July 4 is on Wednesday, giving us all a day off from work to celebrate the birthday of the United States of America. Arriving during the heart of the summer season, it's a great day to spend with friends and family, with burgers on the grill and fireworks in the sky.
The date was chosen to celebrate American Independence Day to mark the day the Declaration of Independence was formally adopted by the Second Continental Congress. The document, written by Thomas Jefferson, announced that the 13 American colonies no longer considered themselves under British rule. In reality, the document was passed on July 2, but the text was not ratified until two days later.
This year marks the 242nd anniversary of the Declaration and it remains one of the most influential documents ever written, inspiring hundreds of declarations of independence throughout the world.
Although July 4, 1776 is considered the U.S.'s birthday, the country still had a way to go before the foundations for today's republic were completed. The American Revolutionary War did not end until 1783 and the current U.S. Constitution was not ratified until 1788.
With that in mind, it's time to look at 10 best ways to celebrate July 4.
The best way to mark July 4 is to see a fireworks spectacular put on by professionals. Watching on television does not do them justice. If your city or town is setting off fireworks that night or the night before, be sure to check them out.prevnext
Go for a Picnic
Sure, barbecuing at home is fun, but going out for a picnic with your family can be fun, too. Plus, you can tie it in to a fireworks celebration. To add to the fun, make some patriotic recipes like those found at Woman's Day.prevnext
See a Baseball Game
While the NFL might be the most popular pro league in the country, they don't play football in the summer. MLB teams across the country are playing on July 4, and it is a perfect outing for families.
If you don't have an MLB team or can't afford the pricey tickets, look for a minor league team in the area with much cheaper tickets. Those are just as fun, if not moreso thanks to unique promotions.prevnext
Go See 'Jaws'
If you happen to have an independent movie theater, see if they plan to show Steven Spielberg's July 4 classic Jaws. Sure, you might be too afraid to go to the beach after the movie, but there is nothing like seeing it on the big screen. You can add this to your annual traditions.prevnext
Go to a Parade
Many cities and towns across the country celebrate with a Fourth of July parade. You can get up early in the morning to get the perfect spot to see the festivities. So much fun is packed into a parade, from unique floats to live music.prevnext
See the Boston Pops
This might sound specific to Boston, but the Boston Pops are on national television every year, culminating with their famous performance of the "1812 Overture."
For 2018, the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular will air on 7News locally, Bloomberg TV nationally and will be available to stream at Bloomberg.com. Rachel Platten will perform. Rita Moreno will perform a special tribute to Leonard Bernstein.prevnext
Go to a Local Historical Site
We can't all live in the original 13 colonies, but even if you don't, there are sure to be some local historical landmarks to visit.
If you do happen to live along the East Coast, there are plenty of sites to visit and re-enactments to see, from Philadelphia's Liberty Bell to New York's Federal Hall.prevnext
Fire up the Grill
July 4 is the perfect day to have family barbecue! Everyone is off and you can create memories for a lifetime right in your backyard. Throw some burgers and hot dogs on the grill, and you have the perfect afternoon.prevnext
Take a Trip to Mount Rushmore
This is a difficult one, but if you can get on the road today, go visit Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.
The Independence Day celebration starts on July 3 and features tributes to military veterans and POWs, as well as military flyovers. As the HuffPost points out, there are no fireworks launched over Mount Rushmore because of wildfire risks.prevnext
Sure, 1776 is historically inaccurate and definitely not one of the best musicals ever made, but the film is still brimming with memorable songs and fun performances.
It provides a "cliff notes" version of how the Declaration of Independence was created and even includes a song explaining why slavery was not abolished at the country's birth. The film airs every year on Turner Classic Movies, and starts at 10:15 p.m. ET.prev