January 9 – Martyrs' Day: Armed clashes between United States troops and Panamanian civilians in the Panama Canal Zone precipitate a major international crisis, resulting in the deaths of 21 Panamanians and 4 U.S. soldiers.
January 10 – Introducing...the Beatles is released by Chicago's Vee-Jay Records to get the jump on Capitol Records' release of Meet the Beatles!, scheduled for January 20. The 2 record companies fight in court over Vee-Jay's release of this album.
February 9 – The Beatles appear on The Ed Sullivan Show, marking their first live performance on American television. Seen by an estimated 73 million viewers, the appearance becomes the catalyst for the mid-1960s "British Invasion" of American popular music.
February 26 – U.S. politician John Glenn slips on a bathroom rug in his Columbus, Ohio apartment and hits his head on the bathtub, injuring his left inner ear, and prompting him (later that week) to withdraw from the race for the Democratic Party Senate nomination.
February 29 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson announces that the United States has developed a jet airplane (the A-11), capable of sustained flight at more than 2,000 miles per hour (3,200 km/h) and of altitudes of more than 70,000 feet (21,000 m).
March 26 – Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. at news conference. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara delivers an address that reiterates American determination to give South Vietnam increased military and economic aid, in its war against the Communist insurgency.
April 2 – Mrs. Malcolm Peabody, 72, mother of Massachusetts Governor Endicott Peabody, is released on $450 bond after spending 2 days in a St. Augustine, Florida jail, for participating in an anti-segregation demonstration there.
April 4 – Three high school friends in Hoboken, N.J., open the first BLIMPIE on Washington Street.
April 8 – Four of 5 railroad operating unions strike against the Illinois Central Railroad without warning, bringing to a head a 5-year dispute over railroad work rules.
April 22 – The 1964 New York World's Fair opens to celebrate the 300th anniversary of New Amsterdam being taken over by British forces under the Duke of York (later King James II) and being renamed New York in 1664. The fair runs until Oct. 18, 1964 and reopens April 21, 1965, finally closing October 17, 1965. (Not sanctioned, due to being within 10 years of the Seattle World's Fair in 1962, some countries decline, but many countries have pavilions with exotic crafts, art & food.)
May 2 – Senator Barry Goldwater receives more than 75% of the votes in the Texas Republican Presidential primary.
May 2 – Some 400–1,000 students march through Times Square, New York and another 700 in San Francisco, in the first major student demonstration against the Vietnam War. Smaller marches also occur in Boston, Seattle, and Madison, Wisconsin.
August 27 – Walt Disney's Mary Poppins has its world premiere in Los Angeles. It will go on to become Disney's biggest moneymaker, and winner of 5 Academy Awards, including a Best Actress award for Julie Andrews, who accepted the part after she was passed over by Jack L. Warner for the leading role of Eliza Doolittle in the film version of My Fair Lady. Mary Poppins is the first Disney film to be nominated for Best Picture.
October 10–24 – The United States participated in the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan and ranked first for the 10th time, brought home with 36 gold, 26 silver and 28 bronze medals for a total of 90 medals.
October 15 – Craig Breedlove's jet-powered car Spirit of America goes out of control in Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah and makes skid marks 5.97 miles long.
October 15 – The St. Louis Cardinals defeat the visiting New York Yankees, 7–5 to win the World Series in 7 games (4–3), ending a long run of 29 World Series appearances in 44 seasons for the Bronx Bombers (also known as the Yankee Dynasty).
October 21 – The film version of the hit Broadway stage musical My Fair Lady premieres in New York City. The movie stars Audrey Hepburn in the role of Eliza Doolittle and Rex Harrison repeating his stage performance as Professor Henry Higgins, and which will win him his only Academy Award for Best Actor. The film will win seven other Academy Awards, including Best Picture, but Audrey Hepburn will not be nominated. Critics interpret this as a rebuke to Jack L. Warner for choosing Ms Hepburn over Julie Andrews.
October 22 – A 5.3 Kiloton nuclear device is detonated at the Tatum Salt Dome, 21 miles (34 km) from Hattiesburg, Mississippi as part of the Vela Uniform program. This test is the Salmon phase of the Atomic Energy Commission's Project Dribble.
December 1 – Vietnam War: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson and his top-ranking advisers meet to discuss plans to bomb North Vietnam (after some debate, they agree on a 2-phase bombing plan).
December 3 – Berkeley Free Speech Movement: Police arrest about 800 students at the University of California, Berkeley, following their takeover of and massive sit-in at the Sproul Hall administration building. The sit-in most directly protested the U.C. Regents' decision to punish student activists for what many thought had been justified civil disobedience earlier in the conflict.
December 6 – The 1-hour stop-motion animated special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, based on the popular Christmas song, premieres on NBC. It becomes a beloved Christmas tradition, still being shown on television more than 40 years later.
^Flynn, George Q. (1993). The Draft, 1940–1973. Modern war studies. University Press of Kansas. p. 175. ISBN0-7006-0586-X.
^Gottlieb, Sherry Gershon (1991). Hell no, we won't go!: resisting the draft during the Vietnam War. Viking. p. xix. ISBN0-670-83935-3. "1964: May 12—Twelve students at a New York rally burn their draft cards..."