July packs a big punch in 2017 with a whopping number of annual summertime festivities in Philly.
Of course, the week-long celebration of our nation’s birthday kicks off July in Philadelphia with citywide partying that includes an enormous free concert, tons of free attractions and beautiful, booming fireworks displays.
Later in July, Bastille Day at Eastern State Penitentiary celebrates another country’s revolutionary history and the right to free outdoor fun is honored by the return of seasonal attractions like The Oval, Shakespeare in Clark Park and the 40th Street Summer Concert Series.
All summer long, the Delaware River Waterfront beckons fun-seekers with its two urban beaches: Spruce Street Harbor Park and Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest.
Get summer started in earnest by planning the ultimate 4th of July celebration in Philly with the events we’ve included below, and then be sure to check out all of the other not-to-be-missed happenings in July.
July 15, 2017
The masses storm the castle on Eastern State Penitentiary’s Bastille Day, as re-enactors and audience members playfully recreate the storming of the Bastille. Emceed by “Edith Piaf,” Philly’s version of this historic event includes in-drag cabaret performances, dancing baguettes and Marie Antoinette tossing more than 3,000 Tastykakes out to the crowd.
The drama unfolds exhibit by exhibit at the brand-new Museum of the American Revolution. Just two blocks from Independence Hall — the command center for the Revolution — the newest addition to America’s most historic square mile documents the strategic wins, crushing losses and world-altering consequences of the war for We the People. Visitors learn stories of well-known and everyday people who experienced the tumult through galleries, engaging films and a collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, diaries and works of art.
July 20, 2017
Just steps away from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Oval returns to transform the asphalt and lawns surrounding 24th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway into an eight-acre, all-ages pop-up outdoor space. Visitors can enjoy outdoor games like ping pong, dine on tasty dishes from local food trucks and lounge with a cold brew in the scenic outdoor beer garden. This year, an immersive art installation debuts at the Oval, too.
Starts July 6, 2017
Every Thursday night in July and August, a different film will be screened outdoors on a big screen at Penn’s Landing. Bring a blanket or a lawn chair and chill out to both recent blockbusters and timeless classics right on the banks of the Delaware River.
July 28-30, 2017
WXPN, the public radio station of the University of Pennsylvania, brings together musical legends and up-and-coming performers at Wiggins Park and the BB&T Pavilion on the Camden Waterfront for the XPoNential Music Festival. This year’s headliners include Wilco and coheadliners Spoon and Amos Lee with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
July 8-9, 2017
The Hispanic Fiesta at Penn’s Landing is one of Philadelphia’s premier Latino events, drawing upwards of 15,000 people each day. The festival continues to unite and raise awareness of Latino culture and community through the celebration of music, dance, entertainment, ethnic foods and artisan crafts from nearly all Latin American countries.
July 22, 2017
The Islamic Heritage Festival features speakers, entertainment and a global open market bazaar dedicated to celebrating Islamic culture and heritage. Come out to Penn’s Landing to enjoy a day of spirited festivities.
The Penn’s Landing area turns into an all-out summer oasis each year with hammock lounging, beer-garden drinking and boardwalk eating at Spruce Street Harbor Park as well as roller skating, carnival rides — including a Ferris wheel! — and more at Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest. Located a quick waterfront walk from one another, residents and visitors alike hang out at the waterfront destinations all season long. Look for weekly special events (think free concerts) and pop-up parties (Michael Jackson Day was a hit in 2016).
July 26-30, 2017
For more than a decade, Shakespeare in Clark Park has transformed West Philly’s favorite urban oasis into a high-quality theater for the people. Each year, hundreds make their way to the Clark Park’s verdant natural bowl to watch professional actors bring classic Shakespeare works to life. Coriolanus, the Roman tragedy is on the ticket for this year’s show.
July 13-23, 2017
Dining Days returns to University City for its 13th year of fantastic, prix fixe, three-course dinners at the top eating destinations in the neighborhood. With meals ranging from $15 to $35 per person, Dining Days delivers the perfect opportunity to try the charming BYOBs, international dining and craft beer bars in University City.
Wednesdays in July
Happy hour is more joyful in the summer thanks to Center City District Sips, which offers discounted drinks and appetizers every Wednesday evening. Enjoy $5 cocktails, $4 wine, $3 beers and half-price appetizers at dozens and dozens of bars and restaurants throughout the neighborhood.
July 26 – August 27, 2017
Broadway musical Wicked heads to the Academy of Music for a full week this summer. Learn how the Wizard of Oz’s Elphaba turned into the Wicked Witch of the West and how Galinda became the Good Witch of the North in this creative production.
July 15-16, 2017
July marks national blueberry month and Peddler’s Village celebrates with a weekend of music and family fun. The free Bluegrass and Blueberries Festival means two days of live entertainment and blueberry-themed treats including pies, muffins, preserves and blueberry beverages.
July 30, 2017
A shoutout to South Philly’s sock-hoppin’ heritage, the annual East Passyunk Car Show and Street Festival brings together revelers, food, music and some of the hottest classic American cars you’ve ever seen. Browse more than 100 antique, show, muscle and custom cars, trucks and motorcycles lined up along Passyunk Avenue.
