Travelocity® commissioned a survey of 1,000 Americans that revealed nearly half of Americans have never visited many of the country’s most revered landmarks. Each of them is a representation of the United States, so there no better time for the other half of the population to make a trek to these famous locations than when spectacular fireworks and other Independence Day events add to the pride and patriotism of these special all-American locations.
Despite its iconic stature, 53 percent of Americans have never experienced this South Dakota landmark in person. On July 3-4, visitors can enjoy live reenactments of the four presidents depicted on Mount Rushmore, Native American music and storytelling, music by the Air Force Academy Concert Band and a lighting ceremony at the monument. While there will be no fireworks this year due to a pine beetle infestation which makes the local forests more fire-prone than usual, fireworks will be part of the annual Fourth of July festivities in nearby areas such as Black Hills and Badlands.
Nestled on the U.S./Canadian border, 48 percent of Americans surveyed have never visited these spectacular falls. While beautiful any time of the year, the Fourth of July holiday is a perfect time for a trip to Niagara Falls, since visitors can experience two celebrations in four days – the Independence Day celebration on July 4 as well as Canada Day festivities on July 1.
While virtually every American has seen the enduring image of the Liberty Bell, 47 percent of Americans surveyed have never seen it in person. Located in one of America’s most historic cities, Philadelphia, Fourth of July is a special day to visit the Liberty Bell, as it is the one day a year in which it is ceremonially rung, with descendants of the signers of the Declaration of Independence coming to Independence National Historical Park to tap the bell 13 times – once for each of the original colonies. Additionally, Philadelphia annually hosts free concerts, fireworks and more as part of its Independence Day celebrations.
At 277 miles long, the Grand Canyon is hard to miss. Even so, some 47 percent of Americans polled have never seen this natural wonder firsthand. While there are no specific celebrations at the canyon itself for Fourth of July, the vibrant colors of the canyon – particularly at sunset – are natural fireworks themselves. For visitors wanting a more traditional Independence Day celebration, nearby cities such as Flagstaff, Tusayan and Williams, Arizona, all within 90 minutes of the canyon, are known for their annual parades, fireworks and other patriotic activities.
Golden Gate Bridge
Connecting San Francisco to the Marin Peninsula, the Golden Gate Bridge is an iconic structure named one of the “Wonders of the Modern World.” Yet 44 percent of Americans surveyed have never visited this engineering feat. On Independence Day, the Golden Gate Bridge makes for a compelling backdrop to San Francisco’s annual fireworks show – which can be witnessed from a number of vantage points around the San Francisco bay, or even from the bay itself on a special fireworks viewing cruise. Or, for a more low-key Independence Day, cross the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County for a traditional Fourth of July parade in Sausalito or the annual Marin County Fair in San Rafael.
After over two and a half years of restoration work, the Washington Monument reopened to visitors in May 2014. And the Independence Day weekend is a great time for the 41 percent of Americans reporting that they have not visited the iconic landmark in Washington D.C. Located on the National Mall, the Washington Monument is in the middle of one of the nation’s largest and most well-known Fourth of July celebrations. With concerts, parades and a truly epic fireworks show, Washington D.C. is considered by many to host the ultimate Independence Day celebration.
Empire State Building
Proudly lit in red, white and blue each Independence Day, the Empire State Building’s central location makes it a quintessential part of New York City’s Fourth of July images. While recognized by many, 41 percent of Americans surveyed have never seen this 103-story landmark in person. Conveniently located in the heart of Midtown, the icon’s open-air Observation Deck is a prime perch from which to see fireworks shows not just in New York City, but the entire tristate area. However, capacity for the exclusive fireworks viewing event is limited and spaces fill early – so plan ahead for this “bucket list” Independence Day destination.
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