This year, the 4th of July falls on a Tuesday. If you have a benevolent boss who is giving you a long weekend, you could take the entire week off and only use three vacation days!
1) Philadelphia is Number 1 — and Number 2!
In November 2015, the World Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities named Philadelphia the first city in the United States to be designated as a World Heritage City.
Lonely Planet named Philadelphia first on its list of the top ten United States cities to visit in 2016.
Just a few weeks ago, U.S. News and World Report named Philadelphia number two on its list of the 25 best places to visit in the United States. New York City came in first, but you can easily visit both during the same trip. Philly is only 100 miles south of New York City, less than an hour and a half by train.
2) Philadelphia is the Nation’s Birthplace.
The 4th of July is a celebration of our nation’s high risk birth. Why not celebrate the 4th of July in Philadelphia where it actually happened?
On July 4, 1776, the Founding Fathers officially adopted the text of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, having already actually declared independence from Great Britain on July 2nd. Displaying a touch of gallows humor on that occasion, Benjamin Franklin commented, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
As it happens, they did hang together (in a good way) and returned to Philadelphia in 1787 to hammer out a draft of the United States Constitution.
3) Philadelphia is historic.
Philadelphia boasts the most historic square mile in the United States. Many of the July 4th celebratory events will take place there, in and around Independence National Historical Park which is run by the National Park Service.
4) Philadelphia loves for visitors to sleep over.
Contrary to Philly’s reputation as a gritty city with badly behaved sports fans, Philadelphia is a city of beautiful parks, world class museums, and foodie worthy dining options.
Visitors can buy lunch from Amish farmers or score a Philly cheesesteak at the eclectic Reading Terminal Market.
Philadelphia was one of the leaders in the U.S. restaurant renaissance, so if you’re looking for a French bistro, no problem.
Within walking distance of all the 4th of July events in Philadelphia, you can find accommodations at many price points, from the swank, historic, Grand Dame of Broad Street, the Hyatt at The Bellevue, to an Old City hostel and everything in between.
5) We Know How to Celebrate the 4th of July in Philadelphia.
There are over 50 free events being held from June 29th through July 4th, including free museum days, free concerts, free movies, free fireworks, parades and block parties.
On July 2nd, you can watch the movie Rocky right on the flight of steps he made famous in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
On Sunday, July 3rd, join the block party on Independence Mall from noon to 7:00 p.m., after which the Philadelphia Pops Orchestra will perform on the steps of Independence Hall.
On July 4th itself, the celebration will start at 10:00 a.m. at Independence Hall with the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony. Then, stick around for the parade through the historic district, starting at Independence Hall.
At noon, everyone is invited to join the block party (actually more like a 5 blocks party) on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps, the Rocky Steps.
Pace yourself, because from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. there will be the Wawa Welcome America concert on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, featuring Philly’s own Boyz II Men, with performances by The Philly POPS, Mandy Gonzalez, Tony DeSare and the legendary Mary J. Blige.
The concert will be followed by two simultaneous, suitably exuberant fireworks displays on the Parkway and at the Delaware River waterfront.
I hope you’ll come. We’ll leave the lights on.
How do you celebrate the 4th of July where you live?
Looking for more to read? Here are tips on what to wear for the 4th of July.