Where Fireworks Freaks Go On Independence Day

Independence Day
Adam Baker/Flickr

As America prepares to celebrate its Independence Day this week, thoughts might turn to picnics, barbecues, an extra day off work and a patriotic display of fireworks. Look up after dark on the Fourth of July at just about any city or town in the United States and colorful displays will fill the sky. Some Americans plan their own displays where permitted while others seek out traditional fireworks celebrations that have been held annually for decades. Not sure where to go for the best of the best in fireworks? We checked in with a variety of sources and experts in their respective fields of travel for ideas. One of these places should work just fine for the fireworks freak inside you.

The Travel Channel ranks everything from the best beaches to the best bike cities in the U.S. On their list of Best U.S. Fireworks Displays, they like “America’s biggest birthday party” under the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Kaboom Town in Addison, TX, the largest fireworks display in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and Navy Pier in Chicago, with regular fireworks every Wednesday and Saturday night as some of their top places to go.

Hotel search engine Room 77 knows about more than 200,000 hotels worldwide and has a list of the Top 10 Hotels with the Highest “Boom Factor,” offering the best vantage points from pools and rooftop bars to balconies, beaches and even bathtubs. They like the Hyatt Regency Austin, one of the few hotels in the city that overlook the water; the Mandarin Oriental New York, where some rooms in the 54-story hotel have marble soaking tub views of the river and fireworks; and the W Washington DC where the rooftop bar offers a premiere vantage point for viewing the fireworks over the mall, one of the most spectacular Fourth of July celebrations in the entire country.At Disney Parks and on Disney Cruise Line ships, nightly fireworks displays are a big part of the experience every day of the year but especially on July Fourth. What fireworks freaks know that many fans of the Disney displays do not is that the colorful, timed explosions are not actually “blown” off the ground at all.

The Walt Disney Company is the largest user of fireworks in the world and coordinates aerial displays with microsecond accuracy to coincide with music or live action performances. They have been doing that using compressed air rather than gunpowder since 1999, making display shells explode in the air using an electronic timer. The result is a reduction of fumes, greater accuracy in height and timing and a surprise effect unmatched by gunpowder-driven pyrotechnics.

To see one of the reasons why Disney Cruise Line ranks consistently high in customer satisfaction, take a look at their Buccaneer Blast display, held at sea:

Luxury Travel: A 24 hour detox spa package at Mandarin Oriental, New York

mandarin oriental new yorkBathing suit season is just a few short weeks away. If you’re looking to maximize your detox in minimal time (and in a luxe hotel setting), this package sounds just about perfect.

The new “Ultimate 24 Hour Detox Spa Package” at Mandarin Oriental, New York includes accommodations, The Spa’s detoxifying Himalayan Salt Sea and Chakra Therapy treatment and one day’s worth of the trendy BluePrintCleanse juices.

You’ll begin with an organic purification tea, a dry brushing, and an application of an oxygen-intensive serum. You’ll then enjoy a Thermalism series of cooling and warming while a Prana breathing sequence is performed (supposedly to enhance the mind-body connection), followed by a cupping massage using silicon cups “to drain the toxins.”

Finally, relax with a full-body massage using heated Himalayan salt crystals, said to provide a dense concentration of minerals to balance the skin’s pH, remineralize and protect the skin. The treatment concludes with a soothing facial massage, Chakra healing and crystal therapy. Guests will receive a complimentary oxygen-intensive serum to take home.

Afterward, enjoy a spa bento box dinner in The Spa’s relaxing Oriental Tea Lounge. The next day, you’ll continue the detox with a day’s worth of BluePrintCleanse Renovation Cleanse juices (six 16oz.bottles). Guests will also get a copy of the BluePrintCleanse book to take home.

The package starts at about $2,000 per person, per night, lower than what one might expect, given the Mandarin Oriental name.