Last updated: 05:11 PM ET, Thu July 02 2015

America's Top Fourth of July Attractions

Destination & Tourism | Patrick Clarke | July 02, 2015

America's Top Fourth of July Attractions

When it comes to the Fourth of July, travel is as American as baseball and apple pie.

Millions of Americans will travel to celebrate the anniversary of U.S. independence this summer. And while many will relax with family and friends, grill burgers and hot dogs and take in the fireworks after nightfall, others will leave home to experience America's top July 4 attractions. 

Here are the standouts in 2015. 

Satisfy Your Appetite at the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest

Is this the year Joey Chestnut's reign of dominance finally comes to an end? 

It's unlikely, but either way, you'll want to be there to see it up close. The nationally televised Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest takes place every Fourth of July in Coney Island, New York, attracting tons of spectators who come for the beach, the rides and, of course, the hot dogs.

But even if you're a vegetarian, you're sure to be impressed with eight-time champion Chestnut and his competition. After all, Joey Jaws alone has put away 130 hot dogs in the past two years.

And if the novelty wears off, there's no shortage of nearby attractions, from the beach to the boardwalk.

Enjoy the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular 

If fireworks are what you're looking for this weekend, you won't find a more star-studded display than what Macy's has planned in New York City.

The July 4 showcase in the Big Apple will feature performances from some of the biggest names in music, including Dierks Bentley, Kelly Clarkson, Flo Rida and Ed Sheeran. The TODAY show's Willie Geist and Tamron Hall will host the event. 

According to NBC, which will broadcast the showcase, "the presentation will include more than 50,000 pyrotechnic shells and effects during a 25-minute synchronized display. New shells and effects include multi-colored transformation ghosts, blue and red octopi, crescent moons, patriotic stars, double hearts, roaring dragons, screaming banshees, purple rain and spider webbed shaped shells. In honor of this year's bravery theme, the show will combine these mesmerizing effects in 22 different colors, including new neon highlighter yellow, green and pink."

While viewers will be able to see the fireworks from Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, the musical performances will take place along the East River in Midtown and in the South Street Seaport District.

Join In the National Independence Day Parade

What better place to be on the Fourth of July than the nation's capital?

Each year Washington, D.C. plays host to America's National Independence Day Parade. In addition to marching bands from across the country, the parade features military members, floats and other entertainment.

It starts just before noon on July 4, so you'll want to get there early. 

Once you've had your fill head over to the Smithsonian to check out the National Museum of American History, which will remain open until 5:30 p.m. on July 4.

Experience Americafest

Americafest at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California is the West Coast's premier Fourth of July attraction, hands down.

It all starts around 2 p.m. with food and games for kids and adults alike outside of the stadium. Once the gates open at 6 p.m., attendees will be treated to a motorcycle stunt show and a handful of musical acts, including the national anthem. The fireworks begin at 9 p.m. after the sun sets and continue for a half an hour. This year, at the conclusion, families with young children can stick around for a special presentation of Despicable Me 2. 

What sets Americafest apart from the other July 4 attractions is that visitors are just a 20 minute drive from Los Angeles and an hour's drive away from Anaheim, home of Disneyland. 

Watch Fireworks Like a High Roller

There's tons of fun to be had in Sin City over Fourth of July weekend. But without a doubt, the best view over the Strip on July 4 is at the High Roller.

The 550-foot-tall observation wheel is the world's tallest and has become a popular tourist attraction since opening last year.

"I think people come to Vegas and they expect something new and a little bit over the top. And there's nothing more over the top than the world's tallest observation wheel," said senior vice president of hospitality and marketing for Caesars entertainment Phil Auerbach via KSNV News 3

If you don't have $1,500 to secure a private cabin for up to 30 people, you can always purchase general admission.

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