Top Spots in Columbus to Celebrate the Fourth of July

Add these must-do Fourth of July festivities in Columbus to your calendar this summer

fireworks over columbus


Kayla Romanelli


Jan 21, 2021

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Put on your red, white, and blue! Whether it's a family-friendly fun run, a Fourth of July parade that is a cultural legacy, or the largest display of fireworks in the midwest, you will love these Independence Day activities going on in Columbus this Fourth of July.

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The upcoming turn of the season means that the birthday of the U.S.A. is just around the corner. The Fourth of July is a highly anticipated occasion in Columbus for all types of celebrations—gatherings with loved ones, local events, and brilliant fireworks displays (the largest firework display in the midwest, to be specific).

This city offers family-friendly fun, adult-oriented celebrations, and patriotic festivities that folks of all ages can enjoy. So don your finest red, white, and blue, unfurl your Star Spangled Banner, tune up your Yankee Doodle, and make plans to attend these three must-do Fourth of July celebrations in Columbus this summer.

In this article, we’ll cover some of the most exciting celebrations in Columbus:

  • Clintonville Four on the Fourth is a fun run/walk followed by an Independence day celebration for the whole family to enjoy. This is a great spot for family-friendly fun.
  • The Doo Dah Parade is a hilarious affair celebrating the liberty and lunacy of freedom of speech. This parade and party with beer, live music, and more, is perfect for those seeking some adult-only festivities.
  • Red, White & Boom! is the largest display of Independence Day fireworks in the midwest. This day of festivities, music, food and drink, and fireworks is an event that people of all ages can enjoy.

Clintonville Four on the Fourth

Start your day with this family-friendly run/walk event followed by a wonderful celebration of community and country.

Looking for a healthy endeavor to take on with your family before packing on the pounds at your Fourth of July barbecue? Clintonville Four on the Fourth is the race for you. Run, jog, or walk this four mile run event that benefits the Clintonville July Fourth Celebration, one of Ohio’s oldest Independence Day traditions.

The race takes place at 8am on July 4th at 4405 Scenic Drive, which is in Clintonville’s Whetstone Park, just north of Columbus, and tours some of Clintonville’s most beautiful streets. Prizes are awarded to the top three overall male and female finishers and the first overall finishes from each age group, and participants in the Kids Dash receive prizes as well.

For over 50 years, the Clintonville community has hosted this event, and the festivities don’t stop at the race. Grab some grub at the community breakfast from 8am–11am, and bear witness to the raising of Old Glory at 9am.

Cheer on your kids as they take part in the fishing derby from 8am–11am, a contest for anglers of all abilities, or the bike parade at 10am, in which kids of all ages can show off their Independence Day decorated bikes.

In the afternoon, set up your chairs and blankets and picnic in the park while you wait for the celebration’s grand finale: fireworks at 10pm. The best part of this event is that it is 100% community funded—the Clintonville community keeps this celebration going because they know just how special it is. If you plan on attending the event, consider donating on the Clintonville July Fourth Celebration’s official website.  

Clintonville’s Independence Day Celebration is the perfect spot for family fun. Image courtesy of The Clintonville July Fourth Celebration.

The Doo Dah Parade

Adults can celebrate freedom of speech with the annual Doo Dah Parade, a Columbus cultural legacy in the artistic hub of the city, Short North.

In Short North you can celebrate both the liberty and the lunacy of freedom of speech at the Doo Dah Parade, which has been “slaying political dragons with humor through Victorian and Italian Villages and Short North” since 1984.

No other major U.S. city has a Fourth of July parade quite like this one. Known for its diversity and passion for art, it’s no wonder that the Doo Dah parade is a cultural legacy of Columbus and the Short North Arts District—the scrappy neighborhood connecting downtown Columbus to the Ohio State University campus that has become the cultural and artistic hub of the city.

The Doo Dah parade is free to march in or to watch, and no registration is required. The parade steps off at 1pm on July 4th at the corner of Buttles and Park streets and ends at the intersection of Russell and High streets (the full route can be found on the parade’s website).

The day is complete with an all-day free entry to the block party, with free live music, beer, food, and shopping. And just in case we haven’t gotten the message across clearly enough: this event is absolutely free! Anyone can march in the parade without pre-registration, parade viewing is free, entry to the block party is free, and all of the live music performances are free.

Community members have described this parade as “the craziest parade in history,” a reminder that “laughter is the best medicine,” and “symbolic of how Columbus is” as a city. For these reasons, this satirical, whimsical, hilarious parade has become a staple of this city’s Independence Day celebrations.

Some of the parades themes can be a little raunchy, so this event is better suited for adults.

“The Doo Dah parade is good, good fun!  I've been the last two years, and it is a wild, expect-the-unexpected kind of time. A great way to celebrate our Independence Day by celebrating freedom of speech and the right to assemble.” -Yelp Review

Red, White, & BOOM! helps you get your patriotic festivities going with a bang! Image courtesy of News Locker.

Red, White & BOOM!

This day of traditional patriotic festivities is concluded with the largest display of fireworks not only in Ohio, but in the entire midwest.

For a classic, patriotic display of Independence Day spirit, look no further than Red, White & BOOM! Red, White & BOOM! is not only Ohio’s largest fireworks display, but the largest Independence Day fireworks display in the Midwest. A destination, experience, and tradition for hundreds of thousands of families, BOOM! “celebrates country and community, promotes civic pride, and honors America’s heroes.”

BOOM! is a safe and free event for all to enjoy. Every year, over 400,000 people take part a full day of events, including a parade, street festival, and two stages of live music entertainment. It is the largest, most classic American celebration the city has to offer.

This event takes place annually in downtown Columbus on July 3rd, beginning at noon and ending at 11:30pm. The day starts as a street festival featuring over 100 local and national vendors selling food, beverages, and more. There is a children’s park at the corner of Neil Avenue and Long Street featuring a bounce house, slides, an obstacle course, and more other activities for kids. At 5:30, the Ford Oval of Honor Red, White & BOOM! Parade steps off from the Main St. Bridge. And, of course, the night ends with BOOM! Fireworks at 10pm, fired from the east pank of Genoa Park.

Beautiful fireworks light up the Columbus sky on the eve of Independence Day every year. Image courtesy of Scioto Mile.

Do not miss the largest and most spectacular celebration of America in Columbus this Independence Day!

“The fireworks spectacular was about 25 minutes long! I have never before seen such a long show! They were so beautiful.” -Yelp Review

The Fourth of July is a day for celebrating both our country and our communities, promoting civic price, honoring America’s heroes, and kicking back, relaxing, and enjoying all of the things that make America the Beautiful the greatest nation, from sea to shining sea. No matter your age or celebration style this Independence Day, there is something in Columbus for you. Whether you prefer to run, eat, parade, or sit back and enjoy the fireworks, we hope you have a wonderful time celebrating the land of the free and home of the brave.

If you’re ready to find a new home in Columbus, check out the largest and most accurate selection of real estate in Columbus by HER, REALTORS®.

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June 26, 2019
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