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The best Fourth of July parties in Houston: Where to see fireworks, major music and more

The best Fourth of July parties in Houston: Where to see fireworks, major music and more

News_fireworks1_Freedom Over Texas
Don't let this Independence Day morph the land of the free into the land of the couch potatoes. Get out and have fun.
Bayou Bend July 4th
At Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, music, performers, costumed re-enactors a la 1776 alongside arts and crafts summon life as it was when Betsy Ross was around and the Union and Confederate armies fought in the Revolutionary War.
Sara Evans
Freedom Over Texas headliners include Billy Currington and babe Sara Evans.
News_Branch Water Tavern_hamburger_burger
Burgers, Bourbon & Brew Bus Crawl begins with executive chef David Grossman's burger of repute accompanied by a Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. specialty cocktails. Photo by Kimberly Park
News_Star-Spangled Salute_Miller Outdoor Theater
Stay till the end of Houston Symphony's ExxonMobil Star-Spangled Salute at Miller Outdoor Theatre. You don't want to miss Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture with cannons and the fierce fireworks display. Photo by Adam Baker/AlphaTangoBravo/Flickr
Galveston, Fourth of July, parade
Galveston Independence Day Parade & Fireworks comprises floats, decorated military vehicles and performers on Seawall Boulevard between 28th and 45th Streets. A 20-minute beachfront fireworks display begins at 9:15 p.m.
News_fireworks1_Freedom Over Texas
Bayou Bend July 4th
Sara Evans
News_Branch Water Tavern_hamburger_burger
News_Star-Spangled Salute_Miller Outdoor Theater
Galveston, Fourth of July, parade

Let freedom ring, so they say. Don't let this Independence Day morph the land of the free into the land of the couch potatoes. The city at large has many parties, gatherings and celebrations to make your head spin for this midweek Fourth of July.

So whether you are looking for a good old fashion county fair with hot dogs and funnel cakes, a rocking country music concert, a patriotic parade, a beach bash, smashing fireworks or an artsy day, we've amassed what's going on around town for your planning convenience. All you have to do is decided where you want to be and with whom.

For history buffs: Fourth of July at Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens

Some may say decorative arts isn't for everyone — though I don't believe that for a second. But an Americana-themed festival engulfed by the stunning formal gardens at Bayou Bend certainly is. Music, performers, costumed reenactors reliving 1776 alongside arts and crafts — like making your own flag, painting with watercolors, signing a giant Declaration of Independence and a hidden flag scavenger hunt — summon life as it was when Betsy Ross was around and the Revolutionary War raged.

The gardens' canopy offer plenty of shade, but if it gets too hot, partake in a tour of Ima Hogg's former residence.

Admission is free; 1 to 5 p.m.

Houston tradition: Freedom Over Texas at Eleanor Tinsley Park

Mayor Annise Parker's official fete is also the largest in the city, bringing in more than 120,000 patriots last year. There's lots to do and see in the many zones setup around Eleanor Tinsley Park, including the Bud Light Texas Volleyball Championship Series Finals. Test your agility and strength in fun interactive games and check out some of the armored vehicles and M-60 tanks.

Of course, many will flock to Freedom Over Texas to hear the headliners — country heartthrob Billy Currington (yeah, he's hot) and babe Sara Evans.

Admission is $8. Before midnight Tuesday, Reliant customers can claim two free tickets, and non-customers can get 50 percent off admission.

Freedom Over Texas starts at 4 p.m.; fireworks are at (approximately) 9:35 p.m.

For Foodies: Burgers, Bourbon & Brew Bus Crawl

Leave the driving to The Wave, a jitney shuttle service that's not quite a bus, not as fancy as a limo but much lovelier than a cab. The first stop is Branch Water Tavern for executive chef David Grossman's burger of repute, prepared with Akaushi beef, white cheddar and bacon, accompanied by a specialty cocktail mixed with Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co.'s hibiscus-infused summer brew — it's pink.

Travel to the brewery for a behind-the-scenes tour, followed by a fireworks viewing party on the lot of The Wave, with food truck Fusion Tacos, a DJ and cash bar — party safe.

Tickets are $55; $10 for just the fireworks viewing party; 5 to 10 p.m.

Two local institutions: Houston Symphony's ExxonMobil Star-Spangled Salute at Miller Outdoor Theatre

A musical soiree courtesy of two Houston institutions, the almost 100-year-old Houston Symphony Orchestra performs with Simon & Garfunkel tribute artists Jonathan Beedle and AJ Swearingen at the city's favorite al fresco amphitheater, Miller Outdoor Theatre. Stay to the end for Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, booming cannons included, and a fierce fireworks display.

Admission is free, tickets are available for covered seating; 8 p.m.

Nature fest: Red, White and Bluefest over Oyster Creek Park in Sugar Land

Stuff your face with BBQ sandwiches, sausage on sticks, hot dogs, nachos, cotton candy, pickles, sugary funnel cakes and snow cones (for purchase) complemented by music on two stages, including 1980s tunes from Thunderpants and country band Rhythm of the Road. Performances by Anjali Indian Cultural Dance, an African tribal group, Tropical Rhythms Tahitian Dance and a Chinese traditional Lion Dance troupe, and a fireworks display round out the outdoor party.

Event is free; 5 to 10 p.m.

Family affair: Red Hot & Blue Festival at Waterway Square and Town Green Park in The Woodlands

The family-friendly festivities begin at 9 a.m. with a parade along Market Street. Cool off with Splash Day at all the pools in The Woodlands from noon to 4 p.m., and catch the "Things That Go" bike parade at 5:30 p.m. at Northshore Park. At 6 p.m., two entertainment stages at Town Green Park and Waterway Square usher in performances by The Fondue Monks, The Fab 5, Coldshot and Soulshine, with a hotdog and watermelon eating contest in between.

Fireworks will light up the skies at approximately 9:25 p.m.

Free event.

For those with deeper pockets, Landry's is offering a four-course dinner cruise for $85.99 per person.

Indoor fun: Fort Bend Symphony presents "Freedom Rings" and Fireworks at Stafford Centre

Maybe an outdoor event isn't your cup of tea — or mug o' beer. Try a pops-style concert as the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra intones Sousa favorites, Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, Armed Forces Salute, You're a Grand Old Flag and God Bless the USA. The City of Stafford will host fireworks behind the Stafford Centre following the musicale.

Admission is free; 7 p.m.

Get out of town: Galveston Independence Day Parade & Fireworks

Floats, decorated military vehicles and performers will sashay down Seawall Boulevard between 28th and 45th Streets. A 20-minute beachfront fireworks display begins at 9:15 p.m. If you are in the area, Kemah Boardwalk's Star-Spangled Sky Fireworks Celebration and the Spirit of Volunteerism's Independence Day Parade are also worth a look.

Free event; 7:30 p.m.

Street party: Tomball's July 4th Celebration

Live music, food and activities for the whole family will close off a segment of Highway 249 Business, north of FM 2920. The Bottle Rockers will perform at 5:30 p.m., The Posse at 7:30 p.m. Water games, a bounce house, pony rides, petting zoo, face painting, hay rides — what more do you want? Right, a fireworks display at 9:15 p.m.

Free event, 2 to 10 p.m.

Stadium bash: Pearland Celebration of Freedom at Pearland High School Football Stadium

A Texas-sized carnival, this family-friendly gathering includes face painting, inflatables, jugglers and strolling magicians. Drywater will cover Top 40, R&B and country music, and the evening culminates with a 20-minute pyrotechnics show.

Free event, 2 to 10 p.m.

By the dawn's early light: Friendswood Fourth of July Celebration "Sounds of Freedom"

It's an all day thing, kind of, that gets underway early. Kicking off the celebration at 10 a.m. is the Grand Parade, starting on the corner of FM 518 and Heritage Drive. More than 50 booths, rides, games, food and live entertainment will invade Stevenson Park until 3:30 p.m. New games include a rock wall, bungee trampoline, water slide, obstacle course, a moon walk and a dunk tank.

Take a break until the evening. Then, park at Clear Brook High School and take the shuttle to Centennial park to hear The Big Time Band at 7:30 p.m. Fireworks blow up at 9:20 p.m.

Free event, all day.

More events around town

Here are more to consider: The 23rd Annual Katy Freedom Celebration, LaCenterra at Cinco Ranch's BIG Backyard Barbecue, CityCentre's Fourth of July Music & FireworksTowne Lake's 4th of July Celebration, Kingwood's July 4th Festival and Fireworks, Missouri City's festival, Rosenberg's Family Fourth Celebration, Seabrook's July 4th Kids Parade and Webster's Fourth of July Celebration.