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Guide to July 4th in Philadelphia 2017

Fireworks, concerts, parades and parties during Independence Day in America’s birthplace

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Birthdays deserve big celebrations — and nobody will celebrate America’s 241st better than Philadelphia, the city where it all began.

From June 29 to July 4, 2017, Wawa Welcome America! will rock the town with red, white and blue festivities including free concerts, four dazzling fireworks shows, the Philadelphia’s Historic District Block Party, parades, patriotic ceremonies and kids’ activities. Celebrate independence in Philadelphia with six days of action-packed fun.

Read on for our complete guide to July 4th in Philadelphia.

01

Free Museum Day at the National Constitution Center

The National Constitution Center on Independence Mall
— Photo by D. Cruz for Visit Philadelphia

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The 160,000-square-foot National Constitution Center opens its doors for free on Thursday, June 29, inviting you to learn everything there is to know about the U.S. Constitution through an array of high-tech exhibits, artifacts and interactive displays. Bonus: Access to the fun American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition exhibition is also free!

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02

Wawa Hoagie Day on Independence Mall

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

A Wawa fan favorite, Wawa Hoagie Day returns for its 25th year of providing free hoagies for all. The event will include a performance by the USO Show Troupe and a hoagie-building competition between police and firefighters. Then, more than six tons of Wawa hoagies will then be distributed for free on the lawns of Independence Mall and the National Constitution Center.

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03

Culture on Tap at the City Hall Courtyard

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Philly’s popular traveling beer garden Parks on Tap brings a special Independence Day edition to the courtyard of City Hall. Labeled Culture on Tap, the pop up invites you to enjoy a drink al fresco in the heart of the city.

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04

Spruce Street Harbor Park Waterfront Session with The Dove and the Wolf

Catch a free performance from The Dove and Wolf on June 29 at Spruce Street Harbor Park. — Photo courtesy DRWC

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Philly’s hammock haven Spruce Street Harbor Park hosts weekly music nights every Thursday throughout the summer. On the Thursday before Independence Day, catch popular, local indie pop duo The Dove and the Wolf. The performance will take place from 6:30-9:30 p.m., allowing for plenty of time to also grab a beer from the park’s beer gardens and a bite to eat from the plethora of boardwalk-style food outlets.

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05

Free Admission to The Mummers Museum and Free Mummers Performance

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Learn about the fun and colorful tradition of the Mummers at the South Philly museum dedicated to the costumes, songs and lively routines of the iconic troupe. The Mummers Museum will offer free admission from 6-8 p.m. and the award-winning Quaker City String Band will perform — also for free — from 8-10 p.m.

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06

Philly @ The Movies: Free Screening of Despicable Me 2 at The Schmidt's Commons

Head to Northern Liberties for a free movie at The Schmidt's Commons on June 29. — Photo courtesy of The Piazza at Schmidt's Commons

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Catch a movie under the stars at one of Northern Liberties’ most spacious open-air areas. The Schmidt’s Commons will screen Despicable Me 2 at 8 p.m.

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07

Free Museum Day at the Penn Museum and Eastern State Penitentiary

Explore two of the city's stellar museums for free on Friday, June 30. — Photo courtesy John Van Horn for Eastern State Penitentiary

Friday, June 30, 2017

Two of Philly’s top museums open up for free as part of Wawa Welcome America’s special museum series. Take in the 15-ton Egyptian sphinx alongside a host of other archaeological and anthropological artifacts and displays at the Penn Museum or head over to the Eastern State Penitentiary to explore the renowned, 11-acre prison, which once housed some of history’s most famous inmates.

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08

The Philadelphia Orchestra Concert & Fireworks on the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing

U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” Concert & Fireworks at Penn’s Landing
The Philadelphia Orchestra is coming to Penn's Landing for a FREE waterfront performance followed by a fireworks display. — Photo courtesy M. Stanley for DRWC

Friday, June 30, 2017

The weekend before the Fourth of July gets off to a tuneful start with a free performance by the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra along the Delaware River waterfront at Penn’s Landing. After the acclaimed musicians take their bows, all eyes will be on the skies for a spectacular free fireworks display. Check out our guide on where to watch the fireworks on the Delaware River waterfront for great viewpoints.

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09

Free Museum Day at the African American Museum in Philadelphia

Explore one of the Historic District's many museums for free on Saturday, July 1. — J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Saturday, July 1, 2017

The African American Museum in Philadelphia, founded in 1976, is the first institution built by a major U.S. city to preserve, interpret and exhibit the heritage and culture of African-Americans. Explore its four art- and history-packed exhibitions during for free as part of the Wawa Welcome America! Free Museum Days.

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10

$1 Admission to the Powel House

Powel House
— Photo by M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Once the home of Elizabeth and Samuel Powel, an 18th-century power couple, the Powel House mansion simply drips elegance. As friends of Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and George Washington (the Washingtons celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary at the house), the Powels entertained in style, and the house shows it. Include it in your Independence Day festivities and take advantage of the opportunity to explore the house for $1 on July 1.

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11

Philadelphia Night Market in Spruce Hill in West Philadelphia

Crowd at Night Market Philadelphia
Night Market Philadelphia — Photo courtesy the Food Trust

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Night Market Philadelphia heads to Spruce Hill in West Philadelphia for a special Independence Day edition on Saturday, July 1, attracting thousands of folks for a four-hour, al fresco food truck soiree. Come hungry for delicious street-side eats like tacos, fried cheese curds, pizza, ice cream and more, along with beverages including local beer and spirits!

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12

U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” Concert & Fireworks on the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing

U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” Concert & Fireworks at Penn’s Landing
Enjoy a rousing performance by the U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" followed by a fireworks show. — Photo courtesy U.S. Army Band

Saturday, July 1, 2017

The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own has delighted audiences for years with its rousing and rollicking renditions of old standards, new hits and patriotic tunes. The group returns to the Delaware River waterfront this year for another. Also highly anticipated: the fireworks display that will follow. Check out our guide on where to watch the fireworks on the Delaware River waterfront for great viewpoints.

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13

Museum Day at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Pay what you wish to check out the Philadelphia Museum of Art's expansive collection on July 2. — M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Explore over 80 period rooms and more within the third-largest art museum in the country when the Philadelphia Museum of Art offers pay-what-you-wish admission on July 2.

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14

$1 Admission to the Hill-Physick House

Hill-Physick House
— Photo by M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Sunday, July 2, 2017

From a medical office located in his spectacular mansion, Dr. Philip Syng Physick, one of the most accomplished physicians of the 18th century, treated high-profile patients like President Andrew Jackson and Chief Justice John Marshall in what’s now known as the Hill-Physick House. Come explore all of the stories the residence holds (which is filled with plenty of drama and marital scandal) on July 2 during a special $1 admission day.

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15

Philly at the Movies: Rocky at the Steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Catch free movie screenings throughout the city during the Wawa Welcome America! Festival. — C. Smyth for Visit Philadelphia

Sunday, July 2, 2017

There’s no better spot to watch the Philadelphia classic Rocky than from the very steps that made its star character a legend. Head to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for a free, outdoor screening.

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16

Free Museum Day at the National Liberty Museum

Monday, July 3, 2017

Discover the story of real-life heroes through the interactive exhibitions and inspirational galleries at the National Liberty Museum, where you can score free admission on July 3. The museum hosts a wealth of galleries (eight in total!), featuring more than 179 works of contemporary art and the stories of 2,000 heroes from around the globe.

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17

Philadelphia's Historic District Block Party

Philadelphia's Historic District Block Party
Visitors and residents alike fill the streets of Philadelphia's Historic District for a giant block party with performances, food and more. — J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Monday, July 3, 2017

On July 3, visitors can party the day away at the Philadelphia’s Historic District Block Party in the city’s Historic District. The festivities will fill the streets around Independence Hall with live entertainment, food vendors and kids’ games, including wheelbarrow races, bubble blowing and more. The event space features three stages to showcase a Dixieland band, a barbershop quartet and actors reciting portions of historical speeches. Plus, the Kimmel Center will present a star-studded sneak peek at the 2017-2018 Broadway Philadelphia season featuring performances from popular shows.

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18

The Philly POPS! on Independence at Independence Hall

Hundreds of people pack Independence Mall for POPS on Independence. — Photo courtesy of the Philly POPS

Monday, July 3, 2017

The BYOB (bring-our-own-blanket) POPS! on Independence concert has become a holiday favorite — and for good reason. The combination of the Philadelphia POPS! under the baton of Michael Krajewski, lively tunes and the dramatic backdrop of Independence Hall create a perfect setting for a night of music under the stars. Along with the 65-piece orchestra, this year’s performance includes guest artists Tony DeSare and Hamilton star Mandy Gonzalez.

