Best & worst cities for celebrating the 4th of July during COVID-19 pandemic

Best & worst cities for celebrating the 4th of July during COVID-19 pandemic

With the Fourth of July right around the corner amid the COVID-19 pandemic, travel experts conducted an in-depth analysis of the best and worst cities to celebrate in.

To determine the ranking, analysis compared the most populated 100 U.S. cities across 19 metrics, ranging from “number of 4th of July celebrations” to “allowance of consumer fireworks” to “public transportation options.”

Here’s what the analysts found, and how the cities rank.

FORT WAYNE, IND., TOPS 4TH OF JULY CITY RANKINGS

Fort Wayne, Ind., ranks as America’s top spot, boosted by an expected beautiful day and a 10 p.m. fireworks spectacular at the Indiana Michigan Power Center downtown. “We wanted to give residents something to look forward to as we continue to work through the challenges of COVID-19,” said Mayor Tom Henry in a news release. “We encourage the public to use good judgment and practice social distancing at the event. Together, we can have a safe and enjoyable time. We have a lot to be thankful for in the City of Fort Wayne.

 

 

KEY FINDINGS

Public events rare

Of the 100 largest U.S. cities, just 17 have a public fireworks event this year; 83 will not.

All-American? More like small American

All 10 of the largest cities in the United States canceled or downsized their traditional July celebrations. Most canceled events entirely, nixing both the gathering and the fireworks. Some canceled the crowd event but will let the fireworks go on in some fashion. Cities that canceled their big 2020 firework shows include Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, Dallas, Phoenix, San Jose, and San Antonio. In many cases, other nearby cities in the metro area will have smaller July 4th fireworks displays.

Other major metros that have canceled their big, traditional Independence Day celebrations events include Atlanta, Boston, San Francisco, and Seattle. In Washington, D.C., the traditional Fourth of July parade is off, but a small, made-for-TV event will be held on the White House South Lawn with live music and a fireworks display over the National Mall. In Houston, the annual street festival is off, but the fireworks display will go on. New York City’s traditional Macy’s fireworks spectacular has been canceled. Instead, the city broke the celebration into pieces, with smaller fireworks displays for each borough. To prevent crowding during the pandemic, each display will be an unannounced surprise.

Most cities allow fireworks at home

Can’t go to a public event? In most cities, you have a DIY alternative. More than 60% of cities allow people to set off at least some kinds of fireworks, with 62 cities allowing them and 38 banning them outright.

No-fun cities

Talk about duds: Thirty cities have no public celebration, and also forbid anyone from lighting their own July fireworks. They are:

Limits on gatherings common

Want a big gathering? Beware: Seventy cities limit the size of public gatherings. The most common limit is 50 people (26 cities) another 19 limit gatherings to 100 people. But don’t invite the extended family to a party in Chicago, Columbus, Ohio, or Madison, Wis. They are among the eight cities that limit gatherings to 10 people. At the other end of the scale, two Nebraska cities — Omaha and Lincoln — are OK with gatherings of 10,000. Another 30 cities have no crowd size limits at all.

The face masks are coming! The face masks are coming!

If you do want to go out in public for a fireworks show, bring a face mask. Nearly all cities (97) recommend wearing a face mask in public places where social distancing will be nearly impossible. Just three — San Jose, Calif., Raleigh, N.C., and St. Paul, Minn. — have no such recommendation.

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