Commemorating the adoption of the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776, July 4th is probably the best-known Independence Day around the world. In Lithuania, we celebrate not one but two Independence Days (and a Statehood Day, too, which is on July 6th!), so one might say Lithuanians are quite into this kind of holidays. Is there a way to celebrate Fourth of July in Kaunas, if you’re American or feel American or simply have American friends? Of course! Here’s where and how.
Let’s start with some breakfast. What can be more American than pancakes? Holy Donut on Vilniaus street is more than just a donut (also very American, right?) place – they offer a lovely breakfast menu that includes proper pancakes, bagels, Eggs Benedict and beyond.
There are also plenty of options if you prefer to start the celebrations later in the day. Of course, there’s more than one McDonald’s location in Kaunas, but that would be too obvious. We suggest you try some pulled pork burgers and ribs prepared the way they do it in the Southern states. The place to do that is Keulė Rūkė, a fast food joint located on the outskirts of Kaunas. It’s well worth a detour even if you don’t eat meat – who wouldn’t want to take a snapshot of a pig-faced Soviet dictator? Street art with political messages is what Keulė Rūkė is famous for – their original location in Vilnius features a mural of Trump and Putin sharing a spliff.
Pizza, maybe? Kaunas is full of delightful Italian pizza places, but there’s American Pizza, too. It’s exactly how the chain with four locations is called! The pizzas are generous and they can be delivered to your door.
Speak of the devil! Italian culture is a significant part of the American lifestyle, and a brand new spot on Vilniaus street celebrates just that. Edizione California is the name of a new branch of Casa Della Pasta, a pasta and pizza chain. The interior is filled with Hollywood-themed details – there are even stars of Leo Di Caprio and Madonna on the floor.
For those into the Tex-Mex taste, we suggest you visit Talutti Tex-Mex on Laisvės alėja. They pair their fajitas, burritos, enchiladas and chimichangas with gigantic glasses of Bloody Marias and bottomless vases of Margaritas. The burgers are super-sized, too.
More burgers can be found at Kentucky BIG Burger, a place we couldn't help but include in our American list for many reasons. The name, the menu, the vibe and the endless nights. Your right to party is respected in this place on Kęstučio street.
Still not enough? As the night comes, the party starts at RocknRolla, an American-themed bar slash club slash a place with an impressive courtyard on Laisvės alėja. If you prefer to spend an evening in the Old Town, here’s Jack Pub waiting for you on Vilniaus street. Don’t be surprised if you meet a few cowboys there.
Genys Brewing Co., a Kaunas-based microbrewery, offer at least two products suitable for Fourth of July. Demand a glass of American pale ale called Kalifornikacija (Californication) or American India pale ale called Dvi laisvės (Two freedoms) in your favourite pub (Klimas or Kaukas, for example) or bottle shop.
Well, you could also play American football! “Dukes”, the kaunastic American football team, does speak English and invites you to try out the sports in J. Basanavičius gymnasium stadium in Šilainiai on Sundays. They practice in Santaka park, too. No previous experience required! More here.
A drive-in cinema, another very American thing to do, does happen in Kaunas but not on Fourth of July. The next drive-in night at “Urmas” shopping town, called Night Sky Cinema, is scheduled for August 9th. Hop in a car and join if you’re in town! More here.
Time for some art! Fluxus might be born in New York, but the fathers of the art movement, Jonas Mekas and George Maciunas, are in fact Lithuanians. Maciunas was born in Kaunas and lived in a house on Parodos street before his family moved to the west in the 1940s. There’s a permanent Fluxus exhibition at the Kaunas Picture Gallery (it’s also home to numerous paintings by Lithuanian American artists!) and a Maciunas square by his house. The square which you can’t actually enter or see very well from the street was opened last July. The author of the brilliant piece of art is Naglis Rytis Baltušnikas.