Study ranks best, worst cities to spend July 4 holiday

Destinations ranked on 14 different criteria

When it comes to ringing in Independence Day, is your city a blast or a dud?

A Fourth of July celebration worthy of the Founding Fathers is reliant on several factors including entertainment and food options, nice weather and of course a sizable arsenal of colorful explosives.

A recent study by financial research firm Wallet Hub found that the average American will spend about $330 celebrating the Fourth of July this year. That number represents a ten percent increase from 2013’s spending and a 72 percent uptick from 2012.

Since an estimated 41 million Americans are expected to travel for the holiday this weekend, according to Triple-A, Wallet Hub also ranked the nation’s 100 largest cities from the best to worst places to spend Independence Day. According to a release, the study used 14 different factors, mostly centered on getting the most red glare for your buck.

Richmond, Virginia tops the list of best cities to celebrate the Fourth of July, representing the legacy of former residents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson proudly. A pleasant weather forecast, lots of entertainment options and plenty of inexpensive 3-star hotels make Richmond the nation’s top Independence Day destination based on Wallet Hub’s data.

Rounding out the top five are Irvine, California; Cincinnati, Ohio; Oakland, California and Washington, DC. Not surprisingly, the nation’s capitol ranks highest in Fourth of July-related attractions and outdoor activities in the study. Several cities on the west coast tied for having the best weather forecast.

Durham, North Carolina earned the distinction of worst Independence Day destination, thanks to an ugly weather forecast and a poor selection of activities, according to Wallet Hub. The rest of the bottom five includes Anchorage, Alaska; Greensboro, North Carolina; Lubbock, Texas and Toledo, Ohio.

For those who enjoy a beer while they celebrate the Red, White and Blue, the study found Milwaukee, Wisconsin is the best place to find cheap drinks while bigger metros like New York City and Chicago had the most expensive libations.

Click here to read the entire list.

If smaller towns are more up your alley, several aptly-named destinations may serve as the perfect place to spend the Fourth of July.

Liberty, Texas, one of the Lone Star State’s oldest cities, is home to an exact replica of Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell. If you’re along the Ohio River you might stop in Patriot, Indiana, which surprisingly is located in Switzerland County.

Another American-named destination is Libertyville, Iowa where you just might get to know everyone as the population is just over 300. Finally if you’re heading out west, make a stop in Freedom, California.

Follow this writer on Twitter @MrClintDavis.

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