Let freedom riiiiiiing, as Martina McBride would say. I’m always a fan of grilling in the backyard, but if you’re looking to get out and about, here’s a guide to this year’s biggest, booziest, and best ways to celebrate America. Jump for it.
Fair Park Fourth (July 4). A local tradition. Show up for the early dancing-water shows at the Esplanade Fountain, live music, and a kiddie activity area. As the sun goes down, revelers will be treated to a 45-minute concert from the Dallas Wind Symphony and the gorgeous fireworks display. In order to get a prime seat inside the Cotton Bowl, you must have picked up a free wristband prior to entry. Wristbands will be available the night of the event at information booths in Fair Park, while supplies last. Update with more info from event organizers:
We want to make sure visitors know that there is limited seating for viewing in the Cotton Bowl. Due to renovations being made to the Cotton Bowl, stadium seating and handicap seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Because stadium concourses will be closed for construction, visitors should be prepared to walk several flights of stairs to get to seating. To enter the Cotton Bowl, visitors will need a wristband, which will be distributed free of charge from 4:30-8:30 p.m. on July 4 at information booths located at Gates D and E of the Cotton Bowl and across Fair Park (up to 6 wristbands per visitor). Gates D and E to the Cotton Bowl will open at 7 p.m.
Kaboom Town (July 3). For such a fun holiday, almost no one takes Fourth of July festivities as seriously as the city of Addison does. The 30-minute choreographed fireworks show ranks as one of the largest displays in the country, and there’s almost no bad spot for watching the sky light up. Still, we recommend heading to the heart of the party, where there’s live music, a “family fun zone” with tons of games for kids, food, drinks, and more. Remember to carpool, because not only is it environmentally friendly, it’ll keep you from blowing a gasket when you’re trapped in terrible traffic after the last sparkler has faded. Note that there will be additional security measures in place this year, and the crowd restricted to about 30,000 (compared to 50,000 in past years). The park will be gated, and bags and coolers will be searched.
Fort Worth’s Fourth (July 4). Dare we say it? We will. Fort Worth’s Fourth of July celebration sounds just the tiniest bit more fun than Dallas’ own gathering in Fair Park. Maybe that’s because we’d rather go for a dip ourselves than watch dancing water fountains from afar. The free family-friendly party offers tubing on the Trinity River, water slides, mini golf, live tunes from Petty Theft and Downtown Fever, and a fireworks show that gets cracking at 9:30 p.m. You can even bring in coolers—just no outside alcohol.
Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic (July 4). Nelson’s famous honky-tonk party, a tradition since the pre-Bicentennial days of 1973, is something you have to experience at least once. He’ll share the big day with fellow country artists Randy Rogers Band, Gary Allan, Dale Watson, and many more across three stages at Billy Bob’s in Forth Worth.
Fair Park Fourth (July 4). The fireworks display starts at 9:30 p.m. In order to get a prime seat inside the Cotton Bowl, you must have picked up a free wristband prior to entry. Wristbands are available the night of the event at Fair Park information booths, while supplies last.
Texas Rangers at Seattle Mariners (July 4). Continuing their campaign for American League West supremacy, the Rangers take on King Felix and the rest of those seafaring folk. (I really know what I’m talking about here.) In addition to a sparkler fired off in center field for every Rangers home run, expect Independence Day fireworks after the game.
Kaboom Town. (July 3) Addison’s 30-minute choreographed fireworks show ranks up there as one of the largest displays in the country, and there’s almost no bad place to watch the sky light up. The party starts at 5 p.m., but the fireworks won’t go off until 9:30 p.m.
Lone Stars and Stripes at Lone Star Park (July 4). Post-horse race, there’s a 20-minute fireworks display choreographed to country tunes courtesy of 99.5 The Wolf.
Dallas Wind Symphony’s A Star-Spangled Spectacular (July 4). Indoor fireworks at the Meyerson. How cool is that?
Fort Worth’s Fourth (July 4). This all-day, family-friendly party offers free tubing on the Trinity River, live tunes, and a fireworks show that gets cracking at 9:30 p.m.
The Nasher Sculpture Center and the Meadows Museum will be closed.
The Dallas Museum of Art will be open July 4 until 5 p.m., then closed during the evening. The Perot Museum is also open July 4, and you can still get admission tickets online (278 left as of last week). The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the Sixth Floor Museum are open as well.
A Star-Spangled Spectacular (July 4). Join the Dallas Wind Symphony at the Meyerson as they wish America the grandest of birthdays with indoor fireworks, a salute to our armed forces, themed snacks, and an impressive collection of tunes from the American songbook. Expect a surprise appearance from everyone’s favorite musical patriot, John Philip Sousa. (We’re told it’s just a costume, but we like to imagine it’s The Conducting Dead.)
The Libertine’s Fifth Annual Brass Knuckle Corn Dog Beat Down (July 4). Eek. If you have what it takes to consume as many corn dogs as possible in 15 minutes (an iron will and an iron gut, presumably), you can enter this crazy-gross competition. It’s free to enter, but your registration must be confirmed by 5 p.m. (consumption starts promptly at 7 p.m.). However, get there as early as 11 a.m. for a patriotic afternoon of drinking and getting dunked. (In a dunk tank, obviously.)
Independence Day Smoke Out at Holy Grail Pub (July 5-7). This Plano favorite always does this holiday right—good beer and lots of smoked meats. Take your pick of beef short ribs, house-made hot dogs, beer can chicken, or bacon-injected brisket, and wash it down with special tappings of Oskar Blues G’Knight (Friday) and Anderson Valley Summer Solstice (Saturday).
Fourth of July at the Old Monk (July 3 & 4). D’s official drinking establishment is offering $5 margs and swirls, plus $7 beeritas.
Celebrations at Idle Rich Pub (July 3 & 4). Wednesday, get a sandwich and a premium pint for 10 bucks (all day, 3 p.m.-2 a.m.). Both Wednesday and Thursday, 22 oz. Paulaner beers are $6, and so are all the summer beers.
Fourth of July at Blackfriar (July 3 & 4). The Old Monk’s cousin is also doing $5 margs and swirls and $7 beeritas, as well as $6 summer beers.
BarBelmont (July 4). No specials, just the regular old amazing views of the city skyline from the bar patio. The bar is open from 3 p.m. to midnight, and there will be a taco stand.
Red, White, and Boom! at The Dram (July 3). DJ Justin Bell spins, and there are drink and bottle specials all night.
Fourth of July at Double Wide (July 4). Huh. No YooHoo parking lot pool party this year. But you can still get your Americana on with Good Luck Karaoke in the main bar, then catch the Fair Park fireworks starting at 9:30 p.m. on the patio. If you want to venture in for the live music (Dead Flowers, The Roomsounds, and Sugar Foote), it’s $5. Otherwise, there’s no cost to hang out. Easy Slider food truck will be around for late night eats.
Open Classical at Klyde Warren Park (July 4). Mark Landson is a classical violinist, violist, and director of Open Classical, an organization that brings un-stuffy classical music to unlikely places. On the Fourth, Landson and his musical cohorts host a patriotic celebration in the park. We’ve been promised instrumental and opera performances along with folk and jazz music, dancing, and more. Beer and wine will be available for purchase, and you can pack a picnic.
Park Cities Fourth of July Parade (July 4). Things get started at 9 a.m. near Highland Park Town Hall. Don’t miss our hardworking Park Cities People staffers out and about at the post-parade carnival in Goar Park.
Lakewood Neighborhood Parade (July 4). This parade tradition has held up for 50 years. There’s no reservations, no registration, and no entry fees. Just show up, kiddos in tow, and grab a number. Then parade yourself around the neighborhood. All sorts of prizes will be awarded, including one for best costume, best float, best two wheeler, and most original. After everyone’s a winner, there will be music, refreshments, and more.
Shakespeare Dallas’ Pericles (July 4). The Independence Day performance offers extras like a cupcake walk, face painting, giveaways, and more. Shakespeare Dallas members can bring a friend for free, and there will be fireworks.
Garland’s Star-Spangled Spectacular (July 4).
Plano’s Independence Day Parade (July 4).
Plano’s All-American Fourth (July 4).
McKinney’s Red, White, and Boom (July 4).
Irving’s Independence Day Fireworks Show (July 3).
Irving’s Fourth of July Parade (July 4).
Stars and Stripes Southlake (July 3).
Compiled with assistance from web editorial intern Michelle Ofiwe. Beautiful banners by interactive designer Renee Blostein.