How to Spend July Fourth in Philly
Ring in Independence Day with celebrations big and small.
There’s always a lot to do on the Fourth of July in Philadelphia — after all, it’s where Independence Day began. Everyone knows about the Wawa Welcome America festival, but this year the city and surrounding region has even more to offer, especially since the holiday falls on a Tuesday this year, leaving an entire long weekend beforehand.
Here are some highlights for the Fourth of July this year in Philly:
June 29 — July 4
This amazing festival has so much going on that it deserves a separate roundup; here’s our full preview. Here are some of the highlights:
The Philadelphia Orchestra will perform a free concert, followed by fireworks, at Penn’s Landing at 8 pm June 30. (Want a seat? The Independence Seaport Museum is selling tickets, which includes museum admission.) On July 1, the U.S. Army Band will perform at 7 pm, with another round of fireworks afterward.
On July 3, the Philly POPS will hold another free concert outside Independence Hall.
On the Fourth itself, KidzBop will rock out for a free show at the Eakins Oval from 1 to 2 pm, and there’s a special Kids Zone, featuring activities and family-friendly music, including Philly’s own Music Monkey Jungle. It’s part of the larger Party on the Parkway, which culminates with the big 7 pm concert (headlined by Mary J. Blige) and the spectacular fireworks show at 9:30 pm. Earlier in the day, check out the parade and national birthday party on Independence Mall.
July 1 –4
101 S. Third St., Philadelphia
This new Old City museum will have a ton of activities, birthday cake, and the chance to interact with revolutionary re-enactors throughout the long weekend. You can even sign a giant copy of the Declaration of Independence. It’s a good complement to the free activities over near Independence Hall.
July 4, 10 am — 4 pm
Fort Mifflin, Fort Mifflin and Hog Island roads, Philadelphia
Go back to the beginning with Revolutionary War soldiers, quill pen writing, and cannon blasts! This event is pay-what-you-wish, thanks to the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance’s Save the Arts program.
July 4, beginning at 9 am
Chestnut Hill Bocce Club, 118 E. Hartwell Lane, Philadelphia
If you’re in the northwest part of the city, this is the place to be. The bike parade begins at 9 am — proceeding to the Water Tower Recreation Center — and then there are running races and other activities. Finish with lunch and free ice cream, and then it’s time for a nap!
July 6 and 7
Citizens Bank Park
The team will spend the Fourth of July saluting veterans, but the fireworks come out later in the week. Game tickets are required to see the show.
Outside the City
These events aren’t too far away, and many are smaller than the Philly celebrations, making them more appropriate for younger kids.
July 4, 5 — 10 pm
Wiggins Park, 2 Riverside Dr., Camden, New Jersey
Head across the river, and you can see two fireworks shows at the same time! Enjoy music from the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and WAR, then watch the show at 9:30 pm — in concert with the fireworks display at the art museum.
July 4, noon — 4 pm
Fonthill Castle, East Court Street and Route 313, Doylestown
This is a true throwback event, starting with a bike parade at 12:30 pm and continuing with a watermelon eating contest, a cake walk, and more. You can even enter a pie baking contest. Plus, there’s music and food. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for Mercer Museum members, and kids under 15 are free.
July 4, all day
Crank up the small-town feel at this fun event. Start with a children’s program at 10 am, at Renninger Memorial Park in Cheltenham, then enjoy the 1.5-mile parade, which begins at 4 pm. After dark, there’s a big fireworks show at Abington Senior High School.
July 4, 6 pm
Wissahickon High School, 521 Houston Road, Ambler
The Kiwanis Club-sponsored carnival starts on July Fourth and runs through July 8, with a fantastic fireworks show Friday night.
July 3 and 4, 9:25 pm
Sesame Place, 100 Sesame Road, Langhorne
Join the Sesame Street crew for two nights of special holiday fireworks. The show starts right after the parade and is set to music. Park tickets are required for this show.
Photograph by J. Fusco, courtesy of the Wawa Welcome America Festival.