From fireworks and parades in celebration of the birth of our independent nation to fairs, festivals, and plenty of food and wine, here are the can't-miss events throughout the U.S. in July.
Shop around the world in Santa Fe
Travel the world without boarding a plane at Santa Fe New Mexico's International Folk Art Market. The world's largest folk art festival features over 150 artists from 54 countries showcasing handmade, one-of-a-kind pottery, rugs, clothing, jewelry, artwork, and other items that honor their cultural traditions.
More info: folkartalliance.org
Find endless entertainment in Orange County
Held on 150 acres in Costa Mesa, California, the Orange County Fair features 23 days and nights of entertainment, food, rides, shopping, animal exhibits, and top-notch performers at the Pacific Amphitheatre. Nightly music and action-packed sporting events top off an impressive annual celebration that won't break the bank.
More info: ocfair.com
Giddyup in Wyoming
Attention cowboys, cowgirls, and wannabes: The Frontier Days festival in Cheyenne, Wyoming is an annual celebration of all things western.
Step back in time to the wild, wild west of yesterday while enjoying unspoiled mountain views, blue skies, and golden sunsets. Events include the Grand Parade, rodeos, concerts, professional bull riders, U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, free pancake breakfasts, barbecues, a western art show, carnival rides, an Old West Museum, and an Indian village.
More info: cfrodeo.com
Take yourself out to the ultimate ballgame
The Major League Baseball All-Star Game is a competition between the best players from America's favorite pastime, as selected by passionate baseball fans. American League stars square off against the National League's best in a rivalry that's both fierce and entertaining.
The symbolic halfway point of the MLB season, the weekend also includes the Home Run Derby, the All-Star Futures Game starring young players from all over the world, and the All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game featuring a mix of former athletes, musicians, and actors.
More info: mlb.com/allstargame
Celebrate Independence Day in Philadelphia
Since 1776, July 4 has been celebrated across the U.S. as the birth of our independent nation with fanfare ranging from fireworks and parades to concerts and good old American barbecues. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where the Declaration of Independence was signed by our forefathers, the celebration actually starts early at the end of June with free concerts, multiple firework shows, the Historic District Block Party, parades, patriotic ceremonies, and kids' activities.
The Benjamin Franklin Parkway hosts a free celebration on July 4 with great food and entertainment all day long. It's followed by the Wawa Welcome America Concert and culminates with the grand finale: a fireworks display over the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art.
More info: visitphilly.com
Ride a hot air balloon over New Jersey
Perhaps the best reason to visit New Jersey in July other than the shore, the Quick Check New Jersey Festival of Ballooning is the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America. The three-day event takes place at Solberg-Hunterdon Airport and features balloon rides, nightly concerts, arts and crafts, yoga, and a 5K run, plus amusement rides and magic shows. Carnival food vendors serve cheese steaks, Italian sausage, pizza, gyros, funnel cake, and more.
More info: balloonfestival.com
Stop and smell the wildflowers in Colorado
Escape the heat this summer while taking in the natural beauty of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Crested Butte, a wintry wonderland for snow and ski lovers, transforms into a sea of wildflowers during summer months.
The Crested Butte Wildflower Festival features over 200 events such as walks and hikes, floral-themed art workshops and photography classes, medicinal herb instruction, bird and butterfly watching, and jeep tours.
More info: crestedbuttewildflowerfestival.com
Run from the "bulls" in New Orleans
The annual San Fermin en Nueva Orleans, or Running of the Bulls, coincides with the world famous Encierro in Pamplona, Spain, where runners are dangerously chased through the streets by live bulls. A U.S. alternative, the Running of the Bulls in New Orleans is a somewhat safer substitute where runners are chased by the Big Easy Rollergirls roller derby team, wearing horned helmets and swinging wiffleball bats.
Participants wear white clothing with red scarves, and some deck themselves out in full matador costumes. Others even dress up as bulls. Spanish-inspired events before and after the run include sangria, tapas, and live Latin music.
More info: nolabulls.com
Attend Ernest Hemingway's birthday party in Key West
Need an excuse to visit the scenic Florida Keys? Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway lived in Key West, Florida for over 10 years. His home there is still a popular tourist attraction in the quirky little town, with guides claiming the cats are descendants of Hemingway's own pets.
His July 21 birthday is a big event on the island, celebrated with a party at Sloppy Joes, a marlin fishing tournament, 5K run, paddle board race, arm wrestling contest, short story competition, a mock Running of the Bulls, and even a "Papa" Hemingway look-alike contest.
More info: fla-keys.com
Wine and dine in Napa Valley
Experience 10 days of classical and jazz music, food, wine, and art exhibits held in California's Napa Valley. Over 70 local wineries ranging in size, specialty, and notoriety are represented. Some are hosting concerts along with other venues including local restaurants, the Napa Valley Opera House, and Calistoga Ranch.
Some restaurants will feature celebrity chefs preparing exquisite meals while others will offer gourmet take-out options. This event can be enjoyed by enthusiasts on any budget.
More info: festivalnapavalley.org