Who doesn’t love the Fourth of July? Our nation’s birthday has always been one of my favorite holidays. When I moved to New York City last year, my Fourth of July traditions changed. It’s incredible to celebrate one of the most meaningful American holidays in America’s most iconic city. Here are just a few of the exciting things one can do in the city to enjoy the festivities.

Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest: This is one of my favorite Fourth of July traditions. Growing up, I would watch the contest with my dad every year on TV, but now I actually have the opportunity to go to Coney Island and watch the nearly century-old competition in person. This one-of-a-kind event draws more than 40,000 spectators each year and I look forward to being one of them! Also, let’s not forget that the beach is right there for you to either relax or join the party.

Revolutionary New York Walking Tour: If you’re a history buff like me, there are plenty of walking tours around significant New York City landmarks from the Revolutionary War for you to see in person.

Staten Island’s Travis Fourth of July Parade: This year will mark the 105th annual Travis parade on Staten Island. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the elaborate patriotic decorations as homeowners compete in a home-decorating contest.

Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular: What would Independence Day be without fireworks? We all know that Macy’s puts on the best Thanksgiving Day Parade, but I bet you didn’t know that their fireworks show is just as impressive. It’s a professionally choreographed pyrotechnic show with a playlist of patriotic and classic favorites performed by award-winning artists.

If you’re in the city, head over to the East River, or simply make sure that you find a spot with an unobstructed view of the East River in Manhattan, Queens or Brooklyn. You can also make sure you have a great view from the river itself on one of these New York Classic Harbor Line cruises, or head to one of New York City’s fantastic rooftop bars to drink cocktails and enjoy the most spectacular views of the display.

Whether you’re in Boston, New York, or anywhere across the United States, Solomon McCown wishes you a safe and fun Fourth of July!