Where’s the best place to celebrate July 4th? The place where it all began, of course. Right here in Philadelphia.
Friday, July 4, 2014 brings a full day of festivities from historical commemorative ceremonies to a blowout concert on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Where to begin? We’ve got a rundown of all the events going on throughout the day on July 4th — broken down hour by hour right up until the fireworks scheduled for 10:30 p.m.
How to get around? Your best bet is to take public transportation including SEPTA and the Phlash Trolley. Note that due to Independence Day events on July 3 and 4, some service will be limited on the Philly Phlash trolley. Check right here for more information on Phlash holiday routes.
Remember, all events and fireworks shows are scheduled rain or shine. In case of inclement weather, follow @July4thPhilly on Twitter and Wawa Welcome America on Facebook for up-to-the-minute information.
Read on for the hour-by-hour rundown of Independence Day events.
Morning — 10 A.M.-Noon
• 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. Plus, 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.
• Camden Waterfront Freedom Festival: Family Freedom Day: Friday, July 4, 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Wiggins Park, Camden Waterfront. The patriotic celebrations on the Camden Waterfront side of the Delaware River continue on the Fourth of July with a day of free live music, free military displays and demonstrations, free giveaways the Flying Fish Brewery Beer Garden and more. On the main stage, look for live music from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., with the Harmony Show Choir, Zydeco A-Go-Go and more.
• 10th Annual Germantown Independence Day Celebration: Friday July 4, 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m., 5501 Germantown Avenue and beyond. A free daylong celebration of the 4th of July happens at six Historic Germantown member sites: Stenton, Hood Cemetery, Concord School & Upper Burial Ground, Johnson House, Cliveden, and Wyck. Head to this historic district for a day of free tours, activities for children, live music, reenactors, a farmer’s market, and the annual ringing of the historic Concord School bell.
For our complete coverage of July 4th in Philadelphia — click here.
For more hour-by-hour July 4th in Philadelphia action, see below.
• 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.
• Pay-What-You-Wish Admission to the Philadelphia History Museum: Friday, July 4, 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 15 South 7th Street. The Philadelphia History Museum houses a great collection of Philadelphia-centric art and artifacts in a historic building dating to 1826, located just around the corner from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Visit this gateway into Philadelphia history on the 4th and pay whatever you wish for admission.
• Battleship New Jersey Fantail BBQ: Friday, July 4, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Battleship New Jersey, Camden Waterfront. Step aboard the Battleship New Jersey for a special July 4th barbecue on the deck of the historic vessel. Be sure to check out the Teach Fleet Lego Display featuring massive, naval-themed Lego models up to eight-feet long.
Afternoon — Noon-7 P.M.
• Party on the Parkway: Friday, July 4, noon-7 p.m. Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 20th Street to Eakins Oval. Head to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to celebrate America’s Birthday with a massive block party and celebration featuring live music family-friendly activities, games, food and so much more. Look out for vendors and food trucks to line the Parkway, and for live music at the Questlove Stage on the north side of Eakins Oval at 23rd Street and the Global Music Stage is at 20th Street.
• Super Scooper All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival: Friday, July 4, noon-6 p.m. Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard. Bring your sweet tooth to Penn’s Landing for the three-day, immensely popular all-you-can-eat ice cream spectacular benefiting the Joshua Kahan Fund for pediatric cancer. A $7 donation is required to join the fun.
• Franklin Square Independence Day Family Fun: Friday, July 4, noon-3 p.m. Franklin Square, 7th and Race streets. Celebrate America’s birthday at Franklin Square park in historic Philadelphia with carnival games ($.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, $40 for adults including food and tours, are available online in advance or at the door.
• 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.
• 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.
Evening — 7-11 P.M.
• Philly 4th of July Jam: Friday, July 4, 7-11 p.m., Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 20th Street to Eakins Oval. Perhaps the most hotly anticipated event, the Party on the Parkway wraps up with a huge concert on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway — the Philly 4th of July Jam — which brings legendary musicians to a pop-up stage in front of the Art Museum year after year. Philadelphia’s own hometown heroes The Roots are back again with a killer lineup and, for the second year, VH1 has partnered up with Wawa Welcome America to provide a high-definition nationwide broadcast of the Philly 4th of July Jam. The 2014 music lineup features great names like Ed Sheeran, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Hudson, Aloe Blacc and, of course, The Roots.
• SugarHouse Casino’s Outdoor Summer Concert Series Kick-Off: Friday, July 4, 9 p.m. SugarHouse Casino, 1001 N. Delaware Avenue. The July 4th weekend brings the kick-off concerts of the SugarHouse Casino’s Outdoor Summer Concert Series, a summer-long free music series. On Friday, show up for a show from ‘60s and‘70s American funk band WAR (Spill the Wine, anyone?).
• Philly 4th of July Jam’s Grand Finale Fireworks on the Parkway: Friday, July 4, Fireworks estimated to start at 10:30 p.m. Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Following the largest free concert in the country, a spectacular fireworks show shines high above the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Presented by Wawa Welcome America, the fireworks draw crowds of tens of thousands of people and are visible all throughout Fairmount Park, the Fairmount neighborhood and the Parkway. Looking for where to watch? Check here.
For our complete coverage of July 4th in Philadelphia — click here.