10+ Ways to Celebrate Independence Day in the Triangle This Year

America’s favorite summer holiday is quickly approaching, so here are 10+ ideas to work into your Independence Day plans.
by Eliza Martin

From gathering with family around a table filled with burgers, corn and watermelon, to meeting new friends at a fireworks show, the Fourth of July is built for celebrating. Whether you would prefer to attend a baseball game or check out a local BBQ restaurant, consider this list of ways to celebrate America’s independence in the Triangle when planning your Fourth of July festivities. 

Take Your Furry Friend to a Patriotic Pet Parade

For lovers of man’s best friend, consider The Raleigh Market’s Patriotic Pet Parade. Dress up your four-legged friend and participate in this patriotic contest, with prizes for the winners of categories such as most patriotic, cutest pet, best owner/pet duo and more. Be sure to bring a leash for your pooch and remember to register ahead of time in order to participate in this adorable contest.

July 1 | 11 a.m.; Free; 4285 Trinity Road; theraleighmarket.com

Celebrate Durham’s Beloved Winding River at EnoFest

EnoFest is an annual celebration of its namesake, the Eno River, a Triangle geological treasure that winds for 40 miles through Durham and Orange counties. Held at West Point on the Eno, a Durham City Park, the two-day festival will feature more than 60 performers on two stages, including Tift Merritt, the Gospel Jubilators and the African American Dance Ensemble. Art lovers can look forward to a juried craft show of regional makers. Foodies can look forward to a curated lineup of North Carolina food trucks, plus local craft beers, wines, seltzers and cider at the Eno beer garden. 

July 1 & 4 | 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; From $35; N. Roxboro Street, Durham; enofest.org 

Enjoy an Evening of Fireworks at Dix Park

Get ready to see the Raleigh skyline illuminated with a special Fourth of July fireworks show! Presented by the City of Raleigh and ABC11, the 30-minute display will start at 9:30, but there’s plenty of fun to be had beforehand. Arrive at Dorothea Dix Park’s Big Field by 5 p.m. to enjoy food trucks, music by DJ Luxe Posh and kids’ activities like crafts with the Artsplosure team, inflatable slides and a foam party pit.

July 4 | 5 – 10 p.m.; Free admission; 1030 Richardson Drive; dixpark.org

Jam Out to Barenaked Ladies Last Summer on Earth Concert at Red Hat

Spend an evening in the warm summer air dancing along to the Barenaked Ladies Last Summer on Earth tour in the heart of downtown Raleigh this Independence Day. Be sure to bring a blanket to sit down on and grab a snack and a drink from concessions before the show begins, and get ready for an evening of fun with friends!

July 4 | 6:30 p.m.; From $30; 500 S. McDowell Street; redhatamphitheater.com

Enjoy Some Tunes and Brews at Raleigh Times Bar

This July Fourth, check out Raleigh Times Bar’s weekly bluegrass showcase, Beer and Banjos. Bluegrass music has deep roots in the American South, making this the perfect event for music lovers and beer connoisseurs alike to attend this Independence Day. Celebrate America’s freedom with some all-American music and some local brews. Attendance is free but drinks are available for purchase. 

July 4 | 6:30 p.m.; Free; 14 E. Hargett Street; raleightimesbar.com

Grab a Burger or Milkshake at a Raleigh Favorite

Summer means time to savor some grilled dishes, and luckily Raleigh has some amazing places to grab a bite to eat– cookout style. Head over to one of Raleigh’s Chargrill locations for a flame grilled burger and a shake to celebrate this Independence Day without even needing to get out the grill. Or, head over to Snoopy’s for a hotdog and some fries. Get the summer cookout experience without any of the hassle before heading out to watch some fireworks or spending some time with your family outside. 

Decorate for a Parade in Durham Central Park

Grab your family and head over to downtown Durham for a kid-friendly, creative way to kick off the Fourth. The Children’s Independence Day Parade begins with an hour to adorn bikes, strollers, wagons and more with decorations provided by The Scrap Exchange before parading those newly decorated wheels all around the park. After the parade, enjoy tunes from the DJ, grab a popsicle and check out the fire truck tours to wrap up the event. 

July 4 | 9:30 a.m.; Free; 501 Foster Street, Durham; durhamcentralpark.org 

Participate in a Frederick Douglass Community Reading in Stagville

For a serious look into the history and impacts of Independence Day, head over to Stagville, a former plantation that is now a historic site dedicated to teaching about the lives of enslaved people, to participate in a community reading of the historic address by Frederick Douglass, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July.” Join members of the community in front of the former slave dwellings at Horton Grove Plantation to consider what freedom truly means to different groups throughout American history. Each attendee will receive a copy of the transcript to follow along or volunteer to read aloud. Bring a blanket or a lawn chair for a place to sit during this powerful event. 

July 4 | 10 – 11:30 a.m.; Free; 5828 Old Oxford Highway, Durham; historicsites.nc.gov

Enjoy a Star Spangled Block Party at Brier Creek Commons

Brier Creek’s upscale shopping complex, Brier Creek Commons, is hosting a special choreographed fireworks show that aligns with a broadcasted soundtrack on Kix 102.9. This block party-style extravaganza includes a set by DJ Mark McNally and giveaways, so be sure to get there before the firework show begins to enjoy the festivities and grab a good spot to watch the fireworks show that will start just after dark!

July 4 | 8 p.m.; Free; 8181 Brier Creek Pkwy; shopbriercreekcommons.com

photo credit: Bob Karp

Cheer on the Durham Bulls at their July Fourth Game

Fireworks and a baseball game, what more could you need to celebrate Independence Day? Cheer on the Durham Bulls as they take on the Norfolk Tides and celebrate afterwards with a fireworks display in the heart of downtown Durham. Can’t make it on the Fourth? The Bulls have home games through July 9.

July 4 | 6:35 p.m.; From $15; 409 Blackwell Street, Durham; milb.com

This article was originally published on June 27, 2023 on waltermagazine.com