seat to the spectacular 25-minute-long pyrotechnic display that is sure to impress.
Addison also provides the incredible Addison Airport Airshow, which precedes the fireworks display, that features historic warbirds, aerial stunts, parachute jumpers and other special flights. This is an entertaining celebration that you will want to attend.
Independence Eve – Denver, Colorado
For over ten years, tens of thousands of people have gathered at Civic Center Park the night before Independence Day to celebrate our unity and freedom. Attendees can enjoy a fantastic performance by the Colorado Symphony, a spectacular light show on the City and Country Building, along with a fireworks finale unlike any other show in the country. This year, sit back and relax, as you experience Independence Eve’s exciting return to the city of Denver.
Editor’s Pick – Melaleuca Freedom Celebration
Reviewing these shows, it’s clear to me why the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration comes up again and again. The fireworks are American-made (as opposed to 94% of America’s fireworks shows being sourced by China, per Forbes in 2020), the weather is gorgeous, the views are spectacular, and the heartwarming soundtrack adds meaning and reflection to the celebration.
And if you don’t take my word for it, here’s a word from America’s Pyrotechnic Association (APA):
“Although the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration may be off the beaten path in Idaho Falls, Idaho, it’s worth the effort to behold this remarkable, competition-caliber fireworks show. This is one of the nation’s largest fireworks displays, and it’s been listed on the APA’s list of ‘Must-See Independence Day Fireworks Displays.’”
But regardless of where you find yourself next Fourth of July, enjoy this list of the best Independence Day firework shows west of the Mississippi. Go out of your way to make them a part of your Independence Day celebrations. Make plans to attend any of these fantastic fireworks displays to celebrate and honor the history of our nation and those who fought for our freedom.
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