July 2, 2012
There’s no better place to celebrate America’s birthday than the place it all began: Philadelphia.
Wawa Welcome America is in full swing with fireworks, festivals, free movies, concerts and more leading up to a massive July 4th Party on the Parkway.
To help keep it all straight, check out our day-by-day guide for Independence Day and beyond.
Monday, July 2
• Revolutionary War Re-enactments and Encampment: National Constitution Center. 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free. Several Continental Army regiments are setting up camp on the National Constitution Center’s front lawn through July 4. Discover what life was like for soldiers, camp followers, medical facilities, and blacksmiths during the Revolutionary War, complete with demonstrations throughout the day.
• Philly @ the Movies: “Why Did I Get Married?”: Dell Music Center. 9 p.m. Free. Enjoy a relaxing evening in scenic East Fairmount Park with a free screening of “Why Did I Get Married?” at the Dell Music Center.
Tuesday, July 3
• Mural Arts Paint Day: Independence Mall. 2-5 p.m. Free. Grab a brush and head to Independence Mall help paint the city’s newest mural honoring Philadelphia’s favorite live hip-hop band The Roots.
• POPS! On Independence: Independence Mall. 8 p.m. Free. Grab a blanket and save your place on Independence Mall as Peter Nero and the Philly Pops will once again celebrate America’s birthday with a patriotic free concert at Independence Hall.
Wednesday, July 4
• Celebration of Freedom: Independence Hall. 10-11 a.m. Free. Pay tribute to the history of our great nation right here where it began-at Independence Hall. A patriotic and inspiring morning full of celebration of music, speeches and a reading of excerpts from the Declaration of Independence will make this 4th of July unforgettable.
• Independence Day Parade: Historic Philadelphia. 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Free. America’s Birthday kicks off in America’s Birthplace with the annual Independence Day Parade through Historic Philadelphia. Join 5,000 participants from across the country as they march through the nation’s most historic mile.
• America’s Birthday Party at the Independence Visitor Center: Independence Visitor Center. 1 p.m. Free. Celebrate with Besty Ross, fife and drum and a Termini Bros’ five-tier cake designed and made specially for our nation’s 236th birthday.
• Free Admission to the National Museum of American Jewish History: For one day only, admission will be free at the National Museum of American Jewish History. Stop by and explore the museum’s first special exhibition, To Bigotry No Sanction: George Washington & Religious Freedom which examines George Washington’s historic and poetic letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island. Highlights of the exhibition include historic artifacts, early paintings of the Declaration of Independence and more. (Exhibition runs through September 30)
• Party on the Parkway: Benjamin Franklin Parkway. 12 noon – 7 p.m. Free.
The fun continues as thousands pack the Benjamin Franklin Parkway starting at noon for the day-long Party on the Parkway festival. Enjoy blocks of live music, delicious food and interactive fun until 7 p.m.
• July 4th Grand Finale Concerts & Fireworks: Benjamin Franklin Parkway. 20th Street to Eakins Oval. 7-11 p.m. Free. The Roots, Queen Latifah, Daryl Hall, Common, Joe Jonas and more will take center stage at Eakins Oval during the 4th of July Jam and Grand Finale Fireworks at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Click here for our guide of the best places to watch.
Check out more fireworks and fun to be had beyond the 4th, below.
Beyond the 4th
Thursday, July 5
• Light: Installations by Bruce Munro: No need to look to the sky as this spectacular light show is on ground level. Get the rare opportunity to explore Longwood Gardens after dark during the illuminating new exhibition from renowned UK light artist Bruce Munro. The garden-wide exhibition features 11 breath-taking, large-scale light installations throughout the grounds. (Through September 29)
• Screenings Under the Stars: Penn’s Landing. 8:30 p.m. Free. At dusk, head to Penn’s Landing for a free screening of “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” part of Screenings Under the Stars.
Friday, July 6
• The Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen: Discover the rocking origins Born in the U.S.A., browse more than 150 pieces of authentic memorabilia and learn about Bruce Springsteen’s rise to superstardom during From Asbury Park to the Promised Land: The Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen at the the National Constitution Center. (Through September 3)
• MAYA 2012: Lords of Time: Examine the famed prophecies doomed Mayan people during the fascinating new exhibition at the The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology.(Through January 13, 2013)
Saturday, July 7
• Megalodon: The Largest Shark that Ever Lived at the Adventure Aquarium: What’s 60-feet long and has teeth the size of a human hand? Discover the incredible Megalodon, a prehistoric shark that dominated the ocean 15 million years ago, part of Shark Fest at the Adventure Aquarium. (Through September 3)
• Star Spangled Evening and Fireworks: Penn’s Landing. 7:30 p.m. Free. The patriotic celebration continues on the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing with a free concert from U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” followed by an incredible fireworks show.
Sunday, July 8
• Re-Enactment of the First Public Reading of the Declaration of Independence: Independence Square. 12 noon. Free. Re-enactors will re-create the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence complete with audience interaction.
• Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times: The latest must-see exhibition at the Franklin Institute, Dead Sea Scrolls, has attracted visitors from far and wide, event the President himself. Don’t miss your chance to seen the largest and most comprehensive display of 20 ancient biblical scrolls. (Through October 12)