Once a month every month this summer, live music fills the al fresco space at 40th and Walnut streets for the annual 40th Street Summer Series. July brings a special double-headliner, featuring Dan Blacksberg’s Hot Klezmers and the West Philadelphia Orchestra for an evening of danceable jams.
Spend the day in West Philadelphia’s Powelton Village during the 11th annual Lancaster Avenue Jazz and Arts Festival. From noon until 7 p.m., enjoy live performances, activities, local arts, food trucks and family-oriented activities at Saunders Park Green.
A post shared by Reading Terminal Market (@rdgterminalmkt) on Jul 7, 2017 at 10:26am PDT
A post shared by Reading Terminal Market (@rdgterminalmkt) on Jul 7, 2017 at 10:26am PDT
July 29, 2017
Philly’s local ice cream artisans come together for the ultimate sweet summer soiree, featuring makers like Franklin Fountain, Little Baby’s, Lil’ Pop Shop and Zsa’s. Hosted by Reading Terminal Market, The Philly Ice Cream Scoop promises ice-cream-making demos, ice-cream-eating contests, ice cream shuffleboard and ice cream specials galore from merchants throughout the market.
Through July 16, 2017
Travel back 100 years to when the world underwent major political and cultural changes by checking out 1917: How One Year Changed the World at the National Museum of American Jewish History. Closing out the month, the exhibition includes artifacts like an original draft of the Balfour Declaration, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis’ judicial robes and more.
Through July 30, 2017
Catch the popular American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition before it departs from the National Constitution Center this month. The 5,000-square-foot display includes over 100 rare artifacts from the temperance movement, including a hatchet used by Carrie Nation, original ratification copies of the 18th and 21st amendments and a Prohibition Bureau Badge issued by the Department of Justice.
July 14-16, 2017
Every July, cult film fans flock to the historic Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville for Blobfest, a three-day horror-movie extravaganza. Many scenes from the 1958 horror/science-fiction movie The Blob were filmed at the Colonial Theatre and in Phoenixville, and every year locals celebrate their place in movie history with a weekend-long street party and several screenings of the film.
As the weather heats up, consider cooling off in one of Philly’s awesome museums. A wide array of special exhibitions can be explored at (air-conditioned) spots all around town this summer season. Make sure to check out Charles Sheeler: Fashion, Photography, and Sculptural Form at the Michener Art Museum, featuring an expansive display of fashion-focused photography from Sheeler produced for Conde Nast, and Tracing the Remains at the Mütter Museum, exploring what happens to your organs after death, before they close out this month.
What better way to cool off on a warm July day than with a cold beer in-hand? Fortunately, Philly is filled with beer gardens, perfect for a night out with friends, a happy hour with co-workers, dinner and drinks with the family and beyond. Head to a classic hotspot (Frankford Hall, Morgan’s Pier) or check out one of the city’s newer additions (Bok Bar, the Cira Green Beer Garden).
June 29 – July 4, 2017
Celebrating the nation’s birthday with a citywide festival for the 25th year in a row, Wawa Welcome America! is a multi-day party with free events for all ages, including outdoor concerts (with headliners like Mary J. Blige), free museum days, a patriotic parade, block parties and fantastic fireworks over the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Delaware River.
Tuesday, July 4, 2017
All of Philadelphia comes together in one giant bash for America’s birthday during Party on the Parkway. The day features musical performances, dancing, children’s activities, food galore and cultural events that celebrate the city’s many neighborhoods and nationalities.
June 30, 2017
The extended July 4th holiday weekend gets a tuneful start with a free performance by the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra on 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.
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 on July 1, 2017 for another highly anticipated evening performance. Also highly anticipated: the huge fireworks display that follows the band’s show.
July 3, 2017
In advance of July 4th, revelers can party the day (and night) away at the Philadelphia’s Historic District Block Party. The festivities will fill the streets around Independence Hall with live entertainment, food vendors, kids’ games and activities for all ages. Special appearances by 18th-century citizens will add a truly festive touch to the day-long fete, as will guests from some of Broadway’s biggest shows.
The BYOB (bring-our-own-blanket) POPS on Independence free concert has become a Philadelphia Fourth of July tradition — and for good reason. The combination of the Philly POPS under the baton of Michael Krajewski, the lively score of tunes and the dramatic backdrop of Independence Hall creates a perfect event for the eve of Independence Day.
July 4, 2017
Get the party started on July 4 with the The United States of America’s 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.
Night Market Philadelphia, the hugely popular, street-side, seasonal celebration of food, music and community, heads to West Philly’s Spruce Hill this month. Attracting thousands of visitors from around the region, the food-truck-filled festival gives market-goers an opportunity to check out some of the city’s up-and-coming neighborhoods and enjoy an evening of excellent eats and drinks al fresco.
Through July 4, 2017
Revolutionary: A Pop-Up Street Art Exhibition showcases free public artwork at 13 locations exploring revolutionary themes. The exhibit features a curated selection of street artists curated by Conrad Benner, the founder and editor of street art photo-blog streetsdept.com. Each exhibiting artist was tasked with creating or presenting a work of art that showcases his or her own interpretation of “revolution” and how that concept might challenge the social and political status quo.
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.