Philadelphia

How to Celebrate the Fourth of July in Philly This Year

Watch the fireworks, party the long weekend away, or visit a free museum.

Wawa Welcome America
Wawa Welcome America
Wawa Welcome America

If America were a person, the “city of birth” section on her birth certificate would read Philadelphia. As a result, Philly takes Independence Day very seriously. Between the weeklong series of events leading up to the big day, to the free concert on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philly puts on a grand display of patriotism for the Fourth of July.

For the first time in a couple years, the city’s Independence Day celebrations are back in full swing, so you know what that means: Fireworks, parties, outdoor concerts, and all the summer fun you can pack into one long weekend. Here’s where to take advantage of your extra day off and celebrate the Fourth of July in Philadelphia.

Wawa Welcome America
Wawa Welcome America
Wawa Welcome America

Start the day with a parade

East Market Street between 2nd Street and City Hall
With an all-new route along Market Street and Miss America as the grand marshal, the Salute to America Independence Day Parade will provide an epic kick off your festivities. The parade features floats, United States Military units, marching bands, cultural groups, dance performances, historical characters, and more, so there’s something for everyone.
Cost: Free

National Constitution Center
National Constitution Center
National Constitution Center

Take advantage of the AC and free exhibits

Multiple locations
As a part of the festivities, three Historic Philadelphia institutions-Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History, Christ Church and Burial Ground, and National Constitution Center-are offering free admission on Independence Day. Alongside great temporary exhibits and permanent collections, these museums have strong AC making a perfect escape for what’s sure to be a hot afternoon. Don’t miss “The Future Will Follow the Past: An Exhibition by Jonathan Horowitz” at the Weitzman, Ben Franklin’s grave at Christ Church, and “The 19th Amendment: How Women Won The Vote” at the Constitution Center.

Try to hit as many museums as possible

Museum of the American Revolution
While not included in the free admission extravaganza, the Museum of the American Revolution couldn’t possibly pass up the opportunity to celebrate. Throughout the museum, actors will present historical reenactments, museum staff will show off replicas of items Continental soldiers would’ve had in their knapsack, and replicas of flags flown by privateers and navy ships at sea during the Revolutionary era will be displayed.
Cost: $13-21

Flickr/Michael Stokes
Flickr/Michael Stokes
Flickr/Michael Stokes

Hang out at an actual Revolutionary War battlefield

Fort Mifflin
Famous as the location of a six-week battle in the fall of 1777, Fort Mifflin historians tell the story of the epic bombardment during guided tours of the fort. Plus, a visit to the fort includes musket and cannon demonstrations and a Revolutionary War display that provides insight into soldiers’ everyday life. BYO picnic and make a whole thing of it.
Cost: $6-10

Philly Balloon & Music Festival
Philly Balloon & Music Festival
Philly Balloon & Music Festival

Go on a hot air balloon ride

Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show Grounds, Glenmoore, Pa.
Before fireworks pepper the sky, hot air balloons will be the spectacle du jour at the final day of the Philly Balloon and Music Festival. Book a tethered balloon ride, enjoy a performance from Dylan Zangwell & Stolen Sun, and marvel at the mass balloon launch at 6 pm where all the hot air balloons will fly away into the night. The event also features food trucks, plenty of beer and other refreshments, and a car show.
Cost: $10-20 general admission, $325 balloon ride

Hang out on the Parkway with a few thousand of your closest friends

Benjamin Franklin Parkway from Logan Square to the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Immediately following the morning’s parade on Market Street, the city’s grand Party on The Parkway kicks off. All day long, musicians will perform on two stages, food trucks will be doling out delicious eats, and kids will have plenty of games to play. Feel free to bring picnics and chairs and blankets in anticipation of the night’s big concert and fireworks show-also on the Parkway.
Cost: Free

libertykitchenphl
libertykitchenphl
libertykitchenphl

Eat hoagies and listen to funk music

Middle Child Clubhouse
If you’d rather avoid the Parkway, hang in Fishtown all day as Middle Child Clubhouse hosts a block party full of funk under the El. Enjoy snacks from Liberty Kitchen, Pitruco, 1-900-ICE-CREAM, Le Bouchon, and JamBr├╝ Ferments while local music acts Joshua Lang, Great Time, SNACKTIME, and Mochi Robinson perform.
Cost: $30

Go Fourth and celebrate in Pottstown

High Street between Charlotte and York Streets, Pottstown, Pa.
The folks in Pottstown hold a daylong Fourth of July festival-cutely named Pottstown GoFourth! Festival-starting with a parade at 10:15 am from Adams Street to Manatawny Street. Immediately following, a street festival kicks off with live music, food trucks, a beer garden, vendors, kids games and face painting, inflatables, and, the day’s crowning moment: a fireworks show.
Cost: Free

