Are you living abroad in the U.S.? Is this your first Fourth of July in Chicago? Are you prepared to enjoy the celebrations but you do not know where to go or what to do? Here you will find some tips to enjoy the day as true Chicagoan!
The first thing you should know is why the Fourth of July is so important for U.S. citizens. It is Independence Day, when the US stopped being ruled by England. Since the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 (“America’s birthday,” they say) all the states decided to launch huge celebrations to commemorate this patriotic day.
This year, the majority of the 311.7 million U.S. population would be involved in this celebration. So, if you come from abroad I guess the first shock will be seeing so many people on the streets.
Apart from the initial shock, and taking into account that there is not only a unique way of celebrating, here are some tips you may follow to enjoy the day.
- Start the day with an American brunch, pancakes for example, so you will start feeling part of the community. Yes, you can!
- If the weather is good you can go to any of the beaches in Chicago or go to any of the neighborhoods that will be launching block parties. This means no cars on the streets and people dancing, playing music and having barbeques. Pilsen and Heart of Chicago are some of the main core areas for this.
- It may be a good idea if you could join a host family for that day. At the International Office of Northwestern University they offer this possibility.
- Buying a patriotic item is a must! From t-shirts to snickers, flags, nail polish ore even food with the colors of the US flag. Just involve in the patriotic feeling.
- Join a barbeque and try the Chicago hot dog (no ketchup on it) or give a try to hamburgers, corn, steaks, potato salad, watermelon, etc.
- If you want to drink some alcohol, and you are allowed to do so, try the local beers. Goose Island 312 may be a good start. If you do not like alcoholic beverages, treat yourself to a fresh lemonade.
- Do not forget about the sweet part! Have a cupcake or a pie, most of them will be customized in red, blue, white and stars.
- When the night comes, go by the lake and get ready to enjoy the Fireworks at the Navy Pier. Also you have the choice of buying tickets to see them from a boat in Lake Michigan.
- Remember that public transportation will be crazy that day so try to leave with enough time.
- And do not forget to bring your camera. This is a unique celebration that you will not be able to experience at your home country.