Your Guide to a Stress-Free July 4th

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July 4th is just around the bend and you know what that means, don’t you? The weekend of classic summer activities is upon us – that and the independence of the United States, but who’s counting? With the immense amount of grilling, and drinking (responsibly), and fireworks (safely), and red, white, and blue wearing (tastefully, please), it’s easy to forget that this holiday has a lot of moving parts, especially if you want to be out and about with the other inhabitants of your city.

Speaking from experience, it is easy to forget that when you want to go see the fireworks, or have a barbeque, or even just hang out outside with some friends, you’re going to be one of roughly a trillion people trying to do the same thing. Don’t let that deter you, though. Instead, follow these tips and have a wonderful, stress-free, overwhelming-crowd-free experience. Ready, set, go!


The easiest way to do this is to just avoid the crowds at all costs, but that’s not feasible, or desirable on July 4. I mean, come on, part of what makes it one of the most festive days of the year is the comradery. With that in mind, don’t avoid the crowds, beat them.


If you don’t mind sitting around tailgating and having a good time for a few hours before the “show” gets under way, this is the best way to go. You’ll get a good spot, avoid traffic (at least on the way in), and you can have your barbeque/responsible drinking extravaganza while you wait. Truth be told, in order to enact this plan successfully, you’ll need to get on your horse and mobilize pretty early in the day, but if you’re planning on spending most of the day outside anyways, may as well just do it from a public park, right?


No one wants to miss out on the fireworks show. No one. But if leaving early and scoping out a spot isn’t your cup o’ tea, do as the old baseball adage does and “hit ‘em where they aint” except, you know, instead of hitting ‘em where they aint, just go where they aint.

Everyone is going to want to get a primo spot for the show - close enough to hear the music, but not too close to jump at every blast of colorful goodness – and that means it’s going to be super-duper crowded. However, if you don’t mind not being a part of the swarm of humans, you can find yourself a perch from somewhere far far away (maybe a galaxy?) and watch them unimpeded and wonderfully distant. (Note: distance isn’t a bad thing. You can see everything with a larger scope and it’s calmer. Sounds like a win-win to me.)

But where are good places to check out fireworks if we’re trying to avoid the hordes of people? The answer my friends is elevation. Find an elevated vantage point: the top of a hill (big or small), the hood of a car, the roof of your house, or the roof/balcony of a high-rise building (please please please be safe. Alcohol and heights have a potential to mix very poorly. Elevate at your own risk.), lay down your blanket, crack open some snacks, and enjoy the ensuing minutes of magisterial glow. Finding an elevated perch will give you two advantages: 1) unimpeded sight-lines, which cannot be understated, and 2) less-to-no traffic on your way out, which also cannot be understated.


No matter how you decide to celebrate Independence Day (even if it’s with a showing of Independence Day: Resurgence), make sure you and yours have an enjoyable time. Obviously that is helped by sharing meals and drinks and laughs with people you care about, but it goes beyond that. Don’t just focus on the fun and excitement of the day, let’s everyone work to keep ourselves, and each other, safe. If you’re going to be drinking, don’t drive home. Instead, do what all the kids are doing these days and order an Uber, or get a friend to drive you. What about your car? Interesting point, well, as they used to say a couple years ago, there’s an app for that. Almost every major city in America has a professional designated driver service, meaning they will pick you and your car up and take you home. Long gone are the days of Uber-ing or taxi-ing home only to wake up and realize you have to go pick up your car. Live in Minneapolis, Chicago, Austin, New York, or Los Angeles (I could go on forever)? Never worry about leaving your car, or more importantly, driving drunk again. This app will act as your designated driver and get you home safely.

It’s the Fourth of July, people! Let’s celebrate and have a good time!

Until next time – enjoy the show.

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When Arye isn't helping optimize your time, he is doing his part to ensure life is full of shenanigans.