20 Ways to Celebrate 4th of July in Philly Without Fireworks

Top 20 Ways to Ring in Independence Day Minus the Fireworks

This post is currently being updated for 2017.

It’s time to celebrate America! While you might think no 4th of July is complete without a celebration of fireworks, we have found 20 events around the region that are firework-free but full of American pride and good old fashioned family fun! From readings of the Declaration of Independence to music and movies, the region is full of ways to celebrate our Independence that don’t keep us up late at night or include any of the rockets red glare or bombs bursting in air.

10 Must-Do Events Leading up to the 4th

  1. Attend the 12th Annual Freedom Festival in Mercer County on Saturday, June 25 with a car show, food, and live bands. If you are definitely avoiding fireworks, make sure to head out before 9:50 PM.
  2. Hit up a museum for free! Each day of the Wawa Welcome America Festival includes free museum admission to museums across the city. The festival begins June 27, so you can hit up some local favorites including the Rodin, African American Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and more! Check the schedule to find the free museums for each day.
  3. Take in some local tunes! The Wawa Welcome America Festival also includes a week of free concerts. Concerts are located at Penn’s Landing, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and Independence Hall at various times throughout the week, including the free 5-hour concert on the parkway that is guaranteed to be family-friendly.
  4. Catch a free screening. Philly @ the Movies has family-friendly programming the entire week before the 4th, including the Good Dinosaur at Xfinity Live, which will also feature crafts and other family-friendly entertainment.
  5. Join the Mural Arts Program for a Mural Dedication on June 27. “Our Flag Unfurled” celebration will include Americana-themed food and music.
  6. Feed the family with the Free Hoagie Day at Independence Mall taking place on June 30. Along with more than five tons of free hoagies, there will be a salute to the nation’s military service men and women, firefighters, and police officers.
  7. Celebrate Independence with Elmo and the gang at Sesame Place for their annual 4th of July BBQ happening daily July 2-4 at 5 and 7:30PM. This event includes an additional $29 fee along with park admission. Fireworks will take place at 9:25 PM Sunday and Monday only.
  8. Celebrate Independence at Fort Mifflin on July 2 at 10 AM, featuring quill pen writing and cannon blasts.
  9. Eat all American style at the Red, White, and Blue BBQ Bash in Peddler’s Village on July 2 from 10 AM-6 PM.
  10. Rounding out the pre-4th festivities, WaWa is also hosting a Go 4th and Learn series, featuring creative learning activities for kids, with events like “Go 4th and Learn about Music and Culture,” and “Go 4th and Read.”

10 Day-of Festivities

  1. At 9:30 AM kick the day off with the annual July 4th Parade and Celebration in Glen Mills.
  2. At 10 AM head to Independence Hall for the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony, with patriotic musical performances and a reading of the Declaration of Independence.
  3. At 11 AM enjoy the Independence Day Parade starting at 5th and Chestnut Streets and ending at Front and Chestnut.
  4. Nothing says the 4th like a good block party; the Historic Philadelphia Block Party is one you can’t miss! With three performance stages and food favorites like Lil Pop Shop, this is a great way to celebrate our independence.
  5. Enjoy free admission at the National Museum of American Jewish History. In addition to admission, the museum will host activities all day including a storytime and flag making
  6. Take part in a Community Picnic at Valley Forge National Historical Park running from 11 AM-3 PM. There will be artillery demonstrations, as well as storytelling and a reading of the Declaration of Independence.
  7. Pay what you wish at the Philadelphia History Museum.
  8. Head to Germantown for the annual Independence Day Celebration, happening 11:30 AM-1:30 PM where you can mingle with Ben Franklin, participate in colonial games, and enjoy hot dogs and ice cream.
  9. Experience living historians at the Washington Crossing Historic Park, including a reading of the Declaration of Independence at 12 PM, as well as tours of historic buildings and a military encampment.
  10. Enjoy Independence Day Family Fun at Franklin Square.

Photo courtesy of Tony Webb for Wawa Welcome America, Inc.