June 28, 2012
July 4th In Philadelphia Fireworks Guide And Best Places To Watch: Round One Saturday, June 30 At Penn’s Landing And The Main Event Wednesday, July 4 On The Parkway
The most explosive element of Wawa Welcome America, the 10-day celebration of July 4th in Philadelphia, is the fireworks.
This year there are two free fireworks shows in conjunction with Wawa Welcome America (and a third after the holiday on July 7; more on that soon). The first is on Saturday, June 30 at Penn’s Landing. The main event is on Wednesday, July 4 above the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
We want to make sure you’re well-equipped to enjoy it all, so we’ve assembled a handy guide to both dates, starting with the show this Saturday night:
Round One: Saturday, June 30
Location: Penn’s Landing
Concert: 8 p.m.
Fireworks: 9:30 p.m.
Taste of Philadelphia and the Super Scooper All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival provide summer-perfect eats at Penn’s Landing all afternoon and evening. Regina Carter and Gerald Veasley take the stage for some live musical entertainment.
The live concerts are followed by free fireworks, choreographed to a special soundtrack curated by Wawa Welcome America Musical Director Questlove of The Roots, over the Delaware River.
Best places to watch the Fireworks above the Delaware River on Saturday, June 30:
• Penn’s Landing: The Great Plaza (closest intersection is Columbus Boulevard and Chestnut Streets), where the main stage is, is of course a solid option. Other good spots at Penn’s Landing are anywhere along its southern stretch, from Dock Street to South Street.
• Morgan’s Pier: A brand new place to watch this year is Morgan’s Pier, a waterfront beer garden just to the north of the Ben Franklin Bridge. On Saturday, June 30, Algernon Cadwallader will play starting at 5 p.m. and Juan Maclean will be spinning Electronic and Dance music starting at 10 p.m. We suggest heading over even earlier in the evening to stake out one of the picnic tables on the deck and to dish on Chef David Katz’s delicious eats (snack bacon and fried Jersey tomatoes are two of our favorites) and the awesome selection of local craft beer.
• Race Street Pier: This lush park is an amazing spot to watch, complete with bleacher seating, but we recommend you get there early as it’s going to fill up fast. Also keep in mind that alcohol, BBQ and glass containers are not permitted at the Pier.
• Washington Avenue Green: This is another 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.
• 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 4th Annual Independence Day Splash on Saturday, June 30 from 6-9 p.m. Festivities include character appearances, music and personalities from 92.5 XTU and after-hours access to all of Adventure Aquarium’s exhibits. Cap off your evening with an unforgettable view of the fireworks as they cascade over the Philadelphia skyline; there’s also indoor viewing for younger guests who don’t like the loud sounds. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 children 2-12. New for 2012: drop off any two items for the USO from this list and receive a FREE parking voucher for the night.
• Battleship New Jersey: The Battleship Blast on June 30 incudes a delicious Surf n Turf Barbecue, cocktails, live music, Phillie Phanatic appearances, Philadelphia Zoo on Wheels, entertainment and a great view of the fireworks over the Delaware River at dusk. Tickets are $165 per person; to purchase, call 1 (866) 877-6262 ext. 144. Tickets just to watch the fireworks from the deck of the Battleship are a $10 donation. The Battleship will open at 7 p.m.
• Independence Seaport Museum: The 2012 Fireworks Spectacular is 6:30-10 p.m. on Saturday, an evening of food, libations and a perfect view of the fireworks over the Delaware. You can also visit the museum’s new exhibit Home of the Brave: War of 1812 in Art, Story & Song. Online sales end on Friday, June 29 at 5 p.m. and no tickets will be sold at the door.
• Hyatt Regency Philadelphia: The terrace at Keatings River Grill, which just reopened for the season, is a prime location for the fireworks show. A new summer menu this year fuses local fare with a modern edge and tapas-style dishes. And the Hyatt Regency Philadelphia has a great prix-fixe menu planned for Saturday; think Grilled Honey Glazed Salmon, Grilled Chipotle Flank Steak, mac and cheese and a giant dessert buffet ($25 adults, $13 for kids under 12).
• Ristorante La Veranda: This historic Northern Italian restaurant located on Pier 3 Penn’s Landing offers prime fireworks viewing on two levels.
• Moshulu: Docked permanently on the Penn’s Landing waterfront, the Moshulu will be open on Saturday, June 30 (and also the 4th). They’ll be serving the normal a la carte dinner menu and after dinner, you can join the rest of the crowd on the decks for the fireworks. If you are not dining on board, there is a $10 cover to watch the show on the decks.
There’s more, below, including suggestions for where to watch the July 4th fireworks in Philadelphia.
• Spirit of Philadelphia: Set sail on the Spirit of Philadelphia for a Fireworks Dinner Cruise on Saturday, June 30, with prices starting at $89.90, including Grande Buffet, DJ bar and unsurpassable views. Board at 7 p.m. and cruise until 11 p.m. There’s also a July 4 Champagne Dinner Cruise which includes one glass of champagne at boarding. Board at 6:30 p.m. and cruise until 10 p.m., with prices starting at $65.90 per person. Book July 4th Dinner Cruise Tickets using Promotion Code JULY4 to save 15%!
• SugarHouse Casino: SugarHouse is gearing up for July 4th with SugarBeach, a beach party kicking off June 30. Saturday sees a Lucky Luau, 2 p.m.-1 a.m., with live music, an authentic Hawaiian luau show with fire eaters and live music following the fireworks show all the way until 1 a.m.
• Revolution House: The Rev House roofdeck, festooned with colorful plants and foliage, will be open on Saturday, June 30, overlooking the Ben Franklin Bridge. In honor of the holiday, the restaurant/bar will feature a 15% discount on select “All American” menu staples and American Local Beers from Friday, June 30 through Saturday, July 7.
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 June 30 fireworks-watching.
The Main Event – Philly 4th of July Jam and Grand Finale Fireworks
Where: Benjamin Franklin Parkway, steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
- Concert: Concert programming starts at 7 p.m.; first performer scheduled to go on around 8 p.m.
- Fireworks: The fireworks display is estimated to begin at 10:30 p.m. by Wawa Welcome America, however the fireworks display could begin a little earlier or later depending on when the concert ends.
More info: www.visitphilly.com
Questions: consult @PhiladelphiaGov, @Philly311 and @July4thPhilly for updates and logistical info during the day on July 4.
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: Queen Latifah, Daryl Hall, Common, Joe Jonas and more.
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 Wednesday 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, sporting events, interactive games and make-and-take arts and crafts. Food vendors will fill the Parkway cooking up delicious food to purchase for everyone to enjoy.
Best places to watch the giant fireworks display above the Philadelphia Museum of Art on July 4:
• 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.
• Bistro St. Tropez: Beat the heat, the rain and the crowds at Bistro St. Tropez. Thanks to the resturant’s huge picture window overlooking the Art Museum, you’ll have an unblocked view of the fireworks. Enjoy dinner, an appetizer or just a cocktail at the bar. Chef Rames’ a la carte menu will be offered beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tip: call (215) 569-9269 now to receive the best seating.
• Embassy Suites Philadelphia: Located seven blocks from the Philadelphia Museum of Art straight down the Parkway, the Embassy Suites hotel offers a fantastic view of the fireworks. Staycation perhaps?
• The Windsor Suites: The hotel’s rooftop pool and sundeck, or private balconies in select suites, make for great fireworks-watching spots.
• Drexel Park: Located near the campus of Drexel University, Drexel Park offers incredible skyline views and a perfect spot to watch the fireworks away from the crowds.