Celebrate July 4 in Philadelphia with free festivities

2012 July 4th firework display in Philadelphia shot from Fairmount Park.

Tongshan/iStock/Getty Images.

By Good Info News Wire

June 28, 2024

Philadelphians can enjoy a range of free activities leading up to July 4, including free food, concerts, museum tours, fireworks, and more.

Philadelphia‘s annual Wawa Welcome America festival is back, offering a plethora of free activities to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Running from June 27 to July 4, the festival includes free admission to over 40 of the city’s top cultural institutions. You can explore museums such as the Rodin Museum, the National Constitution Center, and the Mütter Museum on designated days, making it a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in the city’s rich history and diverse culture without spending a dime​​​.

The festival also features a variety of events including outdoor concerts, block parties, and special celebrations like Wawa Hoagie Day, where you can grab a free hoagie and enjoy entertainment at Independence Mall​​​​. The culmination of the festivities on July 4 will be marked by a spectacular concert and fireworks display on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway​​.

June 27, 2024 – Wawa Hoagie Day

Wawa kicks off the Independence Day festivities with its historic Hoagie Day on June 27, 2024, honoring local heroes by building and serving 25,000 free Wawa Shorti Hoagies at noon along Arch Street between 5th and 6th Streets in the Independence Mall area. The event includes a performance by Voices of Service, a singing quartet of military veterans, and offers free admission to the National Constitution Center, where visitors can explore a special exhibit showcasing Wawa’s over 100 years of history and deep roots in Philadelphia.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., courtesy of Wawa, the National Constitution Center invites visitors to enjoy free admission as part of the Hoagie Day celebrations. As the first and only museum dedicated to the U.S. Constitution, the center features interactive exhibits, rare artifacts, and live theater performances, including the moving “Freedom Rising.” Visitors can explore Signers’ Hall, a new exhibit on the First Amendment, and participate in special patriotic festivities such as scholarly talks, an interactive Independence Day show, American flag history and etiquette workshops, and Colonial-era arts and crafts.

Free Historical Sites

After exploring the National Constitution Center, visitors should make their way to Independence Hall, a must-see historic landmark located on Chestnut Street between 5th and 6th Streets. As the site where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed, Independence Hall offers a profound glimpse into America’s founding moments.

Visitors can enjoy a timed, ticketed tour, exploring the Assembly Room and other significant areas of the building. Timed, ticketed tours are encouraged to combat July 4 crowds, and a $1 handling is charged to reserve in advance. Plan ahead by securing tickets and arriving 30 minutes early to pass through security. 

Continue your historic tour of Philadelphia by heading to the Liberty Bell Center. Located at 526 Market Street, here you can see the iconic Liberty Bell, a powerful symbol of freedom and justice. The center offers self-guided exhibits detailing the history of the bell, its famous crack, and its role in abolition and civil rights movements. Admission is free, and no tickets are required, but visitors must pass through security screening and should expect to wait in long lines.

The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in the back ground at at Philadelphia's Independence National Historic Site.

Richard T. Nowitz/The Image Bank/Getty Images.

July 1, 2024 – Free Admission Day

Kick off your July 4th week by visiting the Rodin Museum for free on July 1, 2024, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Located on Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the museum houses one of the world’s greatest collections of works by Auguste Rodin. Visitors can explore the elegant Beaux-Arts–style building and its beautiful gardens, and view masterpieces such as “The Thinker” and “The Gates of Hell.” This is a wonderful opportunity to appreciate Rodin’s expressive sculptures and enjoy a cultural start to the Independence Day festivities.

Then, you can take a five-minute walk on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to the Barnes Foundation. The Barnes Foundation boasts an impressive collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and early Modern paintings, as well as African sculpture, American decorative arts, and more. Guests can explore works by renowned artists such as Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, and Picasso. This free admission day provides a fantastic opportunity to experience the unique and diverse art collection in an engaging and educational setting. 

After exploring the Barnes Foundation, take a pleasant half-mile walk to the Mütter Museum. Known as America’s finest museum of medical history, the Mütter Museum showcases fascinating collections of anatomical specimens, medical instruments, and models. Visitors can attend special exhibits, pop-up displays, gallery talks, and even partake in interactive activities like coloring and exploring the Benjamin Rush Medicinal Plant Garden. Remember to reserve your ticket and select an arrival time slot in advance as the museum offers two entry time slots: 10:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. on July 1.

End your day at the Philadelphia Zoo, celebrating its 150th anniversary from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on July 1, 2024. Enjoy performances, face painting, arts and crafts, and games. There will also be unique opportunities to see your favorite animals and their keepers up close. Admission is free from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., on a first-come, first-served basis.

July 3, 2024 – Tours and a Concert

On July 3, take advantage of the free evening access to Eastern State Penitentiary from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Once the world’s most famous prison, it now stands as a hauntingly beautiful ruin with crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Explore the historic site with the “Voices of Eastern State” audio tour narrated by Steve Buscemi, visit Al Capone’s cell, and enjoy exhibits about prison history and criminal justice reform. Relax in The Fair Chance Beer Garden and participate in engaging activities like trivia and art.

After your visit to Eastern State Penitentiary, head over to the Visit Philadelphia stage at 7 p.m. for the “Salute to Service” concert. Enjoy a performance by the U.S. Army Field Band & Soldiers’ Chorus featuring LeAnn Rimes in a celebration titled “America the Beautiful.” This musical and visual journey honors veterans and active-duty soldiers while showcasing the beauty of the nation. Bring a chair or blanket to relax and enjoy the show.

"July 4th firework display in Philadelphia, 2008"

Tongshan/iStock/Getty Images.

July 4, 2024 – A Day of Celebration

Start July 4 with the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony at 10 a.m. at Independence Hall. Celebrate America’s evolving history of freedom with remarks by Mayor Cherelle L. Parker and other notable speakers. The event includes the presentation of the inaugural Mayor’s One Philly Award, the Wawa Foundation Hero Award, and The Celebrate Freedom Award presented by Freedom Mortgage. Join in this patriotic gathering to honor the nation’s journey toward freedom. 

Following the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony, head to the Salute to Independence Parade from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Dress in your red, white, and blue, and wave a flag as the parade celebrates the 248th birthday of the United States with grand style and pageantry. Starting at 2nd and Market Streets and continuing to City Hall, this moving procession features national and international groups, highlighting the diversity of our country. Don’t miss this entertaining and exciting event that showcases history and culture in a festive atmosphere.

Cap off your Independence Day celebrations with the star-studded July 4th Concert and Fireworks show. Starting at 7 p.m. on the Parkway, enjoy performances by three-time Grammy Award-winning artist Ne-Yo and Grammy-nominated musician Kesha. Before the main event, catch DJ Diamond Kuts and Snacktime from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The night concludes with a spectacular fireworks display courtesy of Wawa. Gates open at 4 p.m., with entry through Logan Circle at 20th Street. No tickets are required for general admission, but tickets are needed for the front section, which are free and available through various opportunities. For those wanting to catch the fireworks, the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art provide an excellent vantage point to enjoy the spectacular display lighting up the night sky.

This article first appeared on Good Info News Wire and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.Celebrate July 4 in Philadelphia with free festivitiesCelebrate July 4 in Philadelphia with free festivities

This story was generated in part by AI and edited by The Keystone staff.

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