Independence Mall is home to the Independence Visitor Center, Independence Hall and the National Constitution Center, all of which host July 4th festivities throughout the weekend. (Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia)
Few locales are better suited to celebrating America’s birthday than Historic Philadelphia, where independence was born.
Head to Historic Philadelphia to celebrate the nation’s 238th birthday with special events, daily activities for the kids and extended hours at can’t-miss historic attractions like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.
Today, Wednesday, July 2, is Hoagie Day on Independence Mall, and with the free sandwiches comes free admission to the National Constitution Center, activities all throughout the day and more.
Tomorrow evening, Thursday, July 3, the Philly Pops! take to Independence Mall with a free patriotic concert, and come Friday, July 4, the steps of Independence Hall will be graced with the presence of Vice President Joe Biden before a marvelous parade kicks off day-of Fourth of July festivities.
Note, too, that extended hours are available at the National Constitution Center July 2-3, and at the Independence Visitor Center, Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center July 2-5.
Continue reading for our rundown of fun activities and events happening in Historic Philadelphia during July 4th and beyond.
Wednesday, July 2
• All-American Celebration: July 2-6, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Independence Mall, 6th and Market streets. Meet the nation’s founding fathers, including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, participate in Colonial-era games, sign up to become a member of the Continental Army and enjoy daily special events during the All-American Celebration at the National Constitution Center in Historic Philadelphia on Independence Mall and at the Independence Visitor Center. Tons of daily activities keep the young (and young at heart) engaged all day long — from giant flag-folding workshops and flag-raising ceremonies to spirited performances of Songs of Liberty, Loyalty, Libations and Love. Check here for the complete lineup of activities.
• 1776 Experience Revolutionary War Encampment: July 2-4, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street. A part of the All-American Celebration, experience the life of an American Revolutionary War soldier as you enter a recreated historic military encampment on the lawn of the National Constitution Center. Practice mustering with the troops, visit the wounded in a medical tent, look for a new sword at the blacksmith shop or go hands-on with carpentry and leatherwork as you experience the soldier’s life.
• Go 4th and Learn about History: History of the Hoagie: Wednesday, July 2, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street. Learn how Philadelphia’s famous sandwich became known as the hoagie and discover how Wawa grew from a small dairy farm to an iconic local business during this one-day exhibition at the National Constitution Center. Bonus: the first 200 children will get a free book.
• Wawa Hoagie Day: Wednesday, July 2, noon. Independence Visitor Center Lawn, Market Street between 5th and 6th streets. Bring your appetite to this tasty annual event as Wawa will be serving up 4.5 tons of free hoagies for a patriotic celebration on Independence Mall. Plus, admission to the National Constitution Center is totally free in honor of Hoagie Day, too. Throughout the day, enjoy hoagie themed events and exhibitions including the History of the Hoagie and History of Wawa exhibitions along with What America Eats: History of the Hoagie, a family-friendly show examining the different names we have for the American Hoagie.
• Free Admission to the National Constitution Center: Wednesday, July 2, 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street. Admission to the National Constitution Center is free on July 2,for Hoagie Day, courtesy of Wawa. Throughout the day, enjoy hoagie themed events and exhibitions including the History of the Hoagie and History of Wawa exhibitions. The museum hosts extended hours, too, remaining open until 8 p.m.
Don't be surprised if you spot a mummer or two on July 4th in Philadelphia during the Independence Day Parade in Historic Philadelphia. (Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia)
For our complete coverage of July 4th in Philadelphia — click here.
For more July 4th events in Historic Philadelphia, see below.
Thursday, July 3
• Pops! on Independence: Thursday, July 3, 8 p.m. Venue Change: Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce streets. Join the Philly POPS! for a free, patriotic celebration in honor of America’s birthday. The annual all-American themed concert includes a performance of the 1812 Overture and excerpts of the Declaration of Independence read by Thomas Jefferson. ***UPDATE: Due to inclement weather, the free Philly Pops concert has been moved indoors to the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall. The doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the concert will go on at 8 p.m.
