The Philly Family Guide to the Wawa Welcome America July 4th Celebration
From free museum days to fireworks, catch free Independence Day celebrations for the whole family!
Philadelphia basically invented freedom, so of course we’re going to do Independence Day up right. People come from all over to take part in Wawa Welcome America festivities, and after a year when the festival went virtual, they’re back with not one, but two weeks of free activities that celebrate our country’s independence and highlight so much of what Philly has to offer. From free museums to our incredible local music and food, it’s all on display and ready for the whole family to enjoy. But there’s so much to do, it’s almost overwhelming! We’re here to break it down for you, with our kid-friendly guide to the celebration. Happy Fourth!
Let’s start with the big show because it’s not July 4th without fireworks. The Welcome America festival will conclude with a finale fireworks display over the Philadelphia Museum of Art on July 4 at 9:30 pm. Guests are invited to gather on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway between Eakins Oval and Logan Circle beginning at 8 pm. to watch the fireworks spectacular. This is obviously asking a lot for small kids who have early bedtimes, don’t like standing in crowds all night, and are scared of loud noises, so if this isn’t for your family, you can catch the show live on NBC 10 and TeleXitos from the comfort of your home.
Parties and More
June 19—July 4
City Hall and LOVE Park
Enjoy daily health and wellness activities courtesy of Independence Blue Cross, mingle with vendors, receive giveaways from Tastykake, Wawa and more. Daily activities range from yoga to dance and beyond. Plus, enjoy entertainment and art on the Pennsylvania Lottery Groove Stage hosted by Radio One. See daily schedules at Wawa Welcome America’s website.
July 1, noon—2 pm
Independence Mall and National Constitution Center Lawn, 525 Arch St.
Join Wawa for historic Hoagie Day tributes to our local heroes, free Wawa Hoagies, and a performance by the Ambassadors Jazztet of The United States Army Field Band. Before or after enjoying your hoagie, you can head to the National Constitution Center for free admission all day long. And, over 920 stores chainwide will celebrate Hoagie Day in their local communities by building and donating more than 50,000 hoagies to local first responders and healthcare heroes.
July 2, 6—10 pm
Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
This free block party celebrates diverse multi-sensory stories and offers something for visitors of all ages—from a variety of food trucks and a beer garden to art-making demos, a film screening by BlackStar Film Festival, and live performances by several notable poets. Guests can also enjoy free admission to the Barnes collection (pre-registration required).
As part of the Welcome America July Fourth celebration, there will be free concerts of all kinds, from gospel to Philly POPS and much more.
June 25, 7 pm
101 N. Columbus Blvd.
Join musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra for “Let Freedom Ring,” a musical celebration featuring patriotic and uplifting works that celebrate the diversity and majesty of America. Tickets are free but must be reserved online.
June 26, 3–9 pm
Penn’s Landing, 101 N. Columbus Blvd.
An evening spotlighting some of Philly’s brightest rising stars curated by Philadelphia artist and entrepreneur Chill Moody. While you’re enjoying the music, the Waterfront attractions will also be open to enjoy, so stop by Summerfest to round out your day!
June 27, 7–9 pm
Independence Mall, 520 Chestnut St.
Bring chairs or blankets for a free evening of joyful music. Bask in the moving performance, hosted by WDAS Patty Jackson, featuring talented singers who will pay tribute to the Tri-State Area Gospel Legends.
July 3, 7–9 pm
The Mann Center, 5200 Parkside Ave.
This fabulous (and free) concert is a Philadelphia tradition. The POPS will perform an original program created and conducted by Music Director and Principal Conductor David Charles Abell, featuring Grammy and Tony nominee, Hamilton star Joshua Henry. The program will feature patriotic standards, pop favorites, and more. Free; but tickets are required (available online), as this concert is now at The Mann instead of Independence Mall.
July 4, 10:30 am
Independence Hall (and broadcast live on NBC 10 at 6 pm)
With Independence Hall as the backdrop, celebrate July 4th with remarks by Mayor Jim Kenney and a variety of notable guest speakers, an inspiring reading of the Declaration of Independence, and musical performances by the Philly POPS. Attend in person, or watch live on NBC 10 or online at 6 pm.
