As the birthplace of the nation, Philadelphia is a great spot to spend the Fourth of July, the nation’s birthday. Fortunately, this city celebrates like no other!
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Wawa Welcome America!, Philly’s major Independence Day festival.
From Thursday, June 29 to Tuesday, July 4, six full days of all-ages activities — concerts, free museum days, firework shows, block parties, parades — are set to unfold surrounding the patriotic holiday.
WAWA WELCOME AMERICA FAST FACTS
- Wawa Welcome America unfolds Thursday, June 29 to Tuesday, July 4.
- 50-plus free events will take place citywide.
- Four fireworks shows are scheduled across multiple days.
- The festival closes out with a huge concert featuring Mary J. Blige, followed by a fireworks display.
Four Fireworks Shows
The Fourth of July means colorful fireworks displays, and this year, Wawa Welcome America celebrates the holiday with more shows than ever before.
First, enjoy two spectacular displays over the Delaware River, both taking place at 9:30 p.m. — one show on Friday, June 30 and a second show on Saturday, July 1.
Then, on Tuesday, July 4, two grand finale fireworks displays will take place nearly simultaneously. Choose between the Delaware River Waterfront and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, with each display beginning around 9:30 p.m.
New This Year
In addition to majestic fireworks shows, there are a handful of brand-new happenings set for this year during Wawa Welcome America.
The 21-plus crew can look forward to red, white and boozy events, like special happy hours and brunches, at Moshulu, Art Bar at the Sonesta, City Tap House Logan, Cafe Cret and Midtown Continental. Happy hours will be offered on June 29 from 4 to 7 p.m., where you can score July 4th swag and enter to win two reserved seats to the Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert and Fireworks.
Participating locations will also host a Red, White and Brunch on July 2. For a complete list of happy hour and brunch locations, click here.
On Saturday, July 1 from 5 to 9 p.m., an evening of food, drinks and live music awaits at SugarHouse Casino’s Red, White and Brew event, after which you can stay to view the Delaware River Waterfront fireworks display that night.
Another debut to look out for is Culture on Tap, bringing a pop-up al fresco drinking area to the courtyard of City Hall.
The Philadelphia Night Market also teams up with Wawa Welcome America for an Independence Day edition of the food truck haven, traveling to Spruce Hill on July 1.
Other new events include The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts Independence Weekend Salute to Musical Theater, a star-studded sneak peak at the 2017-2018 Broadway Philadelphia season featuring performances at Philadelphia’s Historic District Block Party on Monday, July 3.
And on July 1, the Wawa Welcome America Performances in Public Spaces will bring 10 performers to 10 different neighborhoods for free shows that feature everything from hip-hop dancing to storytelling to capoeira to jazz.
50+ Free Events
In addition to the plethora of new events, Wawa Welcome America’s tried-and-true traditions return, too. For starters, the popular Wawa Hoagie Day is back (for its 25th year!), kicking off the six-day festival on June 29 from noon to 2 p.m. Come out to Independence Mall to check out a salute to U.S. troops and the distribution of hundreds (and hundreds) of free hoagies.
Free Museum Days are back as well, bringing five days of free admission to eight museums throughout the city, including the National Constitution Center, Penn Museum and Eastern State Penitentiary.
Philly @ The Movies offers three evening outdoor film screenings at The Schmidt’s Commons, the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Franklin Square.
Be sure to also save the date for Philadelphia’s Historic District Block Party on July 3 from noon to 7 p.m., which will feature three stages for various artists to perform and will be followed by a show from The Philly POPS in front of Independence Hall at 7 p.m.
Other free concerts include those by The Mummers, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” taking place June 29-July 1 at select locations.
Plus, the annual Party on the Parkway on July 4 (12-7 p.m.) brings an entire afternoon of entertainment, spanning five blocks along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. From music on the Philly Groove stage to a make-and-take arts and craft station to a Kidz Bop Kids concert to delicious beer and drink options, the patriotic party welcomes those of all ages.
It’s followed by the Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert beginning at 7 p.m., featuring Mary J. Blige along with several other award-winning artists.
Check out the whole list of July 4th events right here.
Stay tuned for more on America’s birthday party.