Wawa Welcome America’s sensational fireworks are back for two additional, and final, rounds of lightning fun this Saturday, July 2 and Monday, July 4.
It’s a high-octane weekend and we want to make sure you’re well-equipped to enjoy it all. Check out our guides to both dates:
SATURDAY, JULY 2
Location: Penn’s Landing
Concert: 8 p.m.
Fireworks: 9 p.m.
First off, on July 2, the “Two Cities, One Waterfront” Concert features the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” on the RiverStage at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing at 7:30 p.m. and the Air National Guard Band of the Mid-Atlantic at 6 p.m. across the river at Wiggin’s Waterfront Park in Camden. The live concerts are followed by free fireworks, choreographed to a patriotic soundtrack, over the Delaware River at 9:30 p.m.
Don’t forget about the Super Scooper All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival noon-5 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. down at Penn’s Landing earlier that day, and the food- and music-filled Chinatown Block Party noon-4 p.m.
Best places to watch the Fireworks above the Delaware River on Saturday, July 2:
• Penn’s Landing: The concert takes place at the Great Plaza (closest intersection is Columbus Boulevard and Chestnut Streets), so the Great Plaza is one solid option. Other good spots at Penn’s Landing are anywhere along its southern stretch, from Dock Street to South Street.
• The brand-new Race Street Pier: This is going to be an amazing spot to watch but we recommend you get there early, as it’s probably going to fill up fast. Also keep in mind that alcohol, BBQ and glass containers are not permitted at the Pier.
• Washington Avenue Green: Another new park on the Delaware River Waterfront, at 1301 S. Columbus Blvd, formerly Pier 53.
• Wiggin’s Park: Across the river in Camden, you can get an equally spectacular view of the fireworks from Wiggin’s Park, located near Adventure Aquarium and the Battleship New Jersey. It’s free and open to the public. Miss America will be in attendance for the July 2 fireworks!
• Penn Treaty Park: Penn Treaty Park’s seven acres of open green space and clean picnic areas provide a great vantage point from which to watch the fireworks.
• Adventure Aquarium: The aquarium is hosting its 3rd Annual Independence Day Splash on Saturday, July 2 from 6:30–10 p.m. and a special, all-inclusive V.I.P Open Bar Event from 7-11 p.m. It’ll be an exclusive evening strolling through “America’s Most Touchable Aquarium,” with 8,500 of the planet’s coolest animals. Then enjoy one of the best views of the fireworks; there’s also indoor viewing for younger guests who don’t like the loud sounds. Bonus: you can print a voucher for free parking at the aquarium when you book an online ticket, valid July 2-4. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 children 2-12 (VIP tickets are $69, including four-hour open bar and picnic style fare.)
• Battleship New Jersey: You can take tours of the battleship from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (reserve in advance) then stick around to view the fireworks. In attendance will be the Phillie Phanatic and animals from the Philadelphia Zoo, plus you can enjoy live music, face-painting and snacks and frosty beverages. Bonus: The Battleship will be selling raffle tickets to all guests on Saturday evening; one lucky winner will get the chance to pull the trigger and fire the 5-inch portside gun to end the fireworks show! Raffle tickets are $5 per person, or get three for $10. The winning ticket will be drawn and announced at 8:30 p.m. This Tour and Fireworks Combo is $18/person, or $36 for families of 3, 4 or 5. Call 1-866-877-6262 ext. 107 to buy.
• Independence Seaport Museum: Watch the fireworks from the Seaport’s balcony at the 2011 Fireworks Spectacular, July 2, 6:30-10 p.m. Tickets start at $25 and include an evening of family entertainment, drinks, and dinner.
• Hyatt Regency Philadelphia: The patio at Keatings River Grill would be a prime location for the fireworks show. The newly revamped cocktail menu provides the perfect refreshments for the evening.
• Village Belle: Head to the grassy space adjacent to Village Belle as Chef-owners Joey and Lou Campanaro will be grilling Little Owl burgers, made with a signature La Frieda blend, topped with bacon and cheese. The knoll is a prime spot for viewing the July 2 fireworks, and a live DJ will add to the evening’s sensory satisfaction. The party’s hopping from 5 p.m.-late. $8/burger.
More, below, including a full guide to watching the July 4th fireworks in Philadelphia and an event map of all the Wawa Welcome America festivities this weekend.
