No one does the Fourth like those who did it first.
Case in point: Philadelphia’s Wawa Welcome America festival and its 50 free, fabulous events peppered throughout the week leading up to and on the Independence Day holiday (June 28-July 4).
Visitors and residents of the City of Brotherly Love can catch two major fireworks shows, free outdoor concerts from local and national acts, outdoor festivals and block parties, free entry to local museums and attractions, a parade and so much more during this weeklong romp.
Check out our guide to the top ways to celebrate the Fourth of July in Philadelphia below.
Watch a Spectacular Fireworks Show
It wouldn’t be the Fourth of July without brilliant fireworks! Philly hosts two impressively huge displays during Wawa Welcome America. The first show lights up the Delaware River waterfront following a free concert by the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” on June 30 and the second — the city’s biggest fireworks display with all-new special effects — blazes in the sky above the Philadelphia Museum of Art on July Fourth.
Celebrate at the Party on the Parkway and the July 4th Concert (with Pitbull!)
Ring in Independence Day at the massive Party on the Parkway. From afternoon to night on July Fourth, revelers flock to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for live entertainment, food trucks, craft beer gardens, a zip line and more. Stick around for the Wawa Welcome America epic grand finale: a free concert starring Pitbull, Heather Headley and the Philly POPS Big Band followed by a massive fireworks show.
Stroll the 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.
Score Free or Pay-What-You-Wish Admission to 18 Philly Museums and Attractions
From June 28 through July 4, nearly 20 of Philly’s best museums and attractions offer free or pay-what-you-wish entry for Wawa Welcome America. Explore the National Constitution Center (June 28), the Philadelphia Museum of Art (July 1-2), the National Liberty Museum (July 3) and 15 other museums and attractions citywide for free (or a donation of your choosing) in celebration of the nation’s birthday.
Tune Into a Free Movie Screening
Where better to catch the Philly-favorite classic Rocky than on the iconic steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (July 1)? Four other free movie screenings — The Nutty Professor (June 28), E.T. (June 29), SING (June 30) and Pitch Perfect (July 2) — go down at different indoor and outdoor venues all across Philly throughout Wawa Welcome America. For even more outdoor movie screenings over the Fourth and beyond, check here.
Check Out The United States of America’s Independence Day Parade
Colorful floats, marching bands, military groups and more than 6,000 participants promenade from Independence Hall through the streets of Philadelphia’s Historic District at the marvelous United States of America’s Independence Day Parade.
Chow Down on Free Hoagies, Cupcakes and Cake
Dreams do come true: On June 28, tons of Wawa hoagies get doled out to visitors — for free! — on the lawn of the National Constitution Center at the 26th annual Wawa Hoagie Day dedicated to honoring our troops. And on the Fourth of July, the Independence Visitor Center throws an epic birthday party for America, complete with a five-tier cake and 2,500 cupcakes arranged in the shape of an American flag. After singing Happy Birthday, visitors can enjoy the treats for free. Bonus event: the Philly Ice Cream Scoop, where 14 of Philadelphia’s top ice cream makers scoop their chilly confections for visitors at Reading Terminal Market, happens during Wawa Welcome America as well (June 30).
Take in Live Music at an Outdoor Concert
Live music reverberates through the city at outdoor concerts throughout the holiday week. This year, Wawa Welcome America presents three (!) free concerts on Independence Mall in front of Independence Hall: a soulful gospel concert on July 1, a preview of music from the Kimmel Center’s 2018-2019 Broadway series on July 2 and a patriotic performance by the Philly POPS on July 3. Then, on the Fourth of July, the blockbuster Wawa Welcome America concert featuring Pitbull rocks the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. All of these shows — plus the free music festival at Pennypack On The Delaware Park on June 30! — make for a pretty sweet-sounding week.
Hit Up an Independence Day-Themed Food and Drink Event
Grab a cold one at Wawa Welcome America’s festive food-and-drink events surrounding the Fourth of July. Bars and restaurants throughout Center City add patriotic food and drink to their menus for Red, White & Blue Happy Hours (June 29 and July 2), SugarHouse Casino presents drinks, food and live music on the waterfront for Red, White and Brewfest (June 30) and lawn games and the sweet smell of barbecue take over at The Schmidt’s Commons for their Red, White and Blue Beer-BQ (June 29).
Check Out a Festive Neighborhood Party
Wawa Welcome America parties blanket the entire region. Don’t miss the five-hour kickoff event at City Hall featuring multiple musicians and loads of local food and drink (June 28) and community celebrations and picnics at Mifflin Park in South Philadelphia (June 29), the Pennsylvania Convention Center (June 30) and Valley Forge National Historical Park in King of Prussia (July 4).
BONUS: Stay Over in Philly
Take advantage of the holiday and stay over with the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package, offering free hotel parking and a number of amazing perks, including free tickets to the Museum of the American Revolution, free tickets for a ride on the Ferris wheel and roller skating at Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest, a $25 CHeU Noodle restaurants gift card, free mini-golf and a carousel ride at Franklin Square, free passes to ride the PHLASH Downtown Loop and a $10 Lyft credit.