?The 4th of July is coming up fast, and while a day of Bud Light and BBQ with friends can't be beat, sometimes you want to take that star-spangled tank top on the road. From circuit parties in P-town to foie gras corn dogs in Chicago and the bucolic tastes of Sonoma wine country, we've got you covered from sea to shining sea.
New York CityIndependence Day: launching rockets into the sky and watching it rain pretty colors. And few things beat the 25-minute display of over 40,000 shells that is Macy?s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular. Catch them anywhere with an unobstructed view of the Hudson River, but below 59th Street along 12th Avenue is the best bet. Or stick home for NBC?s 9 p.m. EST telecast featuring performances by Katy Perry and Kenny Chesney (we had to Google him too) ? and, if life imitates music videos, her explosive chest.
Provincetown, MARemember going off to summer camp as a kid? The campfires, canoeing, crushing on the other boys? Well, David Flower?s Summer Camp ain't that, unless your summer camp included thousands of shirtless men fist-pumping to house beats. A P-Town smash for over a decade, Summer Camp has become the most popular Forth of July event on the Circuit. It kicks off on July 3rd with the Pier Dance with music by London DJ/Producer Wayne G. For the 4th you get free reign to explore P-Town in all it?s camp glory before hitting the Boat Cruise on the 5th. Get your sea legs on The Provincetown II and dance under the stars until 2 a.m. If you head to the Dock after, well, leave that part out of your letter home.
Atlantic City, NJ
Atlantic City isn?t just for nickel slots any more. The East Coast Vegas is getting a facelift, starting with its convention center. Moment Factory, the set and effects people behind Madge?s MDNA world tour and Celine Dion?s Vegas show, have transformed the Boardwalk Hall fa?ade into a 3D sound and light show. It opens on July 4th and is absolutely free. So grab some saltwater taffy, hit the beach, watch the fireworks at 9:30 p.m. and then have your mind blown all over again. High-rollers will want to check into the brand new Revel resort, while mid-century modern lovers will like the boutique non-gaming (and gay-designed) vibe of The Chelsea.
Fire Island, NYWhat better way to celebrate our independence from England than with a boatload of queens? Every Forth of July for over three decades, Fire Island plays host to The Invasion. As per tradition, a ferry full of D.I.Y. drag queens from Cherry Grove docks at Pines Harbor. This is followed by a sashay down the dock and then, of course, drinks and dancing. The fun starts at noon and the ferry arrives at 2 p.m, with the show going on as long as there are queens to sustain it. Since the Pines is still picking itself up by its bootstraps after its fire this winter, your best bet for post-show parties will be back in the Grove at the Ice Palace.
Washington D.C.Everyone should experience Independence Day in the nation?s capital at least once. While it?s undoubtedly a mob scene, there?s no place that has the same spirit on the Fourth. Experience the excitement at the A Capitol Fourth Concert. Held on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, this year?s concert will feature country singer Josh Turner, composer John Williams, and Broadway star Matthew Broderick. Mr. Sarah Jessica Parker will be joined by Kelli O?Hara and will perform songs from the Tony-winning musical Nice Work If You Can Get It. Showtunes followed by fireworks, just sayin'... The concert starts at 8 p.m., but admittance begins at 3 p.m. Early birds get a spot, period.
Chicago, ILSometimes you shouldn?t mess with holiday tradition: beers, burgers, BBQ. Unless of course you're upping the ante. Gourmands should head to Bangers and Lace in hipster Wicker Park for craft brews, veal brats, and, if they?re on offer, foie gras corndogs. Or for something more traditional ? and gay -- head north to Boystown and hang with the boys at Sidetrack, which is having its own bbq at 3 p.m. Grilled meats, beer, and boys: America just as the founding fathers envisioned.
New Orleans, LAThough French-inflected, few places embody the boostrap spirit of modern America than New Orleans. Celebrate it at Café Lafitte in Exile -- named so after gays were outsted from Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, one of the oldest continually run bars in the country located just down the block -- with their Fourth of July "County Fair" the weekend before. Kick off the holiday weekend on Saturday June 30 with free Popeye?s Fried Chicken and a baton-twirling contest at 6 p.m. The fun continues on Sunday with a 4 p.m. watermelon-eating contest followed by Trash Disco till 9 p.m. and $1 well drinks.
Guerneville, CA Love the movie Sideways? Of course you do, Sandra Oh is a treasure. Well now?s your chance to take that tour of wine country that you?ve been talking about forever. Base yourself in Guerneville, a "hate-free community." The LGBT getaway for the San Francisco Bay Area (an hour and a half south) offers quaint bars and B&Bs like Boon Hotel + Spa and the Applewood Inn, while the adjacent redwood forests, rivers, wineries, and coastline allow for outdoor excursions. The town?s July 1st Independence Day celebration will feature a craft fair, barbeque, and fireworks.
Ogunquit, MEJust south of Kennebunkport and 66 miles north of Boston, Ogunquit is pleasant seaside community with a salty gay scene. After a morning at the beach, join the locals at the town?s premier gay bar, Mainestreet for the 4th of July Week celebration. From June 28th to July 8th, the club is bringing in guest DJs with no cover charge. They?re serving tea and drinks served on the deck from 3-8 p.m. all summer long.
StaycationIf the thought of airports and highways on the Forth of July weekend terrifies you, we won?t hold it against you. You don?t need to go very far to enjoy the holiday. Stay home, call up some friends, fire up the grill, and set off some fireworks that you acquired in a totally legal fashion.