• The Philadelphia Belle: Celebrate America’s birthday from 40 feet above the water. Enjoy an All-American BBQ & Fireworks Cruise. Board at 7 p.m.; cruise from 7:30–10:30 p.m., Adults: $65; children: $44; Kids under 3 cruise FREE. Tickets are still available online.
• Spirit of Philadelphia: Set sail on the Spirit of Philadelphia for a Fireworks Dinner cruise, with prices starting at $80, including Grande Buffet, DJ bar and unsurpassable views. Board at 7 p.m. and cruise until 10:30 p.m. There’s also a July 2 lunch cruise ($38); board at 11:30 a.m., cruise until 2 p.m. Book both online.
• SugarHouse Casino: SugarHouse is gearing up to host a night of food and fireworks on July 2 with its inaugural “Red, White and Winning Celebration.” Along the waterfront, the casino will host concession stands offering hot dogs, cotton candy, popcorn, soft pretzels, novelty ice cream and more from 7-10 p.m. The path is open to the public, but guests must be 21 years old to enter the casino. During the day, The Waterfront at SugarHouse will be home to the casino’s weekly “Jammin’ on the River” performance, featuring reggae and island music starting at 4:30 p.m. Drink specials also will be available from 6-8 p.m.: $4 specialty margaritas and $3 craft draft beers.
NOTE: there’s a $3 Camden Waterfront to Philadelphia Shuttle, which links the Camden Waterfront to the Independence Visitors Center at 5th & Market Street, the perfect vantage point for July 2 fireworks-watching.
MONDAY, JULY 4
Location: Benjamin Franklin Parkway, steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Concert: 7 p.m.
Fireworks: around 10:30 p.m.
Philly’s Fourth of July Jam, the official name for the 4th of July concert, is headlined by The Roots thanks to drummer Questlove’s role as Wawa Welcome America musical director. Other musical headliners include: Earth, Wind and Fire; Michael McDonald; DJ Jazzy Jeff; and Sara Bareilles. The concert will include a special tribute to the 40th Anniversary of Gamble and Huff’s iconic Philadelphia International Records, “The Sound of Philadelphia.”
Giant screens and speakers will broadcast the concert all along the Parkway, which kicks off at 7 p.m. The fireworks follow with an ETA of 10:30 p.m.
Get to the Parkway early on Monday for the Party on the Parkway Festival beginning at noon, featuring seven blocks of exciting and educational activities, games, entertainment and food. There will be three music stages, a Multicultural Arts Pavilion with Latin Music Workshops and Chinese make-and-take arts and crafts, the MHP Liberty Strongman Classic featuring feats of strength involving concrete cyclinders and the like, and the Go 4th & Learn Kid’s Fun Zone featuring inflatable obstacle courses and moon bounces, face painting and crafts.
Best places to watch the giant Fireworks display above the Philadelphia Museum of Art on July 4:
NOTE: The outer lanes of the Parkway will be closed to car traffic for the first time ever, so you’ll have expanded options for viewing.
• Benjamin Franklin Parkway: You can stake out a spot anywhere along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from Logan Circle to Eakin’s Oval. The entire street is shut down in honor of the celebration. Tip: try to grab a spot at the baseball fields at 22nd and the Parkway.
• Martin Luther King Drive: This is another great place, right across the the Schuylkill River from gorgeously lit Boathouse Row. Anyone driving in from the suburbs will find it convenient to settle in along here for the evening.
• Schuylkill River Park: There’s lots of grass along the banks for comfortable viewing, with a beautiful view of the Art Museum. It’s a super convenient spot for Center City residents, since it’s accessible via the Walnut Street Bridge, Race Street crossing and other connectors.
• Lemon Hill in Fairmount Park: There’s a a gorgeous mansion, and lots of space to set up your lawnchairs. One advantage of this site is the elevation. Bring a BBQ!
• Kelly Drive: There are many places along the river with great views of the display, including Boathouse Row and the open field at the intersection of Kelly Drive and Sedgley Drive.
• Best Western Center City: Conveniently located right on the parkway, this hotel is the closest hotel to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and affords prime views of the events if you know anyone staying there and can watch from inside (or outdoor pooldeck, anyone?) or just want to situate yourself close to the action.
An event map of all the Wawa Welcome America festivities this weekend: