Is there anywhere better to celebrate the 4th of July than in Philadelphia, the city where independence was born? Don’t even try, Boston!
For the first time in a few years, you’re gonna get a real taste of the revelrous Independence Day festivities that Philly has been known for since the day the Declaration was signed — with patriotic musical performances, parades replete with marching bands and flag-draped floats, handfuls of fireworks shows and a massive festival and free concert that shuts down all of Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Below, you’ll find details about Philly’s biggest 4th of July events, but the fun doesn’t necessarily stop there. Call up your favorite brewery or distillery to see if and how they’re celebrating. Have dinner outdoors somewhere that gives you a chance to maybe see a fireworks show over dessert. And check our running list of ongoing summer attractions to see what kind of shenanigans are happening at places like Spruce Street Harbor Park, Cherry Street Pier or the newly installed Oval XP.
Happy 4th, everyone!
THINGS TO DO IN PHILLY OVER 4TH OF JULY WEEKEND
WHERE TO SEE FIREWORKS: Dang, it’s nice to have fireworks back. Philly lights up the sky on multiple nights after sunset — starting as early as July 1 — with fireworks shows that are preceded by free outdoor performances and festivals. These include:
- July 1, between Cherry and Race Street piers. Beforehand, both piers and the stretch between them host spoken word, dance and musical performances, food trucks and DJs from 6pm.
- July 1, at Citizens Bank Park. You don’t have to go to the 6:05pm Phillies-Cardinals game in order to see the fireworks over the field — you could view them from lots of spots in South Philly, outside the ballpark. But if you do go to the game, get tickets first (from $22).
- July 2, from the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing at Chestnut Street. Beforehand, the U.S. Army performance band Pershing’s Own performs at 7pm.
- July 3, Citizens Bank Park puts on a second fireworks show after a third matchup between the Phillies and the St. Louis Cardinals, at 7:08pm. Tickets to see the pyrotechnics (and the game) from inside the ballpark start at $17.
- July 4, from the Philadelphia Museum of Art at 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Beforehand, the Party on the Parkway closes down the boulevard for a big, free concert in front of the museum steps by Jason Derulo, Ava Max and Tori Kelly from 7pm.
- July 4, from Wiggins Park in Camden, NJ (or the Philly side of the Delaware, at Penn’s Landing). Camden County’s Freedom Festival includes an 8pm performance by the legendary O’Jays, followed by fireworks at 9:30..
PHILLY POPS PERFORMANCE: Long the suppliers of the soundtrack to Philadelphia’s Fourth of July festivities, the Philly POPS hosts its 43rd annual free Fourth of July weekend concert in front of Independence Hall — rife with rousing patriotic tunes and pop faves. Sunday, July 3, 7 to 9pm. South 6th and Market streets, free.
FOURTH OF JULY PARADE: Philly’s Salute to America Independence Day Parade returns for the first time since Covid, bringing to Market Street lines of soldiers dressed in Revolutionary era regalia, patriotic floats, military units, cultural performances and Miss America 2022 Emma Broyles, who’s serving as the parade’s grand marshal. Monday, July 4, 11am to noon. Market Street between 2nd Street and City Hall.
FUNK ON FOURTH: Want to get away from the fray on the 4th of July? Head to Fishtown, where funky Philly-born brass band Snacktime and Middle Child Clubhouse are throwing a block party under The El called Funk On Front. Besides music (SNACKTIME, Joshua Lang, Mochi Robinson and Great Time are performing), food and drink are the focus of the day with options running from pizza and ice cream to wine, beer cocktails and mocktails. Monday, July 4, 11am to 5pm. Middle Child Clubhouse, 1232 N. Front Street, $30.
PARTY ON THE PARKWAY: The Benjamin Franklin Parkway and some neighboring streets shut down to traffic for a massive Fourth of July street party featuring games, live performances, food trucks, drinking zones and so much more. Monday, July 4, noon to 7pm. Benjamin Franklin Parkway and N. 21st Street.
WAWA WELCOME AMERICA JULY 4TH CONCERT: The party on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway concludes with a big free concert with three headliners: Jason Derulo, Ava Max and Tori Kelly, and then a fireworks show over the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Monday, July 4, 7 to 9pm. Benjamin Franklin Parkway and N. 21st Street.