July 4, 7–9 pm
The Mann Center, 5200 Parkside Ave.
The free annual concert moves to The Mann, and features Bebe Rexha, with a special performance by Flo Rida, and a feature performance by the Philly POPS. In-person FREE tickets are limited and pre-registration is required.
Philly @ The Movies
Catch free movies around town! Here are our picks for kid-friendly screenings:
- June 20, 8 pm: Rocky at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
- June 23, 8 pm: Pitch Perfect at Capitolo Playground, 900 Federal St.
- June 24, 8 pm: How to Train Your Dragon at Hank Gathers Rec Center, 2501 W. Diamond St. (Come at 7 pm for free art-making activities)
- June 29, 9 pm: Shrek drive-in movie at the Navy Yard (Pre-registration required)
- June 30, 8 pm: Hidden Figures at Cherashore Playground, 851 W. Olney Ave.
Learning Opportunities and Free Museum Days
Welcome America isn’t just for partying—though there’s a lot of that!—but also a time for kids to learn and discover new places in Philly. Here are our top picks. Note that some museums and venues require you to register in advance to reserve your spot– we have indicated below where that is necessary.
Free Museum Days
June 19—July 4, 10 am—5 pm
320 Chestnut St.
Just two blocks from Independence Hall, Carpenters’ Hall was the site of the First Continental Congress in 1774, one of the primary events that led to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. They are offering free admission, with no reservation required, through the entirety of Welcome America.
June 27, 10 am—5 pm
3260 South St.
The Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology opens its doors to all on this free day. Use your smartphone and headphones to explore incredible artifacts through “Daily Dig” gallery audio stops. Plus, self-guided tools such as gallery games, scavenger hunts, and “I Spy” activities will keep families and small groups engaged. Reserve your spot with hourly timed ticket slots; use promo code WAWA21 to receive a full discount.
June 29, 10 am—4 pm
1900 Pattison Ave.
The oldest Swedish museum in the United States opens its doors for a free day. ASHM is a community dedicated to preserving and interpreting material culture, and is alive with celebrations, exhibitions, and learning experiences.
July 1 and 4, 10 am—5 pm
525 Arch St.
Engage with interactive programs and exhibits while learning about the constitution in a fun way. Don’t miss the interactive Independence Day show, exploring the history of the Declaration of Independence and how the definition of “We the People” has expanded. On July 4, programming continues with free museum admission, plus an array of patriotic festivities including the interactive Independence Day show and family-friendly programs including craft activities, trivia games, and more. Reserve free tickets online.
July 2, 10 am—6 pm
321 Chestnut St.
Interact with incredible stories of heroes and a collection of contemporary art with themes of freedom, civic engagement, and diversity. Plus, check out their new exhibit, Graphic Content and Caretoons. Get free admission with timed ticketing and pre-registration here.
July 4, 10 am—5 pm
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
The Philadelphia Museum of Art offers “Pay What You Wish” admission every first Sunday, including during Welcome America.
Go 4th And Learn
All events will take place in the City Hall Courtyard (1 S. Penn Square). At each event, you can also get a free book giveaway courtesy of Books in Homes USA.
June 23, 2:30 pm
Enjoy fun, and educational activities hosted by the Franklin Institute, teaching the science of fireworks.
June 26, 2:30 pm
Kids can participate in fun, free, interactive activities demonstrating art and music with Music Play Patrol.
June 28, 2:30 pm
This event features interactive activities that celebrate healthy living through environmental and physical wellness. Plus, bring your own bike to participate in the Bike Safety Course.
Freedom-Liberty Celebration at AAMP
Starting at Franklin Square and then moving to the front plaza at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, this program features historical reenactors Carlo Campbell and Ned Hector interpreting important speeches by noted African American figures from U.S. history. Both events also feature creative workshops for youth and families exploring themes of freedom and liberty.
Photograph courtesy of Visit Philadelphia.