How to Celebrate Fourth of July in Philadelphia This Year

The birthplace of America shows us how it’s done with fireworks, beer bucket specials, and more.

Wawa Welcome America July 4th Fireworks
Wawa Welcome America July 4th Fireworks | Photo by Elevated Angles for VISIT PHILADELPHIA® / VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
Wawa Welcome America July 4th Fireworks | Photo by Elevated Angles for VISIT PHILADELPHIA® / VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

If America were a person, the “city of birth” section on her birth certificate would read Philadelphia. As a result, Philly takes Independence Day very seriously—and between the weeklong series of events leading up to the big day, to the free concert on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, this is the epicenter for grand displays of patriotism on the Fourth of July.

Once again, the Independence Day celebrations—think fireworks, parties, outdoor concerts, and all the summer fun you can pack into one long weekend—are scheduled around the clock leading up to and during the holiday. Here’s where to celebrate the Fourth of July in Philadelphia this year.

Museum of the American Revolution
Museum of the American Revolution plaza and building exterior. | Courtesy of Museum of the American Revolution

Friday, June 30 to Tuesday, July 4
Old City
Throughout the Museum of the American Revolution, actors will present historical reenactments, replicas of prominent Philadelphia revolutionary locales—a military encampment, a tavern, a home, and an 18th-century meeting house—will be set up, and replicas of flags flown on navy ships at sea during the Revolutionary era will be displayed. If you’re feeling brave, you can venture outside the museum for expert-led tours of the neighborhood.
Cost: $13-21

Fort Mifflin
Fort Mifflin | Flickr/Michael Stokes

Tuesday, July 4; 10 am–4 pm
Mud Island
Famous as the location of a six-week battle in the fall of 1777, Fort Mifflin historians tell the story of the epic bombardment during guided tours of the fort. Plus, a visit to the fort includes musket and cannon demonstrations and a Revolutionary War display that provides insight into soldiers’ everyday life. BYO picnic and make a whole thing of it.
Cost: $8-12

Tuesday, July 4; 10:15 am–4 pm
Pottstown, Pa.
The folks in Pottstown hold a daylong Fourth of July festival—cutely named Pottstown GoFourth! Festival—starting with a parade at 10:15am on High Street. Immediately following, a street festival kicks off with live music, food trucks, a beer garden, vendors, kids games and face painting, inflatables, and, the day’s crowning moment: a fireworks show.
Cost: Free

Independence Day Parade
Independence Day Parade part of the multi-day Wawa Welcome America festival. | R. Myers / EDITORIAL USE APPROVED; ©VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

Tuesday, July 4; 11 am–12:30 pm
East Market
With a route along Market Street and a performance from Miss America 2023, Grace Stanke, the Salute to America Independence Day Parade will provide an epic kick off to your festivities. The parade features floats, United States Military units, marching bands, cultural groups, dance performances, historical characters, and more, so there’s something for everyone.
Cost: Free

Take advantage of AC and free exhibits

Tuesday, July 4
Multiple locations
As a part of the festivities, three Philadelphia institutions—Cliveden House, the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center, and National Constitution Center—are offering free admission on Independence Day. Alongside great temporary exhibits and permanent collections, these museums have strong AC making a perfect escape for what’s sure to be a hot afternoon. Don’t miss “The Turmoil of Transition” at Cliveden; “Liberty’s Light,” an immersive step back into colonial Philadelphia at the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center; and the Revolutionary War encampment on the lawn of the National Constitution Center.
Cost: Free

Tuesday, July 4; 12 pm–5 pm
New Hope
It’s a classic barbecue in Peddler’s Village! Come for the smoked turkey legs and burgers, stay for the cornhole and watermelon eating contests. Other old-fashioned lawn games like a three-legged race and balloon toss will have you feeling all nostalgic.
Cost: Pay-as-you-go

Tuesday, July 4; 12 pm–7 pm
A twist on the ol’ red-white-and-blue festivities, Independence Gay promises an all-day lineup of queer artists performing music, drag, and burlesque at Love City Brewing. Beer and other bevs are provided by Love City and the food is lovingly prepared by Haley Quinn’s Food Truck.
Cost: $15-50

Tuesday, July 4; 5 pm
You thought Philly was the only one with a Fourth of July party? Just across the Delaware River, Camden, New Jersey hosts its own Independence Day festival at Wiggins Park headlined by musical act UB40. Come for the entertainment, stay for the beer, food, and, of course, fireworks—those will kick off at 9:30 pm and will be visible both in Camden and in Philly. (Try Spruce Street Harbor Park, Blue Cross Riverrink Summerfest, Cherry Street Pier, and Race Street Pier for Philly-side viewing.)
Cost: Free

Tuesday, July 4; 6:30 pm–10:30 pm
Delaware River Waterfront
Ditch the crowds on land and book a three-hour dinner cruise that extends into the fireworks shows. Nibble on some Caribbean Jerk Braised Pork from the buffet and then once the sun sets, head out to the deck to get a 360-degree view of all the pyrotechnics at the Philly fireworks show as well as the display in nearby Camden.
Cost: $260-350

Tuesday, July 4; 7 pm
Benjamin Franklin Parkway
What says “America” more than a free concert? Starting at 7 pm, the stage will be graced by musical acts Ludacris and Demi Lovato, just be sure to get there early to snag some real estate for sitting or standing (and to see the openers DJ Diamond Kuts and Snacktime).
Cost: Free

Wawa Welcome America Fireworks, Penn’s Landing
Wawa Welcome America Fireworks, Penn’s Landing | Photo by L. Berckey for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

Tuesday, July 4; 9:45 pm
Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Once the sun is fully set—around 9:45 pm or so—get ready for the night’s crowning event: an over-the-top fireworks show. The dazzling pyrotechnic display is shot from behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art so the Parkway offers some of the best views. But Assembly Rooftop at the Logan Hotel, Boathouse Row, and Schuylkill Banks are great viewing spots, too.
Cost: Free

Tuesday, July 4; 10 pm
If you’re vacationing down the shore this holiday weekend, take to the Wildwood boardwalk for their fireworks show. The spectacle will be set to a patriotic soundtrack and can be easily viewed from anywhere along the boardwalk or beach. Don’t forget to grab a slice of pizza and an airbrushed t-shirt for the full boardwalk experience.
Cost: Free

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Allie Volpe is a Philadelphia-based contributor for Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter.