If you’re like most Americans, you’re probably gearing up for a Fourth of July celebration in honor of our nation’s birth. Depending on your situation, your plans may range from a red, white and blue-themed rager to binge-watching Netflix and snacking from American flag plates. But wait — don’t make those Fourth of July plans yet! There are a few smaller towns across California and America that celebrate on July 3 instead. My hometown in Southern California has done this for years, and I can safely say that celebrating one day early is a much better alternative. If you can attend one of these events, you totally should, and if you can’t, throw your own — here are just a few reasons why July 3 is the best day to celebrate July 4.
Transportation on our nation’s birthday can be very problematic, especially in big cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. To get to a fireworks show, you may need to drive hours to your destination. In addition, parking can be horrendous, forcing you to walk a long way to your event. If you live close to a town that celebrates on the third, traffic is not nearly as bad. Nearby neighborhoods to park in cut down the walking distance and the cost of parking too! If you like saving money on gas (who doesn’t?), July 3 could be an option for you.
Because of the national holiday, many restaurants and other businesses close and give their workers time off. On the third, however, your favorite establishments are still open! Before heading to the celebration, you can still grab a classic American burger — or whatever floats your boat, really — at a great restaurant. If you’re searching for accessories to complete your red, white and blue party outfit, you can still do so last minute. Just a warning, though — some businesses may have shorter hours on the third if they are located in the town that is throwing an event. Still, at least they’re open!
No work the next day
If you are one of the aforementioned employees who gets the Fourth of July off work, that’s just one more reason to celebrate early. No matter what, you’ll have the day off tomorrow, so you can go as crazy or as low-key as you want with your July 3 festivities. If crazy is your middle name, no worries — you’ll have an extra day to recover and get back on your feet. Regardless, knowing that you are obligation-free after a night of celebration is always ideal, and July 3 will give you that.
Chill block parties/pregames
If you’re going to a citywide July 3 event, chances are it will be in a suburban town full of neighborhood block parties. In my hometown, these were great opportunities to visit with neighbors, eat good food and catch up with old friends. You can treat these block parties as just that, or you can use them to pregame whatever parties you’re going to later in the night. Some crazy neighbors might even have homemade drinks if you’re into that sort of thing. Wholesome or wild, these neighborhood events can be a great opportunity to prep for the fireworks and fun.
First social media post
We all know what’s coming when we open Instagram and Facebook on July 5. Immediately, a stream of day-late photos from the national holiday flood our feeds, and we scroll so much that our fingers start to fall off. What if you could beat everyone to the punch with your own Fourth of July post? By celebrating on the third, you can! Whether you’re going to a citywide party or throwing your own, bring a camera and some props to get the perfect picture with your friends. You’ll even have the whole day afterward to edit your post to your liking. Did someone say more likes?
While these July 3 celebrations are not as numerous, they are way more convenient and just as fun as celebrating on the real Independence Day. If you don’t live near a July 3 event, try throwing your own to experience all the perks of celebrating our nation’s birthday one day early.