June 8, 2018

Philadelphia’s Classic Fourth Of July Celebration Lasts A Full Week

Wawa Welcome America! Includes Two Fireworks Shows, 18 Free Museum Days, Countless Concerts

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The Historic Philadelphia Block Party brings a traditional Philadelphia community street party to Independence National Historical Park. Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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The fireworks over the Philadelphia Museum of Art wow onlookers along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and all over the city. Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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The Philly Pops put on a free patriotic salute outside Independence Hall after the Historic District Block Party. Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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One highlight of the Wawa Welcome America festival is outdoor movies shown on big screens in iconic city spots. Photo by C. Smyth for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Each July 4, the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony at Historic Philadelphia’s Independence Hall pays tribute to the Declaration of Independence. Photo by R. Myers for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Celebrating the nation’s birthday in its birthplace, Wawa Welcome America! offers fantastic fireworks (shown here at Penn’s Landing).
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The Historic Philadelphia Block Party brings a traditional Philadelphia community street party to Independence National Historical Park. Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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As the Fourth of July parade winds through the streets of Historic Philadelphia, onlookers fill Independence Mall, onlookers fill Independence Mall. Photo by R. Myers for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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No one does the Fourth like those who did it first. The proof? Philadelphia’s weeklong Wawa Welcome America. Fifty free, fabulous, family-friendly events bring the crowds to America’s birthplace from June 28 through July 4, 2018. That’s when the region hosts multiple fireworks shows, including two impressively huge pyrotechnic displays. Other highlights: the third annual Historic District Block Party, which, this year, celebrates the forthcoming Philadelphia Bourse, free museum days—with an ultra-rare opportunity to explore the majestic First Bank of the United States—an expanded roster of outdoor concerts and a Fourth of July finale on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, with a free concert starring Pitbull.

To take in all the patriotic fun, locals and visitors are encouraged to spend a night or two in the city. The best way to do that is to book the perks-packed Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package, which always comes with the freedom to park free of charge. It’s available at visitphilly.com/overnight.

Fireworks & Fun:

  • United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own” Concert and Fireworks – This free concert serves up patriotic tunes, followed by patriotic pyrotechnics featuring new-this-year special effects. Saturday, June 30. Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard,
    (215) 629-3200, delawareriverwaterfront.com
  • Party on the Parkway – The finale to the seven-day festival is a daylong outdoor celebration featuring city blocks of family fun. At 7 p.m., The Philly POPS Big Band, spectacular Tony-winner Heather Headley and “Mr. Worldwide” Pitbull take the stage. And at 9:30 p.m., the city’s biggest fireworks display, featuring new special effects and a love-inspired soundtrack, illuminate the skies over the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Wednesday, July 4. 26th Street &
    the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (267) 546-5424, welcomeamerica.com


  • Summer Love Launch Party – Philadelphia City Hall gets the party started with a five-hour event featuring multiple musicians and loads of local food and drink. Thursday, June 28. Broad & Market Streets, (267) 546-5424, welcomeamerica.com
  • On the Delaware Music Festival – Folk, funk, new age and old school—more than a dozen acts in all—play all day in Northeast Philadelphia’s Pennypack On The Delaware Park. Event is free. Saturday, June 30. State Road south of Rhawn Street, (215) 685-0060, musiconthedelaware.com
  • Gospel on Independence – More than 150 dancers and singers, including the singing preacher group, The Four Tenors, take the stage in front of Independence Hall for a concert of soulful, spirited voices. Sunday, July 1. Between 5th & 6th Streets and Market & Chestnut Streets, (267) 546-5424, welcomeamerica.com
  • Broadway Philadelphia on Independence – Some of the highest highlights from 10 of Broadway’s most famous musicals, including Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, Love Never Dies, Miss Saigon, Cats, Rent and Hamilton go onstage at this live preview of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ 2018-2019 Broadway series. Sunday, July 2. Between 5th & 6th Streets and Market & Chestnut Streets, (267) 546-5424, welcomeamerica.com
  • POPS on Independence – The largest standalone pops orchestra in the United States invites fans to BYOB (bring your own blanket) for a concert of patriotic tunes with Independence Hall as the backdrop. Tuesday, July 3. Between 5th & 6th Streets and Market & Chestnut Streets, (267) 546-5424, welcomeamerica.com

Philly Fourth Classics:

  • Rocky screening at the Philadelphia Museum of Art – The 1976 Academy Award-winner screens by the steps, site of that iconic, jubilant jog. Sunday, July 1.
    2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (267) 546-5424, welcomeamerica.com
  • Philadelphia’s Historic District Block Party – This free, seven-hour-long, classic Philly street celebration returns to Independence Mall for year three. New this year: The Philadelphia Bourse will preview the neighborhood’s awesome and historic new food hall. Also on tap: a kids’ stage and zone, beer garden, food trucks, pop-up performances and plenty of history to take in. Tuesday, July 3. Between 5th & 6th Streets and Chestnut & Arch Streets, (267) 546-5424, welcomeamerica.com
  • Celebration of Freedom Ceremony – The day’s kickoff begins at Independence Hall during a patriotic presentation. This year’s honorees: Frank Giordano and the Philly POPS. As always, the morning includes a reading of the Declaration of Independence, followed by music and remarks. Wednesday, July 4. 6th & Chestnut Streets, (267) 546-5424, welcomeamerica.com
  • United States of America’s Independence Day Parade This big-city event with a small-town feel features dozens of colorful floats, marching bands, military groups and more than 6,000 participants from across the nation in a musical, colorful cavalcade winding through the streets of the Historic District. Wednesday, July 4. Starts at 5th & Chestnut Streets, (267) 546-5424, welcomeamerica.com
  • America’s Birthday Party – Betsy Ross and Termini Bros. Bakery co-host a sweet celebration at the Independence Visitor Center, complete with a five-tier cake and 2,500 cupcakes in the shape of Old Glory. Wednesday, July 4. 6th & Market Streets, (267) 546-5424, welcomeamerica.com
  • Children’s Naturalization Ceremony – Thirteen very lucky kids take the Oath of Citizenship in a naturalization ceremony in the courtyard of the Betsy Ross House. Tissues recommended. Wednesday, July 4. 239 Arch Street, (215) 629-5801, betsyrosshouse.org

