21 Things to Do on July 4th Weekend

Free concerts! Fireworks! Block parties!

Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

Friday, July 1

Movies Under the Stars and Stripes @ Betsy Ross House
The Betsy Ross House screens 1959 sci-fi horror flick The Hideous Sun Demon outside in the courtyard, because that was Betsy’s favorite film.

’Murica! A Patriotic Art Show @ PhilaMOCA
PhilaMOCA opens its annual exhibit of “art of all kinds, patriotic or traitorous, celebratory or critical, as long as the subject is the US of A.” Friday is the opening night reception, with music from LeBon LeBon, Less is Modern and Dead. The art is up through July 28.

Free Museum Day @ African American Museum in Philadelphia
Admission is free all day at the AAMP, with kid-friendly activities like hip-hop classes and a mural workshop.

Philadelphia Orchestra Free Neighborhood Concert @ Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing
It’s July 4th fireworks round one, following the Philadelphia Orchestra’s free concert on the waterfront.

First Friday Rent Party Series @ Arch Street Meeting House
The Philadelphia Jazz Project’s Rent Party series celebrates Georgia this month, with bassist Tony Jones.

Squares and Sweet Tooth @ 3rd Street Gallery
Check out “still lifes based on iPhone photos and inspired by Instagram” from painter Kathleen Rose Geiger, complemented by an uncomfortably close look at candy from photographer Neil Marcello. If you miss the First Friday opening, you can still catch the exhibit through the end of the month.

Saturday, July 2

Photo by Matt Stanley

Photo by Matt Stanley

Freedom Rocks the Park @ Penn Treaty Park
Spend the day outside listening to live music from local rock bands.

Natasha Leggero @ Valley Forge Casino Resort
Potty-mouthed comedian Natasha Leggero, from Chelsea Lately, Showtime’s Dice, and her own Comedy Central series, Another Period, entertains at Valley Forge Casino Resort.

Classic 80s-90s Hip-Hop @ TLA
While this isn’t as old school as, say, the Declaration of Independence, Philly natives DJ Cash Money and MC Schoolly D will take us back to the hip-hop hits of the yesteryear.

Pershing’s Own Concert @ Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing
The U.S. Army Band, known as Pershing’s Own, plays a free concert at Penn’s Landing followed by July 4th fireworks, round two.

Sunday, July 3

Hollywood Vampires Joe Perry, Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp.

Hollywood Vampires Joe Perry, Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp.

Hollywood Vampires @ Borgata
This grouping makes sense to me: Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper and Joe Perry (Aerosmith) perform together in Atlantic City.

Historic Philadelphia Block Party @ Old City
Philly loves a block party. This one has two stages of entertainment and 20 food trucks, on Fifth and Sixth streets between Market and Chestnut and on Sixth between Arch and Market. Just head towards Independence Mall; you’ll find it.

POPS on Independence @ Independence Hall
Broadway’s Allison Blackwell and rising opera star Justin Hopkins, both from Philly, join the Philly POPS at Independence Hall for a free evening concert.

Free Museum Day @ Barnes Foundation
Wawa Welcome America is claiming this one, but technically every first Sunday of the month is free admission at the Barnes, courtesy of PECO. If you haven’t checked out the museum’s world-renowned collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings mashed together per Dr. Barnes’ eccentric vision, you really should.

Monday, July 4

Hang out with the Founding Fathers at Independence After Hours. Photo by Jeff Fusco for Historic Philadelphia Inc

Hang out with the Founding Fathers at Independence After Hours.
Photo by Jeff Fusco for Historic Philadelphia Inc

Declaration Reading @ Independence Visitor Center
Start the day feeling all patriotic inside with “Thomas Jefferson” reading from the Declaration of Independence.

Independence After Hours @ Independence Visitor Center
Dive deep into Independence Day with dinner at City Tavern followed by a tour — led by a costumed Colonial guide — of Independence Hall, where Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams are busy debating the Declaration of Independence. The tour is offered most summer days except Sunday and (usually) Monday, but for this holiday weekend only Monday tickets are still available.

Celestial Salute @ SkyGarten
Drink high in the sky, with a fantastic view of the Parkway fireworks to boot. But you can’t just show up; this is a ticketed event (with an open bar).

Freedom Festival @ Wiggins Park
Classic rock’s Michael McDonald and Ginger Coyle and the Peace Freqs provide the live music at this Fourth of July fest on the Camden waterfront, leading up to a fireworks show over the Delaware River.

Party on the Parkway @ Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Join the crowds on the Parkway for a day-long party with live music, activities for the kids and the type of food you can only justify eating if you’re at a day-long party on the Parkway.

July 4th Concert @ Benjamin Franklin Parkway
This year’s free July 4th concert in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art features headliner Leon Bridges and a Philly-centric lineup: Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr., Empire’s Yazz the Greatest, a tribute to Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff with The O’Jays, Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes and The Intruders, the Philly POPS and more.

July 4th Fireworks @ Benjamin Franklin Parkway
The Parkway concert closes out with a great big fireworks display over the Art Museum. And then we all sit quietly and wait for next year.

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