You can celebrate Fourth of July with race, parades, fireworks

There’s more to celebrating America’s independence than the infamous fireworks extravaganzas. There is plenty more fun out there all day long for kids, adults and pets, too. From the AJC Peachtree Road Race, to parades and festivals — here’s a look at some of the traditional Fourth of July festivities plus a few off-the-beaten-path celebrations.

Legendary Fourth of July at Lenox Square

Now in its 56th year running, this free celebration boasts fireworks and live music, and with lots of concessions for sale, you won’t go hungry. When you’re done perusing the mall, which is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. July 4, the music begins.

Where: Lenox Square, 3393 Peachtree Road. N.E., Atlanta

When: Music begins at 6 p.m. and fireworks at about 9:30 p.m.

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Downtown Decatur’s Pied Piper Parade

This is certainly a family-friendly July 4th event; the parade is open to all who wish to participate. Kids and adults alike can ride bikes, skates, wagons, etc., through the parade. Neighborhoods, civic organizations and political figures have the options of riding cars or floats. The parade is followed by a concert at 7 p.m. and fireworks at dark.

Where: It starts at the First Baptist Church of Decatur, 308 Clairmont Ave.

When: 6 p.m.

More info: Call 404-371-8386 or email

Marietta’s Fourth in the Park

If an all-day celebration is what you’re looking for, then Marietta has got you covered. A full day of patriotism begins with a Freedom Parade and continues with a nonstop festival the rest of the day until fireworks at dusk. The celebration is free and boasts a float contest, Atlanta Concert Band performance, more than 80 arts and crafts booths and a kid zone.

When: The Freedom Parade begins at 10 a.m.

Where: Marietta Square

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AJC Peachtree Road Race

An Atlanta tradition for thousands who turn out to run the race, and for those who don’t but still come to watch and cheer them on anyway, the AJC Peachtree Road Race is a 4th of July favorite. If you’re more inclined to cheer than run, then you can start off the patriotic day by doing just that. A few area restaurants, such as Corso Coffee and Shake Shack, will be open early with specials for road race participants and spectators.

When: The race's main starting horn will sound at 7:30 a.m.

Where: The race spans from Lenox Square mall to Piedmont Park with plenty of places to watch along the way.

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Stone Mountain Park’s Fantastic Fourth Celebration

To see an event voted one of Atlanta’s best Fourth of July celebrations, flocks will gather on Memorial Lawn for the fireworks-laden visual feast that’s the Lasershow Spectacular. Park entrance is $15 per car. Picnics are allowed in the park and so is alcohol, with a few stipulations.

Where: Memorial Lawn at Stone Mountain Park, 1000 Robert E. Lee Drive, Stone Mountain

When: Laser show and fireworks kick off at 9:30 p.m.

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A drink with a view

If watching the fireworks with a cocktail in hand is more your style, there are still many options for you. Buckhead bar such as at the W Atlanta and downtown bar Polaris (which is at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta) will be open for firework viewings. The Iberian Pig will be serving up specials for its patio fireworks viewing. And downtown, Pittypat's Porch roof is a prime location to watch Centennial Olympic Park's fireworks.

When: Most firework shows start at dusk (9ish), but arriving earlier to score a good seat is recommended.

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Alpharetta July 4th Festivities and Fireworks

Pack up your pets and your kids for this celebration. Pets on leashes and kids off leashes are welcome to attend Alpharetta’s Fourth of July fireworks at Wills Park. The event kicks off at dusk, but entertainment and children’s activities will be on the lawn behind Alpharetta Community Center from 6-9 p.m. The event itself is free, but some inflatables and other kids’ activities will have cash-only fees.

When: 6-10 p.m.

Where: Wills Park, 11925 Wills Road at Old Milton Parkway, Alpharetta

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