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The Philly Family Guide to Labor Day Weekend 2018

Say goodbye to summer and celebrate around town.

Summer is almost over—some of your kids may have already gone back to school—but it’s time for one last long weekend to send it off with a bang. Take one last spin around the River Rink, check out some special exhibits in their final days, take in some magnificent fireworks over the Delaware River (right next to a Viking ship paying us a visit!), and more!


Here’s how to make the most of your Labor Day Weekend in Philly. For more events on the Main Line and beyond, click here.

Fireworks on the Waterfront

September 1; concert at 8 pm, fireworks at 9:30 pm

Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia


Celebrate Labor Day with a spectacular fireworks display over the Delaware River. Celebrate with a free concert by The U.S. Army Band Downrange at 8 pm, followed by fireworks at 9:30 pm. If you want to reserve a spot, check out Independence Seaport Museum’s tickets for prime viewing on their rotunda (tickets also include admission to the museum and their historic ships the Olympia and submarine Becuna). You can also catch the show for free from anywhere along Penn’s Landing, including Spruce Street Harbor Park, or the River Rink on its final weekend.

Weekend-Long Events and Celebrations

Photograph by Dag Sjovold

The Draken Experience

August 31—September 6

Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia


The world’s largest operating Viking ship, the Norwegian Draken Harald Hårfagre, will dock at Penn’s Landing for the first time ever! You can buy tickets to take a deck tour where you will be guided through the ship and offered a look at a day-in-the-life of the crew and the historic craftsmanship used to build it. Meanwhile back on shore, the Draken Village, which is free and open to the public, offers a photo and video exhibition, land-side views of the ship, merchandise, and more to celebrate the modern-day Viking spirit alongside Philadelphia’s nautical heritage.

Farewell to Summer: Closing Weekend at Blue Cross RiverRink

September 1—3

101 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia


It’s the final weekend of Summerfest, so take one last spin on the carousel, Ferris wheel, or around the River Rink! On Saturday, September 1, enjoy a free concert and fireworks. Then on Sunday, September 2, it’s Waterfront Day—get $3 off skating admission when you mention “Waterfront Day,” and walk down to Spruce Street Harbor Park for a free performance by Beatles tribute band The Beat Tells. There will also be drink specials for the grownups all weekend.

Labor Day Celebration at Franklin Square

September 1—3

200 N. Sixth St., Philadelphia


Take a ride on the Lightning Bolt Express Train ($5 adults, $4 children) in the Square to celebrate Labor Day and the end of summer!

Labor Day Volksfest

September 1—3

9130 Academy Rd., Philadelphia


This three-day German festival happens every Labor Day Weekend, and features food, live entertainment, prizes, vendors, rides for the kids, and much more.

Please Touch Museum Family Festival

September 1—3

4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia


Say goodbye to summer by celebrating the best of the season at Please Touch Museum. Buddy the Dino from Dinosaur Train will hold a little meet-and-greet every day, too!

Back to School Weekend at Museum of the American Revolution

September 1—3

101 S. Third St., Philadelphia


Find out how children in the 1700s learned their ABCs, apprenticed for trades, and grew up to be revolutionaries in Revolution Place, the museum’s family discovery center. Kids 12 and under will receive free admission to the museum all weekend, and also will receive a free back-to-school pack including colored pencils, an eraser, a history-themed coloring book, and a pocket-sized Declaration of Independence.

African Penguin Awareness Weekend

September 1—3

Adventure Aquarium, 1 Riverside Dr., Camden, NJ


Every Labor Day Weekend, Adventure Aquarium hosts this conservation festival featuring an array of perfectly-penguin activities.

Extended Parks on Tap

August 29–-September 3

Clark Park, 4300-4398 Baltimore Ave., Philadelphia


Family-friendly beer garden Parks on Tap comes to West Philly with an even longer pop-up stay for Labor Day!

Labor Day Parade and Celebration

September 3, 9 am (celebration 11 am—2 pm)

Parade begins at 1301 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia; ends at Penn’s Landing for celebration


Celebrate Philadelphia’s union history and pride with a parade beginning at Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 19 Union Hall (1301 S. Columbus Blvd.) and ending at Penn’s Landing for a family celebration with food, refreshments, kids’ activities, crafts, and live music.

Last Chance

It’s been an incredible summer, but it’s time for these special exhibits and pop-ups to bid farewell. Catch them one last time before they’re over.

Photograph by Laura Swartz

‘Hello From Japan!’ at Please Touch Museum

Through September 3

Please Touch Museum, 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia


The Please Touch Museum’s special exhibit “Hello from Japan!” teaches about Japanese culture, as well as literacy, math, and problem-solving skills through hands-on activities like construction and pretend play.

Art Splash

Through September 3

Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia


Philadelphia Museum of Art has transformed the Great Stair Hall Balcony into an interactive studio space with projects, hands-on play, and more.  Kids and their grown-ups can experience the “Modern Times” exhibit through tours, art making, and imaginative play, including a LEGO build featuring a model of the Art Museum! On Sunday the museum offers pay-what-you-wish admission, though kids 12 and under are always free!

‘Game Masters’ at the Franklin Institute

Through September 3

The Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th St., Philadelphia


Showcasing the work of over 30 innovative game designers, “Game Masters” takes visitors on an interactive journey inside their favorite video games. The exhibit features over 100 playable games, as well as the opportunity to learn the stories of the designers and see the evolution of favorite games from concept art to what we know today.

Photo Pop!

Through September 3

1315 Walnut St., Philadelphia


This immersive and interactive pop-up exhibit celebrates local artists and is highly Instagram-worthy, with rooms of impactful murals and installations you won’t find anywhere else.

Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest

Through September 3

101 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia


Skate, ride the Ferris wheel, play mini-golf, and then take a break for some crab fries and Skee-Ball. You can do it all at this fun attraction.

Once Upon a Nation Storytelling Benches

Through September 3

Throughout Historic Philadelphia


Learn about our nation’s history from award-winning Once Upon A Nation storytellers at any of the 13 storytelling benches located in and around Independence National Historic Park.


Lead photograph courtesy of Visit Philadelphia.

Contributing Writer