All-American Celebration and 1776 Experience
525 Arch St.
The Constitution Center has a variety of events in store this weekend, including authentic Colonial music concerts, Founding Father impersonators, a recreated Revolutionary War encampment with demonstrations of military muster, the medicine of the era and crafts, edu-taining kid’s activities, an Independence Day show giving you the historical rundown and a lesson on proper flag etiquette.
POPS! On Independence
Thursday, 8 p.m.
Outside Independence Hall
Sixth and Chestnut streets
Pull up a blanket, plop down on the grass and enjoy a free outdoor concert of patriotic music from the Philly POPS, featuring guest soloist Capathia Jenkins, a singer known for her work on Broadway as well as her Bacharach/David renditions, among other things. Fun fact: the Philly POPS are the largest standalone pops orchestra in America — and they’re all ours, Philly!
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Party on the Parkway
Friday, noon to 7 p.m.
Ben Franklin Pkwy.
Between 20th Street and Eakins Oval
The big names are of course saved for the Philly 4th of July Jam in the evening with The Roots, Nicki Minaj, Ed Sheeran and more, but the Parkway will already have already been bouncin’ all day long, with multiple music stages, activities and vendors to keep you stoked from high noon to sundown. Stick around for the concert and fireworks.
America’s Birthday Party
Friday, 1 p.m.
Independence Visitor Center
Sixth and Market streets
Rarely is history so delicious. A woman claiming to be Betsy Ross (please suspend your disbelief) will present a giant American flag made out of cupcakes — the world’s largest, we’re told — courtesy of Termini Bros. Bakery, but baked to Betsy’s specifications, of course. And everyone gets a piece, because this is America and in America there are cupcakes for everyone.
Friday through Sunday
Walnut St. and Columbus Blvd.
This annual Wawa Welcome America! smorgasbord of ice cream and water ice has offerings from some of the best, including Haagen-Dazs, Ben and Jerry's, Good Humor-Breyers, Turkey Hill, Philadelphia Water Ice Company, Friendly's, Rosati Italian Water Ice and many more just too delicious to ignore. Proceeds go to the Joshua Kahan Fund to support kids with leukemia.
Independence Day Regatta
Friday through Sunday
1 Boathouse Row
This massive rowing competition consists of a variety of different races in men’s, women’s and mixed groups. It’s been held at this time of year since its inception in 1880, when it was known as “The People’s Regatta” — a name it retained until 1958, apparently behooved during the Cold War to switch to something less Marxist-sounding.
Battleship New Jersey Fireworks Viewing
Saturday, 7 p.m.
Battleship New Jersey
62 Battleship Pl., Camden
Viewing Fourth of July fireworks from the deck of a ship that actually fought for America on far-off seas will bring out the patriotic in you. Plus, on the pier you’ve got surf rock band the Hypersonics playing awesome tunes, and for kids there’s the Philadelphia Zoo on Wheels petting zoo and face painting.
Independence Day Fireworks Extravaganza Cruise
Saturday, 7 p.m.
The Ben Franklin Yacht
Pier 24, 401 N. Columbus Blvd.
$65, 21-plus, 215-629-8687
If we were Ben Franklin, this is how we’d watch the fireworks — from the deck of a boat named after us, with a dance party and an all-out barbecue dinner to boot. After all, didn’t Ben Franklin say “Verily, You cannot be called famous before You’ve a Yacht named in Your Honour?” Probably not, but still, he could’ve said it.
U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” and Fireworks
Saturday, 8 p.m.
Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing
Columbus Blvd. and Chestnut St.
If pop and hip-hop lineup of the 4th of July Jam isn’t to your tastes, a decidedly more traditional sort of Independence Day concert takes place July 5 at Penn’s Landing with the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” — a highly distinguished ensemble with a history dating back to 1922. The Adventure Aquarium Waterfront fireworks celebration follows.
Colin Quinn: ‘Unconstitutional’
Suzanne Roberts Theater
480 S. Broad St.
Comedian Colin Quinn, best known for his stint as the “Weekend Update” anchor on “Saturday Night Live,” performs an evening of stand-up running through the history of the Constitution and its amendments, and reflecting on a present popular culture he thinks might have embarrassed the Founders a little — which doesn’t seem like a wild speculation to make.