It’s that time of year again — six days of FREE events all over the city, culminating in the big parade and then the concert on the Parkway (this year featuring Mary J. Blige, plus Boyz II Men, Mandy Gonzalez and others) and, of course, fireworks. You can easily check out the whole schedule of happenings on the Welcome America site, but meantime, we thought we’d make it even easier on you and highlight some of our picks for the best bets for families (Note: Okay, you might have to be a little flexible on bedtimes for some of these. But, hey … it’s a holiday!)
Museums and Culture.
We’re talking about a smorgasbord of free museums days.
— Free admission to the National Constitution Center on June 29
–I know this is basically a sacrilege in Philly, but I am not a big Mummers girl. Still, the chance to learn about the history, instruments and costumes still sounds intriguing enough to give it a go from 6 to 8 p.m. on June 29, at the free “Peco Go 4th & Learn” session at the Mummers Museum.
–Free admission to the Penn Museum on June 30
–Free admission to Eastern State Penitentiary on June 30, from 5 to 8 p.m. (NOTE: Not recommended for kids under the age of 7!)
–Free museum morning on July 1 from 8 to 11 a.m. at One Liberty Observation Deck
–Free admission on July 1 to the African American Museum
–There’s an afternoon “fiesta” in Fairhill Square on July 1, from 2 to 4 p.m., featuring dance performances and lessons, games, activities for kids, and more.
–Free admission at the Barnes on July 2
–Pay-what-you-wish at the PMA on July 2
–Free admission at the National Liberty Museum on July 3
–Free admission at the National Museum of American Jewish History on July 4
–Free admission at the Philadelphia History Museum on July 4
It’s outdoor movies a go-go for the week, and most of ‘em are appealing for families. To wit:
–June 29, 8 to 11 p.m., it’s Despicable Me 2 at the Piazza
–June 29, 8:30 to 10:30 p.m., it’s Despicable Me 1 in Manayunk
–June 30, 8 to 11 p.m., it’s The Lego Batman Movie in North Philly
—July 3, from 9 to 11 p.m., it’s Sing at Franklin Square
Random Things to Take In or Swing By
From dance to sand sculptures to cupcakes
–Sand Sculpture Spectacular at Liberty Place, featuring historic icons and scenes, on June 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. … worth swinging by if you’re in the area. (Plus: Nice, cool A.C.!)
—Betsy Ross’s Birthday Party on July 4th, from 1 to 3 p.m. … complete with FREE cupcakes
–A citywide storytime, which happens at ALL local Free Libraries on June 29, from 2 to 3 p.m.
—Hip-hip dancers, jazz groups and the Penn Band are a few of the free public performances you can catch around the city over the course of these few days.
Beyond the big one on the Parkway (which isn’t exactly stroller-friendly), we have a few more festive options.
–Ah, those Mummers again. This time, it’s the string band (best part of the Mummers, IMO) playing under the stars on June 29, from 8 to 10 p.m. at the Mummers Museum.
–The Philly Orchestra Neighborhood Concert series hits Penn’s Landing on June 30 from 8 to 9:30 p.m., with fireworks to follow
–On July 1, from 8 to 9:30 p.m., the U.S. Army Band will play “old standards, new hits and patriotic tunes” (with Jerry Blavat as emcee!), with fireworks to follow.
–On July 3, from 7 to 9 p.m., the Philly Pops take over Independence Mall, playing tunes even the kids will recognize (including, yes, “Let It Go” and “America the Beautiful).
—Kidz Bop “Best Time Ever” Tour hits the Parkway on July 4, at the Main Stage at Eakins Oval at 1 p.m.
Photo credit: Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia™