Good news, Fourth of July fans. We made it through last year’s awkward Wednesday holiday, which was just a little too far from the weekend for comfort.
This year, we celebrate America’s Independence Day on a Thursday. You know what that means, don’t you? Four-day weekend.
But first, the Fourth. There are parades and bounce houses, live music and barbecue. Hot dogs. Cold beer. And naturally, fireworks. Here’s where to go to see the best in the county (and a couple of nearby suggestions up in Broward, too).
All events take place on Thursday, July 4.
America’s Birthday Bash at Bayfront Park
301 Biscayne Blvd., downtown Miami
By now, you know the drill: Get to Bayfront Park early to stake out a spot for this annual downtown party. Gates open at 10 a.m. and close at 10 p.m., with fireworks at 9 p.m. Grab a Budweiser at the beer garden, where live music starts at 2 p.m. The family fun zone opens at 3 p.m. There’s also food and drink for sale (no coolers or bottles and cans allowed).
Country Club Drive
Grab a spot along Country Club Drive to see the free city fireworks at 9 p.m.
Regatta Park, 3500 Pan American Drive
From 6-9 p.m., bring lawn chairs and blankets and find your spot for a picnic as your favorite local spots offer barbecue, corn on the cob and other Fourth of July favorites. Enjoy games, live music and fireworks. Free admission but RSVP to Eventbrite.
Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables
Head to the Biltmore Hotel Golf Course to stake out a spot when the grounds open at 5 p.m. The concert begins at 7 p.m., with fireworks following at 9 p.m. Avoid traffic and take the free shuttle service from City Hall, University of Miami and the Youth Center.
The Biltmore is also offering a Stars and Stripes BBQ Dinner on July 4, with VIP seating for the concert and fireworks display and an open bar from 5-10 p.m. Dinner is served from 6-8:45 p.m. Tickets $180 for adults, $50 for kids; $140 for members.
Doral Central Park, 3000 NW 87th Ave.
Bring a picnic or buy food from vendors at this free Independence Day celebration, which runs from 5-10 p.m. Presale parking passes $5 until July 1; $10 July 1-4. Buy them at Morgan Levy Park or Doral Legacy Park or take the free Doral Trolley at Morgan Levy Park, Downtown Doral, Doral Meadow Park, Trails & Tails Park and Veterans Park.
Ted Hendricks Park, 4800 Palm Ave., Hialeah
Head to Ted Hendricks Park for a free celebration with DJs, live music and a kids zone. Grab a bite at some of Miami’s favorite food trucks. Gates open 4-11 p.m. with a fireworks and laser display once it’s dark.
Race to the 4th Independence Day Bash in Homestead
Homestead-Miami Speedway, 1 Ralph Sanchez Speedway Blvd.
Put on your red, white and blue for this free celebration from 6-10 p.m. with food trucks, rides, games, live music and - of course - fireworks. $20 for the VIP experience, which offers a better view of the fireworks.
1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Miami
There are no fireworks here, but you can spend the day with the animals from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. with patriotic animal parades at noon and 2:30 p.m. and a day full of face painting, kids’ entertainment and games, a DJ for the grown ups and contest giveaways. Kids from 2-13 can play at Jungle Splash with its water slides and paddle boats while Mom and Dad sip on craft beer.
With an adult ticket purchase, kids get free admission if they dress up like their favorite animals (limit two children per adult). Adult admission is $49.49 at www.jungleisland.com (Kids’ tickets are $37.33)
Watch the patriotic parade at 11 a.m. along Crandon Boulevard from Harbor Drive to West End Drive. Have a picnic and watch fireworks once it’s dark on the Village Green.
Ocean Drive between Fifth and 15th streets
Find a table at the News Cafe or one of Ocean Drive’s other venues or grab a spot on the beach to watch the fireworks at 9 p.m.
650 Curtiss Pkwy.
Start the day with a patriotic parade at 10 a.m., then head over to the Miami Springs Aquatic Center for a pool party with hot dogs and chips from noon-5 p.m. Free fireworks on the golf course at dusk.
Miccosukee Resort & Gaming’s July 4th Freedom Festival
500 SW 177 Ave., Miami
This festival is free and features carnival rides and games, music, water slides, airboat rides, alligator wrestling shows and Native American arts and crafts displaying the unique talents of the Miccosukee Tribe. Starting at 5:30 p.m. Miami-based folk singer Keith Johns performs followed by Grammy Award-winning singer LeAnn Rimes. The festival starts at 10 a.m. and culminates at 10 p.m. after the fireworks display.
Florida International University Kouvens campus, 3000 NE 151 St.
Admission is free and so is the parking at the Celebration by the Bay. Gates open at 6 p.m. Bring chairs or blankets for live entertainment before fireworks around 9.
North Shore Park Bandshell, Collins Avenue and 73rd Street
The “Fire on the Fourth” festival kicks off at 9 a.m. with yoga. The food trucks arrive at 11 a.m., and the kids zone opens at noon with a rock climbing wall, bungee station, face painting and an inflatable slide. Music starts at 5 p.m, with headliner Dave Mason performing at 7:30 p.m. Fireworks end the night at 9 p.m.
Palmetto Bay Village Hall, 9705 Hibiscus St.
The party starts at 6 p.m., with a kids zone, food vendors, artists and craft vendors and fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
114 SW North River Dr., Miami
Celebrate Independence Day from noon until 3 a.m. at this downtown Miami venue with Indulge magazine. Kids and dogs welcome before 6 p.m. Buy a shot of American whiskey and you get a free beer. For free complimentary entrance, get ticket at Eventbrite.
Freedom Fest at Gulfstream
901 S. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach
Enjoy live racing, family activities, giveaways and fireworks at 9 p.m. from the Grand Stand.
4th of July Spectacular in Fort Lauderdale
A1A and Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale
Join in the family-friendly fun (kids’ zone, bounce houses, water slides, beach games, face painting and more) from noon-5 p.m. The music starts at 4:30 p.m. with Brass Evolution; headliner Lee Greenwood (“God Bless the U.S.A.”) performs at 7:45 p.m. Fireworks at 9 p.m.
Offshore fireworks begin at 9 p.m.