More about the philly POPS! on Independence at Independence Hall

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19

Celebration of Freedom Ceremony

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Founding Fathers and Mothers aren’t the only ones who will get their due during the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony. This year, everyday heroes will be honored during the patriotic observances held at Independence Hall.

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20

6th Annual Birthday Party at the Independence Visitor Center

Independence Visitor Center
— Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Join Betsy Ross in singing “Happy Birthday” to celebrate our nation’s 241st birthday during the annual party at the Independence Visitor Center, where a five-tier cake and 2,500 cupcakes will be on display in the shape of an American flag. Both treats will be distributed for free to those who attend.

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21

The United States of America Independence Day Parade

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Get the party started with the The United States of America Independence Day Parade, a flag-waving, stars-and-stripes, big-city spectacle with a small-town feel. Dozens of colorful floats, marching bands, military groups and thousands of participants from around the nation form a musical, colorful cavalcade that winds through the streets of Philadelphia’s Historic District.

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22

Party on the Parkway

The finale to the six-day Wawa Welcome America festival is a daylong outdoor celebration featuring city blocks of family fun on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. — R. Myers for Visit Philadelphia

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

On July 4th, all of Philadelphia comes together for one giant romp at the Party on the Parkway, which brings a day’s worth of free entertainment to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Look forward to musical performances (including a performance by Mary J. Blige), activities like a zip line and a cycling obstacle course, food galore, two beer gardens and cultural events that celebrate the city’s many neighborhoods and nationalities.

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23

Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert

Catch special performances by Mary J. Blige, The Philly POPS and more at this year's Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert. — R. Myers for Visit Philadelphia

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert takes over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with one of the largest free outdoor concerts in the country. Headlining will be R&B songstress Mary J. Blige, who’s been named one of the greatest women in music by the likes of Rolling Stone and Billboard. The Parkway stage will also welcome the Philly POPS Big Band, jazz singer Tony DeSare and Broadway star Mandy Gonzalez who has performed in Hamilton, In The Heights and Wicked. Plus, Boyz II Men will make an appearance as they are honored for their impressive career.

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24

Wawa Welcome America July 4th Fireworks

Don't miss out on the epic fireworks show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art this Fourth of July. — G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Showcasing patriotism and important moments in our nation’s history, the Wawa Welcome America July 4th Fireworks will take revelers on a 241-year journey from July 4, 1776 to July 4, 2016. Accompanied by a powerful soundtrack that combines rousing musical works and powerful quotes, this fireworks display will light up the skies over the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art for the grandest of grand finales starting at 9:30 p.m. Snag a great viewpoint with our guide to the best spots to see the fireworks display.

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25

Freedom Festival Fireworks

Fireworks at Penn's Landing
— Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Celebrate the nation’s official birthday with riverfront views at the Freedom Festival Fireworks. Taking place around 9:30 p.m., a grand show will unfold over the Delaware River waterfront. Beyond areas along the river, official viewing areas include the SugarHouse Casino and One Liberty Observation Deck. Check out our guide on where to watch the fireworks on the Delaware River waterfront for more suggestions.

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26

Historic District Scavenger Hunt

Independence Hall
— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

July 1-4, 2017

Take part in a scavenger hunt through Philadelphia’s Historic District for your chance to win a one-night stay at the Hotel Monaco Philadelphia plus a $250 American Express gift card. Participants will engage in a series of tasks like sharing photos, answering trivia questions and checking in at attractions while learning about many of America’s top historic sites. The Historic District Scavenger Hunt is free and can be accessed by downloading the free Scavify app on your smartphone or mobile device.

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27

Sand Sculpture Spectacular at the Shops at Liberty Place

Through July 4, 2017

A popular event from last year, Sand Sculpture Spectacular returns this year to the rotunda at the Shops at Liberty Place, where life-size sand sculptures depicting historic icons and imagery will be on display. Be sure to bring your camera!

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Hotel Deal

Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package

Book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package for stays through June 15, 2018 and get FREE hotel parking as well as a $25 We ♥ 13th Street restaurants gift card, a $25 CHeU Noodle restaurants gift card, a $25 gift card to R2L, a free cheesesteak from Campo's and a $10 Lyft credit.

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