Philadelphia Celebrates The Fourth Of July In Star-Spangled Style: Tall Ships, Gay Rights Celebrations & Fireworks Highlight Eight Days Of Family-Friendly Fun

A highlight of Philadelphia’s multiday Fourth of July celebration, the fireworks over the Philadelphia Museum of Art wow onlookers along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and all over the city. In Fairmount Park, Lemon Hill is perfectly perched for optimal viewing, and those in the know head to the lesser-known spot to watch the dazzling show. Credit: Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA™

A highlight of Philadelphia’s multiday Fourth of July celebration, the fireworks over the Philadelphia Museum of Art wow onlookers along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and all over the city. In Fairmount Park, Lemon Hill is perfectly perched for optimal viewing, and those in the know head to the lesser-known spot to watch the dazzling show. Credit: Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA™

When Fourth of July rolls around, Philadelphia—America’s birthplace—paints the town red, white and blue thanks to eight days of music, exhibitions, Colonial characters and re-enactments, patriotic ceremonies and fireworks. This year, the city (through the efforts of VISIT PHILADELPHIA®) amps up the revelry surrounding the annual Wawa Welcome America! festivities with Tall Ships Philadelphia Camden, the largest sailing event in North America; and a citywide celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Gay Rights Movement.

On VISIT PHILADELPHIA®’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.

Here are a few highlights of Philadelphia’s patriotic party:

When the Tall Ships Philadelphia Camden pulls into port from June 24-28, 2015, visitors can watch the colorful parade of sail that includes the Gazela (pictured here) and L’Hermione, a replica of the ship that brought General Lafayette to the aid of the fledgling United States during the Revolutionary War, along with many other vessels from around the world. Ships will be docked on both sides of the river at Penn’s Landing and along the Camden Waterfront. Also on tap: live entertainment, hands-on activities and a dazzling fireworks display. Credit: Photo courtesy of Draw Events

When the Tall Ships Philadelphia Camden pulls into port from June 24-28, 2015, visitors can watch the colorful parade of sail that includes the Gazela (pictured here) and L’Hermione, a replica of the ship that brought General Lafayette to the aid of the fledgling United States during the Revolutionary War, along with many other vessels from around the world. Ships will be docked on both sides of the river at Penn’s Landing and along the Camden Waterfront. Also on tap: live entertainment, hands-on activities and a dazzling fireworks display. Credit: Photo courtesy of Draw Events

  • The billowing sails of more than a dozen majestic vessels mark the arrival of the Tall Ships Philadelphia Camden festival. Docked along both sides of the Delaware River waterfront will be elegant tall ships from France, Brazil, Canada and all around the globe. Visitors can tour the ships, including the L’Hermione, a replica of the French naval ship that brought General Lafayette to America to help fight the British. Also on tap: live entertainment, hands-on activities, games and a spectacular fireworks display to close out the largest sailing event in the United States in 2015. June 25-28. Penn’s Landing, Columbus Boulevard at Walnut Street; Camden Waterfront, tallshipsphiladelphia.com
Hundreds of aspiring salsa dancers dance the day away on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for the Party on the Parkway, one of many events taking place during Wawa Welcome America!, Philadelphia’s multi-day celebration of the country’s birthday. Credit: Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia™

Hundreds of aspiring salsa dancers dance the day away on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for the Party on the Parkway, one of many events taking place during Wawa Welcome America!, Philadelphia’s multi-day celebration of the country’s birthday. Credit: Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia™

  • Wawa Welcome America! kicks off with a lively block party and wraps up with the nation’s largest free Fourth of July concert and a fireworks grand finale. In between are movies, a concert by the Philly Pops in front of Independence Hall, patriotic ceremonies, Wawa Hoagie Day and more free, family-friendly fun. Various locations. June 27-July 4. (215) 683-2202, welcomeamerica.com
Some of the top names in music have performed at the annual Fourth of July concert at Penn’s Landing. The event, which draws huge crowds every year, is a favorite during Wawa Welcome America!, Philadelphia’s multi-day Independence Day celebration. Credit: Photo by J. Smith for Visit Philadelphia™

