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:
- 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
- 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
- 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