Your guide to July 4 in Philadelphia

Here are the top things to do in Philadelphia on July 4. | R. Myers for Visit Philadelphia
R. Myers for Visit Philadelphia

The United States of America turns 242 this year, and there’s no better place to be than Philadelphia, our country’s birthplace.

While firing up the BBQ and staying home with family and friends is certainly an option, there are a ton of free activities all over the city thanks to Wawa Welcome America that you can make the most of as well.

Here are our top picks on things to do in Philadelphia on July 4.

Sand Sculpture Spectacular
9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Shops at Liberty Place
1625 Chestnut St.

Start off your July 4 by making a stop at the Sand Sculpture Spectacular at The Shops at Liberty Place. World-renowned sculptors have created a 40-ton sand sculpture to commemorate Parkway 100, which celebrates 100 years of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Hungry? Stop by SoBol Philly (46 S. 17th St.) for healthy breakfast options like acai bowls, smoothies and of course, coffee!

Celebration of Freedom Ceremony
10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Independence Hall
520 Chestnut St.

Head down to the historic district for the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony, which will feature Mayor Jim Kenney, City Representative Sheila Hess (who will also emcee), The Philly POPS Big Band and more. The theme for this year is “Welcoming the World with Love: Drafting the Future” and will highlight community service achievements in Philadelphia, with the presentation of the Wawa Foundation Hero Award and the Third Annual Magis Award.

Free Museum Day
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
National Museum of American Jewish History
101 South Independence Mall East

A few steps away from Independence Hall is the National Museum of American Jewish History, and on July 4, you can go to the museum for free! There will be talks, Independence Day-themed art projects (like painting your own flag), and of course, there is plenty to see in the museum’s collection, including their special exhibit on legendary composer Leonard Bernstein. Taking in so much information is sure to make you hungry. Luckily Red Owl Tavern is only a block away, and has extensive menu to satisfy both parents and kids, alike. (Pro tip: If you get the Red Owl Tavern Burger, take it over the top by adding a fried egg.)

7th Annual Birthday Party at Independence Visitor Center
Independence Visitor Center
599 Market St.
1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Who doesn’t sweet treats on their birthday? At Independence Visitor Center, a five-tier cake will be on display along with 2,500 cupcakes in the shape of an American flag, to celebrate America’s birthday, beginning at 9 a.m. Once the cake is finished being decorated at 1 p.m., Betsy Ross will sing “Happy Birthday” with the crowd. After that, everyone gets to eat free cake and cupcakes thanks to Termini Bros. It is first-come, first-served, however.

Party on the Parkway
12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Benjamin Franklin Parkway

If you didn’t fill up on cupcakes before heading over to the free Party on the Parkway, that’s okay, as there will be a ton of food trucks on site, like The Cow and The Curd, Mama’s Meatballs, Nick’s Roast Beef, Bassett’s Ice Cream and Empanada Guy. There will also be live music from up-and-coming Philly artists on the Chill Moody stage like Foxtrot and the Get Down, Shawn Smith, Hard Work Movement and more. The Claymobile will also be at The Kids Zone section of Party on the Parkway, giving free lessons to kids on ceramics and even claymation.

July 4 Concert and Fireworks
7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
2451 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

If you’re already at Party on the Parkway, stay put for the spectacular fireworks display and free concert later on in the evening. Grammy-winning artist Pitbull is headlining the concert this year and will be joined by Broadway star, Heather Headley, and The Philly POPS Big Band. 

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