I love the traditions of Fourth of July that I grew up with in Austin — making homemade ice cream, decorating our bikes for the neighborhood parade, and watching fireworks over Town Lake in Austin.  Fun summer memories…

JULY 4TH CELEBRATIONSWe are lucky in Houston to have lots of events to choose from to celebrate Independence Day!  Here are a few annual favorites…

Freedom Over Texas is the city’s official July 4 celebration at Eleanor Tinsley Park from 4 pm – 10 pm. The evening features live music by country artists Billy Currington and Sara Evans as well as family activities. Fireworks begin at 9:35 pm. Admission is $8 with children 5 and under free. Reliant Energy is offering free and half-price tickets online through midnight July 3 at www.freedomovertexas.org. Stay cool and watch it from home on ABC-13 KTRK from 7 pm – 10 pm. photo: flickr/eschipul

JULY 4TH CELEBRATIONSThe Houston Symphony‘s annual Star-Spangled Salute starts at 8:30 pm July 4 at Miller Outdoor Theatre. Of course, the evening includes 1812 Overture and a fantastic fireworks display. Simon & Garfunkel tribute artists Jonathan Beedle and AJ Swearingen join us for the symphony this year. Free tickets for covered seats are available on performance day at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office from 10:30 am – 1 pm. Four per person while they last.

The Children’s Museum of Houston honors July 4th with a Kidpendence Day celebration. The festivities feature a 2 pm parade with the High Steppers Brass Band and lots of options for patriotic creativity.  Museum admission is $9. The museum, open 10 am – 6 pm, is located at 1500 Binz.

CityCentre hosts Fourth of July Music & Fireworks for its patriotic celebration. The concert features Texas Unlimited Band at 6:30 pm. Bring your blankets and lawn chairs! The evening concludes with a fireworks display at 9:30 pm. CityCentre is located at 800 W. Sam Houston Parkway N.

JULY 4TH CELEBRATIONSJuly 4th fun in The Woodlands begins a day early with a free Houston Symphony concert, Star-Spangled Salute, Tuesday, July 3, at 8 pm at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. Festivities kick off at 6:30 pm on the North Plaza. The patriotic fun continues July 4 with a 9 am parade at Grogans Mill and Lake Woodlands. The Red, Hot, and Blue Festival is 6 pm to 10 pm featuring live entertainment, face painting, strolling performers, games, watermelon eating contest, vendor booths, and more. The exciting fireworks finale will begin at dusk. Northshore Park is offering its own fun with a 4:30 pm Things That Go Bike Parade and a Concert in the Park at 7 pm.

The City of Katy 23rd annual Freedom Celebration fireworks begin around 9 pm on the east side of Katy Mills Mall, 5000 Katy Mills Circle.

LaCenterra at Cinco Ranch hosts its own July 4th fun kicking off at 5:30 pm with Big Backyard BBQ. This annual favorite features live music by Pirate Radio, Outlaw Lynn and Look Who’s Drivin’; food; and fireworks at 9:30 pm. LaCenterra, 23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd.

Sugar Land’s Red, White & Bluefest continues July 4 in Oyster Creek Park. The fun kicks off at 5 p.m. with live music, food, and children’s activities such as bounce houses, water slides, and face painting.  The firework display kicks off at 9:30 p.m. after a short patriotic presentation.

JULY 4TH CELEBRATIONSEnjoy historic American family fun at Bayou Bend’s July Fourth Celebration. Free fun 1 pm – 5 pm with historical performers, crafts, refreshments, and the chance to sign a Texas-sized reproduction of the Declaration of Independence. Birthday cake and a reading of the Declaration of Independence starts around 3 pm on the north side of the house. Bayou Bend is located at 1 Westcott. Photo: Bayou Bend


The City of Stafford hosts a festive parade July 3 at 7 pm along with game booths, carnival rides, hay ride and a dance till 11:30 pm. Enjoy the patriotic concert Freedom Rings 2012, July 4 at 7 pm featuring the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra. This free, festive performance is at Stafford Centre, 15050 Cash Road. Fireworks follow at 9 pm.

Missouri City hosts its own July 4th celebration from 6 pm – 9 pm at Buffalo Run Park. The evening features mechanical bulls, bounce houses, rock wall, pony rides, and other free activities. Fireworks begin around 9:15 pm over the lakes.

JULY 4TH CELEBRATIONSDon’t miss Tomball’s first street party July 4 beginning at 2 pm. Businesses on Highway 249 north of FM 2920 will close for live music, children’s activities, hay rides, food, pony rides, and the traditional fireworks at 9:15 pm. Meet mascots Rusty Rails, Blaze, and Sparky beginning at 7 pm. Admission and parking are free.

The Clear Lake area has a number of options for fireworks such as Kemah, League City, and Webster. The Kemah Boardwalk will have a fireworks display at 9:30 pm. Find the schedule in the area at the Chamber’s complete fireworks listing.

Towne Lake community in NW Houston will host July 4th festivities 7:30 pm to 9 pm at Barker Cypress and West Road. The evening includes music, food, drinks, and of course, fireworks beginning at 9 pm. Find a map to Towne Lake online.

Bridgeland in Cypress is hosting its fireworks show once again July 4. Before the evening tradition, enjoy a pool party from 1 pm – 7 pm. The Texas Tycoons will perform beginning at 7 pm with fireworks over Lake Bridgeland at approximately 9 pm.

Rosenberg celebrates with Family 4th Independence Day Celebration July 4 from 6 pm – 10 pm.  Enjoy live music, children’s activities, horse-drawn wagon rides and more. Fireworks begin around 9:15 pm.  Located at Seaborne Creek Nature Park, Hwy 36.

JULY 4TH CELEBRATIONSEver been to Round Top for July 4?  This year marks the 162nd July 4 parade and celebration in Round Top around the square.  The historical day kicks off with civil war-era cannons booming at 10:30 am to announce the parade start. Imagine close to 5,000 folks coming in for this parade in a town that has only 77 people!  Royers Round Top Cafe is closed this year on July 4th, however… I’ve actually experienced this parade, and it’s fun celebrating July 4th in a small town! Round Top is about an hour-and-a-half west of Houston.

Galveston is hosting a parade and fireworks July 4 on the island. The evening parade begins at 7:30 pm along the Seawall from 28th to 45th Streets with floats, decorated vehicles, and performers. The 20-minute fireworks display at 37th and Seawall Blvd kicks off at 9:15 pm. Moody Gardens is hosting is own live concerts and fireworks July 1-3 from 6 pm – 10 pm. Admission is $10.

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station is hosting the “I Love America” celebration July 4 in its 14th year. Special activities begin at 5 pm with live entertainment, games and activities for kids plus the Presentation of Colors and F-16 flyover at 6 pm. The Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra kicks off its performance at 8:50 pm with fireworks following at 9:50 pm. The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum is providing free admission all day Monday, July 4 9:30 am – 8:30 pm.