Roundup: Our Top Picks For Family-Friendly Wawa Welcome America July 4th Celebrations In Philadelphia

Philadelphia's annual July 4th celebration includes something fun for every family member, from fireworks to parades to outdoor food festivals. (Photos by G. Widman for GPTMC)

Philadelphia is going all out for July 4th, and it’s the perfect destination for families seeking a kid-friendly celebration.

Whether it’s an all-you-can-eat ice cream festival or Disney Channel star-studded Fam Jams concert at Penn’s Landing, there’s something for every family. Best part: almost every event is free!

Fun fact: Independence National Historical Park spans 55 acres on 20 city blocks, including Independence Hall, the National Constitution Center and other sites that shaped the formation of America. Philadelphia’s Independence Day footprint can’t be outmatched.

Check out our top family-friendly selections:

Go 4th and Learn educational programs: Wawa Welcome America sponsors a three-program interactive educational series appropriate for all ages, at the Franklin Square, Dell Music Center and Franklin Institute. Children can learn about the science of fireworks and enjoy make-and-take arts and crafts, face-painting and more. June 27, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; June 28, 10 a.m.-noon; and July 2, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. FREE.

Philly at the Movies outdoor screening series: Enjoy an alfresco flick every night this week at sites around town ranging from Penn’s Landing to Rittenhouse Square. June 27-July 1, 9 p.m. FREE.

Fam Jams concert at Penn’s Landing: For the fifth year, Penn’s Landing hosts a kid-friendly live concert featuring top tween talent. This year’s headliners are Emily Osment from Disney Channel’s “Hannah Montana,” and former American Idol contestant Tim Urban. July 3, 1-5 p.m. FREE.

Super Scooper All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival: It’s a sticky-fingered, melty-mouthed ice cream lover’s dream: a $7 donation to the Joshua Kahan Fund for Pediatric Leukemia gets you a spoon with which you can sample creamy ice cream and cold water ice from more than 20 vendors! July 2-4, Saturday noon–5 p.m. and 6 – 9 p.m., Sunday noon–5 p.m., Monday noon–5 p.m. $7.

Wawa Welcome America fireworks shows: It’s not the Fourth without fireworks, and Welcome America’s got those in spades. Enjoy two more free spectacular fireworks displays (after the first show this past Saturday) on Saturday, July 2 around 9:30 p.m.and, of course, Monday, July 4 around 10:30 p.m. Check out our guides to where to watch, the concerts that precede each showing and more. FREE.

Philly POPS on Independence Mall: It’s the 10th anniversary concert for the POPS on the mall this year, and a great opportunity to bring the kids. Enjoy patriotic music with a packed picnic on the lawn, with tunes ranging from big band, Broadway and film scores to rousing marches and patriotic anthems. Sunday, July 3, 8:30 p.m. FREE.

Civil War Road Show: Franklin Square, in and of itself a fantastic family summer destination, is hosting a Civil War-themed road show over July 4th weekend, based in a 53-foot expandable 18-wheeled trailer and complete with hands-on, interactive displays to tell Civil War stories that will be engaging for the whole family. July 1-4, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. FREE.

Independence Day Parade: The annual parade is bigger and better than ever in 2011 with more than 4,000 participants from a dozen states, including 16 marching musical groups, nine floats, five military branches and plenty of special guests. The Independence Day Parade has been expanded two blocks in 2011, starting at 5th and Chestnut streets, continuing right on 9th Street and heading one block before turning onto Market Street. The procession comes to an at Front Street. July 4, beginning at 11 a.m. FREE.

THE MAIN EVENT: July 4th Party on the Parkway and Philly’s Fourth of July Jam: First, Party on the Parkway kicks off at noon, a day-long festival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway featuring seven blocks of exciting and educational activities, games, entertainment and food for sale. Then, the Philly 4th of July Jam will take over the Parkway July 4 from 7-10 p.m. featuring Philly’s own The Roots, plus Earth, Wind and Fire; Michael McDonald; Sara Bareilles and more. Stick around for the fireworks display (see above), usually around 10:30 p.m. July 4, noon-10 p.m. FREE.

Also noteworthy: you can download a free Wawa Welcome America Patriot Pass for excellent discounts at 120+ restaurants, shops, museums and other attractions in the Philadelphia area to save big as you celebrate America’s Birthday.

Another bonus: if you’re down in the Historic Philadelphia area early and looking for something to do, hours for Independence Hall and Liberty Bell are extended to 7 p.m. this whole week, through July 4th. And from 5-7 p.m., tickets are not required!

July 4th in Philadelphia
When: Now through Monday, July 4
Where: Locations vary
Cost: Most events are free!
More info:


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