Celebrate the holiday on both sides of the river

Wiggins Park
You thought Philly was the only one with a Fourth of July party? Just across the Delaware River, Camden, New Jersey hosts its own Independence Day festival at Wiggins Park, starting at 5 pm, headlined by musical act The O’Jays. Come for the entertainment, stay for the beer, food, and, of course, fireworks-those will kick off at 9:30 pm and will be visible both in Camden and in Philly. (Try Spruce Street Harbor Park, Blue Cross Riverrink Summerfest, Cherry Street Pier, and Race Street Pier for Philly-side viewing.)
Cost: Free

Watch sparks fly from the river

Penn’s Landing
Ditch the crowds on land and book a three-hour dinner cruise that extends into the fireworks shows. Nibble on some baked ziti from the buffet and then once the sun sets, head out to the deck to get a 360-degree view of all the pyrotechnics at the Philly fireworks show as well as the display in nearby Camden.
Cost: $260-350

Reap the benefits of a Wawa-sponsored free concert

Benjamin Franklin Parkway
The daytime party at the foot of the Art Museum turns into a nighttime one with some grade-A musical talent. Starting at 7 pm, the stage will be graced by musical acts Jason Derulo, Ava Max, and Tori Kelly, just be sure to get there early to snag some real estate for sitting or standing.
Cost: Free

Keep your eyes on the sky

Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Once the sun is fully set-around 9:45 pm or so-get ready for the night’s crowning event: an over-the-top fireworks show. The dazzling pyrotechnic display is shot from behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art so the Parkway offers some of the best views. But Assembly Rooftop at the Logan Hotel, Boathouse Row, and Schuylkill Banks are great viewing spots, too.
Cost: Free

 Flickr/O.Taillon
Flickr/O.Taillon
Flickr/O.Taillon

Brush the sand off your toes while watching fireworks

Wildwood Boardwalk
If you’re vacationing down the shore this holiday weekend, take to the Wildwood boardwalk -what else-fireworks. Starting at 10 pm, the spectacle will be set to a patriotic soundtrack and will be easily viewed from anywhere along the boardwalk or beach. Don’t forget to grab a slice of pizza and an airbrushed t-shirt for the full boardwalk experience.
Cost: Free

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Allie Volpe is a Philadelphia-based contributor for Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter.

Philadelphia

Museum Exhibits in Philly to Check Out Before They Disappear

Get in some culture (and selfies) at the best art exhibits in Philadelphia.

Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney

From the historical to the artistic, Philadelphia is jam packed with museums. Art aficionados of all ages can get lost inside the likes of tourist-friendly museums like the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Museum of the American Revolution or feast their eyes on unique exhibitions at institutions like the Fabric Workshop and Museum and the Museum for Art In Wood.

Between big-ticket exhibitions honouring the House of Mouse to collections showcasing the legacy of a prominent Black family in early America, there’s plenty of material to dig into. After you’ve planned a date night and rounded up friends to explore the city, here are the most exciting museum exhibits in Philly right now-before they’re gone for good.

Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney

The Franklin Institute

Exhibition: Disney 100: The Exhibition
Mickey Mouse, you look good for your age. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Disney is a retrospective exhibition, which got its world premiere right here in Philly. Between rarely-seen artworks and artifacts, costumes and props, and interactive installations where you can listen to hit Disney songs, the exhibit is a Disney lover’s wish-upon-a-star-come-true.
Dates: Until August 27, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Monday through Sunday. Tickets are available online and at the door.

Photo by Ramon Torres, courtesy of ANS
Photo by Ramon Torres, courtesy of ANS
Photo by Ramon Torres, courtesy of ANS

Academy of Natural Sciences

Exhibition: Conversations With Birds
No, not an allusion to the Eagles, this exhibition is dedicated to actual birds, their migration patterns, and humans’ relationship with avian creatures. Expect avian photography and video by local birders and wildlife photographers along with an interactive exhibit showing five migratory birds that pass through the Philadelphia region on their seasonal passage between North and South America.
Dates: Until May 21, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets are available online or at the door.

The Barnes Foundation

Exhibition: Sue Williamson & Lebohang Kganye: Tell Me What You Remember
The work of two contemporary South African artists-Sue Williamson and Lebohang Kganye-are shown side by side, offering a cross-generational dialogue. Both artists utilize video installations, photographs, sculptural installations, and textiles “to consider how the stories our elders tell us shape family narratives and personal identities.”
Dates: Until May 21, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Thursday through Monday. Advanced tickets are recommended.

