City Climb fireworks July 4th at Edge
Courtesy of Edge

Barbecues and firework shows are pinnacles of July 4th, but this year there are plenty of alternative celebrations for history buffs, music lovers, and those looking to escape the crowds. From a traditional parade in a quiet Staten Island community to concerts at a drive-in to tours of abandoned Ellis Island, there are many off-the-beaten-path activities to partake in this year. Here are some of our Untapped picks for alternative ways to celebrate Independence Day!

1. 9/11 Memorial Tour

Thousands of visitors have gone on walking tours of the National September 11th Memorial since it opened in 2011, but few have experienced what this unique 9/11 Memorial tour has to offer. The tour was created by Ed Welter, a licensed NYC sightseeing guide and owner of a construction management company for 34 years. Along with longtime friend Lisa Kleist, he developed the concept of using the original World Trade Center blueprints, and the numbered memorial panels that surround the memorial pools, to identify architectural features and events that took place on September 11th, 2001. Welter has also been heavily involved with supporting the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers, which builds smart homes for catastrophically injured servicemen and women among their many charitable programs. For every ticket sold, $1 will be donated to The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

The tour is co-led by Kleist, a licensed New York City sightseeing guide who has lived in New York City since the 1970s. She witnessed the building of the original World Trade Center and visited both the Observatory and Windows on the World. She has also observed the evolution of the neighborhood around the WTC. She has given tours of the Woolworth Building Lobby and the Samuel Tilden mansion, now the National Arts Club. Get tickets here!