Picnics, Food & Fun:

  • Wawa Hoagie Day – There is such a thing as a free lunch—a free piece of a seven-ton hoagie, that is—when the festival sponsor and beloved Pennsylvania-based convenience store offers slices of one epic sandwich on the lawn of the National Constitution Center. New this year: the USO Show Troupe sings and marches to honor military, fire and police. Thursday, June 28. 525 Arch Street, (267) 546-5424, welcomeamerica.com
  • Red, White & Blue Happy Hours – Bars and restaurants throughout Center City—from The Deck at the Moshulu on the Delaware River to Sonesta’s Art Bar in Center City—add patriotic food and drink to their mixes for two late afternoons during the festival. Friday, June 29 & Monday, July 2. Various locations, (267) 546-5424, com
  • Philly Ice Cream Scoop – New this year: 14 of Philadelphia’s top ice cream makers scoop their wares for adoring dairy fans at the historic Reading Terminal Market. Market merchants get in on the ice cream act too with sweet specials. Saturday, June 30. 12th & Filbert Streets, (215) 922-2317, readingterminalmarket.org
  • Pennsylvania Convention Center Community Festival – The blocks-long facility between 11th and Broad Streets opens its doors to the general public in celebration of its 25th The open house will include tours of the center’s $1.5 million art collection, a birthday cake and a screening of SING! Saturday, June 30. 12th & Arch Streets, (215) 418-4700, paconvention.com
  • Picnic in the Park – Valley Forge National Historical Park hosts a come-one, come-all outdoor picnic, complete with barbecue, live music, artillery and weapons demonstrations, Revolutionary-era storytelling, kids games, historic reenactments and trolley tours of the site where General George Washington and his troops endured the notorious winter of 1777 to 1778. Wednesday, July 4. 1400 N. Outer Line Drive, King of Prussia, valleyforge.org

Free Museum Days:

For seven days of the festival, major Philly attractions offer free (or pay-what-you-wish) entry. Here’s the where and when:

  • Thursday, June 28:
  • Friday, June 29:
    • Penn Museum, 3260 South Street, (215) 898-4000, penn.museum
    • Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 236-3300, easternstate.org
  • Saturday, June 30:
    • First Bank of the United States, 116 S. 3rd Street, (215) 965-2305, nps.gov/inde
    • Free Library of Philadelphia Parkway Central Branch, Rare Book Department, 1901 Vine Street, (215) 686-5416, freelibrary.org
    • The Rosenbach (pay what you wish), 2008 Delancey Place, (215) 732-1600, rosenbach.org
    • Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent (pay what you wish), 15 S. 7th Street, (215) 685-4830, philadelphiahistory.org
    • Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 118-128 N. Broad Street, (215) 972-7600, pafa.org
  • Sunday, July 1:
    • One Liberty Observation Deck, 1650 Market Street, 57th floor, (215) 561-3325, phillyfromthetop.com
    • The Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 278-7200, barnesfoundation.org
    • Fort Mifflin, 1 Fort Mifflin Road, (215) 685-4167, fortmifflin.us
    • African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street, (215) 574-0380, aampmuseum.org
  • Sunday, July 1 and Monday, July 2:
    • Philadelphia Museum of Art (pay what you wish), 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 763-8100, www.philamuseum.org
  • Monday, July 2:
    • The Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia (pay what you wish), 19 S. 22nd Street, (215) 560-8564, muttermuseum.org
  • Tuesday, July 3:
    • National Liberty Museum, 321 Chestnut Street, (215) 925-2800, org
  • Rodin Museum (pay what you wish), 2151 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 763-8100, rodinmuseum.org
  • Wednesday, July 4:
    • National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Mall East, (215) 923-3811, nmajh.org

Wawa Welcome America! Calendar of Events:

Thursday, June 28:

  • Wawa Hoagie Day, Independence Mall
  • Summer Love Launch Party, Philadelphia City Hall

Friday, June 29:

  • Red, White & Blue Happy Hours, various locations

Saturday, June 30:

  • On the Delaware Music Festival, Pennypack on the Delaware Park
  • Philly Ice Cream Scoop, Reading Terminal Market
  • Pennsylvania Convention Center Community Festival, Pennsylvania Convention Center
  • United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own” Concert and Fireworks, Penn’s Landing

Sunday, July 1:

  • Gospel on Independence, Independence Hall
  • Rocky, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Monday, July 2:

  • Red, White & Blue Happy Hours, various locations
  • Broadway Philadelphia on Independence, Independence Hall

Tuesday, July 3:

  • Philadelphia’s Historic District Block Party, Independence Mall
  • POPS! on Independence, Independence Hall

Wednesday, July 4:

  • Celebration of Freedom Ceremony, Independence Hall
  • Independence Day Parade, Historic District
  • Picnic in the Park, Valley Forge National Historical Park
  • America’s Birthday Party, Independence Visitor Center
  • Party on the Parkway, Benjamin Franklin Parkway

To request a media credential for Wawa Welcome America!, please complete the application at welcomeamerica.com/media by Friday, June 22, 2018. One application per person. Approved credentials are non-transferable. Approval itself is not guaranteed. Applicants will receive notice of application status via email by Wednesday, June 27, 2018.

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.