There is no better place to spend the 4th of July holiday than in the place where it all went down in 1776, Philadelphia, PA. I’ve been to other cities 4th of July celebrations, but nobody does it like Philly. The Wawa Welcome America celebration is the largest 4th of July celebration in the country and spreads numerous events over a week leading up to the big day. Between this celebration and other happenings, you will have your choice of things to do.
At 11 A.M. on the steps of Independence Hall at Sixth and Market Streets there will be a Celebration of Freedom Ceremony, with excerpts from the Declaration of Independence being read. Even if you aren’t a history buff, you are sure to get some goose bumps from a special moment like that!
After that, hang around for the Independence Day Parade from 11 A.M. – 12:30 P.M. and comes right down Market Street. This year it features 5,000 participants and honors the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It is appropriately titled the “Heroes Salute”.
If that isn’t enough history for you, what about the Let Freedom Ring event at the Liberty Bell Center? Watch direct descendents of the signers of the Declaration of Independence tap the Liberty Bell to set off a national bell ringing ceremony. The ceremony starts at 1:30 p.m. with bells ringing at 2 p.m.
From there, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is the place to be for the rest of the day. Beginning at 12 p.m. and continuing into the night, it hosts educational activities, food, games, and entertainment for the whole family. Radio Disney will even be stopping by and setting up some activities.
The day’s events are capped off with a concert and fireworks on the scenic Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The concert starts at 7 p.m. and this year includes national acts like Queen Latifah, Daryl Hall, Common, Joe Jonas and more. It is capped off with a fireworks display over the Philadelphia Museum of Art that will inspire some serious American pride. There are food vendors present, but bringing a blanket and a cooler of food and drinks is what the locals do. If it is hot out, you might just see some folks cooling off in the fountains that are located along the Parkway as well. If the Parkway is too crowded, you can also try Kelly Drive or the Schuylkill River Park for some more great ways to see the fireworks. If you are trying to make a quick exit afterwards, 30th Street Station even has a nice view.
For more information, you can visit www.welcomeamerica.com.