How to Get Around Philadelphia on July 4th

Details on road closures and SEPTA schedules to help you plan your (very hot) holiday.

Fireworks light up the sky over the Philadelphia Museum of Art during an Independence Day celebration, Wednesday, July 4, 2012, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Every year Philadelphia goes all out for Independence Day, which is fitting, considering this is where it all started. To close out a week of free Fourth of July events around the city, Pitbull (a.k.a “Mr. Worldwide”) is headlining the Wawa Welcome America Concert, the precursor to the dazzling fireworks finale. Here’s how you can get to and from the festivities in the city without losing all that star-spangled enthusiasm.


It will still feel like a blazing furnace outside. Our multiday excessive heat warning will extend into the holiday, with a predicted high in the mid-90s. Don’t leave your house without sunscreen, water, a hat, and sunglasses. It might help if you wear red, white and blue you can breathe in, too.

Misting tents and free refillable water stations will be available along the Parkway to help keep you cool and hydrated throughout the day.

Road Closures

As always with Philly’s Independence Day crowds, if you’re driving into the city you will face traffic delays and detours. Plan ahead to avoid the following streets which will be affected or closed, according to the Mayor’s Office:

  • Chestnut Street between 5th and 6th streets will be closed from 6 a.m. Tuesday through 7 p.m. on Wednesday
  • 6th Street between Race and Chestnut streets will be closed from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday; 6th between Market and Chestnut will remain closed until 7 p.m. Wednesday.
  • 3rd Street, Arch to Walnut, will be closed from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
  • 4th Street, Arch to Walnut, will be closed from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
  • 5th Street, Arch to Walnut, will be closed from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
  • Chestnut Street, from Front Street to 7th Street, will be closed from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
  • Chestnut Street, from 7th Street to 10th Street, will be closed from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

Road closures around the Art Museum and Parkway area will be implemented starting at 7 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

Here’s a helpful map of all the roads that will be closed on Wednesday.

Join the Parade

Watch as dozens of marching bands and floats pass through the city’s Historic District for the Independence Day Parade, which will begin on 5th and Chestnut Street and proceed west on Chestnut to 9th, north on 9th to Market, east on Market and then ends on Front and Chestnut Streets.

Keep this (and price surges!) in mind if you’re using a ride-sharing app to get around.


Let’s take a quick break from complaining about SEPTA on Wednesday. Additional bus, trolley, and train trips will be implemented to get people to and from Wawa Welcome America festivities, with Broad Street Line and Market Frankford Line trains running every five minutes from 4:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

Don’t forget: Spring Garden, Race-Vine and City Hall stations are all within walking distance of the Parkway.

All SEPTA transportation will run on a Sunday schedule, and the Regional Rail will offer special night service after the fireworks on the Parkway.

Bus routes 7, 32, 33, 38, 43, and 48 will operate on a detour before, during, and right after the concert and fireworks. Check here for specifics on Wednesday evening.

Be sure to keep SEPTA’s System Status handy for real-time info and updates on scheduling.


Good news: The Philadelphia Parking Authority will not be enforcing kiosks, meters, or time limits on residential blocks on Wednesday. Take advantage of this gift, but be prepared for everyone else to have the same bright idea too. Let’s practice that friendly Philly politeness we’re known for — right, guys?

Happy Fourth, Philly!