The stay at home kids: Not leaving for the fourth or the weekend? You straight, Philly got you.

There’s something enlightening about the realization you don’t have to go down the shore every weekend.

Especially on a holiday weekend.

The Fourth is arguably one of the biggest travel days of the year,  besides Thanksgiving (us Philadelphians love to eat). If you’re staying home this year, we rounded up all the things worth checking out on this Independence Day weekend to ensure that you have all the suggestions of shit to get into so you aren’t a grumpy ass from spending all weekend inside.

At minimum, the people working to keep you here have a say. We asked a few of them why Philadelphia is considered a great place to kick it in the summer (if you look past our state of emergency, teetering murder rate or the fact that our buildings are blowing up and we can’t send anyone to the hospital because it’s closing).

Besides all of that, this place has “world class” eateries. I went to a renowned BYO recently where they served me what was essentially raw pork and then got all passive-aggressive when I sent it back. The food is that serious.

Enjoy this mini-guide with the goal of making you feel like you didn’t make a horrible mistake. There’s plenty to get into right here. #HappyFourth

Why you made the right decision, as told by hoteliers:

“The appeal of Philadelphia in the summer is the way the city comes to life, especially where we are located in Old City. The riverfront comes alive, the streets are bustling and people are outside eating and drinking every day of the week. The city truly has a neighborhood feel.” 

– Larry Mullan, General Manager, Philadelphia Renaissance Downtown Hotel.

“The appeal to summer time in Philadelphia is great for many reasons.  There is so much to do and this summer there are a variety of music concerts at various venues around the city. Enjoy a Phillies baseball game at Citizens Bank Park, or experience one of the many museum exhibits such as the popular Marvel Exhibit at the Franklin Institute. Summer in the City of Brotherly Love is a great time to dine outside in the award winning restaurants, shop the boutiques along Rittenhouse Square. For history buffs, visit Independence Mall and the Liberty Bell in Olde City and learn about the founding fathers. Following a long day of sightseeing, guests of the hotel can relax at Sonesta’s 8th floor deck and outdoor pool and enjoy all of the amenities Sonesta has to offer, located in the center of it all.”

– Bob Cosgrove, General Manager, Sonesta Philadelphia.

“Philadelphia is the most walkable city in the US, with plenty to do on the shores of both the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers that border Center City. Colorful neighborhood street festivals are happening every week, and sidewalk cafes and bars offer innovative food and drink in every corner of Philadelphia.” 

–  Reg Archambault, General Manager, The Rittenhouse

“Philadelphia has so much natural beauty to be appreciated in the warmer seasons. From the Schuylkill river trail to Philadelphia’s incredible parks, such as Cira Green, summer transforms the city. Also, the sunset views at AKA University City over the skyline are unrivaled during the summer.” 

– Evan O’Donnell, AKA University City General Manager


Celebration of Freedom Ceremony

Freedom may not be free, but luckily, this festival is. Mayor Kenney will be announcing the winner of the Magis Award, the recipient of the Wawa Foundation Hero Award will be revealed and the Declaration of Independence will be read. It’s all about service and being proud of our country, so why would you miss out on watching your fellow Philadelphians being honored for their service? Yeah, we will guilt you into going to this and applauding your neighbors for actually doing something to better our city. | 10 am. Independence Hall, 520 Chestnut St.

Salute to American Independence Day Parade

This year’s parade is brought to you by…the Philadelphia International Airport! We, the people shall unite to march through the nation’s birthplace and show our pride. You can expect all the extravagant patriotic displays you’d get on the Fourth of July — marching bands, military units, tiny flags — except way more badass because it’s all happening on the most historic square mile piece of land in the country. We fucking love you, Philly, and we salute you. | 11 am. Independence Mall, 520 Chestnut St.

Party on the Parkway

The festivities don’t have to slow down, even though it’s the last day of them. This party is going on all day and offering all different types of family-friendly activities. Local musician Chill Moody will warm up the crowd with a pre-show featuring other Philly musicians and artists. A zip line will run up the parkway. If only it was always there, it’d probably help solve the shitty traffic around there. | Noon. Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert & Fireworks

The annual blowout concert will be headlined by Jennifer Hudson and Meghan Trainor. The colorful fireworks set off after the show will be choreographed to a “custom patriotic soundtrack,” which is a first for the festival. The entire week of celebration culminates in this crazy display of how grateful we are to be free Philadelphians. | 7 pm. Benjamin Franklin Parkway.


  • Kerith Gabriel's Headshot

    Kerith Gabriel is the former editor-in-chief at Philadelphia Weekly but somehow hasn’t figured out that means he doesn’t have to write nearly as much. As a routine contributor, journalism has been in his blood since his beginnings as a sports writer over a decade ago for the Philadelphia Daily News.

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