Not surprisingly, the Fourth of July attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to the birthplace of American independence—most of whom plant themselves along the banks of the Charles River to watch the fireworks. The Boston Pops are an American institution, and this concert is the center of the universe for fans. Frantically territorial families show up at dawn to claim their grassy patch for the day. Technically, the event is non-alcoholic, but that doesn’t stop savvy regulars from slipping drinks into plastic cups. In the early evening—after everyone is tuckered out from a sweaty day of guarding blankets (and hiding beer)—the Pops play in the Hatch Shell. The accompanying fireworks display, set off from a barge on the Charles, is not to be missed.