In Houston, as in any big city, there will always be a few lucky families for whom enjoying the Fourth and its fireworks requires nothing more than stepping onto the balcony. For the rest of us, however, the holiday requires a bit more work, plagued as it is by a host of competing expectations. Hence the following guide to the city’s Independence Day events based on our proprietary and far-too-sophisticated-to-explain personality chart (patent pending).
Don’t ask us how a piece written by a Russian composer to commemorate the defeat of a French emperor became America’s quasi-official Fourth of July soundtrack. But for our money, no Independence Day is complete without a performance of the 1812 Overture, cannons and all. Conductor Michael Krajewski leads the Houston Symphony in a program of patriotic music culminating with Tchaikovsky’s literally bombastic masterpiece.
July 4 at 8:30. Free tickets available at the box office between 10:30 and 1 on the day of performance. Open seating on the hill. Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Dr. 281-373-3386. milleroutdoortheatre.com
Celebration of Freedom
This event includes a VFW military salute, a performance of the national anthem by the winner of Pearland’s “Let Freedom Sing” talent contest, and a show that will consist entirely of red, white, and blue fireworks—or ought to, anyway. Oh yeah, and it all takes place in a high school football stadium—what’s more American than that?
July 4 from 6–10. Free. Pearland High School Football Stadium, 3775 South Main, Pearland. cityofpearland.com
The Bolivar Peninsula
This Fourth, skip the Galveston crowds and rent a house—if you still can—on this less-trafficked stretch of coast, a short ferry ride from East Beach, where locals think nothing of dropping hundreds of dollars on high-powered fireworks (perfectly legal here, as is consuming alcohol on the beach). The fireworks, and the party, begin before sunset and last well past midnight. Always wondered what the Battle of the Somme sounded like? Here’s your chance to find out.
4th of July Celebration at Bayou Bend
Where better to cherish American independence than amidst the city’s greatest collection of American decorative arts and paintings, many of them dating from the Revolutionary era? Festivities include actors in period costumes, crafts, children’s activities, and the chance to put your John Hancock next to the real John Hancock’s on an enormous replica of the Declaration of Independence.
July 4 from 1–5. Free. 6003 Memorial Dr. 713-639-7300. mfah.org
Southwest Airlines Freedom Over Texas
Just when Eleanor Tinsley Park is beginning to recover from the Free Press Summer Fest multitudes, here comes the city’s official Fourth of July party, this year featuring numerous branded events, from the Walmart All-American Kids Zone to KBR Liberty Park. As for us, we’ll be watching the fireworks at the Bud Light Lime-A-Rita Beach Bash.
July 4 from 4–10. $8–15. Eleanor Tinsley Park, 150 Sabine St. houstontx.gov/july4