Top Things to Do with Kids in Philadelphia During July 4th in 2017

All-ages fun to celebrate Independence Day

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As America’s birthplace, Philadelphia celebrates our nation’s independence like no other. This year’s 241st birthday bash includes six days full of incredible happenings, including a ton of events fit for the whole family.

In fact, nearly all of the area’s July 4th events are kid-friendly, but below we’ve rounded up our top picks that we know little ones will absolutely love. From outdoor movies to free hoagies to four(!) fireworks shows, we’ve got options listed below suitable for all ages and preferences.

Read on for our top events for the whole family over the July 4th holiday.


Twitter Accounts to Follow for the Latest 4th of July Updates

Most events during July 4th in Philadelphia are rain or shine, so be sure to get the most up-to-date information by following the accounts below on Twitter.

Twitter Accounts to Follow
@July4thPhilly @visitphilly @INDEPENDENCENHP
@PhiladelphiaGov @uwishunu @HistoricPhilly
@philly311 @PHLVisitorCntr @penns_landing
@SEPTA_SOCIAL @ConstitutionCtr @DelRiverWfront
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Philly @ The Movies

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

June 29 – July 3, 2017

The epic Wawa Welcome America! festival brings a handful of free outdoor movie screenings to Philly along with its slew of additional Independence Day events. The films take place at venues across the city and are completely free to watch. The one not to miss: the screening of Rocky on the Rocky Steps on July 2.

Upcoming films include:

  • June 29: Despicable Me 2, The Piazza at Schmidt’s
  • June 30: The LEGO Batman Movie, Panati Playground
  • July 1: Rogue One: A Star Wars Movie, Vernon Park
  • July 2: Rocky, Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • July 3: Sing, Franklin Square
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Free Admission to 11 Museums Throughout Philadelphia

— J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

June 27 – July 4, 2017

From June 29 through July 4, Wawa Welcome America invites visitors and residents to explore a number of Philadelphia’s great museums for no cost at all. From the anthropological depths of the Penn Museum to the history-rich displays at the National Constitution Center to the breathtaking art collection at the Barnes Foundation, 11 museums citywide will host one-off free admission days in celebration of the nation’s birthday.

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PECO's Go 4th and Learn

June 29 – July 2, 2017

During PECO’s Go 4th and Learn series, kids are invited to sit in on storytelling sessions, learn about the Mummers, take a Rocky fitness challenge and more. The events take place at different locations throughout the city and are free to attend.

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Wawa Hoagie Day

A post shared by Visit Philly (@visitphilly) on

June 29, 2017

It’s hard not to please the kids with Wawa Hoagie Day, where more than six tons of Wawa’s signature sammies are distributed for free! Now in its 25th year, the event will include a performance by the USO Show Troupe and a hoagie-building competition between police and firefighters.

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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

June 30, 2017

Immerse the whole family in a pleasant, cultural experience 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 fireworks display that the entire crew is sure to love. Check out our guide on where to watch the fireworks on the Delaware River waterfront for great viewpoints.

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

The U.S. Army Band will perform right on the Delaware River Waterfront on July 1. — Photo courtesy M. Stanley for DRWC

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 highly anticipated performance. Also highly anticipated: the huge fireworks display that will follow. Check out our guide on where to watch the fireworks on the Delaware River waterfront for info on where to catch the display.

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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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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

July 3, 2017

The Historic Philadelphia Block Party invites the entire family out for a day-long celebration. The festivities will fill the streets around Independence Hall with live entertainment, food vendors, kids’ games and other activities for all ages. Special appearances by 18th-century citizens will add a truly patriotic touch to the day-long fete.

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The United States of America Independence Day Parade

July 4, 2017

Take the kids to the annual 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 more than thousands of participants from around the nation form a musical and colorful cavalcade that winds through the streets of Historic Philadelphia.

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Wawa Welcome America Party on the Parkway and July 4th Concert

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway hosts one of the largest free concerts in the country on July 4th. — J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

July 4, 2017

Thousands pack Philadelphia’s scenic Benjamin Franklin Parkway for a free, day-long festival of food, live entertainment and all-ages fun during the Wawa Welcome America Party on the Parkway from noon to 7 p.m. Kidz Bop kicks off the day of musical performances, dance, children’s activities and cultural events that celebrate the city’s many neighborhoods and nationalities. It all leads up to the July 4th Concert at 7 p.m., when headliner Mary J. Blige and other notable artists will take the stage.

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Wawa Welcome America July 4th Fireworks on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Philadelphia's spectacular July 4th celebration comes to a close with a massive fireworks display over the Philadelphia Museum of Art. — G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

July 4, 2017 at 9:30 p.m.

The 4th of July festivities end with a true bang as a massive fireworks show erupts over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Guests can look to the sky above the Philadelphia Museum of Art for a spectacular show — and an unbeatable way to close out the holiday weekend.

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Freedom Festival Fireworks

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

July 4, 2017 at 9:30 p.m.

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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BONUS: Spruce Street Harbor Park and Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest

Spruce Street Harbor Park
— Photo by M. Stanley for DRWC

While not part of the official July 4th celebrations in Philadelphia, Spruce Street Harbor Park and Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest are super-popular spots right on the Delaware River (and not too far from many of the festivities in the Historic District). Head to the supremely popular parks for everything from roller skating and hammock lounging to games and delicious eats.

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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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