EAT THIS: Thai restaurant Kalaya and Mike’s BBQ teamed up on a Thai barbecue brisket sandwich that they’ll be serving to 100 lucky Philadelphians on Saturday night at Bok Bar. Mike’s BBQ’s signature brisket will meet Kalaya’s marinade of fermented fish, honey, and a blend of special rubs and spices that were brought here straight from Thailand. The meat comes piled with som tum (papaya salad) and squished between a Conshohocken Italian Bakery potato roll. Momday, July 4, from 2pm to sellout. 800 Mifflin Street, $19.50.
FREE MUSEUM ADMISSION: Over Fourth of July weekend, Wawa Welcome America is sponsoring tons of free museum days, which include:
- Friday, July 1: The Powel House, Faith and Liberty Discovery Center, the Penn Museum, Science History Institute, and the Masonic Temple, Library and Museum
- Saturday, July 2: Stenton historic home, National Liberty Museum
- Sunday, July 3: Barnes Foundation and Philadelphia Museum of Art
- Monday, July 4: Christ Church and Burial Ground and Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History
A REVOLUTION PLAY: Experimental stage troupe Theater Unspeakable stages The American Revolution starting this week in Old City’s Christ Church Neighborhood House. The family-friendly presentation fits a lot of boom and bang into 50 minutes, telling the entire story of America’s founding with physical comedy and tongue-in-cheek humor. Through July 4, various times. 20 N. American Street, $15–$25
GREAT ONGOING THINGS TO DO IN PHILLY RIGHT NOW
DELAWARE WATERFRONT ATTRACTIONS: Spruce Street Harbor Park and its neighboring Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest are open for the season with ferris wheels, floating beer barges, carnival games, roller skating, hammocks in neon-lit trees, cute little lodges you can rent with friends. It’s just too much excitement for one person to handle. Good thing it’ll be around for our enjoyment all summer long. S. Columbus Boulevard
KAYAK THE DELAWARE: The Independence Seaport Museum launched its summer 2022 kayak excursions on the Delaware River, happening on select weekends through October 22. There are several different tours you can sign up for — including one for beginners, and ones that explore different sections of the river, such as Graffiti Pier and Petty’s Island. Paddle Penn’s Landing, which lets you paddle around the river in swan- and other animal-shaped watercraft.
CHERRY STREET PIER: Cherry Street Pier is always bustling with some kind of activity — whether it’s art shows or food markets or visitors just sitting back, beer in hand, and gazing at the beautiful Delaware River views. Throughout the summer, they host a whole bunch of multicultural festivals, starting with the Irish Festival (Sunday, June 4), Islamic Heritage Festival (Sunday, June 11), Hispanic Fiesta (Saturday, July 9 and Sunday, July 10), and Celebrate Asia on nearby Race Street Pier (Saturday, August 6). 121 N. Columbus Boulevard
THE OVAL XP: The Oval XP — formerly known as Eakins Oval or just The Oval — is back on the Parkway with a massive, MilkBoy Philly-manned beer garden and a slew of events planned each week, such movie nights and lots of family-friendly activities. New additions include a massive new summer stage that will host live music throughout summer. You’ll also find a 108-feet tall ferris wheel (the world’s largest!) and a carousel. Every Wednesday to Sunday, June 16 to August 21. 24th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, pay as you go.
CITY HALL ROLLER RINK : The neon-hued outdoor Rothman Orthopaedics Roller Rink at Dilworth Park is now open through July 17. The rink is retro-inspired, with a checkerboard floor and colorful beach balls floating overhead. Guests are welcome to visit for hour time slots. Admission is $8 for children 10 and younger, and $10 for adults. Skate rental is $5. 1 S. 15th Street
CHINESE LANTERN FESTIVAL: Catch Franklin Square in Old City all aglow at nights during the Chinese Lantern Festival. After dark, dozens of lanterns shaped like pandas, samurais, bamboo forests, swimming whales and an impossible-to-miss 200-foot-long dragon transform the city park into an absolute wonderland. The Dragon Garden serves beer; vendors serve made-to-order noodles and such, and performances pepper the stage. Nightly through August 7, 6 to 11pm. 200 N. 6th Street, $12 to $20.Header photo by J. Fusco / Visit Philadelphia