Friday, July 4 — Independence Day!
• Celebration of Freedom Ceremony with Remarks from Vice President Joe Biden: Friday, July 4, 10-11 a.m. Steps of Independence Hall, 6th and Chestnut streets. Pay tribute to the history of our great nation at Independence Hall with an inspiring morning of music, speeches and a reading of excerpts from the Declaration of Independence. This year’s ceremony recognizes the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board Supreme Court decision. In addition to the annual celebrations, this year’s ceremony also includes remarks from none other than the Vice President of the United States Joe Biden. With the introduction of the Vice President to the lineup, attendees should expect additional on-site security and large crowds of onlookers.
• Independence Day Parade: Friday, July 4, 11 a.m. Parade starts at 6th and Chestnut Streets. More than 5,000 participants will take to the streets of Historic Philadelphia for a patriotic and colorful parade featuring marching bands, floats, military members and more. Hosted by the City of Philadelphia and Wawa Welcome America, the parade is an old-timey Fourth of July tradition.
• Free Admission at the National Museum of American Jewish History: Friday, July 4, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 101 S. Independence Mall East. Report to the National Museum of American Jewish History on the Fourth of July for free admission, great views of the Independence Day Parade from the fifth floor terrace, and a slew of activities throughout the day, including story time, flag making and more. Don’t miss the special exhibition, Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American.
• Franklin Square Independence Day Family Fun: Friday, July 4, noon-3 p.m. Franklin Square, 7th and Race streets. Celebrate America’s birthday at Franklin Square park in historic Philadelphia with carnival games ($.25 per play) and the Franklin Square attractions, including the carousel and Lightning Bolt Express Train.
• 4th of July at the Powel House: Friday, July 4, noon-6 p.m. Powel House, 244 S. 3rd Street. Celebrate the 4th of July at the Powel House with a day-long celebration featuring guided tours, barbecue, cocktails, live music and more. Tickets are available online in advance or at the door.
• Let Freedom Ring: Friday, July 4, 1-2 p.m. Independence National Historical Park, 5th and Market streets. Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence and Pennsylvania Society’s Sons of the Revolution take part in this special event in the shadow of Independence Hall. The morning of celebration concludes with symbolic tapping of the Liberty Bell at 2 p.m.
• America’s Birthday Party with Betsy Ross and Termini Bros. Bakery: Friday, July 4, 1 p.m. Independence Visitor Center, 6th and Market streets. The Independence Visitor Center is hosting a sweet celebration for America’s Birthday with Termini Brothers Bakery. Join Betsy Ross for the unveiling of the world’s largest (and tastiest) American Flag made of cupcakes, which you’ll then get to taste for free.
Saturday, July 5 and Sunday, July 6
• 8th Annual Phyzz Fest: Saturday, July 5, 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Physick House Museum & Garden, 321 S. 4th Street. Head to the Physick House Museum to celebrate America’s first soda with samples brewed from an original recipe created by Dr. Philip Syng Physick — the “Father of American Surgery” and “Soda’s Pop.” The afternoon celebration features ice cream from The Franklin Fountain and a variety of family-friendly activities.
• All-American Celebration: Meet & Greet with Martha Washington: July 5, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Independence Mall, 6th and Market streets. Meet the nation’s founding mother, Martha Washington, as the four-day a href=”http://constitutioncenter.org/calendar/an-all-american-celebration-on-independence-mall”>All-American Celebration wraps up on Independence Mall and the National Constitution Center front lawn.
Tuesday, July 8
• 238th Anniversary of the Reading of the Constitution: Tuesday, July 8, 11:50 a.m. Independence Hall, 6th and Chestnut streets. Commemorate the 238th anniversary of the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence in the place it actually happened. The free event outside Independence Hall features costumed National Park Rangers and free copies of the Declaration of Independence. Visitors can enter the event from 5th and Chestnut Streets.
Costumed characters recreate history in Historic Philadelphia during multiple Independence Day celebrations. (Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia)
For our complete coverage of July 4th in Philadelphia — click here.