How to Celebrate the Fourth of July in Philly This Year
Watch the fireworks, party the long weekend away, or visit a free museum.
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. Between the weeklong series of events leading up to the big day, to the free concert on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philly puts on a grand display of patriotism for the Fourth of July.
For the first time in a couple years, the city’s Independence Day celebrations are back in full swing, so you know what that means: Fireworks, parties, outdoor concerts, and all the summer fun you can pack into one long weekend. Here’s where to take advantage of your extra day off and celebrate the Fourth of July in Philadelphia.
East Market Street between 2nd Street and City Hall
With an all-new route along Market Street and Miss America as the grand marshal, the Salute to America Independence Day Parade will provide an epic kick off 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.
Take advantage of the AC and free exhibits
As a part of the festivities, three Historic Philadelphia institutions—Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History, Christ Church and Burial Ground, 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 Future Will Follow the Past: An Exhibition by Jonathan Horowitz” at the Weitzman, Ben Franklin’s grave at Christ Church, and “The 19th Amendment: How Women Won The Vote” at the Constitution Center.
Museum of the American Revolution
While not included in the free admission extravaganza, the Museum of the American Revolution couldn’t possibly pass up the opportunity to celebrate. Throughout the museum, actors will present historical reenactments, museum staff will show off replicas of items Continental soldiers would’ve had in their knapsack, and replicas of flags flown by privateers and navy ships at sea during the Revolutionary era will be displayed.
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.
Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show Grounds, Glenmoore, Pa.
Before fireworks pepper the sky, hot air balloons will be the spectacle du jour at the final day of the Philly Balloon and Music Festival. Book a tethered balloon ride, enjoy a performance from Dylan Zangwell & Stolen Sun, and marvel at the mass balloon launch at 6 pm where all the hot air balloons will fly away into the night. The event also features food trucks, plenty of beer and other refreshments, and a car show.
Cost: $10-20 general admission, $325 balloon ride
Benjamin Franklin Parkway from Logan Square to the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Immediately following the morning’s parade on Market Street, the city’s grand Party on The Parkway kicks off. All day long, musicians will perform on two stages, food trucks will be doling out delicious eats, and kids will have plenty of games to play. Feel free to bring picnics and chairs and blankets in anticipation of the night’s big concert and fireworks show—also on the Parkway.
Middle Child Clubhouse
If you’d rather avoid the Parkway, hang in Fishtown all day as Middle Child Clubhouse hosts a block party full of funk under the El. Enjoy snacks from Liberty Kitchen, Pitruco, 1-900-ICE-CREAM, Le Bouchon, and JamBrü Ferments while local music acts Joshua Lang, Great Time, SNACKTIME, and Mochi Robinson perform.
High Street between Charlotte and York Streets, Pottstown, Pa.
The folks in Pottstown hold a daylong Fourth of July festival—cutely named Pottstown GoFourth! Festival—starting with a parade at 10:15 am from Adams Street to Manatawny 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.
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, starting at 5 pm, headlined by musical act The O’Jays. 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.)
Ditch the crowds on land and book a three-hour dinner cruise that extends into the fireworks shows. Nibble on some baked ziti 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.
Benjamin Franklin Parkway
The daytime party at the foot of the Art Museum turns into a nighttime one with some grade-A musical talent. Starting at 7 pm, the stage will be graced by musical acts Jason Derulo, Ava Max, and Tori Kelly, just be sure to get there early to snag some real estate for sitting or standing.
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.
If you’re vacationing down the shore this holiday weekend, take to the Wildwood boardwalk —what else—fireworks. Starting at 10 pm, the spectacle will be set to a patriotic soundtrack and will 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.