Independence Day: As American as apple pie, egg foo yung and frozen margaritas. We're betting you have some traditions surrounding July 4, and no matter what they are, we've got you covered. Here are ten places you can celebrate the U.S. of A., whether you're looking to re-create your old memories or make new ones.
1475 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.
3200 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.
1380 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.
3201 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.
1890 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.
Highland Fourth of July Parade
Hirshorn Park, 3000 Tejon Street
What's more American than shoving an ice cream sundae into your face at light speed on a hot day, then walking around sticky for the next few hours? Little Man Ice Cream is taking the longstanding summer tradition and upping the ante by serving up a 200-foot long sundae as part of the twelfth annual Highland Fourth of July parade, bike contest and community picnic. If you're just interested in the sweet stuff, show up at the park at 11:30 a.m. and be prepared to throw some elbows as you try to beat neighborhood kids to the creamy dessert; if you're not into trampling toddlers, the parade begins at West 32nd Avenue and Clay Street at 9:30 a.m. before convening across the street from Little Man's giant milk can (2620 16th Street) for live music and dancing, field day games, a piñata and free hot dogs. Visit the event's Facebook page for details and a schedule.
The Piper Inn
2251 South Parker Road, Aurora
Possibly Aurora's most famous biker bar, the Piper Inn is celebrating July 4 by keeping its doors open so neighborhood regulars can enjoy the enduring tradition of drinking cheap beer among pool tables, no-nonsense waitresses (there are no "servers" here, friend) and buzzing neon signs. Not from around here? Never fear: The fifty-year-old Piper is a friendly joint, and you needn't be intimidated by the rows of Harleys parked out front (just don't ask to see the wine list). The kitchen will be slinging $2 hot dogs to celebrate the birth of our nation, or you can stick with the very ’Murican bar menu that includes its famed wings and, in a delightful exemplar of the world's melting pot, a selection of Chinese-American grub.
3040 Blake Street
Perhaps unknowingly, our forefathers fought and died for our right to get shitfaced at 11 a.m. and call it brunch instead of alcohol abuse. God bless their sacrifice. The Preservery is honoring their legacy (plus the time-honored practice of complaining about traffic and parking) with its special July 4 So What! brunch. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., there will be music thanks to DJs K-Nee and Low Key, bottomless mimosas for $19, steaming coffee and omelets, breakfast burritos and sandwiches served up in the hippest ’hood in town. As with all Denver brunches, reservations are recommended, or you're likely to be waiting past the next presidential election for a table; make yours on the restaurant's website or by giving the Preservery a call.
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918 17th Street
Another American tradition: conspicuous consumption. And you can't get more obvious than spending $50 on a cocktail. For those who need to flaunt their wealth by dropping a Grant on two ounces of whiskey, the Teller Bar, located in the lobby of the Renaissance Denver Downtown, offers the Top Hat — a Manhattan made with local rye, orange liqueur and bitters, a mist of Laphroaig Scotch and edible gold leaf — year round. But come 5 p.m. on the Fourth of July, the first person to order the drink at the bar will get it for just a Kennedy (that's fifty cents). And if you miss out this week? America is the land of second chances, so the same deal is running on U.S. bank holidays for the rest of 2019.
2501 Dallas Street, Aurora
The history of the United States is one of westward expansion — in covered wagons, steam engines and lumbering semis — but this July 4, head east instead, to a gathering that combines two of the country's great pastimes. Slow-moving food trucks will block the right lane all the way to Stanley Marketplace, where they'll set up shop and start selling summer food for a one-two punch of truck convoy and overeating. Traditional favorites like hamburgers, hot dogs, barbecue and ice cream will join Mexican, Asian and other world-cuisine vendors to celebrate the immigrant dishes that make (and have always made) America great. Booze, bands and local vendors will also be on hand from 1 to 8 p.m.