Photo by Jonathan Horowitz
Photo by Jonathan Horowitz
Photo by Jonathan Horowitz

Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History

Exhibition: The Future Will Follow the Past: An Exhibition by Jonathan Horowitz
Exploring the rapid change of societal issues in America since 2020-antisemitism, racial violence, immigration, women’s rights, LGBTQIA+ rights-Jonathan Horowitz designed installations inspired by recent occurrences. His works explore specific events like the infamous far-right rally from white supremacists in Charlottesville as well as recent themes in American history, like attacks on those within the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities.
Dates: Until July 4, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Friday through Sunday. Admission is available online and at the door.

Photo by Hoda Tawakol
Photo by Hoda Tawakol
Photo by Hoda Tawakol

The Museum for Art In Wood

Exhibition: The Mashrabiya Project
The newly renamed Museum for Art in Wood (formerly The Center for Art In Wood) celebrates the rebrand with a brand new project. Focusing on mashrabiya, the traditional Islamic architectural design, The Mashrabiya Project is a first of its kind effort in the U.S. to examine this aesthetic. As a part of the larger mission, a new exhibition Seeing Through Space features newly-commissioned, never-before-seen works by six female-identifying artists.
Dates: Until July 23, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets are not required.

Photo by Carlos Avenda├▒o
Photo by Carlos Avenda├▒o
Photo by Carlos Avenda├▒o

Fabric Workshop and Museum

Exhibition: Henry Taylor: Nothing Change, Nothing Strange
Combining painting and sculpture, Henry Taylor utilized recycled objects in this exhibition, the product of an 18-month residency. The entire second floor of the museum houses the large scale assemblages, tapestries, and textiles. Think: 30-foot billowing canvases and towering totems created from compressed blocks of paint buckets, vinyl home siding, and black plastic planters.
Dates: Until July 23, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Walk up admission is available but advanced registration is encouraged.

Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Exhibition: Judith Joy Ross
More than 200 photographs from renowned portrait photographer Judith Joy Ross will be on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, chronicling her career from the 1980s to today. Her black-and-white portraits are intimate reflections of everyday Americans, and this show features work from all her major projects, plus, never-before-seen images.
Dates: April 24 to August 6, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Thursday through Monday. Advanced tickets are recommended.

American Swedish Historical Museum

Exhibition: Radically Marimekko
Famous for their bright and bold fabrics, Finnish textiles, clothing, and home furnishings, the company Marimekko is showcased at this special exhibit. Drawing attention to Finnish design, the collection traces the brand’s path from industrial art house to fashion icon.
Dates: March 30 to September 24, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday. Walk up admission is available.

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and African American Museum in Philadelphia

Exhibition: Rising Sun: Artists in an Uncertain America
A collaboration between the African American Museum in Philadelphia and PAFA, Rising Sun showcases new work from 20 artists examining the question of Is the sun rising or setting on the experiment of American democracy? With pieces shown in both museums, visitors can reflect on, challenge, and expand their view of democracy through art.
Dates: March 23 to October 8, 2023
How to visit: The African American Museum in Philadelphia is open Thursday through Sunday; admission is available online and at the door. PAFA is open Thursday through Sunday; admission can be purchased in advance or at the door.

Museum of the American Revolution
Museum of the American Revolution
Museum of the American Revolution

Museum of the American Revolution

Exhibition: Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia
James Forten may not be a familiar name within early American history, but this new exhibit at the Museum of the American Revolution is looking to change that. Telling the story of Forten and his family through 100 historical artifacts, Black Founders explores the Forten family’s roles in the Revolutionary War, business in Philadelphia, and the abolitionist movement.
Dates: Until November 26, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open daily. Admission is available online and at the door.

National Constitution Center
National Constitution Center
National Constitution Center

National Constitution Center

Exhibition: The 19th Amendment: How Women Won The Vote
That lofty document known as the Constitution and its values, interpretations, and amendments are explored in great detail at the National Constitution Center, naturally. This semi-permanent exhibit examines the 19th Amendment-the one which granted women the right to vote-and the road to its ratification. Out of the near 100 artifacts, expect to see a rare printing of the Declaration of Sentiments from the first women’s convention at Seneca Falls, a ballot box used to collect women’s votes in the late 1800s, Pennsylvania’s ratification copy of the 19th Amendment, and various “Votes for Women” ephemera.
Dates: Semi-permanent, no end date announced
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Advanced tickets are recommended.

M├╝tter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
M├╝tter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
M├╝tter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

M├╝tter Museum

Exhibition: Spit Spreads Death
Eerily topical, the M├╝tter’s latest special exhibit, Spit Spreads Death, an exhibit about the 1918 flu pandemic, opened in the fall of 2019, less than six months before the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The exhibit traces the disease’s spread throughout Philadelphia neighbourhoods a century ago and how the pandemic impacted the city with artifacts like photos, newspaper clippings, and more.
Dates: Now through 2024
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Monday. Advanced tickets are required.

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Allie Volpe┬áis a writer based in Philadelphia. She hasn’t slept in days. Follow her on Twitter:┬á@allieevolpe.

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