Some of the top names in music have performed at the annual Fourth of July concert at Penn’s Landing. The event, which draws huge crowds every year, is a favorite during Wawa Welcome America!, Philadelphia’s multi-day Independence Day celebration. Credit: Photo by J. Smith for Visit Philadelphia™

  • Signature events marking the 50th Anniversary of the Gay Rights Movement take place over Fourth of July weekend, with a reenactment of the Reminder Day demonstrations in front of Independence Hall, a wreath-laying ceremony at the historic marker that acknowledges the site of the demonstrations, panel discussions, a festival, concerts and more. July 2-5. Also on view throughout the weekend and beyond: Speaking Out for Equality: The Constitution, Gay Rights, and the Supreme Court, an exhibition at the National Constitution Center that tells the story of the gay civil rights movement through artifacts, photographs and legal precedents. June 5-September 7. During the weekend, visitors can delve into other aspects of LGBTQ history at exhibitions at the Free Library of Philadelphia, Taller Puertorriqueño, the National Museum of American Jewish History and The African American Museum in Philadelphia. Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street, (215) 409-6700, constitutioncenter.org; various locations for other happenings, reminder2015.org, lgbt50.org
Philadelphia’s rainbow colors shine brighter than ever during PrideDay in June, International Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. A fun, colorful and prideful parade winds through the Gayborhood, Historic Philadelphia and Penn’s Landing, where food, drinks, performances and more celebrating await. Credit: Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia™
Philadelphia’s rainbow colors shine brighter than ever during PrideDay in June, International Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. A fun, colorful and prideful parade winds through the Gayborhood, Historic Philadelphia and Penn’s Landing, where food, drinks, performances and more celebrating await. Credit: Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia™

The month of July also includes the following events:

Through July 2015
FRAMING FRAKTUR: A CONTEMPORARY RESPONSE.
The Free Library of Philadelphia collaborates with contemporary visual artists to reinterpret and reframe the Fraktur collection through a contemporary lens. The exhibition features a group of artists with thematic ties to Fraktur. (215) 567-7710, freelibrary.org

July 1-October 31, 2015
NIGHTSCAPE: A LIGHT AND SOUND EXPERIENCE.
This innovative display at Longwood Gardens takes guests on a colorful journey throughout the grounds as they experience moving imagery and lights timed to music. (610) 388-1000, longwoodgardens.org

July 7-12, 2015
QFLIX PHILADELPHIA.
This annual festival celebrates all genres of film that pertain to or were created by members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. This year’s venues are clustered along and near the Avenue of the Arts: Kimmel Center, Prince Music Theater and The University of the Arts. qflixphilly.com

July 10-12, 2015
BLOBFEST.
This three-day extravaganza in Phoenixville is centered around the horror/sci-fi flick The Blob and includes screenings, themed competitions, a street fair and the recreation of the pivotal scene where hundreds of scared townspeople flee the Colonial Theatre. (610) 917-1228, thecolonialtheatre.com

July 11, 2015
BASTILLE DAY.
The masses storm the castle on Eastern State Penitentiary as re-enactors and audience members playfully recreate the storming of the Bastille at the nation’s first “modern” prison. Emceed by “Edith Piaf,” Philly’s version of this historic event includes performances by experimental cabaret troupes, dancing baguettes, Napoleon, Joan of Arc and Marie Antoinette throwing more than 3,000 Tastykakes out to the assembled crowd. (215) 236-3300, easternstate.org

July 24-26, 2015
XPONENTIAL MUSIC FESTIVAL.
WXPN, the public radio station of the University of Pennsylvania, brings together musical legends and new performers at Wiggins Park and the Susquehanna Bank Center on the Camden waterfront. xpn.org

July 30-August 2, 2015
BLACK STAR FILM FESTIVAL.
Hailed by Ebony magazine as “the black Sundance,” this festival screens dozens of films about the global black experience and films by people of African descent. (267) 603-2755, blackstarfest.org

VISIT PHILADELPHIA®, formerly known as Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases the number of visitors, the number of nights they stay and the number of things they do in the five-county area.