Nothing is more American than going all out on the 4th of July. We grill, we drink and we blow stuff up — all in the name of freedom. But freedom isn’t free. Everything — from hotdogs and travel to hospital bills following fireworks — costs major scratch.
WalletHub projects that American households will spend an average of $370.75 on 4th of July 2016 festivities, up 7% from 2015. That lofty figure includes more than $1 billion in beer that we’ll guzzle to wash down the 150 million hot dogs, 700 million pounds of chicken and 190 million pounds of beef that we’ll eat on this star-spangled occasion!
With Independence Day festivities in mind, WalletHub compared the 100 largest U.S. cities based on how well they balance holiday cost and fun. We did so using 16 different metrics such as the duration of fireworks shows, average gas prices, weather forecasts and more. Below, you can find the complete rankings, followed by a detailed methodology and money-saving tips from leading experts.
In order to identify the best and worst cities for Independence Day, WalletHub compared the 100 most populated U.S. cities in three key dimensions: 1) Entertainment & Food, 2) Attractions & Activities and 3) 4th of July Weather Forecast.
These three overarching categories are comprised of 16 individual metrics (listed below with their corresponding weights), which were graded on a 0-to-100 point scale, with 100 representing the most favorable conditions for Independence Day revelry.
Finally, we calculated an overall score for each city using the weighted average across all metrics and ranked the cities accordingly. Please note that “city” refers to city proper and excludes surrounding metro areas.
Entertainment & Food – Total Points: 40
- Fourth of July Popularity: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
- Legality of Fireworks: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
- Number of Fourth of July Festivals & Performances: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
- Average Price of Fourth of July Party Ticket: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
Note: Averages are based on 4th of July events listed on Eventbrite.com as of June 15, 2016, where at least two events were available.
- Duration of Fireworks Show: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
- Number of Accommodations & Food Services Establishments per 100,000 Residents: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
- Prevalence of Affordable 4.5+ Star Restaurants: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
- Average Cost of Hamburgers: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
- Average Beer & Wine Prices (Heineken, 6-pack, 12-oz. containers, excluding any deposit; Chablis, Chenin Blanc or any white table wine; 1.5-liter bottle): Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
- Lowest Price of a Three-Star Hotel: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
- Average Gas Prices: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
- Traffic Congestion: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
Attractions & Activities – Total Points: 40
- Walkability: Full Weight (~10.00 Points)
- WalletHub “Recreation” (Entertainment, Recreational Facilities & Park Quality) Ranking: Triple Weight* (~30.00 Points)
*We assigned a triple weight to this metric, as it comprises 18 total sub-components, which are collectively quite important to each city’s overall status.
Fourth of July Weather Forecast – Total Points: 20
- Difference Between the Average Forecasted Temperature for July 4th & Ideal Temperature (75°): Full Weight (~6.67 Points)
- Forecasted Precipitations for July 4th: Double Weight (~13.33 Points)
Sources: Data used to create these rankings were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau, Council for Community and Economic Research, Priceline Group, American Automobile Association, American Pyrotechnics Association, WalkScore, TomTom International, Eventbrite, AccuWeather, Kayak.com, Yelp and WalletHub Research.
2016’s Best & Worst Cities For 4th Of July Celebrations
With the Fourth of July just days away and the average household expected to spend $370.75 in celebration, the personal-finance website WalletHub followed up on its Fourth of July 2016 By The Numbers Report by identifying 2016’s Best & Worst Cities for Fourth of July Celebrations.
More specifically, we evaluated how well the 100 largest U.S. cities balance holiday cost and fun, using 16 key metrics such as fireworks-show duration, three-star hotel prices and the weather forecast. You can find a snapshot of the results below.
- Virginia Beach, Va., has the highest price of a three-star hotel room, $172, which is four times higher than in Oklahoma City, the city with the lowest, $40.
- Las Vegas has the highest average price of a Fourth of July party ticket, $124, which is 8 times higher than in Atlanta, the city with the lowest, $15.
- St. Petersburg, Fla., has the highest duration of the fireworks show, 60 minutes, which is four times higher than in Atlanta, the city with the lowest, 15 minutes.
- The top five most popular Fourth of July destinations are Chicago, Las Vegas, Washington, Orlando and San Diego.