Best time to go to North Carolina

4th of July 2020

Old-fashioned small-town celebrations and massive street parties

Independence Day traditions in North Carolina are all about parades, fireworks, and great barbecues. Celebrations start in late June culminating on July 4th. Check the dates and times for each event on the official websites.

The area around Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill offer some of the most lively celebrations in the state with street fairs, festivals and baseball games. Raleigh, North Carolina's capital, is often called the City of Oaks due to its streets shaded with large oaks. It hosts a massive celebration at the PNC Arena and the North Carolina State Fairgrounds. The festivities start at 6 pm and end with the fireworks at 9:30 pm. There is also the 4th of July Celebration at the State Capitol grounds and a street party in downtown Raleigh.

Chapel Hill is home to the University of North Carolina, and the Fourth of July is always quite vivid here despite the summer vacations. The city hosts a bike parade that is followed by the celebration at Kenan Memorial Stadium. The fireworks over the UNC campus begin at 9:30 pm.

Celebration in Chapel Hill 2020
Celebration in Chapel Hill
4th of July fireworks in Chapel Hill  2020
4th of July fireworks in Chapel Hill

Durham celebrates Independence Day with baseball and live music. Watch the Durham Bulls play their holiday game at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The game ends with a spectacular fireworks show. Festival for the Eno is another Durham event focused on art and music. Held in West Point on the Eno, the four-day festival features over 70 bands and performers, a craft fair, beer garden, and lots of other entertainment.

Festival for the Eno 2020
Festival for the Eno
Festival for the Eno 2020
Festival for the Eno

Cary boasts a very traditional celebration of America's birthday. Olde Time Celebration at Bond Park starts at 8 am with the fishing tournament, followed by the annual parade at 10:30 am, games and competitions in donut eating, watermelon eating, seed spitting, and sidewalk decorating. In the afternoon, there is July Fourth Celebration at Koka Booth Amphitheatre with a Ferris wheel, Berry-Go-Round, scavenger hunt, and other entertainment. The celebration in Cary also includes a free North Carolina Symphony concert followed by a fireworks display over Symphony Lake.

Lewisville offers a few traditional activities and large fireworks taking place at Shallowford Square from 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm. There is a great atmosphere with food and live music. Attendees can bring their own chairs for a more comfortable experience.

Greensboro hosts one of the best and largest celebrations in the state—Fun Fourth Festival. The festival runs from 1 pm to 8 pm in Downtown Greensboro. It features five areas with live performances, interactive games, and lots of vendors. There is a fun run and a block party that brings the community together to celebrate the history of the Piedmont Triad. After the block party, there are fireworks at First National Bank Stadium.

Wilmington celebrates 4th of July with Independence Day Fireworks and live entertainment, food vendors, and kids activities in historic downtown. The Waterfront Park is the perfect spot to relax with the whole family. There's also a big unofficial shindig on Masonboro Island near Wilmington with hundreds of college kids celebrating the 4th. The spectacular fireworks display is launched into the skies over Wilmington after 9:00 pm.

Historic Southport has been showing its patriotic spirit celebrating America's Independence for over 200 years. The first “Festival of Free Men” was held here in 1792. Since then, the program of the holiday hasn't changed much: there is the reading of the Declaration of Independence, military band concert, veterans’ honoring ceremony, firefighters’ competition, and naturalization ceremony. Visitors can also see 9/11 Never Forget mobile exhibit, shop among 100 of arts & crafts vendors, watch a parade, and enjoy live stage entertainment. A four-day festival running over a few days around July 4th also includes an art show, a vintage car show, a sailing regatta, and historic tours in downtown Southport. The major highlight take place on July 4th: the parade at 11 am and fireworks over the waterfront at 9 pm.

In July, the whole city of Charlotte covers itself in stars and stripes as well as red, white and blue to celebrate America's freedom. The city has an array of activities and events to celebrate the Fourth of July. Festivities begin with the annual Sherm Sheldon Fishing Derby followed by the Inflation Celebration in Metro Center and the long-awaited Independence Day Parade. Charlotte Symphony Concert dedicated to the holiday is held at SouthPark, ending with fireworks. Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular is also held at Charlotte Motor Speedway. US National Whitewater Center hosts the 4th of July Festival that features live music and a fireworks display during two nights. SkyShow at BB&T Ballpark is another extravaganza after a baseball game of the Charlotte Knights. An excellent place to see the fireworks is Romare Bearden Park.

4th of July fireworks in Charlotte 2020
4th of July fireworks in Charlotte

Asheville in Western North Carolina is a great place to spend the holiday. Downtown Asheville Independence Day Celebration takes place in Pack Square Park at 2 pm. It features Ultimate Air Dogs jumping event, live music, and entertainment, kids' activities like Splashville and bouncy houses, about a dozen food trucks, beer, and wine. Fireworks kick off at 9:30 pm. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets to the park to watch. At the same time, South Asheville Fireworks are launched at Lake Julian.