The Fourth of July’s roots are forever tied to Philadelphia, thanks to the signing of the Declaration of Independence taking place there. Because of that, the city is celebrating for the entire holiday weekend. The Wawa Welcome America Festival is the city’s annual celebration taking place over several days. Visitors can find a number of markets, performances, food and more when they stop by in July, and there’s plenty of other Independence Day celebrations throughout the city that’s sure to get you in the holiday spirit.
Philadelphia Fourth of July Celebrations
July Fourth Concert and Fireworks
The part of the festival that’s the most well-known is the annual concert and fireworks. The event takes place on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway starting at 7 p.m., where guests can ring in the holiday with a bang. This year’s concert will be headlined by award-winning artists Jason Derulo and Ava Max. Afterward, stick around for their fireworks show that will light up the city with red, white and blue. An added treat to the display is the DJ syncing music to the show when you listen to DJ Ghost and Q102, so it’s sure to be a music-filled night that you won’t forget.
Celebration of Freedom Ceremony
Before you spend the night singing along to the concert, you can find several events around the city to make the party last all day long. Philadelphia’s festivities begin with the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony at Independence Hall. The ceremony reminds attendees what the holiday is for and where it came from as it begins with a reading of the Declaration of Independence. The city then presents its annual local awards, including Mayor Jim Kenney’s Magis Award and the Wawa Foundation Hero Award, to community members who have worked to help others throughout the year. The ceremony is the perfect way to honor the local heroes of the past and present that represent what the holiday is all about.
Salute to America Independence Day Parade
Holidays are usually associated with parades, so you know Philadelphia will celebrate with the biggest parade of them all. Sure enough, their Salute to America Independence Day Parade is taking place this year at 11 a.m. The parade is taking on a new route at East Market Street that travels between Second Street and City Hall. With this year’s Miss America leading the way as Grand Marshal, you can spend the morning watching floats, bands and dancers in historical costumes take to the streets and celebrate the holiday with patriotic style.
Party on the Parkway
For some afternoon fun, head onto Benjamin Franklin Parkway for their annual afternoon festival, Party on the Parkway. The festival is full of outdoor fun for all ages that doesn’t stop until the concert later that night. You can check out three performance stages full of live entertainment throughout the day, as well as games, food trucks and giveaways. You might even have a chance to win access to the front section of the concert when you visit the Pennsylvania Turnpike! Kids can have their own fun at the festival as well, thanks to the PECOS Kids Zone filled with activities that will have them celebrating the holiday in their own way.
Our America Now
While the 4th of July is only one day, Philadelphia celebrates all weekend. If you’re in the city for that long, stop by the Cherry Street Pier and Race Street Pier on July 1 for Our America Now. This immersive event brings the stories of America’s oldest history to life with the help of artists from Olive Dance Theatre and We The People Stage. The evening includes a variety of spoken word, song and dance performances that bring the country’s history to life, and some parts are even interactive! After the show, be sure to stick around for a festival and fireworks performance that brings everything together into one special evening.
POPS on Independence
On July 3, head to Independence National Historical Park for the 43rd annual POPS on Independence. The concert is led by the Philly POPS, a 65-piece orchestra known for playing American popular music. This year’s concert will have a soulful twist added into the mix and will feature Broadway star Ryan Shaw to help bring their songs to life. Before the show, head to The Bourse Food Hall to find a pre-party of food and fun that will make your evening pop with holiday flair.