54Thirty1475 California Street
Remember your parents loading up the car with blankets, sunscreen and soda and driving the whole tribe to the nearest park hours before fireworks were scheduled to start so you all could get a good spot? Remember incessantly asking them when the pyrotechnics were going to begin as the sun seemingly took years to sink below the horizon? Re-create the magic atop Le Méridien — except this Independence Day, you'll be glad the bar opens at 1 p.m., because you'll have hours to indulge in frozen cocktails and bar bites until you can witness firework displays across the metro area from one of the best rooftop bars in town. There's no cover, but as in your childhood, you'll want to get there early and stake out a prime position on the lounge furniture.
Avanti3200 Pecos Street
Celebrate Independence Day by indulging in a storied American tradition: being spoiled absolutely rotten by an obscene amount of choices. From 5 to 9 p.m., the Avanti patio will be the site of a Fourth of July barbecue courtesy of the Rotary, but if grilled sausages and brown-butter-parmesan potato chips aren't your thing, you can chow down on hand pies and steak frites from Bistro Georgette; spicy Italian and white pies from Brava Pizzeria; enormous, juicy chicken sandwiches and mountains of tots from Chicken Rebel; flawlessly fresh poke from QuickFish; and stuffed-to-overflowing arepas from Quiero Arepas. Stick around until 9 p.m. for a free screening of the summer-camp sex comedy classic (another national tradition) Wet Hot American Summer.
Acreage1380 Horizon Avenue, Lafayette
Come long days and hot weather, everyone wants to get out of the city — especially in Colorado, where the mountains are just a few hours away. But the enduring tradition of sitting in I-70 traffic doesn't sound so appealing when you only have a single day to ditch the urban jungle for wide open spaces. Our solution is Acreage, which is an easy jaunt up U.S. 36, and the views from the farmhouse restaurant stretch across Boulder County. On Independence Day, that view includes fireworks as well as fabulous eating and drinking: The kitchen will be roasting a whole pig, and current Stem Cider releases (made on site) include lavender, plum, cherry and fan favorite salted cucumber. The restaurant opens at noon instead of its usual 3 p.m.; see the Acreage Facebook page for more info.
Improper City3201 Walnut Street
The backyard barbecue is the quintessential Independence Day celebration: Grills, games and garden hoses factor heavily in the memories of many an American. But since home ownership in the Mile High City is increasingly out of reach, Improper City has stepped up to be Denver's back yard with its Fourth of July cookout. The bar opens at 11 a.m., and food truck Kings County Kitchen will be tending the flames on the barbecue starting at noon, so you can focus on the chatting around the picnic tables and crushing your cornhole opponent instead of minding the meat. Visit the City's Facebook page for more details, including hours, for the big day.
Kachina1890 Wazee Street
If there's one thing Americans are great at (okay, two things), it's celebrating holidays on the wrong day and embracing boozy drinks from another country while vilifying human beings from that same country. But this LoDo cantina is spreading the Latin American love by offering $6 margaritas all day from Tuesday, July 2, through Thursday, July 4. You'll have to come on Tuesday or Wednesday for views of Coors Field fireworks, since there's no July 4 game, but we can blame Major League Baseball for that. As far as toasting to what makes America great, just remember: That icy, sweet-tart tequila drink you're chugging represents Americans from all walks of life, even those who may not have been born here.